I was telling you of the moment when I met the astrologer who had now become a sannyasin....
I was nearabout fourteen at the time, and with my other grandfather, that is, my father's father. My real grandfather was no more; he died when I was only seven. The old bhikku, the ex-astrologer, asked me, "I am by profession an astrologer, and by hobby a reader of many things - lines of the hand, of heads, of feet, and so on. How could you manage to tell me that I was going to become a sannyasin? I had never thought about it before. It was you who dropped the seed in me, and since then I have been thinking only of sannyas, and nothing else. How did you manage?"
I shrugged my shoulders. Even today if someone asks how I manage, all I can do is shrug my shoulders, because I do not manage - I simply allow things to be. One just has to learn the art of running ahead of things so that everybody thinks you are managing them; otherwise there is no management, particularly in the world I am concerned with.
I told the old man, "I just looked into your eyes and saw such purity that I could not believe that you were not yet a sannyasin. You should have been already; it was already too late."
In a sense, sannyas is always too late, and in another sense, it is always too soon... and both are true together.
Now it was the turn of the old man to shrug his shoulders. He said, "You puzzle me. How could my eyes give the clue?"
I said, "If eyes cannot give the clue then there is no possibility for any astrology."
The word astrology is certainly not concerned with the eyes, it is concerned with the stars. But can a blind man see stars? You need eyes to see stars.
I said to that old man, "Astrology is not the science of the stars, but the science of seeing, seeing the stars even during the day, in full daylight."
Once in a while it happens... when the Master hits the disciple on the head. Just this morning, Ashu, do you remember when you were looking at your watch, and I hit your head with a Canada Dry soda bottle? Remember now? At the time you missed it. That's what it means to know astrology. She had a little taste of it this morning - I don't think she will ever look at her watch again.
But please, look at it again and again, so I can hit you again and again. It was only a beginning.
Otherwise how are you going to freak in? Forgive me, but always allow me to hit you. I am always ready to ask your forgiveness, but never ready to say that I will not hit again. In fact, the first is only a preparation for the second, and a deeper hit.
This is a strange company here. I am an old Jew. There is a proverb which says, "Once a Jew always a Jew." And I was once a Jew, and I know the truth of that proverb. I'm still a Jew, and sitting by my right side is a one-hundred-percent Jew, Devageet; and there, by my side near my feet, Devaraj is sitting, partially a Jew. You can see from his nose... otherwise from where could he get such a beautiful nose?
And Gudia, if she is still here, is not English either. She has also once been a Jew. For the first time I want to make it known to you that she is none other than Magdalena! She loved Jesus, but missed him. He was crucified so early and a woman needs time, and patience; and he was only thirty-three. That is the time to play football, or if you are a little grown up at thirty-three, then to go to see a football match.
Jesus died too early. The people were too uncruel to him... I mean cruel to him. I wanted them to be uncruel, that's why the word came. Gudia, this time you cannot miss. Whatsoever you do, and howsoever you try to escape.... I am not Jesus, who could be easily crucified at thirty-three. And I can be very patient, even with a woman, which is hard... that I know, difficult, very very difficult at times. A woman can really be a pain in the neck!
I have never suffered from a pain in the neck, thank God! But I know the pain in the back. If it is so terrible in the back, how much more it must be in the neck. The neck is the very pinnacle of the back. But with me whether you are a pain in the neck, or the back, it does not matter: this time you cannot miss. If you miss this time, it will be impossible to find a man like me again.
Jesus can be found again very easily. People are becoming enlightened all the time. But to find a man like me - who has traveled thousands of ways, in thousands of lives, and has gathered the fragrance of millions of flowers like a honeybee - is difficult.
If one misses me, perhaps he misses forever. But I won't allow it to happen to any of my people. I know all the ways to cut through their cunningness, their hardness, their cleverness. And I am not concerned with the world at large. I am concerned only with my people, those who are really in search of themselves.
Just today I received a translation of a new book they are publishing in Germany. I don't know German, so somebody had to translate the part concerned with me. I never laughed so much at any joke, yet it is not a joke, it is a very serious book.
The author devoted fifty-five pages just to prove that I am only illuminated and not enlightened.
Great! Just great! - only illuminated, not enlightened. And you will be surprised to know that just a few days ago I received another book from the same category of idiot, a Dutch professor. The Dutch are not very different from the Germans, they belong to the same category.
By the way I must tell you that Gurdjieff used to divide every person according to a certain plan.
He had a few categories of idiots. Now this German and that Dutch fellow, whose name I have fortunately forgotten, both belong to the first category of fools... no, not fools - that is reserved for my Jew disciple, Devageet - idiots. The Dutch idiot proved, or tried to prove, in a long dissertation, that I am only enlightened, not illuminated. Now, these two idiots should meet and wrestle, and hit each other with their arguments and books.
As far as I am concerned, once and for all, let me declare to the world: I am neither illuminated nor enlightened. I am just a very ordinary, very simple man, with no adjectives and no degrees. I have burned all my certificates.
The idiots always ask the same question - it makes no difference. This is the miracle. Everything is different between India, England, Canada, America, Germany - but not the idiot. The idiot is universal, the same everywhere. You taste it from anywhere and it is the same. Perhaps Buddha would have agreed with me; after all he said, "Taste the Buddha from anywhere, and he is just like the ocean: wherever you taste it, it tastes of salt." Perhaps just as the Buddhas taste the same, buddhus - which is the Indian name for idiots - also taste the same. It is good, but only in the Indian languages, that "buddha" and buddhu are made from the same root, are almost the same word.
I am not at all concerned whether you believe me to be enlightened or not. What does it matter? But this man is so concerned that in his small book, fifty pages are devoted to this question, whether I am enlightened or not. It certainly proves one thing, that he was a first-class idiot. I am just myself. Why should I be enlightened or illuminated? And what great scholarship! Illumination is different from enlightenment? Perhaps you are enlightened when there is electricity, and you are only illuminated when there is only candlelight?
I don't know what the difference is. I am neither. I am light myself, neither enlightened nor illuminated; I have left those words far far behind. I can see them like dust, still stirring, far away on the path that I will never travel again, just footprints in the sand.
These so-called professors, philosophers, psychologists - why are they so concerned about a poor man like me, who is not at all concerned with them? I am living my life, and it is my freedom to live it as I want to live it. Why should they waste time on me? Please, it would have been better to have lived those fifty-five pages. How many hours and nights this poor professor must have wasted? He could have become illuminated meanwhile, or at least enlightened. And the Dutch one would have become enlightened meanwhile, if not illuminated. Both would have understood: Who am I?
Then there is only silence.
Nothing to say Perhaps a song to sing
or a dance or just to prepare a cup of tea and silently sip it....
The flavor of the tea is far more important than all philosophy.
Remember, Ashu, that's why I say only one thing has come out of Canada that is worth mentioning:
that is Canada Dry, the soda. It is really beautiful - I love it. Among all the sodas in the world, that's the best. Now you are laughing. You are allowed to look at the watch. There is no need to hide it under your sleeve, or to leave it behind in case by accident you see it. I do not bother at all what time it is. Even when I ask, I don't really mean it; it is just to console you. Otherwise I go on and on in my own way. I am not a man of time. Look how long it took me just to come back to the missing thread.
My mother's father suddenly fell ill. It was not time for him to die. He was not more than fifty, or even less, perhaps even younger than I am now. My grandmother was just fifty, at the very peak of her youth and beauty. You will be surprised to know that she was born in Khajuraho, the citadel, the ancientmost citadel of the Tantrikas. She always said to me, "When you are a little older, never forget to visit Khajuraho." I don't think any parent would give that advice to a child, but my grandmother was just rare, persuading me to visit Khajuraho.
Khajuraho consists of thousands of beautiful sculptures, all naked and copulating. There are hundreds of temples. Many of them are just ruins, but a few have survived, perhaps because they were forgotten. Mahatma Gandhi wanted these few temples to be buried under the earth because the statues, the sculptures are so tempting. Yet my grandmother was tempting me to go to Khajuraho. What a grandmother to have! She herself was so beautiful, like a statue, very Greek in every way.
When Mukta's daughter, Seema, came to see me, for a moment I could not believe it, because my grandmother had exactly the same face, the same coloring. Seema does not look European, she is darker. And her face and figure are exactly the same as my grandmother's. Alas, I thought, my grandmother is dead, otherwise I would have liked Seema to see her. And do you know, even at the age of eighty she was still beautiful, which is utterly impossible.
When my grandmother died, I rushed from Bombay to see her. Even in her death she was beautiful...
I could not believe that she was dead. And suddenly all the statues of Khajuraho became alive to me. In her dead body I saw the whole philosophy of Khajuraho. The first thing I did after seeing her was to again go to Khajuraho. It was the only way to pay homage to her. Now Khajuraho was even more beautiful than before because I could see her everywhere, in each statue.
Khajuraho is incomparable. There are thousands of temples in the world, but nothing like Khajuraho.
I am trying to create a living Khajuraho in this ashram. Not stone statues, but real people who are capable of love, who are really alive, so alive that they are infectious, that just to touch them is enough to feel a current in you, an electric shock!
My grandmother gave me many things; one of the most important was her insistence that I should go to Khajuraho. In those days, Khajuraho was absolutely unknown. But she insisted so much that I had to go. She was stubborn. Perhaps I got that quality from her, or you may call it a dis-quality.
During the last twenty years of her life I was traveling all over India. Each time I passed through the village she would say to me, "Listen: never enter a train that has already started, and do not get out of the train before it has stopped. Second, never argue with anyone in the compartment while you are traveling. Thirdly, remember always that I am alive and waiting for you to come home. Why are you wandering all over the country when I am waiting here to take care of you? You need care, and nobody can give you the same care as I can."
For twenty years continuously I had to listen to this advice. Now I can say to her, "Don't be worried, at least there in the other world. First, I no longer travel by train; in fact I no longer travel at all, so there is no question of getting out of the train that has not yet stopped. Secondly, Gudia is taking care of me as beautifully as you would have liked to. Thirdly, remember that just as you waited for me while you were alive, wait for me still. Soon I will be coming, coming home."
The first time I went to Khajuraho I went just because my grandmother was nagging me to go, but since then I have been there hundreds of times. There is no other place in the world that I have been to so many times. The reason is simple: you cannot exhaust the experience. It is inexhaustible. The more you know, the more you want to know. Each detail of the Khajuraho temples is a mystery.
It must have taken hundreds of years and thousands of artists to create each temple. And I have never come across anything other than Khajuraho that can be said to be perfect, not even the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal has its flaws, but Khajuraho has none. Moreover Taj Mahal is just beautiful architecture; Khajuraho is the whole philosophy and psychology of the New Man.
When I saw those naked - I cannot say "nude," forgive me. "Nude" is pornographic; "naked" is a totally different phenomenon. In the dictionary they may mean the same, but the dictionary is not everything; there is much more to existence. The statues are naked, but not nude. But those naked beauties... perhaps one day man will be able to achieve it. It is a dream; Khajuraho is a dream. And Mahatma Gandhi wanted it buried under earth so nobody could be tempted by the beautiful statues.
We are grateful to Rabindranath Tagore who prevented Gandhi from doing such a thing. He said, "Leave the temples as they are...." He was a poet and he could understand their mystery.
I have gone to Khajuraho so many times that I have lost all count. Whenever I had time I would rush to Khajuraho. If I could not be found anywhere else, my family would automatically say that I must have gone to Khajuraho, look for me there. And they were always right. I had to bribe the guards of those temples to tell people that I was not there when I was. It is a confession, because that is the only time I ever bribed anyone; but it was worth it, and I don't regret it. I don't feel sorry about it.
In fact, you will be surprised, you know how dangerous I am.... The guard who I bribed became my sannyasin. Now, who bribed whom? First I bribed him to say that I was not inside; then by and by he became more and more interested in me. He returned all the bribes that I had given him. He is perhaps the only man who has returned all the bribes given to him. He could not keep them after becoming a sannyasin.
Khajuraho - the very name rings bells of joy in me, as if it had descended from heaven to earth.
On a full moon night, to see Khajuraho is to have seen all that is worth seeing. My grandmother
was born there; no wonder she was a beautiful woman, courageous and dangerous too. Beauty is always so, courageous and dangerous. She dared. My mother does not resemble her, and I am sorry about that. You cannot find any proof of my grandmother in my mother. Nani was such a courageous woman, and she helped me to dare everything - I mean everything.
If I wanted to drink wine, she would supply it. She would say, "Unless you drink totally you cannot get rid of it." And I know that is the way to get rid of anything at all. Whatsoever I wanted she arranged. My grandfather, her husband, was always afraid - just like every other husband in the world, a mouse; a beautiful mouse, a nice fellow, loving, but nothing compared to her. When he died in my lap she did not even weep.
I asked her, "He is dead. You loved him. Why are you not weeping?"
She said, "Because of you. I don't want to weep before a child" - she was such a woman! - "and I don't want to console you. If I start weeping myself, then naturally you will weep; then who is going to console whom?"
I must describe that situation.... We were in a bullock cart going from my grandfather's village to my father's, because the only hospital was there. My grandfather was seriously sick; not only sick, but unconscious too, almost in a coma. She and I were the only other people in the cart. I can understand her compassion for me. She did not even weep at the death of her beloved husband, just because of me; because I was the only one there, and there would be nobody else to console me.
I said, "Don't worry. If you can remain without tears, I can also remain without tears." And, believe it or not, a child of seven remained without tears.
Even she was puzzled; she said, "You are not crying?"
I said, "I don't want to console you."
It was a strange group of people in that bullock cart. Bhoora, of whom I talked this morning, was driving. He knew that his master was dead, but he would not look inside the bullock cart, not even then, because he was only a servant and it was not his place to interfere in private affairs. That is what he said to me: "Death is a private affair; how can I look? I heard everything from the driving seat. I wanted to cry, I loved him so much. I feel like an orphan - but I could not look back into the cart, otherwise he would never forgive me."
A strange company... and Nana was in my lap. I was a seven-year-old child with death, not just for a few seconds, but continuously for twenty-four hours. There was no road, and it was difficult to reach my father's town. The progress was very slow. We remained with the dead body for twenty-four hours. I could not weep because I did not want to disturb my grandmother. She could not weep because she did not want to disturb the little seven-year-old child that I was. She was a real woman of steel.
When we reached the town, my father called the doctor, and can you imagine: my grandmother laughed! She said, "You educated people are all stupid. He is dead! There is no need to call any doctor. Please burn him, and as quickly as possible."
Everybody was shocked by these words except me, because I knew her. She wanted the body to evaporate into the elements. It was already time... already late; you can understand. She said, "And I am not going back to that village."
When she said she was not going back to live in the village, it of course meant that I could not go back to see her there again either. But she never stayed with my father's family; she was different.
When I started living in my father's village, I lived very mathematically in that town, spending the whole day with my father's family and the whole night with my grandmother. She used to live alone in a beautiful bungalow. It was a small house but really beautiful.
My mother used to ask me, "Why don't you stay home at night?"
I said, "It is impossible. I have to go to my grand-mother, particularly at night when she feels so alone without my Nana, my grandfather. During the day she is okay, she is busy and there are so many people around - but at night alone in her room she may start crying if I am not there. I have to be there!" I remained there always, every night, without exception.
During the day I was at school. Only in the morning and in the afternoon I spent a few hours with my family; my mother, my father, my uncles. It was a big family, and it remained foreign to me; it never became part of me.
My grandmother was my family, and she understood me because from my very childhood she had seen me grow. She knew as much of me as anyone has ever known, because she allowed me everything... everything.
In India, when the Festival of Lights comes, people may gamble. It is a strange ritual: for three days gambling is legal; after that you can be caught and punished.
I told my grandmother, "I want to gamble."
She asked me, "How much money do you want?"
Even I could not believe my ears. I thought she would say, "No gambling." Instead she said, "So you want to gamble?" So then she gave me a one-hundred-rupee note and told me to go and gamble wherever I wanted, because one learns only by experience.
In this way she has helped me tremendously. Once, I wanted to go to visit a prostitute. I was only fifteen years old and had heard that a prostitute had come to the village. My grandmother asked me, "Do you know what a prostitute means?"
I said, "I don't know exactly."
Then she said, "You must go and see, but first only go to see her sing and dance."
In India prostitutes sing and dance first, but the singing and the dancing was so third rate and the woman was so ugly that I vomited! I returned home in the middle, before the dancing and singing had finished, and before the prostituting had begun. My Nani asked, "Why have you come home so early?"
I replied, "It was nauseating."
Only later when I read Jean-Paul Sartre's book, NAUSEA, did I understand what had happened to me that night. But my grandmother even allowed me to go to a prostitute. I don't remember her ever saying no to me. I wanted to smoke; she said, "Remember one thing: smoking is okay, but always smoke in the house."
I said, "Why?"
She said, "Others may object, so you can smoke in the house. I will provide you with cigarettes."
She continued to provide me with cigarettes until I said, "Enough! I don't need any more."
My Nani was ready to go to any length just to help me experience myself. The way to know is to experience for yourself; it is not to be told. That's where parents become nauseating; they are continuously telling you. A child is a rebirth of God. He should be respected, and he should be given every opportunity to grow, and to be - not according to you but according to his own potential.
If my time is over, it is good. If my time is not over, it is even better. Now it is up to you, how long you prolong it. You are not the only Jew, remember. You are only a Jew by birth, I am a Jew by spirit. It is all up to you.