Okay, remove the towel. Ashu, forgive me, because now I have to begin my business, and you can understand that two shirts together on one chest is very difficult for the poor chest, particularly for the poor heart hidden behind the chest. The heart cannot behave in a political or diplomatic way. It is not a diplomat; it is simple and childlike.
I cannot forget Jesus. I remember him more than any Christians in the world. Jesus says, "Blessed are those who are like little children, for theirs is the kingdom of God." The most important thing to remember here is the word "for." In all Jesus' sayings which start with, "Blessed are those..."
and end with "... the kingdom of God" this is the only statement which is unique, because all the other statements say, "Blessed are the humble because they will inherit the kingdom of God." They are logical and they are promises for the future - the future which does not exist. This is the only statement which says "... FOR theirs is the kingdom of God": no future, no rationality, no reason, no promise for profit; just a pure statement of fact, or rather, a simple statement of fact.
I am always impressed by this statement, always amazed. I cannot believe that one can be amazed by the same statement again and again for thirty years.... Yes, for thirty years this statement has been with me, and it always brings a tremble of joy in my heart: "For theirs is the kingdom of God"...
so illogical yet so true.
Ashu, I had to tell you to remove the towel because two businesses cannot go together, particularly on one heart. And you have been so good to me every day since I have known you, and when I try to remember when it began it seems as if I have known you forever - I'm not joking. Actually when I think of Ashu I cannot remember when she entered into my world of intimates. It seems she has always been there, sitting by my side, whether as a dental nurse or not. Now she has become an associate editor to Devaraj - that is a great promotion. Now you can have two doctors under you. Is it not great? - you can make them wrestle with each other, and enjoy it!
Now I come to my story.... Before the story it is always good to have a little introductory note, as irrational as possible, because that is exactly the right introduction to the man I am. Sometimes I laugh at myself, not for any reason... because when there is reason, laughter stops.
One can laugh only without reason. Laughter has no relationship with rationality, so once in a while I put away my rationality, and irrationality too - remember they are two sides of the same thing and then I have a really hearty laugh.
Of course nobody can hear it. It is not of the physical, otherwise Devaraj and Devageet would have detected it with their instruments. They cannot detect it. It is transcendental to all instrumentality.
Look what a beautiful word I have created: instrumentality. Write it exactly that way, instru-mental-ity.
Then you can understand what I am saying - at least the words, and perhaps one day the wordless too. That's my hope, my dream for you all.
You will be worried, because today I am really taking too long to begin. You know me, I know you.
I will go as slowly as possible. That will help to empty you. That's my whole business, emptying: you can call it "Emptying Unlimited."
The other day I was telling you that my grandfather's death was my first encounter with death. Yes, an encounter and something more, not just an encounter; otherwise I would have missed the real meaning of it. I saw the death, and something more that was not dying, that was floating above it, escaping from the body... the elements. That encounter determined my whole course of life. It gave me a direction, or rather a dimension, that was not known to me before.
I had heard of other people's deaths, but only heard. I had not seen, and even if I had seen, they did not mean anything to me. Unless you love someone and he then dies, you cannot really encounter death. Let that be underlined:
DEATH CAN ONLY BE ENCOUNTERED IN THE DEATH OF THE LOVED ONE.
When love plus death surrounds you, there is a transformation, an immense mutation... as if a new being is born. You are never the same again. But people do not love, and because they do not love, they can't experience death the way I experienced it. Without love, death does not give you the keys to existence. With love, it hands over to you the keys to all that is.
My first experience of death was not a simple encounter. It was complex in many ways. The man I had loved was dying. I had known him as my father. He had raised me with absolute freedom, no inhibitions, no suppressions, and no commandments. He never said to me, "Don't do this," or "Do that." Only now can I realize the beauty of the man. It is very difficult for an old man not to say to a child "Don't do that, do this," or "Just sit there, don't do anything," or "Do something; why are you just sitting there doing nothing?" But he never did. I don't remember a single instance where he even tried to interfere with my being. He simply withdrew. If he thought what I was doing was wrong, he withdrew and closed his eyes.
I once asked him, "Nana, why do you close your eyes sometimes when I am just sitting by your side?"
He said, "You will not understand today, but perhaps someday. I close my eyes so that I don't prevent you from doing whatsoever you are doing, whether it is right or wrong. It is not my business to prevent you. I have taken you away from your mother and father. If I cannot even give you freedom, then what was the point in taking you away from your parents? I only took you so that they would not interfere with you. How can I interfere?
"But you know," he went on, "it is a great temptation sometimes. You are such a temptation. I never knew, otherwise I would not have taken the risk. Somehow you have a genius for finding the wrong things to do. I wonder," he said, "how you go on finding so many things to do wrong? Either I am completely insane... or you are."
I said, "Nana, you need not get worried: if anyone is insane, then it is me." And from that day I have been telling people, "Don't be bothered by me, I am a madman."
I had said that to console him, and I am still saying it to console people who really are mad. But when you are in a madhouse, and you are the only one who is not mad, what can you do except say to everybody, "Relax, I am a madman, don't take me seriously." That's what I have been doing my whole life.
He used to close his eyes, but sometimes it was too much of a temptation.... For example, one day I was riding on Bhoora, our servant. I had ordered him to behave like a horse. First he looked bewildered, but my grandmother said, "What is wrong in that? Can't you act a little? Bhoora, behave like a horse." So he started doing everything a horse is supposed to do, and I was riding him.
That was too much in front of my grandfather. He closed his eyes and started chanting his mantra:
"NAMO ARIHANTANAM NAMO... NAMO SIDDHANAM NAMO."
Of course I stopped, because when he started chanting his mantra that meant it was too much for him. It was time to stop. I shook him and said, "Nana, come back, there is no need to chant your mantra. I have stopped the game. Can't you see that it was only a game?"
He looked into my eyes, I looked into his eyes... for a moment there was just silence. He waited for me to speak. He had to yield; he said, "Okay, I should speak first."
I said, "That's right, because if you had remained silent, I was going to remain silent my whole life.
It is good that you spoke, so now I can answer you. What do you want to ask?"
He said, "I have always wanted to ask you, why are you so mischievous?"
I said, "That is a question you should reserve for God. When you meet Him, ask Him, 'Why did you create this child so mischievous?' You cannot ask me that. It is almost like asking 'Why are you you?' Now, how can that be answered? As far as I am concerned, I am not concerned at all; I am just being myself. Is that allowed or not, in this house?" We were sitting outside in the garden.
He looked at me again, and asked, "What do you mean?"
I said, "You understand perfectly what I mean. If I am not allowed to be myself then I won't enter this house again. So please be clear with me: either I enter this house with the license to be myself, or I forget about this house and just be a wanderer, a vagabond. Tell me clearly and don't hesitate, come on!"
He laughed and said, "You can enter the house. It is your home. If I cannot resist interfering with you then I will leave the house. You need not."
That's exactly what he did. Just two months after this dialogue he was no longer in this world. He not only left the house, he left every house, even the body, which was his real house.
I loved the man because he loved my freedom. I can love only if my freedom is respected. If I have to bargain, and get love by paying with my freedom, then that love is not for me. Then it is for lesser mortals, it is not for those who know.
In this world almost everybody thinks that he loves, but if you look around at the lovers, they are prisoners to each other. What a strange kind of love is this love which creates bondage. Can love ever become a bondage? But in ninety-nine point nine percent of cases it does, because from the very beginning love was not there.
It is a fact that ordinarily people only think they love, they don't love, because when love comes, where is "I" and "thou"? When love comes, it immediately brings a tremendous sense of freedom, nonpossessiveness. But that love happens, unfortunately, very rarely.
Love with freedom - if you have it, you are a king or a queen. That is the real kingdom of God; love with freedom. Love gives you the roots into the earth, and freedom gives you the wings.
My grandfather gave me both. He gave his love to me, more than he ever had given to either my mother or even my grandmother; and he gave me freedom, which is the greatest gift. As he was dying he gave me his ring and with a tear in his eye told me, "I don't have anything else to give you."
I said, "Nana, you have already given me the most precious gift."
He opened his eyes and said, "What is that?"
I laughed and said, "Have you forgotten? You have given me your love and you have given me freedom. I think no child ever had such freedom as you gave to me. What more do I need? What more can you give? I am thankful. You can die peacefully." Since then I have seen many people die, but to die peacefully is really difficult. I have only seen five people die peacefully: the first was my grandfather; the second was my servant Bhoora; the third was my Nani; the fourth, my father, and the fifth was Vimalkirti.
Bhoora died just because he could not conceive of living in a world without his master. He simply died. He relaxed into death. He had come with us to my father's village because he had been driving the bullock cart. When for a few moments he heard nothing, no word from the inside of the covered cart, he asked me, "Beta" - it means son - "is everything okay?"
Again and again Bhoora asked, "Why this silence? Why is nobody speaking?" But he was the kind of man who would not look inside the curtain which divided him from us. How could he look inside when my grandmother was there? That was the trouble, he could not look. But again and again he asked, "What is the matter - why is everybody silent?"
I said, "There is nothing wrong. We are enjoying the silence. Nana wants us to be silent." That was a lie because Nana was dead, but in a way it was true. He was silent, that was a message for us to be silent.
I finally said, "Bhoora, everything is okay; only Nana is gone." He could not believe it. He said, "Then how can everything be okay? Without him I cannot live." And within twenty-four hours he died. Just as if a flower had closed... refusing to remain open in the sun and the moon, of his own accord. We tried everything to save him, because now we were in a bigger town, my father's town.
My father's town was, for India of course, just a small town; the population was only twenty thousand.
It had a hospital and a school. We tried everything possible to save Bhoora. The doctor in the hospital was amazed because he could not believe that this man was Indian; he looked so European.
He must have been a freak of biology, I don't know. Something must have gone right. As they say "Something must have gone wrong," I have coined the phrase "Something must have gone right" - why always wrong?
Bhoora was in a shock because of his master's death. We had to lie to him until we got to the town.
Only when we reached the town and the corpse was taken out of the bullock cart did Bhoora see what had happened. He then closed his eyes and never opened them again. He said, "I cannot see my master dead." And that was only a master-servant relationship. But there had arisen between them a certain intimacy, a certain closeness which is indefinable. He never opened his eyes again.
That much I can vouch for. He lived only a few hours longer, and he went into a coma before dying.
Before my grandfather died, he had told my grandmother, "Take care of Bhoora. I know you will take care of Raja - I do not have to tell you that-but take care of Bhoora. He has served me as nobody else could."
I told the doctor, "Do you, can you, understand the kind of devotion that must have existed between these two men?"
The doctor asked me, "Is he a European?"
I said, "He looks like one."
The doctor said, "Don't be tricky. You are a child, only seven or eight years old, but very tricky. When I asked whether your grandfather was dead, you said no, and that was not true."
I said, "No, it was true: he is not dead. A man of such love cannot be dead. If love can be dead then there is no hope for the world. I cannot believe that a man who respected my freedom, a small child's freedom so much, is dead just because he cannot breathe. I cannot equate the two, not breathing and death."
The European doctor looked at me suspiciously and told my uncle, "This boy will either be a philosopher or else he will go mad." He was wrong: I am both, together. There is no question of either/or. I am not Soren Kierkegaard; there is no question of either/or. But I wondered why he could not believe me... such a simple thing.
But simple things are the most difficult to believe; difficult things, the easiest to believe. Why should you believe? Your mind says, "It is so simple, there is no complexity at all. There is no reason to believe." Unless you are a Tertullian, whose statement is one of my most beloved.... If I had to choose only one statement from the whole of literature in any language of the world, I am sorry, I would not choose from Jesus Christ; and I am sorry, I would not choose from Gautam the Buddha either; I am sorry, I would not choose from either Moses or Mohammed, or even Lao Tzu or Chuang Tzu.
I would choose this strange fellow about whom nothing much is known - Tertullian. I don't know exactly how his name is pronounced, so it is better that I spell it out: T-e-r-t-u-l-l-i-a-n. The quote that I would have chosen over all others is, "credo qua absurdum"... just three words: "I believe because it is absurd."
It seems someone must have asked him what he believes in and why, and Tertullian answered, "credo qua absurdum - it is absurd, that's why I believe." The reason for believing given by Tertullian is absurdum - "because it is absurd."
For a moment forget Tertullian. Drop the curtain on him. Look at the roses. Why do you love them?
Is it not absurd? - there is no reason to love them. If someone persists in asking further why you love roses, you are finally going to shrug your shoulders; that is credo qua absurdum, that shrug.
That is the whole meaning of Tertullian's philosophy.
I could not understand why the doctor could not believe that my grandfather was not dead. I knew and he knew that as far as the body was concerned, it was finished; there was no quarrel about that.
But there is something more than the body - in the body and yet not part of the body. Let me repeat it to emphasize it - in the body and yet not of the body. Love reveals it; freedom gives it wings to soar in the sky.
Is there more time?
How much? We are going very low, just like a poor man's celebration. Go to the extreme. Not this way, not slowly - that's not my way. Either burn or don't burn at all. Either burn both ends together or let darkness have its own beauty.