Not a 'work' but a celebration
OFTEN, WHEN I LOOK AT THE SUNSET, SADNESS ARISES FROM DEEP WITHIN. IT FEELS AS IF THE SUN IS MY HOME - THE PLACE I WILL RETURN TO WHEN "THE WORK" IS DONE. BUT NOW I HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH "THE WORK," THIS EARTH, THIS EXISTENCE, THESE PEOPLE. I DO FEEL A DEEP LONGING TO BE FREE BUT I WOULDN'T WANT TO GO HOME ALONE.
BELOVED MASTER, WILL "THE WORK" EVER BE DONE? WILL I EVER BE ABLE TO GO HOME IN PEACE?
Prem Ravindra, it is one of the deep-rooted habits of the mind always to divide things. The moment you divide things you are in trouble - and mind wants you to be always in trouble; otherwise it has no function.
The greatest trouble the mind can create is the longing for home. I call it the greatest trouble because you have never left home.
And mind projects homes. They may be the moon, the sun, or some faraway quasar - these are new, contemporary substitutes for a faraway God. Mind is so tricky that if you drop the old division, it immediately replaces it with a new, more refined, more contemporary-looking, more intelligent division.
In the past people were wanting to go to heaven, to paradise, to God, and to find peace. As you are, I don't think even if you meet God, you will find peace. On the contrary, the meeting with God will create so many problems, so many inquiries, so much anger and rage against God - because he created you without your permission; he created the world full of misery and you had to live in it.
He created all kinds of desires in you which do not seem to be fulfilled; every desire goes on asking for more and more and more, and there is no end to it. Do you think meeting with God will be a peaceful meeting? It is going to be the greatest fighting encounter!
It is good that God does not exist. He cannot exist, because of you - so many people with so many problems and poor God, alone with a crackpot son and a Holy Ghost. A strange company.
I remember one of the ancient stories that once God used to live on M.G. Road. But people tortured him so much - and in no other language can you torture somebody better than in Marathi. Even if two people are in a loving conversation, it seems they are fighting.
Marathi is unique in that way. It has no music in it. It seems to have come out of anger, violence, war. It has not come out of people loving each other. Each language has its own stamp, from where it has arisen.
And people would not bother whether it was day or night, they were continuously surrounding the house of God on M.G. Road. There are so many complaints to be made - to whom to make the complaints? Everything seems to be wrong in some way or other. Somebody is too tall, somebody is a pygmy, somebody has accumulated all the riches and somebody is a beggar. Somebody is so beautiful and somebody else is just on the other extreme; so ugly that people use his photograph for frightening children.
Your passport photographs are also used for the same purpose.
God said to his company, "This is intolerable. You have to suggest some place for me to move away to."
Jesus said, "There is no problem. We can go to the Everest, nobody is going to come there."
God said, "You are still too young to understand and to see the future. I can see that it is not safe for many more days. Soon there will be people coming and we will have to move again. Find some place from where we cannot be forced to move."
The Holy Ghost suggested, "Then the moon is very good."
But God said, "You don't understand the problem. These mad people are going to reach to the Everest, to the moon, to Mars - for no purpose! But if they find me anywhere they are going to kill me, because naturally they think I am responsible for everything."
And then finally a man from the crowd, an old sage, came forward and whispered something in God's ear and God said, "That is the right place!"
He had said to God, "Don't go anywhere; just enter into man's own being. There he will never go; that is the only place he avoids. You can be at peace."
You think that by finding home you will be at peace. Your very formulation of the question is based on a division, an assumption that you are not already at home. And peace is an art that you have to learn not on some faraway sun - those are meaningless hopes - but right here, now.
When a great rabbi was dying, his wife continued to nag him as usual to the very end. Finally she said, "At least pray to God. Make peace with God."
The rabbi said, "I have never been in a quarrel with him. There has never been any conflict between me and him, so the question of peace does not arise."
It is not some faraway goal that is going to give you peace. That is simply a postponement. You will be the same wherever you are.
The first man who landed on the moon was asked after his return, "You must have felt very different."
He said, "I am sorry to say to you, I felt just the same."
Changing places is not going to help. But changing your understanding is certainly going to transform you.
You are asking me, "Often when I look at the sunset, sadness arises from deep within." That sadness is not something negative. It arises in all those people who have a deep sensitivity... such beauty and they are stunned. Beauty can be a great shock. But it happens only to very poetic, artistic, sensitive, vulnerable people.
It is a misunderstanding on your part, Ravindra, that a sadness arises from deep within. It is not sadness, it is simply a deep silence. Your whole being as if comes to a stop when you see a beautiful sunset or a sunrise. Time stops, mind stops - and those are the things you are accustomed to, and this silence of the heart, this new space of which you are not aware, in the beginning always looks like sadness. It needs a little more acquaintance with it and you will be surprised: it is not sadness, it is silence.
You can experiment: just sit silently and somebody is going to ask you, "Why are you looking so sad?" Silence is not a value accepted by the society.
Since my childhood, I have been sitting silently. By and by the members of my family became accustomed to it, but in the beginning they used to say, "Why are you looking so sad? Why don't you go out and play?" And when I said, "I have gone in and I am playing" they simply thought that something was wrong with my mind. People go out to play and this fellow goes in to play!
Just look at the silence that surrounds a calm and cool lake, the silent waters. In the beginning it will look like the lake is sad, because you are accustomed to noise. If there is no noise, you will feel at a loss - what has happened?
I have heard a story, I don't know whether it is true or not. It has to be true.
Long ago, when humanity was not such a big crowd of five billion people, they decided: let us see what happens if one particular day everybody laughs loudly, dances and jumps for no reason at all.
The whole world at a certain moment decided it was worth experimenting to see what happens.
And what happened was very shocking, because everybody thought, "When there will be so much noise and laughter and dancing and singing, it is better to remain silent and watch and enjoy the whole thing." But everybody thought the same way. Mind functions the same way. For those five minutes that were chosen for rejoicing, shouting, jumping - whatever you wanted to do to express your joy - the whole world fell completely silent. They could not believe... what has gone wrong?
Nothing has gone wrong; it is the same mind. Everybody thought, "Let us watch it. It is going to be great entertainment. If you become a participant you will not be able to enjoy all kinds of things that will be happening all around." But what came to their mind was that because everything stopped - there was such silence, as there has never been. But everybody said, "It looked so SAD." Nobody could look deeper, into the phenomenon of silence.
You say, "I feel sad whenever I see the sun setting." You feel silent. You will have to learn a new language.
Spirituality is a new language. You will have to change the meanings of words, the nuances of words. Give them new flavors and new fragrance, because they have been used in the marketplace.
They are perfectly good in the marketplace but when you are entering into the beauty of existence, you cannot carry the same language.
Next time it happens, Ravindra, just see the sunset and feel what you have been calling sadness more deeply - and there is going to be a transformation. The same sadness will become your silence.
If a man cannot be silent facing beauty, he is not aware of the beauty. At least you are halfway: a little aware of the beauty, but not aware of the impact of the beauty that is created in your heart.
And, silence and sadness have something similar but they are not the same thing. Sadness is something dead and stale. Silence is something alive, a song without words, a music without instruments. And what has been understood by you as sadness will become a great spiritual ecstasy for you.
This whole universe is a temple, and the whole existence is trying to reach you in so many ways - through the sun rays, through the trees, through the birds - these are all messengers. Hazrat Mohammed is not a messenger; neither is Jesus Christ. These people who have pretended to be prophets, messengers, saviors, are just lunatic.
There are messengers all around you. When in the early morning, the birds start their song and the flowers open their petals and the dewdrop shines like any great pearl on the lotus leaf; when so many colors are spread all over the horizon in welcoming the new day - these are all messengers of existence. If you can be sensitive to these you will not feel sad, you will feel immensely grateful, understanding, fulfilled.
You will feel at home, you will feel at peace.
I have not gone to the sun and I don't know what it means not to be in peace. Peace is not something that has to be achieved, it is something that you are carrying always but never giving it an opportunity to blossom. It is a rose within your heart. It is a fragrance of your being. It is a sense of immense freedom and joy and celebration.
Peace is not a very good word because it is associated with war, and peace seems to be a little sick, weak. No, I will not agree for peace. Unless your inner being has a tremendous dance of joy, which has nothing to do with war or peace... then you will be able to understand the difference between the words, between peace and silence. Peace is something dead. Silence is throbbing with a heartbeat in harmony with existence.
A woman journalist asked me in America - I was addressing a world press conference and she was the first one to ask a question. She asked, "Can't you live in coexistence with America?"
I said, "No."
The woman may not have thought that anybody would say no. She was so stunned that she left the microphone. Later on she met me again and I told her, "You did not listen to my whole answer, why I said 'no.' You must have misunderstood, because I could see it on your face, but you moved away and another questioner came."
She said, "Can 'no' have many meanings?"
I said, "Every word can have many meanings, many implications. What did you understand?"
She said, "I understood simply that you cannot accept coexistence."
I said, "You misunderstood me completely. I was saying that coexistence is still war. Coexistence means we will tolerate each other. Coexistence means, 'What else to do? - we have to live together.'
All husbands and wives are living in coexistence. All nations are living in coexistence. All religions are living in coexistence. But this coexistence is not a joyful, celebrating experience. I was going to say to you, I want one existence, not COexistence. Why divide?"
She said, "My god, I reported your answer on the television and I have done an injustice to you.
Because that 'no' is resounding all over America, and naturally with the same meaning."
Words are delicate people, and as you become deeper, you start giving new meanings to words. By saying no to coexistence I was saying that the whole idea of coexistence is ugly. It means we cannot be one - that we will remain enemies. We will not fight, but the antagonism is absolutely implied in the word 'coexistence'. And this is the situation with the whole language.
Don't call it sadness and you will see the change:
It is silence.
That is natural when you come across beauty.
And then you say, "It feels as if the sun is my home." You will be simply burned there! It will be your grave, it cannot be your home. The sun is our life source, but we have to be at a certain distance.
The sun rays reach us in eight minutes' time, with the speed of light - it is a vast distance. One hundred and eighty-six thousand miles per second the light travels, multiplied times sixty - that means one minute - and then multiplied by eight. That will be the distance the sunrays travel to reach us. This much distance is absolutely necessary, neither less nor more. If the sun comes closer we will be burned, and if the sun goes farther away, again we will be dead because it will be too cold - unbearable.
It is a strange coincidence, why only on the earth life exists: because it is at the right distance from the sun. On no other planet does life exist. Some are closer, some are farther away. This beautiful earth is immensely fortunate to be at exactly the right distance.
The sun is not your home. Your home is within you. And you are not to search for it anywhere.
You are your home.
Your question goes on, "It feels as if the sun is my home, the place I will return to when the work is done." What kind of work? You are having crazy ideas. First, the sun is your home. Have you heard? Scientists are trying to reach Mars, they are trying to reach other planets, but no scientist has even mentioned that anybody is trying to reach the sun.
... You see?
(OUTSIDE, FROM ONE OF THE TREES SURROUNDING THE HALL, A BIRD HAS BURST SUDDENLY INTO A LOUD, INSISTENT, AND SOMEHOW COMICAL SONG. EVERYONE LAUGHS.) The bird has understood before you!
And the idea of "the work" has been imposed on you for centuries, that you are here for a certain "work" to do. Naturally, people wanted you not to be just lazy and enjoy. They wanted "work" because your work is going to create wealth, your work is going to create Alexanders, your work is going to create wars. Everything depends on you. So every culture, without exception, has been from the very beginning imposing the idea on the child that "you have a certain work, a certain purpose to fulfill in this life."
It appealed to people, although it was absolutely absurd. What work are trees doing, and what work are birds doing? And what work are the sun and the moon and the stars doing? Except man, nobody is so insane to think that you have a certain great work to complete. This is how they have created the achieving mind.
And for thousands of years you agreed with the idea because it was very ego-fulfilling. If you are not here to do any special work, then you are accidental. You may be here, you may not be here, it doesn't matter. That hurts the ego. The ego wants you to be indispensable to existence, that without your work, existence will not be complete.
The same teaching was given to me by my parents, by my teachers, that "you have to do some work in your life; otherwise your life is just the life of a vagabond, a bum." I said, "Perhaps that is the work I am here for, to be a vagabond! Anyway, a few people are needed to be vagabonds..."
The teacher who was telling me about the work said, "It is very difficult to discuss with you." And I said to him, "This is a very psychological trap to enslave people into some work by giving nourishment to their ego, to say that by fulfilling this work you will have fulfilled your destiny."
I said to the teacher, "I don't have any destiny, because I cannot conceive that existence has any destiny. What destiny could existence have? When the work of existence is complete, that will mean an absolute death, because nothing more is there to be done. Everything has been done, so drop the curtain." I said, "I cannot see any purpose in the flowers, any purpose in the trees, any purpose in the oceans, any purpose in the stars..."
Existence is not a work, it is a celebration - a sheer dance of energy which will go on and on forever in different forms, but cannot disappear. The energy is eternal.
And I said to the teacher, "Never again mention work to me. Celebration is okay, but work? It is destroying the whole beauty of life. And I am in tune with existence, not in tune with you. You can go on doing your work. What work are you doing? Just being a geography teacher. I cannot conceive why existence needs a geography teacher. The whole geography is of the existence; what is the need of a teacher?"
It is a very wrong conditioning that has created a workaholic society, which condemns people who are not participating. Yes, there are needs: you need food, you need clothes, you need some shelter.
Naturally, you will have to do something to create these small things. But this is not the destiny of existence that you created a house, that you produced a few children, that you are fighting with your wife. I cannot see that against the vast panorama of existence, your small stupidities are fulfilling any destiny.
I want it to be emphatically understood by my people: we don't have any work here. We have to join in the celebration of existence. Those small needs are only survival measures. Don't brag about how big a bank balance you have; existence has no need of it. Don't brag about how great a politician you are, a prime minister or a president; existence simply knows nothing about you. Existence is more in tune with these small birds who for no reason start singing, out of sheer energy.
I want to destroy the achieving mind.
That is your disease.
I want you to relax and enjoy.
Just do a few things which are needful, or manage somebody else to do them for you. It all depends on your intelligence.
I have never done anything, but I have a strange insight into people who will do things for me. And they do! And my needs are fulfilled and their doing gives them immense joy. It is not easy to be chosen by me, I am a very fussy person. I simply make you happy by your doing something for me.
And I don't think... If I could manage it for more than half a century, a few years more I will manage.
In fact, I don't do anything as far as management is concerned; that too is done by others. I am simply enjoying.
I am not a messenger to tell you that you have to do this and you have to do that. I don't have any discipline for you except freedom. I don't have any commandments; they have all destroyed the dignity of man. I want to give you the dignity of the trees and the dignity of the birds and the dignity of the oceans and the dignity of the Himalayan peaks; the dignity of the stars. But they are all in celebration - dancing, rejoicing, overflowing with energy. Nobody is working except human beings.
I want to transform even your small work that you do. Make it more aesthetic, make it more creative.
Make it a great joy, because it is your life. It is going to give you food, it is going to give you clothes; so whatever you do, it is not work, it is simply to remain as long as possible in this body and celebrate existence.
I have loved only one American in my life, and that man is Walt Whitman. And the reason I loved him is one of his small poems. The title of the poem explains everything. The title of the poem is "I Celebrate Myself". Only when you can say, "I celebrate myself" - then your work is transformed into celebration and your life becomes a non-achieving, non-ambitious journey of beauty.
And Ravindra, you say, "But now I have fallen in love with the work." That is the only good thing that has happened to you. The moment you love the work, it becomes creative. It takes on a totally different color, different beauty. You say, "... this earth, this existence, these people. I do feel a deep longing to be free, but I would not want to go home alone."
The one good thing you have is that you have fallen in love - now spread your love. These people, these trees, these birds should also become part of the space that you call love. And then you will not ask, "I want to be free." You are free.
Love is the only alchemy that brings freedom. It is hate, it is anger, it is jealousy that keeps you in bondage.
Just a pure love - unconditional, because what condition can you put on the birds? What condition can you put on the trees? Unconditional love, and you are free. Free from all jealousy, free from all anger, because there is no enemy here. All are friends and all are lovers and all are part of one cosmic whole.
But this kind of confusion happens in the mind, because mind is carrying very contradictory, inconsistent, irrelevant information. Your mind has been completely destroyed, because the society does not need you to have a mind. The society needs you to be a worker, a slave, and a slave is not supposed to have a mind of his own.
They have used a very cunning way to destroy your mind, so that you can remain satisfied that you have your mind and in fact, you don't have it. They have put all kinds of contradictory things in it.
One has to attain to freedom, and nobody has told you that love is freedom. Nobody has told you that celebration is freedom. Nobody has told you that to be alone and contented, so utterly satisfied that you can say "I celebrate myself," is freedom.
But you are even worried about going home alone. So who are you going to take with you? At least as far as I can see, nobody except someone who wants to commit suicide is going to go with you to the home you have chosen - the sun!
You don't understand that the path that brings you to yourself... from where you have never gone away, just your mind has been projecting faraway goals. But you have remained in your home. The only thing that can bring you back, can withdraw your projections, is the joy of being alone. You don't know the purity of aloneness. You must be living in a great mess, Ravindra, because aloneness is your home. And aloneness is your freedom - freedom from the other, freedom from the need of the other, freedom from the dependence on others.
Aloneness is your freedom and aloneness is your home.
But your mess is really deep. You ask, "Will the work ever be done? Will I ever be able to go home in peace?" Linguistically, your sentences seem to make sense. But existentially they don't make any sense at all.
First, there is no work; hence the question of when the work will be done does not arise. Otherwise, it would have been a very tedious, torturous world, because the world goes on and on - the work is never finished. Every spring flowers come; every fall trees drop their leaves; every morning the sun rises; every night the sky is full of stars. And it is not that it is happening only now, it has been happening for millions of years. In fact from eternity, because there is no possibility of a beginning.
And it will continue till eternity again, because there is no end conceivable.
If you become too much attached to the work, you will be eternally in bondage. Enjoy the work, love the work, transform it and make it a part of your celebration. It is never going to end, so you need not be worried about when it is going to end. You will be gone; we all will be gone, and we will come back in another time, in another spring - rested, rejuvenated, fresh.
Perhaps we will meet here again - in this impossible world, everything is possible. Perhaps we have met in this place before, too. The same players go on playing different games. But once you drop the idea of work, then a load, a burden disappears and you don't have to go to any home. This celebrating existence, this celebrating consciousness is your home.
It has always been your home.
Your question is a mess but it is good, because many people are carrying the same kind of messes.
It will help you and it will help them, too: make life a very simple thing, utterly innocent.
... Do you think this silence needs anything more to be added to it? Or is not this gesture complete?
Each moment has to be lived in beauty, in joy; has to be made a festival of lights.
Now, some really serious things....
A farmer munching on a cookie is watching a big rooster chasing a hen around the barn, and gaining on her at every lap.
The farmer throws a piece of cookie in front of the racing pair.
The rooster comes skidding to a stop and gobbles up the piece of cookie.
"My god," says the farmer, "I hope I never get that hungry."
The elections come and Ronald Reagan is out of a job. He is sitting with Nancy Reagan in the Oval Office for the last time, working out some economy measures for his retirement.
"You had better learn to cook, Nancy," says Reagan, "so we can fire the cook."
Nancy thinks it over for a few moments. "Okay," she says, "but you had better learn to screw so we can fire the chauffeur."
Little Ernie is playing with his train set in the living room, while his mother is cooking dinner.
He lets the train go around the track ten times, then stops it and says, "All you fuckers who wanna get in, get in. All you fuckers who wanna get out, get out!"
He lets the train go around ten more times and then stops it and says the same thing.
At this, his mother comes storming into the living room and tells Ernie to go and stand in the corner for using such filthy language.
Half an hour later, his mother tells him he can go and play with his train again. Little Ernie sends the train around the track ten times, stops it and says, "All you fuckers that wanna get in, get in! All you fuckers who wanna get out, get out! Anybody got a complaint about the delay, go and see the bitch in the kitchen!"
Yes, Beloved Master.