This place is for innocence

Fri, 22 December 1987 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Om Mani Padme Hum
Chapter #:
pm in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium
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Question 1:



Garimo, when a man is reborn, only then he understands the beauty and the grandeur of childhood.

The child is ignorant; hence he is unable to understand the tremendous innocence that surrounds him. Once a child becomes aware of his own innocence, there is no difference between the child and the sage. The sage is not higher and the child is not lower. The only difference is, the child knows not what he is and the sage knows it.

I am reminded of Socrates. In his very last moments of life he said to his disciples, "When I was young I used to think I knew much. As I became older, as I knew more, a strange thing started happening: an awareness that knowing more was bringing me to knowing less."

And finally, when the Oracle of Delphi declared Socrates to be the wisest man in the world... the people of Athens were very happy and they went to Socrates, but Socrates said, "Go back and tell the Oracle that at least for once its prophecy has been wrong. Socrates knows nothing."

The people were shocked. They went to the Oracle... but the Oracle laughed and said, "That's why I have declared him the wisest man in the world! It is only the ignorant people who think they know."

The more you know, the more you become innocent.

According to the Socratic division, there are two categories of people: the ignorant knowers and the knowing ignorants. The world is dominated by the second category. These are your priests, your professors; these are your leaders, these are your saints, these are your religious messiahs, saviors, prophets, all proclaiming that they know. But their very proclamation destroys the utter simplicity and innocence of a child.

Bodhidharma remained in China for fourteen years. He was sent by his master to spread the message of meditation. After fourteen years, he wanted to come back to the Himalayas; he was old and was ready to disappear into the eternal snows. He had thousands of disciples - he was one of the rarest people who have existed on the earth - but he called only four disciples and he said, "I will ask only one question: what is the essence of my teaching? Whoever gives me the right answer will be my successor."

There was great silence, tremendous expectation. Everybody looked at the first disciple, who was the most learned, most scholarly. The first disciple said, "Going beyond the mind is what all your teaching can be reduced to."

Bodhidharma said, "You have my skin, but not more than that."

He turned to the second disciple who said, "There is no one to go beyond the mind. All is silent.

There is no division between the one that has to be transcended and one that has to transcend.

This is the essence of your teaching."

Bodhidharma said, "You have my bones."

And he turned to the third disciple, who said, "The essence of your teaching is inexpressible."

Bodhidharma laughed and he said, "But you have expressed it! You have said something about it.

You have my marrow."

And he turned to the fourth disciple who had only tears and utter silence, no answer. He fell at the feet of Bodhidharma... and he was accepted as the successor, although he had not answered anything.

But he has answered - without answering, without using words, without using language. His tears have shown much more than any language can contain... and his gratitude and his prayerfulness and his thankfulness to the master... what more can you say?

The great gathering of disciples was very much disappointed, because this was a man nobody had ever bothered about. The great scholars have been rejected; the great knowers have not been accepted, and an ordinary man...

But that ordinariness is the only extraordinary thing in the world... that childlike wonder, that childlike experience of the mysterious all around.

Remember one thing: the moment you start knowing something you are not a child. You have started becoming part of the adult world. The society has initiated you into civilization; it has distracted you from your essential nature.

When the child is surrounded by the mysterious all around, everything just a mystery with no answer, with no question, he is exactly at the point the sage ultimately reaches. Garimo, that's why childlikeness is compared again and again to meditation. Meditation would not have been needed if people had remained in their essential childlikeness.

Do you know the root of the word 'meditation'? - it comes from the same root as 'medicine'. It is a medicine. But the medicine is needed only if you are sick. Meditation is needed if you are spiritually sick. Childlikeness is your spiritual health, your spiritual wholeness; you don't need any meditation.

Little Ernie wants a bicycle, but when he asks his mother, she tells him he can only have one if he behaves himself, which he promises to do. But after a week of trying to be good, Ernie finds it impossible. So his mother suggests, "If you write a note to Jesus, maybe you will find it easier to be good."

Ernie rushes upstairs, sits on his bed, and writes: "Dear Jesus, if you let me have a bike, I promise to be good for the rest of my life." Realizing that he could never manage that, he starts again: "Dear Jesus, if you let me have a bike, I promise to be good for a month." Knowing that he can't do that, he suddenly has an idea.

He runs into his mother's room, takes her statue of the Virgin Mary, puts it in a shoe box and hides it under the bed. Then he begins to write again: "Dear Jesus, if you ever want to see your mother again..."

When the Goldberg family moved into their new house, a visiting relative asked little Herschel how he liked the new place.

"It is terrific!" he says. "I have my own room, Ruthie has her own room and Sarah has her own room too. But poor Mom is still in with Dad."

Garimo, a few maxims for you to meditate on. Perhaps your dormant childlikeness may start becoming active. The first maxim:

"Smile - tomorrow will be worse."

"Nothing makes a woman feel older than meeting a fat, bald man who knew her at school."

"There are no important differences between men and women, but the unimportant ones are the most interesting."

"If it can't be done in bed, it is probably not worth doing."

"Success for some people depends on becoming well known. For others, it depends on never being found out."

"The seven ages of women: the right age, and the six wild guesses."

"A woman, generally speaking, is generally speaking."

"Old age is when you put on your glasses to think."

"The honeymoon is over when she stops calling you 'honey' and starts calling you 'listen!'"

"The honeymoon is over when a quickie before dinner is a drink."

"The honeymoon is over when the dog brings your slippers and your wife barks at you."

"If you are lonesome as a bachelor, take the big step - get a dog. The license is cheaper and he already has a fur coat."

For absolutely irrational reasons, man has been dragged into seriousness. All religions have played their role in poisoning man. The people who are going on any kind of power trip are bound to destroy man's laughter, his innocent wondering eyes, his childhood. The giggle of a child seems to be more dangerous to these people than nuclear weapons.

And in fact they are right - if the whole world starts laughing a little more, wars will be reduced. If people start loving their innocence without bothering about knowledge, life will have a beauty and a blessing of which we have become completely unaware.

Just today, Hasya brought me a letter from a sannyasin who says that for seven years he has been so cowardly... because he has wanted to tell me something, but was afraid. Somehow he has gathered courage and he has written. His question was, "Whenever you quote any scientific theory, it is not up to date." Now, I am amazed! Do you think science can ever be up to date? By the time it is up to date it is already out of date. What was up to date yesterday, today has become out of date.

What was up to date today will become out of date tomorrow. Seeing this stupidity, I simply dropped the idea of being up to date. What is the point?

And you have not come here to learn science. If once in a while I mention any scientific theory it is not to explain the theory to you, it is to indicate towards something else. It is just an arrow pointing beyond, and if you don't look at the beyond and you get entangled with the arrow, you have missed the point.

If you are so much interested in science, you should go to a science college. Libraries are full, there are hundreds of universities. This is not the place for you. This is the most unscientific place you can find in the world! And when I say unscientific, I mean exactly that. Science means knowledge - this place is not for knowledge.

This place is for innocence.

I am not imparting more information to you. My effort is to take away your information and give you a transformation.

You unnecessarily waited for seven years. But now there is no need; the choice is clear. Here we have gathered to forget all that we know, and if you are still interested in accumulating borrowed knowledge, then I feel sorry for you.

All the religions try to insist that what they are saying is true, although all their truths have been found to be superstitions. Three hundred years ago the shift came - from religion to science. And science started emphasizing that whatever it says is true. It was an old habit gathered from religions. Soon they became aware that at least religion remained for ten thousand years with the same knowledge...

because the knowledge in the religious area was such that there was no way to find out whether it was up to date or out of date, whether God was still alive, or dead, or sick. So God remained. In fact, nobody ever knew whether he had been born yet or not. Heaven and hell all remained true for thousands of years without any change. The reason was not that they were true, the reason was that they were simply fictions and there was no way and no criterion to judge.

Science took the same attitude towards its own theories, but soon the fallacy was found. Science was not talking about fictions but about facts. And as you know more facts, you have to change your old theories every day. In fact, it is said that today you cannot write a very big, comprehensive book on science because by the time the book is complete, all that you have written will be out of date. You can write only papers, and in that too you have to be very quick to read them in some conference or publish them in some periodical, because you are not alone in the world. Many people are working on the same facts. Somebody may come with a better fitting, more adequate ideology.

Albert Einstein was asked, "If you had not discovered the theory of relativity, do you think it would have been discovered ever?" And naturally the questioner was convinced that unless there is a mind like Albert Einstein, the theory cannot be discovered.

But he was shocked when Albert Einstein said to him, "If I had not discovered it, within three weeks at the most it would have been discovered by somebody else. Thousands of scientific minds are working. It was just fortunate that I jumped quickly and published my research."

And strangely enough it was found that another German physicist had discovered the theory of relativity BEFORE Albert Einstein. But he was a lazy guy; he simply waited. What is the hurry? He was thinking that nobody else was going to discover such a complicated theory. He had all the notes prepared, only he had not put them together. But do you think Albert Einstein is up to date today?

You are wrong. In science, nobody can remain up to date. Maybe for a few moments, a few days, a few weeks...

I am not concerned with the temporal and the ephemeral and the timely. My concern is with the eternal. And the eternal has nothing to do with science or knowledge; the eternal has something to do with the mysterious and the innocent.

You be childlike, with open eyes, without any prejudices hidden behind the eyes. Just look with clarity, and small flowers or grass leaves or butterflies or a sunset will give you as much blissfulness as Gautam Buddha found in his enlightenment. The question is not dependent on things, the question is of your openness. Knowledge closes you. It becomes an enclosure, an imprisonment. And innocence opens all the doors, all the windows.

Sun comes in, cool breezes pass through.

Fragrance of flowers suddenly visits you.

And once in a while a bird may come and sing a song and pass through another window.

Innocence is the only religiousness.

Religiousness does not depend on your holy scriptures. It does not depend on how much you know about the world. It depends on how much you are ready to be just like a clean mirror, reflecting nothing.

Utter silence, innocence, purity... and the whole existence is transformed for you. Each moment becomes ecstatic. Small things, sipping a cup of tea, become so prayerful, no other prayer can be compared to it. Just watching a cloud moving freely in the sky, and in innocence a synchronicity happens. The cloud is no more there as an object and you are no more here as a subject. Something meets and merges with the cloud. You start flying with the cloud.

You start dancing with the rain, with the trees. You start singing with the birds. You start dancing with the peacocks, without moving, just sitting, your consciousness starts spreading all around you.

The day you have touched existence with your consciousness, religion is born in you, and you are born again.

This is your real birth.

This real birth I have called sannyas.

One birth is from the mother and the father; another birth is that which happens between the disciple and the master. And the second birth opens all the doors and all the secrets to explore. Life becomes a continuous adventure, a moment to moment excitement, a day and night ecstasy. Neither life disappears into death nor day dies into the darkness of the night. Suddenly you become aware that day and night are two wings of the same bird, that life and death are two wings of the same bird.

The whole sky of consciousness is yours.

You don't have to be a Christian, you don't have to be a Hindu, you don't have to be a Mohammedan.

You only have to be a child.

Just a few jokes, for you to laugh....

Gordon MacTavish becomes the head of the Clan MacTavish and inherits a fortune. His friends at the pub fear that his new wealth will change him. There is a big discussion at the pub when the door bursts open and in strides MacTavish, waving them all to the bar.

"When MacTavish drinks," he booms, "everyone drinks!"

When everyone has had a drink, he slaps down a dollar bill on the bar and announces, "And when MacTavish pays, everyone pays!"

Hamish MacTavish is flying from Los Angeles to New York to go to his company's annual sales meeting. He is sipping his complimentary champagne in the first class lounge when a gorgeous blond sits down next to him. He is trying hard not to look at her ample chest, and when she says, "I know you must be wondering about my T-shirt," Hamish is very pleased to be be able to look straight at her bulging breasts with the initials N.N.A. printed across them. He admits that he is curious, so she tells him it stands for the National Nymphomaniacs Association. And as it turns out, she is also going to her annual national convention.

Excitedly Hamish asks, "What kind of man do you prefer?"

"Well," she confesses, "my absolute favorite is mature American Indians." But then noticing Hamish's disappointment, she quickly adds, "But a close second, Jewish businessmen."

"In that case," says Hamish, unable to contain himself any longer, "let me introduce myself." He then raises his champagne glass and says, "My name is Geronimo Goldberg."

The young minister decides to get married. In his innocence he finds a girl who has had much experience with men. On the wedding night he gets into his pajamas while his wife strips naked and jumps into bed. Kneeling beside the bed, the minister prays, "Ah God, on this great night, give us your guidance."

"Don't worry about that," says his wife. "I'll give the guidance, just pray for endurance!"

Okay, Maneesha?

Yes, Beloved Master.

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