Nowhere to fall to
FOR YEARS NOW, I HAVE BEEN SITTING BY YOUR SIDE. KNOWINGLY AND UNKNOWINGLY, AN INNER MOUNTAIN HAS BEEN CLIMBED, EFFORTLESSLY FOR THE MOST PART. JUST TODAY I LOOKED DOWN AND IT FRIGHTENED ME HOW FAR OFF THE GROUND I AM. A FEAR THAT I COULD FALL GRIPS ME. THE ROAD IS GETTING SMALLER AND SMALLER, AND I FEEL THE DANGER. WOULD YOU SPEAK TO ME ABOUT THIS?
David, the path back home is certainly a razor's edge. As you come closer and closer to yourself, the path goes on becoming narrower and narrower. At the very end of this path you are going to find your pure aloneness.
The crowd has never found any truth. On the contrary, whenever anybody has found the truth, the crowd has rewarded him with crucifixion. To seek truth is the most dangerous, but very exciting, challenging, experiment.
An ancient Tibetan proverb says: One hundred seekers start; ninety-nine are lost somewhere on the way, go astray. Only one - that too, very rarely - reaches the goal of his search. With this proverb is attached a small story....
Deep in the mountains there is a monastery, far away from Lhasa. The chief monk is getting old and he wants a master from Lhasa to replace him. He sends a messenger, a young man, to the main monastery in Lhasa to ask them, "Our master is getting very old and he wants a man to replace him." After long, long difficulties of mountainous paths the young man finally reaches to the main monastery.
An audience is given to him. And the master says to him, "I can understand. I will send one hundred people with you."
The young man said, "But I have asked only for one." And the master said, "Have you forgotten the old proverb? A hundred should go; rarely, one reaches."
The proverb was certainly known to the young man, but he could not trust that a hundred people could go and only one would reach. But he could not argue either, with the chief of all the monasteries of Tibet. One hundred monks followed the young man.
They had not gone very far when they were stopped by a few soldiers with naked swords, who said, "Our small kingdom has lost its master. We need a master urgently. The pay is good, the palace to live in, and you will be the only religious man in the whole kingdom. And we are simply conveying to you the orders from the emperor. Refusal can be dangerous - you can see the naked swords."
Many of those hundred monks started thinking, "This is a good place - why unnecessarily go deep into the mountains? It is close to Lhasa, the kingdom is rich, the monastery is rich, all facilities are available, and you will be the high priest of the kingdom..." So not only one, many wanted to go.
The young man said, "Have you forgotten?"
They said, "We have not forgotten. You forget it - all! We are going to stay."
The soldiers said, "We need only one, but the monastery is big. If many of you want to come, you can be part of the monastery and the emperor will be immensely happy."
Half of the crowd disappeared. The young man could not believe....
Just a few miles further they were again prevented, this time by a crowd. They needed four priests because the richest man's daughter was being married, and the reward was going to be great.
"... And it is only a question of a few days, and then you can go on wherever you are going."
Immediately, more than four were ready, but the crowd said, "We don't want more than four."
The other monks tried to ask them, "What are you doing? We have been sent for a certain purpose, because of a certain message."
They said, "We are not going astray. It is only a question of a few days. Soon we will finish the marriage and we will come a little faster and join you. Your journey is long. The path is tedious. And we cannot miss this opportunity of earning, getting rewards, from the richest man." Four persons again disappeared.
In this way it went on, and the young man started feeling that "Perhaps I am the only one who is going to make it back!"
As they were passing a river, a very beautiful young woman with tears in her eyes said, "You are all compassionate people. My father is a famous hunter - I live with my father, my mother is dead. He was supposed to come back this morning and it is evening and he is not back. And I am immensely afraid in this lonely part of the Himalayas. Won't you be kind enough, at least one, to be with me for the night? And in the morning you can go as soon as my father comes home."
Immediately a young man... in fact many were ready, but a young man said, "I am coming. This is the essential teaching of Gautam Buddha - compassion!"
And this goes on.... It is a long story, how people went on disappearing. Finally only two monks and the young man remained. They were passing the last village and soon they would be arriving at the monastery. It was already shining in the morning sun on the mountains.
In that village there was an atheist who challenged those monks: "If you have any guts, first accept my challenge for a debate. I don't believe in Gautam Buddha and I don't believe in his teachings, and I am ready to fight on each and every point."
The young man said to the remaining two fellows, "Don't get involved in this. Our monastery is there, you can see it - so beautiful in the eternal snows of the Himalayas."
But one of them said, "I cannot move an inch. My master Gautam Buddha has been challenged.
I am going to remain here. Either I will convert this man to Buddhism or I will be converted to his disciplehood, however long it takes." So he was left in that village.
Only one monk and the young man reached the monastery. The young man said, "I have passed through an immense experience. I had never thought that proverbs are so accurately true."
The old master said, "I knew he would send at least one hundred people because I had asked for one."
The young man said, "But you never mentioned it to me."
The old man said, "There was no need to mention it. This is how things go on happening in this world. We are fortunate that at least one has arrived. There is no certainty; there are so many by-paths, so many allurements, and once you have gone astray it is not easy to come back to the right path."
The crowd consists of people who have all gone astray. Once in a while a courageous person comes out of the crowd and starts searching a path of his own. It needs daring, it needs courage, it needs intelligence. It needs trust in yourself, and also a deep understanding that you will be condemned by the crowd.
The crowd never likes people to be individuals. Individuals irritate the crowd very much. The crowd wants you just to be a part of the crowd, a Hindu, a Mohammedan, a Christian. The moment you declare that "I am myself; neither a Hindu nor a Christian nor a Buddhist, and I am going to search on my own the truth of my being," all the crowds around you will become antagonistic.
There is a deep psychology behind it. Your standing aloof and alone and moving in the direction of the unknown - without any companion, without any guide - irritates the mind of the crowd, because you are showing them that they are cowards clinging to each other like sheep, not moving like lions.
But the truth is not for the sheep. The sheep is not courageous enough to allow truth to reveal its mysteries and its glories to the mind of a sheep. The glories are so immense, so boundless, the mysteries are so infinite, that only the heart of the lion can rejoice, can dance, can sing.
Yes, there are moments when even the heart of the lion trembles, feels fear, because the path is so alone. And it goes on becoming narrower. As you are reaching higher and the path is becoming narrower, naturally, to look by the side... your whole being goes into a trembling. Just a single wrong step and you will be finished. On both sides are such depths....
But strangely enough, although the path is of the razor's edge, nobody has fallen from it. Everybody has felt the fear, but existence supports those who are in search of truth. Its support is unconditional.
Existence does not support those who are nothing but living lies. They may have great power, but their own power will destroy them. Many civilizations have existed on the earth and they destroyed themselves by their own power. We are not the first civilization in the world. Atlantis drowned - perhaps the people of Atlantis had reached a far higher civilization than we have.
In India we have the story of Mahabharata, the great Indian war that happened five thousand years ago. In minute detail, the story describes weapons which can only be nuclear. The civilization had certainly reached to the same point where we are. But power in the hands of ignorant, retarded crowds is self-destructive.
Crowds upon crowds have come and disappeared, but not a single individual seeker has ever fallen from those heights where, David, you are feeling - "What will happen?" I have been watching you.
This is perhaps your first question to me....
For all these years you have been silently with me. That is the only right way to be with a master - not to ask, and the answer will be given to you. Wait, and you will be showered with all the blessings possible. Don't be in a hurry; otherwise you will miss the whole point.
Patience is the only prayer by the side of a master. Utterly relaxed, in deep love, in great gratitude, something goes on growing in you without any effort. Something goes on maturing, something goes on becoming more and more crystallized, without any effort on your part. You are just a watcher of the miracle that is happening to you.
David, your question is not just out of intellectual curiosity. You have been long enough with me; there is no point to remain silent so long and now suddenly become curious. Your question is coming from your existential experience. And only these questions are authentic.
You are asking, "For years now, I have been sitting by your side." In fact, that is the very meaning of the ancient word UPANISHAD - sitting by the side of the master. Nothing else is expected, just sitting by the side. The master is radiating and if you are ready to receive silently, seasons will change, days will come and go, and slowly, slowly you will find you are no more the same person who had come.
And as your insight deepens, you start becoming aware that each and every moment you are changing, becoming something new, fresh, just born, and the joy of this freshness is immense.
I have been watching you, sitting by my side. In fact, if you are capable of just going on sitting, nothing else is needed. All the meditations will happen on their own, all the flowers of love and silence will blossom on their own, and once you have learned the secret, then there is nothing else to do in the world.
You are saying, "Knowingly and unknowingly, an inner mountain has been climbed, effortlessly for the most part. Just today I looked down and it frightened me, how far off the ground I am. A fear that I could fall grips me. The road is getting smaller and smaller and I feel the danger." There is no need to feel the danger, because it is unprecedented: nobody has ever fallen from the path that leads to truth.
Nobody has ever fallen from his own being. However big the mountain of being may be, you cannot fall. That is simply not in the nature of things. I have never heard that any seeker, any searcher, any honest inquirer has ever gone astray. Existence protects.
It is good you have asked it. Relax, because it is an absolute guarantee that existence supports you.
The higher you reach, the more and more you become a beloved of this whole universe.
This is my vision of a sannyasin. He has to become a beloved of this whole universe. And when you become a beloved of the whole universe, fear disappears - just as if it was nothing but darkness, and the light of love has come in and the darkness has disappeared.
Everything is going exactly right with you. Just remain in a let-go. Don't make any effort even to keep yourself on the path. Don't be worried that you may fall and at least you have to be alert not to fall. That will be unnecessary and will be preventing your growth, your evolution.
You have come far away, certainly, from the earth. And it is natural to look and see the depths that are on both the sides of the path. I am not saying that fear is unnatural. It is natural, because you are not aware of a far higher law, that existence protects those who are in search of truth. Slowly slowly, you will see that you cannot fall; the universe will not allow it.
The universe is not unintelligent. You are not living in a cosmos which has no intelligence. It is pure intelligence that the existence is made of. Call it love, call it silence, call it nothingness, but in everything remember, the tremendous intelligence of existence is always there. And once you have learned the art of trusting, you are beyond all fear - you will learn it, because there is no going back.
And when I am saying that it is absolutely guaranteed; I am saying it from my own experience. I have passed through the same fears. And as I became aware of a certain protection that surrounds me, I relaxed. Then I could move on this razor's edge, this narrowest path possible, with closed eyes. In fact, most of the people who have reached, have reached with closed eyes! At the final stage the trust becomes so deep, who cares to look here and there? The eyes become closed on their own.
It is the fear that keeps them open. You may take a wrong step. But when trust becomes total you drop all cautiousness; you simply relax. Whatever existence decides to be your destiny, you are absolutely willing to relax in it. This is the only experience that has transformed people from ordinary, mundane mortals into immortal beings, has transformed them into luminous lights.
The search for truth is the only search that makes you authentically human. Otherwise there is no difference between you and the animals - and the crowd remains at the level of the animals.
Never belong to a crowd; never belong to a nation; never belong to a religion; never belong to a race.
Belong to the whole existence. Why limit yourself to small things? When the whole is available, only stupid people will cling to small things.
Only then will you have the taste of what true life is. And a great gratitude arises, David, on its own accord. Not towards anyone in particular, but just towards this WHOLE... all these stars, and the trees and the mountains and the rivers and the oceans and the people and the birds... all that is.
You simply feel a tremendous gratitude.
And when you open your eyes with gratitude, the same world becomes so psychedelically beautiful, so colorful - you could never have believed that trees are so green; they have never been, and these are the same trees. That the winds passing through the trees are creating such subtle music - they have always been creating, but you were deaf. That sunsets and sunrises and the tremendous beauty they bring... you had been missing because you were blind.
Your trust in the total opens all your sensitivities to their extreme. This whole existence becomes a sheer dance, a sheer celebration.
Little Ernie comes home early from school.
"What are you doing home?" asks his mother.
"I put a stick of dynamite under the teacher's desk," replies little Ernie.
"You march right back to school" says his mother, "and apologize!"
"Mom," says Ernie, "What school?"
David, what earth you are talking about? It is just a shadow, a dream, a memory. And you cannot fall into a memory, you cannot fall into a shadow, you cannot fall into a dream. Forget all about falling and the fear, because this is the time: either you will become very much afraid and stuck... Back you cannot go, and forward you may not dare. That's why I am emphasizing the fact. Go ahead; there is nothing to be feared at all.
If a master cannot teach his disciples fearlessness, then that master is simply fake. I teach you in every possible way to be fearless, daring, courageous - risking, taking every challenge of life, because this is the whole science of how to create a steel spine in you - which will be needed!
First learn to drop small fears; then slowly slowly bigger fears; then finally, your whole energy which was involved in all kinds of fears, worries, tensions, anxieties, is released. The energy that is released is so much that it makes you dance, that it makes you laugh, that it makes you sing.
Suddenly a deep feeling that you have arrived - arrived to the place which you have never left. It is just that you have gone astray into your mind, far away, traveling all over the world. You simply needed a good hit.
Just today, I loved the news from Germany.... A young man punched his girlfriend in the nose, and the girl reported it to the police. They were produced before the magistrate. The magistrate must have been a wise man, which is very rare. He said, "Young man, you can slap her a little here and there, but don't punch her exactly in the nose." And with this advice he released them. Must have been a man of great understanding. A little slapping here and there is perfectly okay; otherwise life loses all juice. But punching in the nose, that is not for boyfriends - that is left for the masters!
A little pygmy living in the jungle in Africa gets a sore ass every time it rains. He goes to the witch doctor who offers him a cure which costs six chickens.
The pygmy catches the six chickens and receives an ointment from the witch doctor.
The next time it rains the ointment does not work, so the pygmy returns to the witch doctor. This time the witch doctor says that he will need a dozen chickens to make the cure.
With much effort the pygmy catches a dozen chickens and he is given some medicine by the witch doctor.
When it rains again the pygmy takes the medicine, but he still has a sore ass. So he goes to the missionaries. They cure him for nothing, and the witch doctor becomes very embarrassed.
The pygmy offers to tell the witch doctor how he was cured, but says it will cost him eighteen chickens.
The witch doctor catches the eighteen chickens and hands them over. "Okay," he says, "How did the missionaries stop you from getting a sore ass each time it rains?"
"The method is very simple," says the pygmy. "They cut the tops off my rubber boots."
David, take life very nonseriously. You are not going to fall; there is nowhere to fall to.
Pope the Polack is on a pilgrimage when his plane crashes in the Sahara. Only the pope and a nun survive. They are lucky to catch a camel and start to ride it towards the nearest town, a hundred miles away. But on the second day the camel drops dead.
As they wait for death, the pope sighs, "The only thing I regret," he says, "is that I have never seen a naked woman in my life."
"All is pure to a pure man," says the nun, and takes off her clothes.
The pope is amazed and blesses the nun for showing him. Then the nun confesses her desire to see a man's body before she dies.
Pope the Polack takes off his clothes.
The nun gazes at his prick. "What is that?" she asks.
"that," says Pope the Polack, "is the giver of life."
"The giver of life!" exclaims the nun, jumping up and down. "Well then, stick it in the camel and let's go home!"
Yes, Beloved Master.