It is one of the fundamental laws of life that everything that is higher is very vulnerable. The roots of a tree are very strong, but not the flowers. The flowers are very vulnerable - just a strong breeze and the flower may be destroyed.
The same is true about human consciousness. Hate is very strong, but love is not. Love is just like a flower - easily crushed by any stone, destroyed by any animal. And as you reach higher into consciousness, the ultimate blossoming which we call enlightenment is the most vulnerable thing in the whole of existence.
So you will feel love, you will feel my compassion, and you will feel behind each of my words and gestures, strength. That strength is coming because whatever I am saying and whatever I am, it is my own experience. I am my own authority; I am not within quotation marks.
The strength that you feel is the strength of truth.
The flower dancing in the wind does not look weak. In the sun, in the rain, it looks immensely strong.
So these two sides which seem contradictory to each other are not contradictory to each other. The strength comes to the flower because it has roots in the earth, its own roots. The strength comes to the flower because the juice that is flowing in it is its own juice. The flower has not borrowed it from anybody, it is authentically itself.
And it can dance in the wind, in the rain, in the sun; but on the other hand, because the flower is the highest expression of the tree, it is vulnerable. Even with all its strength, you can destroy it very easily.
Just imagine Socrates speaking to the people of Athens. His strength behind each word is tremendous: a man alone against the whole world. But there is no weakness. He is not afraid.
Even the judges are affected by the strength, because anybody who is speaking a borrowed truth cannot have such authority.
To the chief judge Socrates says, "You can kill me, but remember one thing: your name will be remembered in history for just one thing - that you decided to kill Socrates; otherwise you have nothing to contribute. And all these judges and all these people who are going to decide about me will be forgotten as if they had never existed. You can kill me, but you cannot kill my spirit."
They decided to kill him, but they were certainly impressed because they could not give any counter- argument; and whatever he said was so clear, so truthful, there was no way to put him in the wrong - he remained always in the right in court. Still, it was a democracy - truth was being decided by a majority. And the idiots who made the majority may not have even understood what Socrates was saying; it may have gone above their heads.
Perhaps because of that reason itself, they decided that he should be killed by giving poison, as was the custom in Greece. They could not tolerate such a man, who was so far above them and so much higher than themselves. His beauty, his truth, his sincerity - all were making them feel inferior. He was stronger than the whole crowd that was going to decide his fate.
You can see the strength. The judges were affected by the strength. They had to concede to the majority but they made a few conditions, just to help Socrates. They said, "If the majority decides to kill you by giving poison, we cannot do anything. But we can suggest a few alternatives - that is within our powers. One is that you can leave Athens and promise that you will not return."
Socrates says, "That is impossible, because wherever I am, I will be faced with the same situation."
And Athens in those days was at the peak of culture, education, civilization. Perhaps no city has ever been at such a peak. "If Athens cannot tolerate me, I don't think there is another city which is ready to tolerate me.
"If you are throwing me out, who is going to welcome me? And I don't want to leave Athens - I love it, and I love its youth, and I love the few intelligent people in this city who have been able to understand me. I don't care about the crowd, I care about those selected people with whom I have a certain heart-to-heart communion. No, I cannot leave Athens. That will be worse than death."
The judges said, "The second alternative is that you can remain in Athens, but you stop speaking, you stop teaching."
Socrates, for the first time in the whole trial, laughed. He said, "You are asking more and more absurd things. What is Socrates without his teaching? What is Socrates without his truth? That's my life and my being. Please don't try to be kind to me - death is more respectful than to concede to, and compromise with, anything that goes against my heart." He accepted death. The alternatives were available.
Certainly there is a strength, a tremendous strength in the man. But just a glass of poison kills the man, because the poison does not take any note of who you are - an idiot or a Socrates. Faced with poison he proves to be very vulnerable.
So these two things are not contradictory.
You feel my love, you feel my strength - it is there. I can stand against the whole world... in fact that's what I have been doing my whole life. But those who have hearts will certainly feel my vulnerability.
Just a bullet is enough. It won't see whether it is killing an animal, an idiot, or a buddha.
So the idea to protect me arises in your heart from the second possibility. All my sannyasins feel exactly the same. They feel both - they feel my strength and they feel my vulnerability. And all my sannyasins around the earth are in the same dilemma you are: "When there is so much strength in the man, what is the need for us to be worried about protecting him?"
The strength is coming from one source, and the danger of destroying such a man is coming from a different source. There is no contradiction in it.
And it is natural for the sannyasins to feel immensely protective towards me, for the simple reason that they know the light of a candle is strong enough to fill the whole room with light, but it is so vulnerable: just a small breeze from the window may put it out.
There is no contradiction in it. Both are coming from different sources.
The moment you feel something authentic in a world which is absolutely insincere; the moment you feel something as pure love in a world where even love is polluted, where you cannot find anything that is worthy for human beings.... And suddenly you come across a man who seems to be coming from another world, talking another language, showing ways to reach to faraway stars, making every effort to help you for no motivation, just because he enjoys helping people to reach the stars.
Naturally to do any small thing for such a man makes you feel a great joy. What you are doing does not matter.
I am reminded of an incident in Gautam Buddha's life. His cousin-brother who was older than him wanted to be initiated, but he said to Gautam Buddha, "Listen Siddhartha" - that was his family name - "before I take initiation I want to put a few conditions on you, because once I am initiated, then I cannot say anything to you: then you are the master and I am simply a shadow. So it has to be decided before initiation because right now I am your elder brother, and you are my younger brother." And traditionally in India the elder should be respected.
So Buddha asked, "What are your conditions?"
He said, "Not very big... very small. One, that I will be always with you. So you will not be able to tell me after initiation that, 'Ananda, you go to a certain place to spread the word - travel.' No, I am going to be with you, so you have to remember it after initiation.
"This is absolute... because I want to wash your clothes, I want to take care of your body, I want to massage your feet after the whole day's walking from one village to another. I want to take care that you are getting the right food, enough food. I want to take care that on cold nights you are not cold; that on hot days you are not in a space which is hot. Just small things.... I am not asking this for me.
"Secondly, whenever I want somebody to meet you, you cannot refuse. It may be in the middle of the night... and that too is not for me, because I know there are people who come from thousands of miles with great love just to touch your feet, just to listen to a word from you, just to see you to believe that such a man really exists. I cannot refuse. Your guardians look very cruel to me.
"And thirdly, whenever you are talking with somebody I will be constantly present there. Nobody can say that he wants to meet you alone. And this is also not for me, because I know that the more you become known to the world - the more you are gathering friends and lovers - you are also creating enemies.
"I don't want to leave you alone, because who knows? - the man may not be a friend. And you are so vulnerable that anybody can kill you very easily. To follow you is very difficult, to kill you is very easy; because in following you one has to kill one's own ego - which is a difficult task - but to kill you... a fragile man, so delicate: I will not leave you alone in privacy with anybody, without exception."
When an elder brother asks these things - or anything - in India, the younger simply accepts. And a man like Buddha simply laughed. He said, "That's perfectly okay. Your conditions are accepted."
Only once, just one time in his whole life of forty-two years with Ananda, Buddha had to ask him to relax just a little bit about one condition, because he had gone back to the palace which he had left twelve years before, and he wanted to see his wife.
"And I know her - she is a very proud woman. In front of you not even a single tear will come from her eyes. And she will welcome me as if I had just gone the other day for some business. But for twelve years she must have been boiling, angry. Not that I left her... because I know her perfectly.
Her anger is not that, it cannot be.
"I know her quality. She comes from a warrior family where every girl is taught that one day the husband has to go to war: then tears should not come to your eyes; then you should not be a hindrance. Then you should touch his feet and help him to go completely at ease that he is not leaving behind a weeping, crying wife.
"So it is not a question that I left her, the question, I know perfectly well, is that I did not say it to her, that I did not trust her. That will be her wound; and your presence will not allow her to open up whatsoever in twelve years, she has gathered about me."
Ananda said, "I can understand - and I can make an exception."
And actually that's what happened. The moment Buddha went in to see his wife, the first thing she said was, "I am not disturbed by your search for truth - it is really my pride that my husband is a seeker of truth, that he has dedicated his whole life to it. But one thing hurts: why did you not tell me? Do you think I would have prevented you?
"Do you think me so uncultured that I will prevent my own husband who is going on a pilgrimage in search of truth? That's the only thing I cannot forgive and cannot forget. These twelve years that wound has been there, that you did not trust me. And I was worried that Ananda, your constant companion, would be with you, and I may not be able to say this - because he is not only your elder brother, he is also my elder brother because of your relationship. I could not have said it. It is very compassionate of you that you have come alone."
The day Buddha left, his son was only one day old. He was born just twenty-four hours before. The wife brought the son - now he was twelve years old - and said, "He consistently insists on seeing his father, how he looks, why the whole world is mad about him - either for or against - and why he does not come home. Now, this is your son, and I want you to give him an inheritance. What inheritance have you to give to your son?"
Buddha had only his begging bowl. And he gave it to his son, whose name was Rahul, and initiated him into sannyas.
His wife finally burst into tears, fell at his feet, and she said, "Only you can do it. What strength you have! You left me without saying a word, you left me with a child who was only twenty-four hours old. And now as an inheritance you are giving your begging bowl to the child! No father has done this ever. You are making him a beggar! But it makes me happy to have such a strong man.
"Please initiate me also, and initiate your father also - he is old and for twelve years he has been waiting for you. He is very angry. You are his only son. Who is going to take over the throne after him? So please don't take any note of what he says - he loves you. But he will be angry, he will shout at you."
Buddha said, "Don't be worried about that. I know him." And his father shouted and was very angry, and he said, "You betrayed us!"
And Buddha listened silently. When his father was finished, Buddha said only one thing: "Please just look into my eyes, into my face. Do you think I am the same man who left this palace? You are angry with somebody else! And you are unnecessarily throwing all your anger on me. I am not the same man - that man is dead long ago."
The father looked at his face, in his eyes. There was great silence for a moment. Then the father said, "Certainly you are right. You have changed. You are a new man, you are completely transformed. I am on the point of death; is it possible for me also to have the same eyes you have, the same strength you have? Help me, an old man who is just going to the grave any moment." The father was also initiated into sannyas.
All the people who lived near Buddha knew his strength and at the same time they were all very protective of him. For an outsider it becomes very difficult to understand.
And this has been the case with me and with you. For the outsider it becomes very difficult - almost impossible - to understand why you are so protective of me. They cannot understand; it is not their fault. They have not known in their life a man who has a strength which transcends the strongest powers in the world - and yet who is so vulnerable. Just a little poison, a bullet, a cross, and he is gone.
The higher values of life have to be protected. The lower values have a certain protection of themselves. A stone need not be protected, but just by the side of it the rose in the bush has to be protected. The stone is dead, it cannot be more dead. It does not need protection.
But the rose is so alive, so beautiful, so colorful, so attractive. That is the danger - it is its strength, but it is inviting danger. Somebody may pluck it. Nobody will take up the stone, but the flower can be plucked.
So it is very natural - don't feel any contradiction in it. And the people who see the contradiction, let them understand the situation. They have never come in contact in such a way with a person whom they love because of his strength; and yet because of his strength and his truth, they feel very protective because he is constantly in danger - every moment the whole world wants to destroy him.
And it does not need you to take guns to protect me; just your desire to protect me is enough.
The U.S. marshal in America, in the first jail, told me, "You have been an experience for us, because the whole world seems to be protective of you! We have become enemies of the whole world. We are receiving threatening phone calls: if anything happens to you, America's whole image will be damaged.
"For us there are only threatening calls, and for you they are sending flowers and telegrams and phone calls, and all the news media are surrounding every jail, wherever you are."
They had to change jails - five jails in twelve days. It was absolutely unnecessary; every jail was the same. Why unnecessarily take me to five jails? They wanted to avoid the news media people - people who had never known me but who had come to know me for the first time - because America had illegally, undemocratically attacked an innocent man without any reason, without even an arrest warrant.
In those twelve days, not a single man I came across was against me. Even the criminals in the jails were very protective. Wherever I went they were protective. They said, "We have seen you, Bhagwan, on the television, but don't be worried about those dogs - you are going to win because they are wrong."
And this U.S. marshal told me, "This is for the first time in my life... thousands of people from almost every country are watching what is happening to you."
Finally they decided to use a device: in the middle of the night they brought me to a jail so that nobody would know where I was. They told me that I should not write my name on their form, I should write "David Washington."
I said, "This is absolutely illegal. And you are forcing me to do something criminal. But what is the reason for it? - just so that nobody knows that I am here in this jail; so that whatever you want to do to me.... You can do any harm, you can even kill me. And there will be no trace where I disappeared because there is no entry for me - in this jail I never entered - and you can just fill out a bogus form that David Washington is released."
So I told them, "You write - I cannot write with my own hand anything illegal. You fill in the form, I will simply sign it." He filled the form, and I signed my own name.
He looked at it and said, "What is this?"
I said, "It must be David Washington." And I told him, "You should remember that this is my name and it is known worldwide. Tomorrow morning you will have to face the press: 'Where is David Washington?' Produce him and let him sign my signature, or produce the man who can make the signature."
Already, at five o'clock in the morning, they changed me again to another jail. I was only three or four hours in the previous jail because they understood that they had done a stupid thing; they would be caught at it. And I had told them, "Tomorrow morning it will be shown on every television."
Coming from the airport there was one young woman who was going to be released. I told her, "You just do me a little favor."
She said, "Bhagwan, I will do anything you want."
I said, "I don't want anything - you simply sit in the corner, because they will process me first. You just listen to the whole talk and release it to the press who are waiting outside the door. The moment you are released, just tell all the television and radio and the newspapers whatever transpires in the talk between me and the marshal."
And that's what she did. With the six o'clock news it was all over America. And they were so ashamed; the whole of America was ashamed of this bureaucracy. And strangely, people who were not concerned with me, who had not even heard my name, were immensely protective - everywhere.
My feeling is that if you have something which authenticates you and makes you an embodiment of truth, people are going to be protective towards you.
And certainly those who are close, they are going to be very protective, too protective. In fact Vivek had made it so difficult - I realized in these twelve days - because she has been so protective about everything, I had completely forgotten how to do anything.
Even putting toothpaste on the brush I had not done for years... or changing the bed sheet, or carrying a towel to the bathroom. In twelve days I took only one shower - and that too because Vivek was continually insisting in court when she met me, "Have you taken a shower?" That was her first question.
And I said, "I will take one, but it looks so strange to carry my own towel, my soap, that it is better for twelve days that I simply lie down with closed eyes." For twelve days I didn't change the sheet or the pillow cover. Even the nurses became protective!
They said, "Your blanket has to be changed; your clothes have to go for washing."
I said, "Forget all about it. It is only a question of a few days, then I can have as many baths, and as many new robes and new sheets... don't be worried." But they really became protective, seeing me, that I am almost like a child. The head nurse started forcing me to go in the morning to brush my teeth!
She would say, "I will not give you your breakfast! If you want your breakfast, first you have to brush your teeth!" And she would stand there!
And I said, "I will do it."
She said, "You are a strange man - people are harassing us that, 'we need this, we need that.' You are the only man who has no complaint, who has not asked for anything. On the contrary, we are worried that you don't do anything. You simply lie down with closed eyes!
"Perhaps the bathroom is not clean, so you can come to our bathroom; and we will not let anybody know because it is not allowed. No prisoner can come to the doctor's bathroom, but you take it for granted, that it is yours. You just use it - but don't lock it from the inside. We will not allow anybody to enter."
I said, "Why?"
They said, "We don't trust you. You may lock it and if something happens to you, if you fall down or anything happens to you, how are we going to enter? And then the whole thing will be exposed, that we were allowing you in our bathroom - which is against the rules."
And they were bringing fresh clothes every day. They were trying in every possible way. And the day I left, all the nurses - there were five - they were all crying.
I said, "This is strange! Why are you crying?"
They said, "We don't want you to go."
I said, "This is something! But my people are waiting there; otherwise I would have remained here."
They said, "We can understand. Just in these few days you have become so much part of this institution that we can understand how much your people, who have lived for years with you, must be feeling. But we will never forget these days." And they had all the pictures from the newspapers.
Because they had no other way but from newspapers... they asked me to just sign my name.
I said, "You could have found a photographer."
They said, "It is not allowed - even this is not allowed. Just sign silently so we can keep it as a memory."
You just have to be yourself, and you will find protection from every source. Because the more you are yourself, the danger to your life becomes more, but in the same proportion the protective forces, the loving forces, the friendly forces also increase. It is always balanced.