Qadin, Gautama the Buddha is the only master in the whole history of mankind who could assert this tremendously important statement. It is not for ordinarily so-called religious people. It is for those who are authentically devoted, committed to reach to themselves.
The statement is very strange in a way, because what it says is exactly what it hides. The statement is: "If you meet me on the way, kill me immediately."
And the question Qadin is asking is that to kill the master certainly means the death of the disciple.
Qadin you have exactly understood the meaning of Gautam Buddha's statement. He is saying, "If you meet me on the way, even I don't matter - the master is the ultimate; even the master does not matter - kill me immediately because I don't want to become a hindrance on your path. I want to become a stepping stone."
But naturally you can kill the master only if you have killed the disciple first. In fact the master and the disciple are not two words, but two sides of the same coin. Instead of thinking of the master and disciple relationship, look at the point as if master and disciple are two sides of the same coin.
And if you drop the coin, both the sides are dropped. The moment the master is killed, how can the disciple survive?
But Gautam Buddha could have said, "If you meet me on the way kill the disciple." That would not have served the purpose, nor would the statement have been meaningful. That is exactly what he wants, but the only way to kill the disciple is to kill the master. The only way is to disappear together and just leave the energy searching and seeking the paradise lost, as one whole.
Ordinarily people have always understood that the master and disciple relationship is just like other relationships: the wife and husband, the teacher and the taught. It is not of the same category; it is a very strange relationship. It is as if in two bodies one heart starts throbbing. You cannot call it relationship, because relationship needs out of necessity the existence of the two, and this phenomenon of master and disciple intrinsically needs the disappearance of duality.
Gautam Buddha is immensely compassionate. Rather than telling you, "Disappear," rather than telling you, "Drop your ego, be no more of a separate entity," he has found a very subtle way of saying the same thing, but in a far more sophisticated way: "Kill me, if you meet me on the way."
In meditation, when you are moving inwards, you will meet many things. You will meet your repressed desires, you will meet your incomplete experiences, you will meet your ambitions, but it is easy to destroy them, it is easy to go beyond them. Finally you will meet your master, because that is your last love. You have left everything for him, now only the master has remained. But even that small clinging is enough to prevent your eyes from seeing the truth.
In another statement Gautam Buddha has said - and you may wonder how such a small clinging can prevent the immense truth from being seen - "Just a small particle of sand in your eyes is enough to prevent you from seeing the whole sky." It is not a question of a small piece of sand, it is a question of your vision. Your vision is closed, your vision is very small. The world, the truth, the universe is immense, but your eyes... And the master is certainly the biggest experience of your life.
He overwhelms you, he throbs in your nerves, he dances in your heart, he thrills every cell of your being. If you don't drop him you will not be able to know the infinite and the eternal.
But the moment you drop the master, certainly you are no longer a disciple; they disappear together.
What remains is utter silence, a non-dual state of tranquility.
No other master in the world has been able to pinpoint it so clearly and in such a sophisticated way that you never think he is asking you to dissolve. You start thinking he is asking you to kill him. He will certainly meet you on the path. He will meet you only at the last, when all other attachments and relationships are gone. He will meet you and it is going to be hard. It is going to be very hard to kill your own master. But it is only a metaphor, it only indicates to say good-bye to Gautam Buddha:
"You have been enough for me, now leave me alone. Just move out of the way."
I will not tell you to kill. Gautam Buddha was a warrior, trained as a prince in swordsmanship. He talks the same language: "If you meet me on the way, kill me immediately."
I don't even know how to hold the sword so I cannot say that. What to say of a sword? I have never even touched a razor blade with my hands.
I don't think you will find anybody in the world who has an original beard. I have never cut... but everybody in my family was continuously telling me... I said, "I love originality so much that even if nothing is original in me, at least it can be non-controversially said that my beard is original."
So I cannot say to you, "When I meet you, kill me." That very word 'kill' - it was perfectly good for a prince but I will simply say, "When you meet me just say good-bye." More than that is not needed.
Unnecessary killing and bloodshed and I have so many disciples, if everybody starts killing me, how many times will I be killed? No, that is too much; good-bye is perfectly mannerly. Nobody can object about its beauty and grace.
And remember, to say good-bye is more difficult than to kill, because when you say good-bye your eyes will be full of tears, your heart will be weeping. As far as killing is concerned that is very simple, non-complicated. A single blow and the poor master is dead. And then you will be surprised that it is not only the poor master who is dead, but with the poor master you are also dead. He was your life - you have committed suicide!
But these words 'killing' and 'suicide' are not very poetic. I say, "When you meet me on the path, say gracefully, without tears in your eyes, 'Good-bye' - and don't look back."
Naturally you will also disappear. What remains is the pure existence.
We are simply waves in the pure existence and its ocean. When the wave disappears nothing disappears....
A curve is simply no more.
A curve has become a straight line.
Nobody dies and nobody disappears. Existence remains the same through all the changes, through all the climates, through all the forms, through all the seasons, through life, through birth, through death.
You should not take it very seriously....
One Christian monk said to me, "This seems to be very strange that a man who taught non-violence for his whole life says, 'If I meet you on the way kill me.'"
The Christian monk was in a way right, because the word 'killing' does not give you the sense of compassion and love. But he did not understand that as far as Gautam Buddha or people like Krishna are concerned, nothing is killed. Only the form is dissolved into a new form. You cannot destroy anything in this world, you can only change, and change is continuously happening.
It is good that you accept this change as the very nature of existence, and with it drop all resistance and change with a deep surrender, let-go.
Don't even swim downstream, just flow.
Wherever the stream is going is home.
And Qadin, you are also asking what it means "being in the presence of the master?"
It means to be absent as yourself and let the master's presence surround you, penetrate you, burn you, change you, transform you. You drop all defense, you drop all distance, you drop all fear; you simply melt and merge in the energy that surrounds the master. That is what is meant to be in the presence of the master.
Everybody who is present is not present in the sense that I am telling you to be present. You can be present as yourself for years and nothing will happen, and you can be present the way I am telling you just for a single moment - and you will be reborn.
The presence of the master is a fire in which you have to be burned, but whatever is gold will remain and whatever is not gold will be burned. To be twenty-four carat gold is a sheer joy. Utter purity like a flower will start surrounding you. A new energy that you had not known, although it is your own but has been asleep, dormant, becomes radiant. You start to glow in a new style of life and love, in a new way you dance and sing and celebrate.
If the master's presence does not become a dance in you, you have not been present, you must have been somewhere else.
I have told you the story...
Two friends were talking. One friend said, "You will not be able to believe that last night in my dream I went fishing. My God, what a great fish, so huge. The whole night I was fishing and fishing and there was no end... greater and greater fish...!"
The other man said, "This is nothing. What I saw last night you will certainly not believe. I saw that on one side Marilyn Monroe is lying naked and on the other side another beauty."
As he asserted this the first man said, "You idiot. You pretend to be my best friend. Why did you not call me?"
The man said, "I did. I went running to your house, and your wife told me that you had gone fishing!"
Nobody is where he thinks he is. You think you are here? Really, you think...? If you look within yourself you may not believe it. It is strange, you are here and your mind is wandering somewhere else, is thinking about something else.
To be in the presence of a master is not to be just physically present. It has to be a presence of consciousness, of awareness, as if the whole world has disappeared. Only this moment - and you are gripped by a great silence. Out of this silence will arise the dance, the celebration.
One of the most important disciples of Gautam Buddha was Mahakashyapa. It is strange that he is rarely mentioned in Buddhist scriptures. As far as I know he is mentioned only once. There were other great disciples, Sariputta, Mandgalyan, Ananda and many more, and they are mentioned thousands of times. There are so many incidents in which they are involved.
Mahakashyapa is mentioned only once, because his first encounter with Gautam Buddha was his last. He looked into his eyes, he touched his feet and he sat by the side. And for forty years he was simply rejoicing, celebrating. People used to think that he was somewhat crazy: "Why does he go on smiling? Nobody has said anything, nothing has happened and he is smiling as if somebody has cracked a joke...?"
He was asked and he said, "What more...? I have seen the greatest height of consciousness. I have seen the purest love. I have seen the silence that is eternal, and I am utterly satisfied. Out of that satisfaction comes my smile. I am not smiling at somebody else. My smile is just like a flower. It is not flowering for you. It is just the juice of the bush that is blossoming in the flower. Because I am so full of my master's presence, flowers go on blossoming."
To be in the presence of the master is to disappear as a separate entity. It is just like the dropping of a dewdrop from the lotus leaf into the ocean - not that the dewdrop disappears, it simply becomes the ocean.
Now something serious. I really mean serious. Niskriya, awake! He was falling asleep....
Farmer Rumple is getting on in years, but the pretty young wench who milks his cows catches his eye.
He decides to marry her and they settle down happily at the farmhouse.
Some time later, Farmer Rumple goes to visit his doctor.
"I have this problem," he says. "I don't get the urge very often, but sometimes it happens when I'm out in the fields, and by the time I run back to my wife at the farmhouse, it is gone!"
"Well," says the doctor, thoughtfully, "why don't you take your gun with you, so when you get the urge, you can fire off a shot and she can come running to you?"
"Great idea!" says Rumple and goes home.
All is well until one day the doctor sees the farmer looking a bit miserable.
"How is your love life?" asks the doctor.
"It was wonderful since you gave me that advice," says Rumple.
"And how is your lovely wife?" asks the doctor.
"Well," replies Rumple, "that is just it. I have hardly seen her at all since the hunting season started!"
A psychology professor is teaching a class, and tells his students that he is going to conduct a sex survey. He says to the class, "If you have sex once a day, raise your hand."
About fifteen percent of the students raise their hands. "Okay," he continues; "if you have sex three times a week, raise your hand."
About forty percent do so.
"Interesting," he says. "If you have sex once a week, raise your hand."
About twenty percent do so.
The professor then asks, "If you have sex once a month, raise your hand."
A few hands go up. Then as an afterthought he says, "If you have sex once a year, raise your hand."
A little guy at the back of the class waves wildly, grinning from ear to ear.
"Why are you so happy?" asks the professor.
The little guy jumps up and starts to dance with joy, singing, "Tonight's the night!"
Jack and Ida Blinkoff, an old retired couple, are taking their yearly winter vacation, driving from New York City to Florida.
Jack is driving with Ida sitting beside him giving instructions. As they are passing through Virginia, they are pulled over by a traffic cop.
The officer says to Jack, "You realize that you were exceeding the speed limit, don't you?"
Ida nudges Jack and asks, "What did he say?"
"He is telling me that I was speeding," replies Jack.
Then the cop asks Jack to present his driver's license and registration.
"What did he say?" asks Ida.
"He wants to see my license, dear," replies Jack.
Seeing that they are from New York, the officer remarks, "I have been to New York. That is where I had the worst screw of my life!"
"What did he say?" asks Ida.
Coolly, Jack replies, "He says, dear, that he thinks he knows you!"
Niskriya, are you awake now? Just to be on the safe side...
There is great excitement in the cannibal tribe when a white hunter and his beautiful girlfriend are brought into the village and tied up to a tree.
The cannibals boil up a huge pot of water and the man is thrown in, cooked, and served up for a great feast.
By dawn the next morning, another pot is boiling, and the cannibals untie the girl and lead her towards it. She is just about to be thrown in when a man comes running from the chief's hut.
"Wait!" cries the man, "Wait! The chief wants his breakfast in bed!"
Yes, Beloved Master.