Child of the Universe
"BEYOND A WHOLESOME DISCIPLINE, BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. YOU ARE A CHILD OF THE UNIVERSE NO LESS THAN THE TREES AND THE STARS; YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE HERE. AND WHETHER OR NOT IT IS CLEAR TO YOU, NO DOUBT THE UNIVERSE IS UNFOLDING AS IT SHOULD.
"THEREFORE BE AT PEACE WITH GOD, WHATEVER YOU CONCEIVE HIM TO BE. AND WHATEVER YOUR LABORS AND ASPIRATIONS, IN THE NOISY CONFUSION OF LIFE, KEEP PEACE IN YOUR SOUL.
"WITH ALL ITS SHAM, DRUDGERY AND BROKEN DREAMS IT IS STILL A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.
BE CHEERFUL. STRIVE TO BE HAPPY."
WE HAVE COME to a beautiful end of the journey. These are the last sutras of the DESIDERATA.
Each word of these sutras is pregnant with immense possibilities. Each word has a multi- dimensional meaningfulness; hence it has to be meditated upon. Go slowly with each word.
"BEYOND A WHOLESOME DISCIPLINE, BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF."
What is a wholesome discipline? The word "discipline" comes from the same root as the word "disciple." It means learning. Remember, "learning" is a verb, not a noun. It does not mean knowledge; it means the constant process of knowing. Knowledge is a dead thing; you can accumulate it. Even a computer can have knowledge, but a computer cannot learn, cannot be a disciple. A computer can only reproduce whatsoever has been fed into it; it is mechanical.
Knowledge is mechanical accumulation: learning is a conscious process. It is a process like a river, always moving from the known towards the unknown, always ready to explore. Knowledge stops:
learning never stops.
A man like Socrates is a man of learning. Even at the moment of death he is still learning. When he was given the poison, his disciples started crying and weeping. He said, "Don't miss this opportunity to learn something about death. It is one of the greatest events in life, in fact THE greatest even, because it is the culmination, the crescendo, the climax. Wait, watch, meditate over what is happening to me."
That's actually what HE did. The others were crying and weeping; they were not in a state of exploration - as if they knew what death was. Nobody knows what death is, although you all have died many times; but you still don't know what death is because you missed the opportunity of learning; you were not alert enough to learn. Hence, again and again you have died, again and again you have missed the opportunity. You have missed the opportunity because you go on believing as if you know what death is. You don't even know what life is, how can you know what death is?
Once a man came to me and asked, "What happens after death?"
I said, "Forget about it! First try to learn what happens BEFORE death. Have you learned that? Do you know what life is?"
He said, "I don't know."
I said, "You are alive and you don't know what life is - how can you know what death is? You will know it only when you are dying. But if you don't know life, the same way you will miss that opportunity too."
Socrates remained alert to the very last moment. He went on telling his disciples to the very last moment what was happening to him. He was learning, he was teaching.
A real Master is always a disciple. A real Master is always learning. He never claims knowledge; in fact he claims AGNOSIA, a state of not-knowing. That's what Dionysius calls it: a state of not-knowing. Socrates has said: "I know only one thing, that I know nothing." This is AGNOSIA.
One has to remain in a constant state of not-knowing; one has never to allow oneself to become knowledgeable. The moment you become knowledgeable the process of learning stops, you have come to a full point.
Socrates said to his disciples, "Listen, you can weep and cry later on, that can be done later on; that is not very essential right now. Right now something immense is happening. My feet are becoming numb, they are dying, but strange: although they are dying, I don't feel I am dying." Then he said, "My legs have gone absolutely numb, I don't feel them. They are dead, but I am still whole. Nothing is missing. As far as my consciousness is concerned, it has not even been touched by death." Then he said, "My hands are disappearing." Then he said, "Now I am even afraid any moment my heart will stop; it is sinking. But I am still as whole as I have ever been, so one thing is certain: that by the death of the body one does not die. Death happens to the body, not to the consciousness, because my consciousness is still intact."
His last words were, "My tongue is getting numb and I cannot say anything more, hut remember, even up to now I am as whole as I have ever been. Nothing has died in ME. Something has died around me, on the periphery, but in contrast the center is in fact more alive than ever. I feel more alive because the body is dead, all the life has become concentrated. It has disappeared from the body, from the circumference. It has become focused on a single point: I am."
These were his last words. This is the process of learning.
A knowledgeable person is always a stupid person; he is unintelligent. You will not find pundits intelligent; they cannot be. They know; the process has stopped long long before. The professors are almost always stupid people. It is very rare to come across a professor who is still learning.
They stopped the day they left their universities; the day they graduated, the day they became M.A.s or Ph.D.s or D.Litt.s they died.
Taoists in China have a saying that a man dies nearabout the age of thirty; then it is only a question of when you are going to bury him. You may bury him after thirty years, forty years, fifty years, that is another matter, but as far as life is concerned a person dies nearabout thirty.
This saying is certainly true. In fact, psychologists say that the average human being's mental age is only twelve years. That means the mind has become dead, has stopped functioning at the age of twelve - not even thirty. That's why people go on behaving childishly.
And remember, to be childlike is totally different from being childish. To be childish is ugly: to be childlike is to be a sage. To be childlike means to be in the state of AGNOSIA, learning. To be childish means you already know. Only a childish person can think that he already knows, that there is nothing left to know.
The more stupid you are, the sooner you become knowledgeable. The more intelligent you are, the more difficult it is to become knowledgeable - because to become knowledgeable means you have come to the very end of your intelligence. You are finished, you are spent.
This is the first meaning of "wholesome discipline." Your priests, your IMAMS, your popes, your SHANKARACHARYAS are all dead people. They go on quoting from the scriptures like parrots, but if you just dig a little deep in them you will not find anything; you will find only rubbish. You will find them as ordinary as anybody else. The only difference is that their egos are puffed up with borrowed knowledge.
A learner never depends on borrowed knowledge. He himself tries to experience life, love, death - everything. He tries to explore every possibility. He never misses an opportunity; he never misses any challenge of life. He risks; he takes all challenges, accepts them, welcomes them. And whenever the unknown calls him he is ready, ready to go, to take a jump, to go into the uncharted, to go into the unmapped, to go into the unmeasured, unfathomable. It needs courage.
Otherwise, it is very easy and cheap to become knowledgeable. It needs no courage; any coward can become knowledgeable. But knowledge remains skin-deep - not even that deep.
A wealthy jazz musician decided to go to church one Sunday. After the service he approached the preacher with much enthusiasm. "Reverend," he said, "that was a swinging sermon, man. I flipped my lid... that was the grooviest! "
"I am happy you liked it," said the Reverend, "but I wish you would not use those terms in expressing yourself!"
"I am like sorry, man, Reverend, but I dug that sermon so much!" said the cat. "In fact, it sent me so much, I flipped a C-note into the collection pot!"
The Reverend said, "Crazy, man, crazy!"
Just skin-deep! Just scratch a little bit and you will not find much difference. There is not any difference; the qualitative difference is non-existential. Maybe there exists a difference that is of quantity - you know less, they know more - but it is of quantity. And a quantitative difference is not really a difference, not a difference that makes any difference. The quality is the same; you are moving in the same way. Between the rich man and the poor man the difference is not of quality, the difference is of having less money or more. With the ignorant and the knowledgeable it Is the same.
The real difference happens when there is a Buddha around; then you know the difference of quality.
He functions from a different level altogether.
I have heard:
Hilary was on the last leg of his momentous climb. Just as he was about to reach the virgin summit of the highest peak on this earth, he saw a Hindu monk squatting in the snow ahead of him. Hilary was so astonished he could not utter a single word. But the Hindu monk, seizing the opportunity, said, "How much for your watch?"
"BEYOND A WHOLESOME DISCIPLINE, BE GENT1E WITH YOURSELF."
The discipline is wholesome, healthy, only when it comes not out of the mind but out of meditation.
Mind is only a small part of you; whatsoever comes out of the mind is going to remain fragmentary.
And we live in the mind; mind means knowledge - borrowed, accumulated, not experienced.
Experience happens only when you go into something totally, not only mentally.
You can know much about love. There are thousands of books in the libraries about love, but you will not know love that way. You have to be in love to know love.
Knowing about love is not knowing love. Knowing about God is not knowing God. By knowing about God you will become a great theologian but not a mystic. You will not be a Christ or a Buddha or a Lao Tzu or a Zarathustra. You will be simply a pundit who has become capable of repeating the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran, the Bible, the Dhammapada, the Talmud, but the pundit knows nothing.
He has not tasted God; he has not become drunk with the divine yet.
Mind is a very small fragment of your totality; its function is to know ABOUT. If you really want to know something, not only about... Remember, the meaning of the word "about" is around; about and about means around and around. One goes in circles but never reaches the center. And the real thing is at the center; it is the center that matters.
A man like Ramakrishna is absolutely unknowledgeable. You can even call him ignorant - ignorant in the sense that he is not a scholar; he cannot quote scriptures. But there is no need for him to quote scriptures. He KNOWS God; he need not know God through anybody else. He knows God because he knows through totality; he contacts existence through his totality.
The discipline is wholesome, healthy, organic, when it happens not through a fragment but when you are intensely, passionately, totally involved in something. You cannot love through the mind; for that you will have to enter into the world of no-mind. That's what meditation is all about.
True learning happens through meditation. Meditation means putting aside the past and looking into the present, making an immediate contact with the now and the here - because God is now, God is here. God is always now and always here. Mind lives in the past because it lives in knowledge.
Knowledge means that which you have known, understood, learned. And existence is now and mind is then, existence is here and mind is always there. Mind looks backwards; it is like a rear-view mirror. If you are backing your car the rear-view mirror is okay, but if you are going forwards then it is dangerous to go on looking in the rear-view mirror. And if you become fixated on the rear-view mirror you are bound for an accident. You are in great danger, you are being suicidal. Life moves al ways forwards; it has no possibility of going backwards.
When the first Ford car was made it had no reverse gear - that's how life is. The reverse gear was added later on - from experience, because when you wanted to come back home you had to go miles around to do it. Then the thought happened that it would be better... even if you had gone just a few feet ahead of your house you could not come back; you had to take a long route. Maybe you had to go around the whole town, then you could come back. Then the reverse gear was added to it.
But God has not yet added any reverse gear. There is really no need to go back. The past evaporates - there is no past. It leaves only traces in your memory system; otherwise it is not there. Existence is always present; past is only memory and future is only imagination. There is no future, no past. That which exists is the only real thing, and mind does not allow you to be in contact with it. How can you learn? How can you experience? Your experience cannot be wholesome, healthy. It will be sick, it will be unhealthy. And it has turned every person almost into a monster.
Your head goes on becoming bigger and bigger, and everything else has become so shrunken that it Is almost disappearing. People are just like heads, with small legs and hands just heads. This is a state of being a monster. Man HAS become a monster: he has lost all balance, all harmony. The head has exploited everything; it has destroyed your organic unity. It is like a parasite that goes on becoming bigger and bigger at the cost of your totality.
The DESIDERATA says:
"BEYOND A WHOLESOME DISCIPLINE, BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF:"
IT IS BECAUSE OF this unwholesome state of affairs that discipline has taken on a very wrong connotation. It has become almost synonymous with control, and control means repression. And repression is not the way of learning, repression is a way of avoiding. The man who represses sex is avoiding sex, and he will never understand it. And that which is repressed is BOUND to take revenge because it is not finished, it is there. Unless something is experienced you cannot go beyond it, you cannot transcend it. The only way to transcend is THROUGH it, not by going around an repressing it, not by bypassing it, not by ignoring it. It will come and it will come with a vengeance; it will explode one day. Yes, you can win little battles, but you are going to lose the ultimate war. You are going to lose in the race, finally. Maybe for the moment, for the time being, you can deceive yourself that you have succeeded.
Repression cannot succeed because that which has not been lived, that which has not been experienced, remains in you in the unconscious. In fact, it goes deeper into the unconscious and it starts spreading there like a cancer.
Humanity up to now has lived in a very controlled way; that's why humanity is suffering. Everybody is miserable, everybody is in anguish, tension, everybody is depressed, everybody is in a strange state, always falling apart, falling into pieces. Life seems to be just a struggle to survive somehow, not something to rejoice in, not something to dance about, not a song, not a celebration, just a drag.
If you can go on holding yourself together somehow, that seems to be more than one can expect.
Why has this happened? Why has man become so sad? The trees are not sad, the animals are not sad, even the rocks are not sad. The whole existence, except man, is always celebrating. It is always a dance, a song. It is always alleluia! - an unending celebration, a festival. What has happened to man? What has gone wrong with man?
The so-called religious people are responsible. They have taught humanity only one way, which is a wrong way: the way of repression - repress yourself, control yourself.
Mahatma Gandhi used to say... and he is quoted by his followers as if he had said something immensely significant. He used to say to his followers: "Be gentle with others, but never be gentle with yourself. Be HARD upon yourself, otherwise you will lose the battle."
What does he mean by being hard upon yourself? - control, repress. He repressed many things his whole life, and they all asserted themselves sooner or later; they came to the surface. He repressed his sex, and then at the age of seventy he became aware that what he had been doing had not succeeded. The sexuality had gone deeper; it had spread its roots to the unconscious realm of his being.
And at the last phase of his life he started experimenting with Tantra. That phase is not mentioned by his followers at all; they avoid. They don't want to say anything about it; they don't write about it. He started sleeping with a naked young girl, just to bring up to the surface what he himself had repressed for forty, fifty years continuously. Now he wanted to bring it to the surface so he could see what had happened. He was in a mess: a man who had repressed sex his whole life and had been AGAINST Tantra his whole life.
You will be surprised to know that he was the man who had suggested to the government of India that temples like Khajuraho should be buried under earth, that they should be covered with mud so nobody could see them: "Of course, don't destroy them, but let them be covered with earth, so once in a while if somebody wants to study, only for that purpose can they be uncovered, otherwise there is no need." He was so much afraid of the naked statues of Khajuraho! And finally he started sleeping with a young, naked girl. This shows what happens to a repressive person. In the last phase when all time was spent, when he was a spent force, the repressed sexuality started asserting itself.
He was a sincere man, but an utter failure as far as spiritual growth is concerned. He succeeded as a politician, succeeded greatly - he was one of the most successful politicians ever - but he failed spiritually. But he was a sincere man - that much must be said about him - he was a sincere man.
He confessed it: "In my dreams sex still enters. In my dreams I still go on seeing naked women."
But a repressive person has a totally different logic. Rather than trying to understand the message of the dreams, that it was a message from the unconscious... He never read about Sigmund Freud; he must have avoided Sigmund Freud. The man who wanted the temple of Khajuraho to be buried, how could he study Sigmund Freud? - because he was digging out temples of Khajuraho in every person! Thousands of years this repressing has gone on and on; it has driven humanity mad. He never read a single word of Sigmund Freud, which would have been of immense help to him; he must have been afraid. But he confessed that still sexual dreams, sexual fantasies floated in his dreams.
But the logic of a repressed person is totally different. If he had been a man of meditation he would have pondered over the message; he would have learned something. But he started repressing more. It is a vicious circle: you repress more, your dreams become more sexual; then you repress more, you become harder - you think that you have not repressed enough.
He started cutting his sleep from seven hours to five, from five to four. He even became afraid of sleeping, because whenever you sleep the dreams will come, and the dreams were becoming more and more sexual. As he was becoming weaker, old age was entering into his body, the vigor of his youth was disappearing.
People think that when you are young it is very difficult to repress sex; they are wrong, totally wrong.
The real difficulty comes when you are old, because when you are young you have enough energy to repress, and when you become old that energy is no more there to repress. So whatsoever you have repressed starts coming up; it starts surfacing.
Control is not the meaning of discipline, repression is not the meaning of discipline. That is a very unhealthy attitude. Understanding, meditation is the meaning of discipline.
Rabbi Greenberg died and went to heaven. He saw only three people there, reading by a dim light.
One of them was Madjibhai Morarjibhai Desai who was reading PLAYBOY, the second one was Ayatollah Khomaniac - he was reading GALLERY - and the third was Pope The Polack who was reading GENESIS. And they were all reading very religiously. He could not believe his own eyes.
First he could not believe that there were only three people in heaven, and then he could not believe they were all religiously reading PLAYBOY, GALLERY, GENESIS - and reading so religiously, as if they were reading the Gita, the Koran, the Bible.
He decided to see what hell was like. The rabbi got to the Devil's domain and it turned out to be a big nightclub with every kind of music being played. There was an eight-piece Dixieland band, a thirty-piece swing band, and all the people were dancing.
Rabbi Greenberg went back up to heaven and asked for an audience with God. "I don't understand it, Lord," he . said. "There are only three people in heaven and they are all reading, and they are all reading things which should not be read, and they are reading them so religiously. I am amazed!
I am surprised! And down in hell everybody is dancing and having a good time! And these three people look so sad and so ugly. Why can't we have some music in heaven, some dance in heaven?"
The Lord said, "I can't hire a band just for these three stupid people!"
Repression, control can only make you stupid. And remember, even if you go to heaven you will smuggle some old copies of PLAYBOY, GALLERY, GENESIS, because here you missed them. They are bound to go with you. Here you were reading the Gita, the Koran and the Bible; here you were repressing. It is easy to repress in a life of seventy or eighty years, but in heaven it is infinity. How long can you repress? How long can you sit upon a volcano? Sooner or later it is bound to erupt.
Remember, a wholesome discipline has nothing to do with control or repression. The DESIDERATA IS tremendously significant when it says:
"BEYOND A WHOLESOME DISCIPLINE, BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF."
Meditate, and meditate totally, and put your whole energy into it. Beyond that, be gentle with yourself.
Now the so-called religious people have never been gentle with themselves. In fact, we call a person a saint only when he tortures himself, when he is masochistic. The more masochistic, the greater a saint he is. The more he tortures himself, the more followers worship him. That's how we have been deciding who is a real saint.
I am condemned in India, and also condemned outside India, for the simple reason that I am not an ascetic, for the simple reason that I am not masochistic, that I don't torture myself and I don't tell you to torture yourselves. I am neither a masochist nor a sadist, and for centuries religion has been sado-masochistic.
The saint tortures himself and teaches others to be like him, and he creates guilt in you if you cannot torture yourself - and no intelligent person can torture himself. Hence ALL intelligent people have been feeling guilty. Only stupid people can torture themselves. That's why in the faces, in the eyes of your saints you will see nothing but sheer stupidity.
You can go around India and you can see so many saints, and you will be surprised: no intelligence, no sharpness. They are not like swords, sharp; their swords are all full of rust, covered with dust.
They have lost ali their sensibility, all their awareness. They have become fixated on one thing:
torture yourself more and more. And intelligence will not allow it so they have to repress intelligence, they have to become stupid, they have to be almost dead! They don't teach you how to live; they teach you how to commit slow suicide. And all the religions have been doing it, more or less.
Hence the so-called religious cannot think of me as religious, they cannot think of me as holy. But to me, to be whole, to be wholesome, is holy.
"... BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF."
I agree with the DESIDERATA. Love yourself, respect yourself, be gentle with yourself. Unless you are loving towards yourself you cannot be loving at all. Unless you care about yourself you will not care about anybody else; it is impossible.
I teach you to be really selfish so that you can be altruistic. There is no contradiction between being selfish and being altruistic: being selfish is the very source of being altruistic. But you have been told just the opposite up to now, you have been taught the contrary: that if you want to be altruistic, if you want to love others, DON'T love yourself - HATE yourself in fact. If you want to respect others, don't respect yourself. Humiliate yourself in every possible way, condemn yourself in every possible way.
And what has happened out of such teaching? - nobody loves anybody. The person who condemns himself cannot love anybody. If you cannot love even yourself - because you are the closest person to yourself - if your love cannot even reach to the closest point, it is impossible for you to reach towards the stars. You cannot love anything - you can pretend. And that's what humanity has become: a community of pretenders, hypocrites.
Please try to understand what I mean by being selfish. First you have to love yourself, know yourself, BE yourself. Out of that you will radiate love, understanding, tenderness, care for others. Out of meditation arises true compassion, but meditation is a selfish phenomenon. Meditation means just enjoying yourself and your aloneness, forgetting the whole world and just enjoying yourself. It is a selfish phenomenon, but out of this selfishness arises great altruism.
And then there is no bragging about it; you don't become egoistic. You don't serve people; you don't make them feel obliged to you. You simply enjoy sharing your love, your joy.
"YOU ARE A CHILD OF THE UNIVERSE NO LESS THAN THE TREES AND THE STARS..."
THE DESIDERATA SAYS: Don't condemn yourself - you are a child of the universe. You belong to this beautiful existence. This existence has NEEDED you, otherwise you would not have been here.
And it needed you the WAY you are, otherwise it would not have created you the WAY you are.
So don't try to be somebody else.
If existence needed another Jesus it would have created another Jesus. If it can create one, why can't it create millions? Just as we create cars on an assembly line... millions of cars, similar cars go on coming out of the factory, every second a car comes out of the Ford factory. God could have done it, existence can do it. If Ford can do it, do you think God cannot do it? Just an assembly line:
only Jesus Christs or Gautam Buddhas. But then the world would be very ugly.
Just think of a world of Jesus Christs... it will lose all enrichment because it will miss variety. And who will crucify Jesus? It will be very difficult! He will go on carrying his cross on his shoulders and he will not find anybody to crucify him because he will find other Christs who are carrying their crosses - nobody to crucify, nobody to teach. To whom will he say, "Blessed are the meek..."? They all will say, "Shut up! We know it already. Of course, blessed are the meek!"
Just think... all Gautam Buddhas sitting under trees. Who will feed them?
The day Gautam Buddha became enlightened, a beautiful girl called Sujata had brought him sweets, food. In fact, Buddha remembered these three persons very respectfully: the woman who raised him - because his mother died immediately, his mother's sister gave him her breast - he respected her tremendously; and Sujata, because before he became enlightened she had fed him, she had brought nourishing food for him - he had fasted for many days and she nourished him; and the man who gave him food, the last food before he died.
He said these three people were immensely fortunate, blessed, because to give your breast to a Buddha or to nourish him just before his enlightenment or to give him food, the last farewell food, is serving existence in a very invisible way. Because with every Buddha, with every enlightened person, with every awakened human being, existence starts reaching towards higher peaks. It takes a jump with every Buddha.
But existence never repeats anybody. if there are all Buddhas, then there will be no Sujata. Who will feed these Buddhas? Who will serve them? Who will follow them? Who will listen to them? Who will they transform? They will feel utterly bored! They will not have anything to do. Their lives will be just empty.
No, existence needs everybody the way he is. Never try to be somebody else. The DESIDERATA says: Be yourself - because existence needs you the way you are. You fit exactly as you are. You see the tremendous message! The DESIDERATA is saying: Accept yourself.
"YOU ARE A CHILD OF THE UNIVERSE NO LESS THAN THE TREES AND THE STARS; YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE HERE."
You belong! You are not a stranger. You are not accidental; you are intrinsically needed. Remember, the greatest need in life is to be needed, and if you can feel that the whole existence needs you, you will become tremendously cheerful. You will be turned on! You will feel the most significant experience, you will become ecstatic if you can feel that the whole existence needs you, that you will be missed, that if you are not here there will be a gap, you Will be missed. You are not unnecessary, you are not superfluous; you have tremendous significance.
Hence, love yourself. You are needed as much as the trees, as the flowers, as the birds, as the sun, as the moon, as the stars. You have to be here and you have a right to be the way you are. Assert yourself as you are; never feel guilty.
All the religions have created guilt in you, and that's how they have been exploiting you. They create guilt in you, then you are bound to go to the priest; you are bound to go to the church, to the temple to pray, because you are feeling guilty, a sinner. They go on telling you that you are a sinner. And why are you a sinner? Why does God go on creating sinners? If this is the way he works then HE is at fault!
Why did God create Adam and Eve the way he created them? Why did he tell them not to eat from the tree of knowledge? If he had not told them I don't think they would have discovered the tree of knowledge; in the great, vast Garden of Eden they would not have been able to discover it. By saying to them, "Don't eat from the tree of knowledge," he made them obsessed with the idea. Now it was very difficult for them not to eat from it. He was responsible, nobody else.
A man was traveling along a road when he suddenly felt an urgent need to shit. He happened to be passing a huge mansion, so, driven by his urgent need, he went up to it and rang the bell. When the maid answered, he told her his plight and asked if he could use the bathroom.
The maid said, "Wait a minute, sir, and I will ask the Madam."
She then came back and said, "The Madam says you may use the bathroom, but on NO account are you to press the fourth button!"
So he was shown to a most luxurious bathroom with gold fixtures and wall-to-wall carpeting. With great relief he shat in the toilet. Then noticing the buttons on the wall he pushed the first one - and a spray of warm, soapy water sprang up and washed his bottom clean. Fascinated, he pressed the second button - and cool, perfumed water arose to rinse him. In great delight, he pushed the third button - and a hand bearing a soft towel appeared and gently patted him dry.
It was too much! He could not resist the temptation. He pushed the fourth button. Wham! Bam!
Excruciating pain... he woke up in a hospital. The Madam of the house was standing by his bed. "I told you, I warned you not to press the fourth button," she said.
"Wh-what wa-was the fourth button for?" he stammered weakly.
"That," she said, "is my tampon remover!"
Drop all guilt. Otherwise, beware of the tampon remover!
"AND WHETHER OR NOT IT IS CLEAR TO YOU, NO DOUBT THE UNIVERSE IS UNFOLDING AS IT SHOULD."
It is the most perfect universe. Don't try to improve upon it. Do you see the beautiful message of the DESIDERATA?
"THEREFORE BE AT PEACE WITH GOD..."
THERE IS NO NEED to be worried about God; there is no need even to seek him, there is no need even to search for him. Just be at ease, at home in this universe, and that is the way one finds him - not the seeker, not the searcher, but one who is at home, one who is at rest, one who is relaxed with existence, one who knows the beauty of total acceptance.
The word of Buddha for it is TATHATA - suchness, acceptance. Buddha used to say again and again this is the way things are and this is the way they are supposed to be. Don't get into unnecessary troubles trying to improve upon them.
And that's what your missionaries go on doing, and your social reformers and your so-called politicians: they are all trying to improve upon the world. And all their efforts to improve are simply making things worse; it is creating a mess in the world. If somehow these social reformers, these do-gooders, can be stopped doing their good, the world can be at ease, at peace with God.
"THEREFORE BE AT PEACE WITH GOD WHATEVER YOU CONCEIVE HIM TO BE."
And it does not matter how you conceive God. Don't quarrel about it; it does not matter. You can conceive him as having one thousand hands. He has really millions of hands, otherwise how can he create so many trees and so many people and so many stars? With just two hands it will be too difficult.
If you want to conceive him as a trinity, perfectly good, because really existence can be understood as a trinity.
Even physicists will agree with you. Their names will be different, but not very much different either.
They call those three elements electron, neutron, positron. Nobody has seen them and nobody will ever see them, so physicists cannot say that believing in the Christian Trinity - God the Father and Jesus the Son and the Holy Ghost - this is nonsense because nobody has seen them. Who has seen electrons, neutrons, positrons? They are all Holy Ghosts! And the physicist knows nobody will ever see them; all that we see is the consequences of them. We don't see electrons, neutrons, positrons, but we see something which can only be explained if we accept those three; otherwise existence becomes unexplainable. So it does not matter: you can conceive God as the Trinity, or as Hindus conceive him, as TRIMURTI - three-headed.
Just the other day somebody asked me, "What do you say when you meet a three-headed monster?"
"Of course you say, 'Hallo! Hallo! Hallo!'"
So how do you conceive? It doesn't matter! Three times "hallo." You go round and say, "Hallo! Hallo!
Hallo!" to all the three persons.
How you conceive, the DESIDERATA says, does not matter. Those are all possibilities. But if it helps you to be at peace with existence it Is good.
You will be surprised to know that Buddha has defined truth as "that which works." A strange definition, but I think perfectly right: "that which works." Whether it is a lie or a truth does not matter; if it works it is a truth!
You see a rope in the dark and you think it is a snake and you run away. And you are huffing and puffing, and you fall down, and you have a mild heart attack. It is a truth! For you at least it has functioned as a truth.
Buddha says: Whatsoever works is true, whatsoever helps is true, whatsoever leads you towards more understanding is true. It is all hypothetical. That is the meaning of "hypothesis": that which helps you to understand.
The DESIDERATA says: Don't get into arguments about God because that is unnecessary. And Christians and Buddhists and Jainas and Hindus and Mohammedans are continuously arguing, barking like dogs at each other, always at the throat of the other, trying to cut it, trying to prove themselves right.
The person who is continuously trying to prove himself right simply says that he is afraid of his not being right. Deep down somewhere he doubts, and he tries to convince others that "I am right." He is trying through others to convince himself that "Yes, I am right." And the other is also trying the same way. The Christian is not interested in Christ, remember, neither is the Hindu interested in Krishna, nor is the Buddhist interested in Buddha: their interest is in trying to prove themselves right. But the trouble is, there are many others who are saying different things, so first they have to prove them wrong, only then can they be at ease. But it is impossible to prove anybody wrong. How can you prove that the other is wrong if his hypothesis has worked for him?
Mahavira attained to truth, to the ultimate, to peace - the peace that passeth all understanding, the peace that transcends all understanding. So whatsoever his hypothesis is does not matter; it was only a jumping-board. No need to argue, just look at Mahavira - that is enough proof.
Jesus reached home, so by what route he reached, whether that route is the shortest or not, does not matter. There are people who enjoy the longer route.
I had one friend; just a few days ago he died - a beautiful man. While I was traveling around India, sometimes he used to accompany me. He loved to travel by passenger trains. I said, "What nonsense! We can reach from Bombay to Calcutta in one hour's time by plane. Why waste forty- eight hours on the train? - and that too if you catch an express train. A passenger train in India, it is as if one goes on and on for eternity! If you travel in passenger trains in India you will start believing in eternity. It really feels eternal, non-ending!
But he said, "At least once you should come with me."
So I said, "Okay."
We traveled by passenger train from Jabalpur to Jaipur. We reached in four days. But he was also right, because he had always been traveling by passenger trains.... At each small station it stops, and you can get out and it stays for hours, and you can have tea and you can go out of the station. You can even have a trip around the village and come back! It was a beautiful experience!
And because he was traveling always by passenger trains he knew where you could get the most delicious tea, at what station, where you could get the most beautiful food, where you could get what. He knew everything, and everybody knew him because he was always traveling, so he was acquainted with everybody.
And he said, "Look, almost the whole country knows me! And nobody knows you! How can people know you if you just fly over them? They will never forgive you!"
And I really never knew that there were so many beautiful stations and so many beautiful trees and so many beautiful people, and he had so many friends. I understood his idea. I enjoyed that journey.
So don't condemn anybody; let them follow whatsoever they feel fits with them. And no two persons are the same, hence no single path is applicable to everybody, no single hypothesis.
That's why I speak here on Jesus, on Buddha, on Mahavira, on Krishna, on Lao Tzu, on Chuang Tzu, and Dionysius and Heraclitus, and I have been speaking on almost all kinds of mystics. And people think I am eclectic - no, I am not. I am simply making you aware of the millions of paths to truth, because I see something beautiful on each path which the others miss; they each have their own beauty.
You have to choose your own path - you have to CHOOSE. Millions of alternatives are available, and it is good that you can choose.
When Ford made his first cars they were all black, and he used to say to his customers, "You can choose any color provided it is black." Then what choice is there left? - "provided it is black."
It is good that existence has so many flowers of different colors, different shapes, different sizes, different fragrances. It makes it multi-dimensional.
"... WHATEVER YOU CONCEIVE HIM TO BE."
The DESIDERATA does not say anything to you about God; it simply says be at peace with existence. And whatsoever hypothesis helps you to be at peace, it is good.
"AND WHATEVER YOUR LABORS AND ASPIRATIONS, IN THE NOISY CONFUSION OF LIFE, KEEP PEACE IN YOUR SOUL."
THESE WORDS have to be understood: "AND WHATEVER YOUR LABORS..." When a woman gives birth to a child we say she is in labor. That's exactly the meaning of the word "labor." You should not call an the laborers laborers; only the creators know what labor is. A Van Gogh knows what labor is, a Michelangelo knows what labor is, a Dostoevsky knows what labor is. Labor means giving birth to something, sharing with existence by creating something.
The only way to worship God is to be a creator in some way, whatsoever you can create. You can create a garden, you can create a statue, you can paint, you can compose a song, you can play upon the guitar or the flute, or you can dance. Whatsoever you can contribute, be a creator. To be creative is the only real prayer, all other prayers are just empty rituals. If God is the creator, then the only way to know God is to be creative. That is the only way to participate with him, to be a participant in his life, in his work, in his being.
Here my sannyasins are taught only one prayer: that of being creative. If you can act, be an actor.
If you can design clothes, design clothes. If you can do some woodwork, do woodwork. If you are a jeweler, be a jeweler.
"... WHATSOEVER YOUR LABORS AND ASPIRATIONS..."
Ordinarily we call the creative person the inspired person - that is not right - we should call him the aspired person. Why? The DESIDERATA has chosen "aspiration" instead of "inspiration."
Inspiration means taking something in; when you breathe in it is inspiration. When you breathe out it is aspiration. Inspiration means taking in; aspiration means sharing, giving out. Aspiration simply means exactly what the word "education" means: bringing something out - the flower out of the seed, the water out of the well - making the potential actual.
Because for thousands of years you have been told that inspiration is good, you go on following others. You become inspired by Christ; then you become a Christian, an imitator. You become inspired by Buddha; then you become a Buddhist, something pseudo. A Buddha is beautiful, a Buddhist is ugly. A Krishna has tremendous beauty; but the Hindu is just a fanatic. Don't be inspired by anybody because by inspiration you will become only a follower.
Become afire with aspiration, with the joy of creation. Then you will know that there is pain in giving birth, but there is immense ecstasy too. And because of the ecstasy, the pain of giving birth is transformed into a sweet pain. Then even thorns are beautiful because they come with roses. Then even nights are luminous because they are part of the days. Then darkness is beautiful, velvety, because light cannot exist without it. Then all is acceptable; then nothing is rejected. In that total acceptance one can live peacefully at the center.
"... IN THE NOISY CONFUSION OF LIFE, KEEP PEACE IN YOUR SOUL. "
Then it becomes very easy to be always at peace. If you are at peace with existence, if you are at peace with yourself, then nothing can disturb you, nothing can distract you. Then you remain centered, rooted, grounded in your being. Even in the marketplace where it is all noisy and all confusion you remain clear.
But be a follower, be an imitator, and you will lose all peace of your being, because you will be trying to be somebody else, which you can NEVER be. You can never succeed in being somebody else.
Hence you will remain in anguish and you will remain in confusion; and you will remain split, you will remain schizophrenic. You will go from insanity to more insanity. Your life will become a hell.
I would like nobody to be a follower, an imitator. My sannyasins are not my followers, they are my friends - lovers but not followers. They are not inspired by me, but they learn aspiration. They are not to function LIKE me, they are not to be LIKE me; they have to be themselves. I teach them freedom, not following. I teach them individuality, uniqueness, not imitation. Hence they are at peace.
Whosoever comes to this commune, even the people who are against me, even they feel that something is totally different. It is not the same atmosphere as it is outside the gate. The moment they enter the gate they can immediately feel a different energy field. It is because my people are at peace with themselves; they are not trying to improve upon anything. They are just being themselves,, they are sharing whatsoever they can, and they are perfectly happy. There is no desire to be more, there is no desire to be somebody else. There is no guilt, there is no goal. They are at rest. That creates this tremendously peaceful atmosphere.
"WITH ALL ITS SHAM, DRUDGERY AND BROKEN DREAMS, IT IS STILL A BEAUTIFUL WORLD."
REMEMBER, never forget. Yes, you have traveled long in a way which was not true to your being; hence you have felt as if you are dragging yourself and life is a drudgery. People are deceivers - because they have deceived themselves, how can they resist the temptation of deceiving others? If you deceive yourself... and what is a Hindu doing? - trying to deceive himself. What is a Christian doing? - trying to deceive himself. He knows nothing of Christ, but he is trying to imitate.
One of the greatest Christian books is IMITATION OF CHRIST by Kempis. "Imitation"?... the very word is ugly! But Christians have loved that book very much. In fact, next to the Bible that is their most cherished document.
Every religion wants people to be imitative, and the total result is that it creates boredom. Life becomes a drag, not a dance. And because you deceive yourself, you try to be that which you are not; naturally, when you can deceive yourself, if you are not even honest with yourself, how can you be honest with anybody else in the world? You become totally dishonest.
And you have lived in dreams, and all dreams are bound to be broken. So that has to be accepted; it is nothing to complain about. To live in a dream means you will have to suffer; sooner or later the dream is going to shatter. No dream can be made permanent. You have loved in your dreams, you have been ambitious in your dreams, you have been greedy in your dreams. You have wanted this and that, and always more and more, but in your dreams! - and they have all to be shattered. In fact, it is good that they are all shattered sooner or later, because unless they are shattered you will never wake up; you will remain fast asleep.
Your dreams are like intoxicants. You can drink alcohol, but how long can you remain in it? Tomorrow you will be back, and all the worries and all the anxieties will be back, and you were trying to escape from them. There is no escape, there is only understanding which helps. Escape does not help at all; your troubles will go on increasing. But that's what we are doing with our dreams. All our dreams are our ego projections.
A majestic elephant is in the jungle eating lunch when he sees a little mouse eating some seeds near his foot.
He says grumpily, "Go away, you little runt! You are ugly and too little to be in the big jungle!"
Shyly, the little mouse looks up at the elephant and squeaks, "It is just because I was sick when I was small!"
Nobody accepts himself. Everybody is trying to be big. Even the mouse has its own rationalizations!
Then, of course, how long can you go on believing in something which is false? Your life becomes a long series of broken dreams, but it is because of your own stupidity. It is not because life itself is a drag. Life is a dance! If you are falling out of the dance, it is up to you. Life gives you freedom to be IN step with the dance or out of step. It is your choice. If you fall OUT of the dance, of course you will feel everywhere as if you are unwelcome. The simple thing is, you are not harmonious with the whole - it is YOUR decision. The whole is always ready to welcome you; the whole CARES about you. Because it cares about you it has given you freedom.
Freedom to be oneself is the greatest gift of existence to every person. You can misuse it, and when you misuse it you suffer. You can live in a sleepy way, you can live like a drunkard; that's how people are living.
Two men went duck hunting one cold morning. One of them produced a large bottle of whiskey and proceeded to keep himself warm with the spirits, getting drunker and drunker, much to his companion's dismay.
Finally, one lone duck came over flying very high, too high to be taken. The drunkard fumbled for his gun, got steadied, and finally pulled the trigger. The duck tumbled to the ground.
"An amazing shot!" exclaimed his companion.
"Nothing really," said the drunk. "I usually get two or three out of a flock that size!"
What you are seeing may not be there at all; it may be just a projection, a dream. You are not in your senses! You are not conscious, you are not alert, you are not aware.
Siwicki, about to be married, mentioned to a buddy that he was planning to take only two days for his honeymoon because he was so busy at the office.
"That's too bad," said his friend. "You won't have much time. How far did you plan to go?"
"Oh," said Siwicki, "all the way, naturally!"
People have become stupid, and out of their stupidity they act, they understand; they try to work out, figure out what it is all about. And of course there is confusion.
The Nagorskis were driving to Fort Lauderdale in a brand-new car. As they drove along, he put his hand on her knee.
"We are married now," she said, "you can go a little further."
So he went to Miami Beach.
Because of your sleep you remain retarded, you remain childish.
Joey, age six, and Suzy, age seven, decided that they would marry and had a meeting with their parents to break the news.
Joey's father asked, "Where will you live?"
"Well, we thought that we would live one week here and one week at Suzy's house," replied Joey.
"And what about money?" inquired Suzy's mother.
"Well," said Suzy, "I get one dollar a week and Joey gets one dollar a week, and I have always heard you say that two can live cheaper than one."
"And what about children? Have you thought about having children?" asked Joey's mother.
"Oh, we have decided to wait a little while with that one," said Joey. "And if Suzy should lay some eggs, I will step on them!"
"WITH ALL ITS SHAM, DRUDGERY AND BROKEN DREAMS, IT IS STILL A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.
Have laughter in your heart. Take life playfully.
"STRIVE TO BE HAPPY."
IF YOU ARE MISERABLE it is your own work, it is your own creation, it is your own decision. You can instantly change; you can drop it all. It is not natural. To be miserable is an unnatural state; to be blissful is just natural. So there is not much of a problem. Once you understand it, that somehow you have lived in a state of unconsciousness, that's why you have created all kinds of anxieties around you.... If you wake up those dreams will evaporate.
Meditation simply means waking up - it is time. It is always time. Wake up!
Being a sannyasin simply means that you have decided to remain in an unconscious state no longer.
And the moment you wake up, all misery disappears. Suddenly you find all is joy, all is bliss, all is benediction. Your very being is the kingdom of God. Jesus says again and again, "The kingdom of God is within you," and you are seeking it outside; that's why you are miserable. It is inside and you are seeking outside - you will never find it.
Hence the broken dreams, the drudgery, the boredom, the fed-upness, the tired, exhausted feeling, and the constant complaining, grumbling mood. You are surrounded by nos.
You can live as a yes, and to live as a yes is to be religious To say "Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" to existence is to be religious.