The moment I say that witnessing is a knack, it implies that there is no way to explain it, no way to teach someone about it, no way to train someone in it.
That's the whole meaning of the word "knack."
I can say things which are close enough, but they can never be exact descriptions of the knack. It is not an art, not a craft that can be explained in detail, step by step. But if it is happening to you, there is no problem. You should know what it is, you should know the taste of it.
The problem is arising because you must be trying to do it; not allowing the knack to happen, but trying to make an art of it, so that you can control it. Man wants to control everything; it is part of his basic ego.
The knack cannot be controlled. Either you know it or you don't know it. You can play around it, and sometimes by chance you stumble upon it: suddenly you have come to know it. That is the moment when you have to be aware in what situation it is happening.
In the night, when you are relaxed, you find it happening. That gives you a clue that relaxation, not an effort to attain witnessing, allows the knack to happen. At other times when you are trying, making an effort, an endeavor to get it, then it is mind watching mind watching mind. It is always the mind.
Mind cannot get the knack.
Mind can learn any art, any technique, any craft: a knack is beyond it. It is not its language, it is not its world. A knack is something beyond mind.
So you have to be clearly aware: the thing is happening to you, the failure of the mind is happening to you. Whenever you are trying, you watch - then you find that it is mind watching another part of the mind. And then you find the one who has found this is also another part of the mind. And this can go on ad infinitum.
Mind is capable of dividing itself infinitely. But finally you will find only mind - you will not come to meditation, you will not come to witnessing.
So your failure is helpful. It says, "Don't make the effort, don't try." Your success indicates that it happens when you are relaxed, when you are not trying. In relaxation, mind is no longer functioning.
The mind is going to be in sleep, it is ready to go into sleep; it is not going into an effort because effort will keep you awake. You cannot fall into sleep by effort.
Sleep and witnessing have something in common.
You cannot make the effort - one thing. Every effort is going to be a failure - another thing. Unless you learn that every effort fails, you cannot get the knack. But once in a while when your mind is getting ready to go to sleep - inbetween, when you are still awake, and the mind is relaxing to go into sleep - suddenly, witnessing happens. You have got the knack!
Now don't ask me what it is. That may destroy even your night witnessing, because you may start trying it. Just let it happen as it is happening in the night. You can, at the most, create the same atmosphere whenever you want it to happen, and wait. You cannot force it.
One has to learn a great lesson - that there are things beyond you which you cannot force; you can only remain open, available, waiting, and they come.
The moment you become tense to get hold of them, they slip away.
It is just like, in the open fist you have all the air possible. With the closed fist all the air disappears.
You may be thinking that with a closed fist you are catching hold of the air. No, it has slipped out. It does not belong to the closed fist, it belongs only to the open hand - and it is easily available. You just have to see when it happens, what the surroundings are.
The surroundings mean you are going into sleep, you are tired of the whole day's work - you don't want to work anymore. In the gap, before the mind slips into sleep and you lose consciousness - the mind is preparing, is getting ready to go into sleep, but you are still awake - in that minute gap, witnessing happens.
Now, you cannot try the knack.
You can simply create the outer situation.
In the day, anytime, let the mind go into relaxation. Don't try - as if you are going to create witnessing:
you are simply allowing mind to rest. And at a certain point, that same gap will appear, and in the gap descends the witness.
This is the mystery of a knack - its strangeness and its simplicity too.
It is exactly the true description of what is happening between a master and a disciple. And the similarity with children is significant.
The master has already become a child - the disciple is on the way to becoming a child. But this is the whole game of existence. It looks contradictory through the eyes of logic. That's why I insistently emphasize that logic is not the way of life; it does not describe life. And what it describes is something dead.
Life functions through strange contradictions.
Small children run fast to escape being caught, but deep down there is a yearning to be caught too.
Why this contradiction? Running away is a joy in that you are not able to catch the child, that the child is no more a child: he can run faster than you. He is proving his mettle.
But no child is so uncompassionate that he will defeat you; so finally he wants to be caught. In the interval he wants to enjoy your failure. In the end he wants to give you the gift of success too.
And something similar is always happening between the master and the disciple. It is a little more subtle and it is more complex because the running is not outward, it is something inner. And the disciple is not a child anymore. For the master the game is exactly the same.
From the master's side he will allow the disciple to run as fast as he can to give him the joy of knowing that he can escape. But the disciple cannot be allowed to escape - that would be against the compassion of the master, because if he is allowed to escape he will remain unreborn. He will never become a child, he will never become innocent; he will remain miserable.
The master knows when to catch you, but he gives enough rope. The problem is the disciple - because master and disciple are not at the same stage of consciousness. The disciple is running - he has become a disciple just to be caught. There was no other need. He wants to be transformed by the master - and that can happen only if he is caught. But he is afraid of many things.
He will lose his ego, his identity; he will lose his individuality: he will no longer be himself. The moment he is caught looks like a death; hence there is fear. He wants, desires to be caught because he can see the beauty of the master - his light, his newly-achieved, fresh consciousness. He would also like to have all these, so he wants to be caught. But the complexity is that he wants all these things while remaining himself, as he is. And that is impossible.
And the master is not going to catch you - although he can catch you at any moment - he is not going to catch you unless you are totally willing, because it will be useless to catch you against yourself. There will be no point because there will be no communion.
To catch you while you are resisting being caught is absolutely futile. The master will catch you only when he sees that you have dropped all fear, all anxiety. And your fear and your anxiety are all imaginary.
You will certainly lose the ego.
But you will gain the self.
Ego is a false entity - you are not losing anything in fact; you are simply becoming aware that it had never existed. You had simply been forced to believe in it.
And you will get your original self; so there is no loss, there is no question of fear. You are not going to lose your individuality either.
But in a confused mind, which is basically the mind of the disciple... he mistakes his personality for his individuality, just as he takes his ego to be his self.
Ego is a false phenomenon created by the society - so is personality. Ego is the false center that the society has given to you in place of your real being. And the personality is the false individuality that the society has created, as a circumference to the center of the ego. So you are caught in a net with the false personality and the false ego. And unless they both disappear, you cannot see what is behind the curtain of the false; you cannot see the original self, you cannot see your individuality.
The master is certainly going to destroy your personality, but not your individuality. He will take away everything that the society has imposed upon you. And in taking away everything imposed by the society, he is simply taking that which you don't have, but which you only believe you have. Once he has taken all the falsities, you will discover the original self, the original face.
But the master gives as much rope as possible, because nothing can be done against you.
So it is good to run a little bit, just as a game; but to go on running forever is stupid. That means you have taken your fear too seriously, not knowing that the fear is absolutely ungrounded. The master will make every effort to make you aware that your fear is ungrounded. You will lose only that which you don't have. And you will get only that which you really have.
The moment this becomes clear to you, you will allow the master to catch you. And unless you allow him, nothing can be done. The master cannot be impatient about it.
The act of transformation of the disciple is an act of his free choice. If the master forces it upon you, it will be again something false.
That is being done by organized religions. They don't give you rope, they don't allow you to run away. They catch hold of you immediately, as you are born, so that you cannot run away at all. Till you go to the grave, the organized religion keeps its hold on you - from the cradle to the grave.
Even after you are dead, they take every step that you cannot escape. They don't allow you freedom even after you are dead. They start from birth, and they continue to keep a hold on you through marriage till death comes over you. Everything happens in the church: the baptism of the child, the circumcision of the child, the marriage, the death. Finally, the last sermon over the dead body is to be given by the priest.
The old religions don't give you any moment to run away. And the people who choose teachers from traditional religions... those teachers won't allow you any freedom. They will impose all kinds of falsities on you.
And this is the beauty and the wonder, that you are not afraid of them! You are afraid only when you come across a real master.
Who is afraid of the priest? Who is afraid of the rabbi? Nobody is afraid of those people - and they are doing every harm to you that can be done. But you accept it because all that harm goes on nourishing your ego, your personality.
The whole function of organized religion is to keep you away from your real self, your original face, your individuality. The master's function is different.
An ancient parable in the East is that a lioness, while taking a jump from one hillock to another hillock, in the middle of the jump gave birth to a child. The cub fell, on the way, into a crowd of sheep. The sheep nourished the cub, not knowing that it was a lion - their enemy. And the cub never came to know that he was a lion because everybody around him was a sheep. So he walked in the crowd of sheep, just like a sheep.
Sheep never walk alone; they walk as a crowd, almost stepping on each other, rubbing their bodies against each other. They are afraid to be alone; it is dangerous to be alone, any wild animal can catch hold of them - they have to be together.
Lions walk alone, never in a crowd.
Lions have a very big territory. They don't want anybody to enter their territory. Sometimes it is an area of miles that one lion will have as his territory. No other lion can even manage to get in; otherwise there is going to be a ferocious fight till one is dead, or perhaps both are dead. And they walk alone.
But this poor lion had no idea that he was a lion; he had no idea how he looked. He became bigger and bigger, but the sheep had become accustomed to him; they had been bringing him up from his very childhood. Although he was a strange sheep, he was a sheep because he used to eat grass, which lions don't eat. They would rather die, but they will not eat grass.
He used to eat grass - he remained vegetarian. He used to go into the crowd, just in the middle, to be safe, although he was taller, bigger, but without any idea of it. And he never roared once like a lion, because if you don't have that idea, how can you roar? He dreamed like a sheep, feared like a sheep, was afraid of wild animals who could not do any harm to him.
One day an old lion saw this scene. He could not believe his eyes! The young lion was so big, and he had never seen a lion and sheep mixing; there has never been any friendship, there is no possibility. The sheep were going with the lion without any fear, and the lion was also going with the sheep, afraid to be alone.
The old lion could not believe his eyes. He ran after the crowd. Naturally, all the sheep started running and making the noise sheep make. And the young lion was also making the same noise.
It took much effort; only with great difficulty could the old lion catch hold of the young lion. And the young lion was crying and weeping, just like a sheep.
The old lion dragged the young fellow to a nearby pond. The young lion was very much afraid; he was not willing to go, he was very reluctant. And he was more powerful than the old lion. If the young lion had known that he was a lion, the old lion would not have been able to pull him to the pond; he would have killed him. But he was a sheep, so he allowed the old lion to pull him - although reluctantly, unwillingly, resisting - knowing that this was sure death, because many sheep had died, had been killed by the lions. Now his turn had come.
But at the pond a miracle happened: the old lion said to the young one, "My son, just look into the pond" - where they both were reflected. And there was a sudden transformation, because the sheep was not a reality, it was just a false idea implanted by the society in which the lion was brought up. It was his personality, but not his individuality. It was his ego, but not his real self. It was just a mask, but not his original face.
For the first time he looked at both the faces; and suddenly there was a roar. From the depths of his being came a great roar shaking the hills around.
The old lion said, "My work is done. All that I could do, I have done - now you are on your own. Now you know who you are."
The master's function is exactly the same.
This parable is about the master and the disciple - not about the lion and the sheep. Every effort is made by the master so that you are not afraid of him. His love, his compassion... he does not make you afraid because he knows that already there will be great fear in you. If he creates more fear you will be running away faster than ever. He helps you in every way to drop all fear.
And this is my final effort - to call myself your friend; not to be a "master," because that very word creates fear. That very word creates distance. Then the disciple is always trembling with the idea that some day he is going to be caught; and who knows what is going to happen afterwards when his ego is destroyed, his personality is destroyed? Who knows whether something will remain behind or whether everything will be gone and he will become only a shadow? - the shadow of the master.
To withdraw that fear also I want you to know that I am just a friend, and you can allow me to catch you. You can give it a try. If you feel that it is going to destroy you, you can tell me to stop even in the middle. I will stop... because without your will nothing can be done. Without your will, if something is done, you will undo it again. You will create the old falsities, and you will never come close to a master again in your life. You will find so many arguments, and you will be listening to the arguments from people who are not close to me.
They create all kinds of arguments why they are not close to me. They have to prove to their minds that I must be wrong, that I am dangerous, that I am not the master you are searching for, that, "This man is a fraud." All these ideas they will be creating and finding some proofs and supports for, so that they can remain far away.
I have already attracted them; they have already been dreaming of being close to me, and they are destroying their dreams, their fantasies of being close to me. All their argumentation is not against me, it is against their own transformation. They are afraid: "It is better not to come close to such a person."
But those who have come close, they are also keeping as far away as possible, for the simple reason... the same reason. One day you will have to decide that it is a beautiful game to run for a little while - a good exercise - but don't forget that you have to be caught too. And the master is not going to catch you against yourself. His very work is such that it prohibits him doing anything against your will.
And once you are ready, courageous enough to go into the whole process of being close to the master whatever happens; once the adventure has taken possession of you - and sooner or later it does take possession, you cannot go on running forever.... Sooner or later you get tired of running.
Sooner or later you start seeing your contradiction: that you are a disciple and you are running.
Then either don't be a disciple, or don't run - this is contradictory.
Sooner or later you start seeing the compassion of the master. He could have caught you, but he has allowed you to run. He has been waiting for the moment when you are willing to be caught. And that is a moment of tremendous value, when the disciple simply stops and wants to be caught. He has come to a very decisive moment.
If it means to die as an ego, as a personality, he is ready. He wants to know whether there is anything behind the facade of personality, or nothing. He is ready to accept it even if there is nothing. The moment he is ready to accept even that, then there is no problem. If he is ready to die, then he will be reborn; and the rebirth is the coming back home. Then the disciple also becomes a child.
And it is something to be understood, that two minds are two, but two persons meditating are one.
Two persons thinking are two; two persons non-thinking are one because there is no distinction, no boundary - both are in the same state. Thoughts will be different, will draw a boundary of separation.
But no-thought has no boundary and no distinctions, no differences.
Two innocent beings are one.
Once the disciple is reborn, he is no longer separate from the master inwardly. Inwardly he becomes one, because two innocences, two no-minds, two silences, cannot remain two.
They are bound to become one because both are infinite.
They are going to overlap each other.
The distinction between a disciple and a friend has two sides to it. First, from the side of the master it has happened. I don't have any disciples anymore. You can relax.
From the disciples' side it is going differently for different people. A few are relaxed - the transformation has taken place. A few are getting to be relaxed; a few are thinking to relax.
A few are unwillingly accepting the idea because to be a disciple was better: the master was responsible. Now the whole responsibility is thrown on you - and nobody wants to be responsible.
Everybody wants to get rid of responsibility.
There are a few who have not even heard it. They have listened to me, but it has not reached to their hearts. They still remain disciples.
So it will be different with different people, but sooner or later it has to be with every disciple, as far as I am concerned. He will have to come to drop the idea of disciplehood, and just be a friend.
Your mind may give many arguments against it. You have to see through those arguments, that they are phony. For example, the mind may give very valid-looking arguments; such as, in going from being a disciple to a master to becoming his friend, you are losing reverence for the master.
That is not true. In fact, a master who allows you to be his friend is worthy of more reverence than any master who does not allow you to be his friend, who keeps you on a lower level - almost in a spiritual slavery as a disciple - and demands of you that you surrender, that you be committed. He asks you to trust him, but he does not trust you; otherwise there is no need to say, "Trust me."
If I trust you, why is there a need to ask? My trust is enough: and my trust will know your trust, because trust creates a synchronicity, just as love creates a synchronicity.
The masters who ask for surrender may be playing a game of spiritual ego. If they ask for commitment only to them, that means they are still living with the idea of possessiveness, monopoly, and they are afraid of losing you: you may get interested in somebody else. To avoid all those fears they want you to be committed so that you start feeling guilty if you feel some affinity with somebody else too.
A friend has no possessiveness.
A friend wants you to be happy, wants you to be free, wants you to have all the joys of life, and has no conditions. But a friend cannot take responsibility for you: he cannot be your savior.
He can help you on the path, he can show you the path, but you have to be strong enough to follow the path, to go alone like a lion.
Disciples go like sheep in a crowd. The bigger the crowd, the better the disciples feel; it is cozier, warmer, more comfortable. Just seeing that there are six hundred million Catholics, the pope feels that he must be a man of God; otherwise why should six hundred million people be following him?
It is a strange game of the ego. The crowd of sheep makes the so-called master feel that he is the shepherd. And then he starts making the crowd bigger, because a bigger crowd will make him a bigger shepherd, who owns more people. That becomes his number, his trip.
But these are not real masters. If the crowd leaves them, they will suddenly see themselves reduced to ordinary men - which in reality they are. It was the crowd which had given them a very magnified idea of themselves.
If a master allows the disciples to be friends, he is dispersing the crowd. He is making a personal contact. He is giving you equal status spiritually although he knows that much is still only potential in you, and much work has to be done so that it becomes actual. But whether it is potential or actual, your spiritual status is not lower.
That is the meaning when a master changes disciples into friends. He is giving you the recognition that you are as capable as himself. You may not be aware - that does not make any difference. At least to him it does not make any difference. To you it makes a difference that you are not aware, but that is the work that you have to do. And the work can be done more lovingly in friendship, in love, than it can be done in a certain relationship in which you are lower, inferior, a sinner - and somebody else is higher, superior, a saint.
I don't think the reverence for such a man who makes you his friends will be less. It will be more. So don't listen to your arguments which will try to keep you in the old relationship.
It has never been done, it is true, but you can see the result: the whole humanity is proof - so many masters and so many disciples... and the world is just in a mess. People are as mad as ever. No basic change in humanity has happened.
Something in the fundamentals has to be changed. And this is one of the fundamentals: the relationship between the master and the disciple. It has to be changed. A new dimension has to be given to it. And once it becomes a transforming force, in the future no master will be able to go on playing the old game.
This can become a milestone.
But as far as I am concerned, it is absolutely a fact. As far as you are concerned, there are degrees.
But it has to be in you too - a one hundred percent change from disciplehood to friendship. And you will see a miracle happen, because love has never been praised so much, friendship has never been raised so high; and my whole effort is to make everything that is mundane, sacred.
It is one of the difficulties. Letting go, one can slip into old patterns, old conditionings. Still, take the risk.
The fear has some validity; you can fall back into your old patterns. But don't be afraid, just remain watchful; and meanwhile, if it happens that way.... It is not necessarily so that it will happen to everybody, to fall into old patterns. Only those friends who have forced themselves into the new discipline will find it happening, that if they let go they will become their old selves.
But it will be good, because that will show you that whatever you were thinking you had become, you have not become. It was just an enforced, controlled, suppressed, inhibited phenomenon. Letting go will make it clear to you.
So it is going to help both kinds of people. Those who have grown up into the new lifestyle by letting go, they will go higher. Those who have forced themselves into the new lifestyle, and in whom there has been a resistance somewhere, a part fighting against it - if they let go, that part is going to take over. That too is good. You will become aware that what you were thinking you are, you are not.
Watch the old pattern, and now don't try to repress it. It has to be dropped - not repressed.
Repression is through discipline, and dropping is through witnessing. Watch the old pattern as a witness. Don't get identified with it.
And as you move from the new lifestyle that you have forced, if you continue to watch and remain in a let-go, even when you see the old pattern emerging, that too will disappear, because that too is forced, forced by society. That too is not natural. And when everything forced has disappeared, only then are you your natural being.
To me, to be natural is to be spiritual.
All the religions have been teaching something very idiotic: to be natural is against spirituality. So everybody has repressed the natural self and has been pretending to be a spiritual self - which he is not. All the religions together have conspired against humanity to create hypocrites.
My effort is to create the natural man - human, with no guilt, accepting all the frailties, failures the human being is prone to.
In this deep acceptance of your natural being is the seed of your transformation. And when it comes by itself then it is a growth. When you force it, it is not a growth, it is just wearing a mask. And even before a mirror you can befool yourself wearing a mask: you can start thinking that this is your face.
Letting go means your masks will slip down, your personality will slip down, your ego will slip down.
Go on till all these things disappear, till the moment you find a crystal-clear naturalness, a spontaneity of being.
So there is no need to be afraid. Most of you will find that whatever you have does not go - it is growth. A few of you will find that you have just managed something - it has not been a real growth; you have been pretending. Then you will fall into the old pattern.
This time don't make the same mistake again. Remain watchful and go on in the same process of letting go. Your old patterns are also false; they will also disappear. If the let-go is complete it will leave you in your natural self, in your authentic being. And to me that is the beginning of self-realization, the beginning of your enlightenment.
But it can begin only when you have found the natural source of your being. Your pretended selves, your hypocrite patterns, your masks - they cannot become enlightened.
Only your original face can become enlightened.
So to be original and natural is the most important thing for a traveler on the path.