The mystic rose
WHAT IS THE SECRET OF THE MAGIC ROSE?
Milarepa, it is not a question suitable to you, but I will answer anyway.
The mystic rose is an ancient symbol of tremendous importance.
Charles Darwin propounded a theory of evolution. Most of it is relevant, but he has missed something very basic. He only thought of the evolution of the human skeleton. He was continually comparing the skeletons of other animals with human skeletons. The ape, the chimpanzee, certain species of monkeys, have almost a similar skeleton; that's why he finally concluded that man has come either from apes or from chimpanzees or from monkeys.
Of course he was laughed at all over the world, particularly by the Christians, because Christianity has a very stubborn, fanatic attitude which was never so clear before Charles Darwin's proposing the theory of evolution. Even today, most people are not clear what the problem is, why Christians are so much against Charles Darwin.
Christians believe that God created the world in its completion in six days. Obviously, when God creates something it is bound to be complete and perfect; hence the question of evolution does not arise. Evolution means things are evolving, becoming better, more perfect, reaching to higher levels.
This was against the idea of a fixed creation; hence Charles Darwin was criticized, condemned.
I remember... There was a small school and the teacher was explaining to the students how God created the world. One small boy, whose father was a scientist and had been teaching him about the theory of evolution, stood up and said, "But my father says something else. He says we are born out of the monkeys."
And the Christian teacher said, "As far as your family is concerned, he may be right. We are not discussing your family here. You can see me later after the class."
But that was the attitude all over the world - not only of Christians but of Hindus and of Mohammedans. They thought that Charles Darwin had taken away their dignity as the greatest and the most superior creation of God. He has destroyed their ego trip, that God created man in his own image. Now this fellow is saying God that created man in the image of a monkey. Nobody was ready to accept it.
I am also not ready to accept it, but my grounds are different. It is not a question of comparing skeletons; the evolution is in the consciousness, not in the body. Man has a body, monkeys have their own bodies, chimpanzees have their own bodies.
Even Charles Darwin was very much puzzled: How can a monkey suddenly become a man? As far as we know, at least since ten thousand years, there has not been a single case when suddenly a monkey jumped out of a tree and became a man. If it has not happened in ten thousand years, it is inconceivable that it could ever have happened.
His whole life he was looking for some missing links: the gap between the monkey and man seems to be too big. He wanted to find a few missing links so he could make smaller gaps: the monkey becomes something else, then something else becomes something else, and then finally a small difference... and the animal becomes man.
But he could not find any missing link. Because he was born in the West and had the attitude of a materialist, that caused the whole trouble. Otherwise he was saying something of immense importance.
Evolution needs to be not of the body but of consciousness; then it becomes a spiritual progress.
But Darwin had no idea of any spirit in man. To him, man was just the body and nothing more.
I propound a theory of spiritual evolution, and that has been the basic of all mysticism in the world.
Man is born as a seed.
To accept the seed as your life is the greatest mistake one can commit. Millions of people are born as seeds, fresh, young, with tremendous potential of growth. But because they accept the seed as their very life, they die as a rotten seed; nothing happens in their life.
The symbol of the mystic rose is that if man takes care of the seed that he is born with, gives it the right soil, gives it the right atmosphere and the right vibrations, moves on a right path where the seed can start growing, then the ultimate growth is symbolized as the mystic rose - when your being blossoms and opens all its petals and releases the beautiful fragrance.
Unless you blossom into a mystic rose, your life is nothing but an exercise in utter futility. You are born unnecessarily, you are living unnecessarily, and you will die unnecessarily. Your whole biography can be reduced to a single word: unnecessary.
But if you can blossom and release that which is hidden in you, you have fulfilled the longing of existence. You have given back to existence the fragrance that was hidden in your seed. You have come to fulfill your destiny.
The mystics have never accepted man as the ultimate product. Man is only a beginning and one should not die as a beginning; that is ugly, insulting, damaging to your dignity. Man should reach to the absolute fulfillment - not only for his own contentment, but for the contentment of the cosmos.
That is the secret of the mystic rose.
Yes, in a few traditions the mystic rose is also called the magic rose. Both words are meaningful. It is certainly magic when you see within yourself the blossoming of the rose, the beauty of it, and the divinity of it, and the truth of it.
Satyam, shivam, sundram.
You cannot believe your own eyes. You have never dreamed that you contain so much, that your potential is so valuable, that your interiority is a treasure inexhaustible, that you need not be in debt to existence forever. You can return to existence a millionfold what existence has given to you. That moment is of great joy, not only on your side but on the side of the whole cosmos.
The experience is such a mystery that there is no way to demystify it. You can experience it but you cannot explain it - that is the meaning of the word 'mystic' - you can have it, but you become almost dumb. You cannot utter a single word that may carry something of that rose, its beauty, its fragrance, its dance, its music - nothing can be carried through any word.
The word 'magic' is also meaningful. Things like this only happen in magic. Unbelievable... you see with your own eyes things which should not be happening but they are happening.
One of the greatest losses to India happened when India became divided from Pakistan, and that was the last thing the politicians ever thought about.
In my childhood I encountered it almost every day, because all over the country the streets were full of magicians.
I have seen with my own eyes things which even today I cannot figure out how they were managing.
Of course there were tricks behind them; there was no miracle, neither were they claiming that they were performing miracles. They were simple people, poor people, not arrogant, but what they were doing was almost a miracle.
I have seen magicians in my childhood putting a small plant of a mango tree, just six inches high at the most... In front of everybody they would dig the hole, put in the plant, then cover the plant and then chant in gibberish so you cannot understand what they are saying. The pretension is that there is some communication between them and the hidden plant.
The moment they remove the cover, that six inch mango plant has ripe mangoes. And they would invite people - you could come close, you could see that those mangoes were not in any way tied on. People would come and see and they would say that they are grown, not attached.
The magician would offer those mangoes to a few people so that they could taste that they were not false or illusory - and people would taste them and say, "We have never tasted such sweet mangoes in our whole life!" And there was no claim for any miracle.
I have seen magicians bringing from their bellies big round balls of solid steel. They would be so big it was difficult to take them out of their mouths - people were needed to pull them out of their mouths - and they were so heavy that when they were thrown on the earth they would make a dent.
The magician would go on bringing bigger and bigger balls.... It was a trick - but how were they managing it? And they would throw those big balls, almost the size of a football - they would throw them in the air and they would fall and create such a big dent in the earth. They would tell people, "You can try" - and people would try, but they were so heavy that it was difficult to pick them up. And they all have come - a dozen or more, all around - from the belly of the magician.
He would show, half naked, the upper part of his body naked - he would show that the ball was moving upwards. You could see that the ball was moving upwards, that it was stuck in his throat, and you could see and you could go and touch and feel that the ball was inside. Then, with great difficulty, he would bring it into his mouth and he would cry, tears coming, and ask people somehow to take it out, because he is not able. They would destroy all his teeth to help him - and the miracle was that as they were taking it out, the ball was becoming bigger. By the time it was completely out, it was so big that that man's belly could not contain even a single ball, to say nothing of one dozen balls.
But all these magicians were Mohammedans, because it was not a very creditable job. These were street people. Because of the division of Pakistan, all those Mohammedan magicians have moved to Pakistan. They were coming from faraway Pakhtoonistan, Afghanistan. But now the roads are closed; now you don't see the magicians anywhere.
Otherwise it was almost an everyday affair - in this marketplace, in that street, near the school, anywhere where they thought they could gather a crowd.
I have seen with my own eyes something which sometimes I wonder whether I have seen it or dreamed it. I have not dreamed for thirty-five years... but the thing is such that it is absolutely unbelievable that it really happened.
A magician came to our school. The school was a very big school, with almost one thousand students and nearabout fifty teachers. Even the principal of the school, who was a postgraduate in science, first rejected the man: "We don't want any nonsense here."
But I had seen that man doing impossible things, and I told him, "You wait." I went into the office of the principal and said, "You are missing a tremendous opportunity. You are a scientist.... I know this man; I have seen him performing. I can ask him to do the best that he can, and what is the harm?
After school time, those who want to see can stay."
Those magicians were so poor that if you could give them five rupees, that was too much. I told the magician that I had convinced the principal, he was ready to allow it after school - "but you have to do the greatest trick that you know. On your behalf I have promised - and he is a man of scientific mind, so be careful. There will be fifty graduates, postgraduates, so you have to be very alert. You should not be caught, because it is also a question of my prestige."
He said, "My boy, don't you be worried."
And he did such a thing that my principal called me and said, "You should not associate with such people. It is dangerous."
I said, "Have you any idea what he did?"
He said, "I don't have any idea, and I can't even believe that this has happened."
The magician threw up a rope which stood in the air just like a pillar - a rope which has no bones, nothing, it was just coiled and he had carried it on his shoulder - ordinary rope. He went on uncoiling it and throwing it out, and soon we could not see the other end. What happened to the other end?
All magicians used to have a child who was their helper. He called the boy, "Are you ready to go up the rope?"
The boy said, "Yes, master" - and he started climbing the rope. And just as the other end of the rope had disappeared, at a certain point the boy also disappeared. Then the magician said to the crowd, "I will bring the boy down, piece by piece."
I was sitting by the side of the principal. He said, "Are you going to create some trouble for me? If the police come here and see that a boy is cut into pieces..."
I said, "Don't be worried, he is just performing a magic trick. Nothing is going to be wrong. I have been watching him in many shows - but this I have never seen."
The magician threw a knife up and one leg of the boy came down, and everybody was almost breathless. He went on throwing knives... another leg... one hand... another hand... and they were lying there on the ground in front of us, not bleeding at all, as if the boy was made of plastic or something. But he was speaking... he was doing all the things the magician was saying. Finally came his body, and just the head remained.
My principal said, "Don't cut his head!"
I said, "Don't be worried. If he has cut him... what does it mean? If the police come, you will be caught."
He said, "I was saying from the very beginning, no nonsense here, and now you are talking about police. I have always been suspicious of you; perhaps you may have informed the police beforehand to come at the right time."
I said, "Don't be worried."
And then the magician shouted into the sky, "Boy, only your head is there; let it drop." The head came rolling down, and he started putting the boy together again. He joined him perfectly well, and the boy started collecting his things and said, "What about the rope? Should I start pulling it back?"
The magician said, "Yes" - and the boy started pulling the rope back and coiling it.
I had only heard about the rope trick, which is world famous. Akbar mentions in his AKBAR NAMA, his autobiography. Since Akbar it has been a rumor in the air that there are magicians who can perform it, but no authoritative account is available. One British viceroy, Curzon, mentions in his memoirs that he saw the rope trick in New Delhi before his whole court.
I was making every effort to find some magician - so many magicians were passing through my village, and I would ask them, "Can you perform the rope trick?"
They said, "It is the ultimate, and only very rare masters in magic can do it."
But this man - I had not asked him particularly for the rope trick, but he did it. Even today I cannot believe it. I can see the whole scene, I can see the principal freaking out - and all the magician got was five rupees.
Magic simply means something unbelievable, so absurd, so irrational that you cannot find a way to figure it out. That's why both the words have been used, the mystic rose or the magic rose. But even the rope trick is nothing compared to your inner flowering. Because you don't think you have anything inner, just hollowness... but in that hollowness is the possibility and the potentiality of a rose blossoming.
And this is no ordinary rose; it does not die. It is not that in the morning it blossoms, dances the whole day, sings songs, plays with the wind and the rain and with the sun, and by the evening all the petals are fallen to the ground and tomorrow you will not find even a trace of it.
This inner rose is eternal. Once you have found it, it will be always within you.
But, Milarepa, I repeat again, these are not questions suitable to you. What is suitable to you... I will tell you this small joke.
Rubin Moscowitz went crazy and was committed to the local lunatic asylum. Immediately he started causing trouble there, because he demanded kosher Jewish meals. So the staff hired a chef to prepare this special food for Rubin. One Friday night after a delicious dinner, Rubin leaned back in his chair and lit up a large Havana cigar. This was too much for the director of the asylum, and Rubin was summoned to the office.
"Now, look here, Moscowitz, you get the best meals of anyone here because you claim you only eat kosher food. And now, on your sabbath night, you flout your religion and smoke cigars!"
Rubin shrugged his shoulders and said, "Why are you arguing with me? I am crazy, aren't I?"
What is the point of arguing with a crazy man? He can do anything, any time, any day. He can ask for special Jewish food, kosher food, and he can flout his religion. On Friday nights the traditional Jewish community stops everything; nothing has to be done on the sabbath. From the night, as the sun sets on Friday, nothing has to be done. And to smoke a Havana cigar... But Rubin is perfectly right to say, "Why are you arguing with me? Don't you know I am crazy?"
So is Milarepa. When he asks crazy questions, that looks very perfect; they have the quality of his being in them. But asking such questions as, "What is a mystic rose?" is not for you, Milarepa. It is for Kaveesha, the head of the cuckoo department.
YOU SAY WE DON'T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS. WHAT IS IT I FEEL FOR YOU? IT CARESSES MY HEART, IT MAKES ME LAUGH AND CRY, IT MAKES ME FEEL ECSTATIC, IT TAKES ME DEEP INSIDE. BELOVED MASTER, WHAT IS IT?
Prem Gatha, it must be the beginning of a great love affair.
But remember the difference between ordinary love affairs and the great love affair. The great love affair is qualitatively different from what you call love affairs. Your love affairs are just soap bubbles.
One day you are in deep love and another day - or perhaps the same day - the soap bubble is gone and with it your love affair too. It is momentary.
The great love affair is really not with the master, but with the universe through the master. The master is at the most only a window through which you can see the whole sky with all its stars.
You don't fall in love with the window frame.
There are many who have fallen in love with the window frames too; what is being worshipped in temples, in mosques, in churches, in synagogues is just windows - and those windows also are not present there. Once they used to be; two thousand years ago, three thousand years ago, four thousand years ago there used to be a window.
Those who were contemporaries of the window must have condemned it, because it takes them away from their mundane activities. It disturbs them - their peace, their life, their business, their job. Why was Jesus crucified? Why was Socrates poisoned? Why were many attempts made on Gautam Buddha's life?
The simple reason is that these people were disturbing everybody. Whatever you are doing is wrong; wherever you are is not the right place; your greed is wrong, your anger is wrong, your jealousy is wrong, your lust is wrong, your desire is wrong.
They were not telling you something that was not right; they were absolutely right, but their right was disturbing your life. Then they became almost a harassment to everybody. People like Jesus going around a small country, Judea, harassing people that this is not the real world; these parents and these children, these are not your real relatives... Your real father is in heaven, and unless you believe in me there is no way to find your real father.
People were distracted, could not figure out what was right. These people were creating confusion.
"Blessed are the poor," Jesus was saying, "because they shall inherit the kingdom of God." It was disturbing to the rich and it was also disturbing in a certain sense to the poor, because every poor man is trying to be rich. Now this man is saying that you are blessed as you are, so don't try to become rich.
The rich were very angry because Jesus was saying, "Even a camel can pass through the eye of a needle, but a rich man cannot pass through the gates of heaven." Whoever heard him was disturbed.
People could not sleep at ease. People could not do their work.
And if you don't listen to him and don't believe him... at the last day of judgment he will choose his people and the remainder will be thrown into utter darkness, into hell for eternity. Then there is no possibility of your liberation.
Naturally, such things are bound to disturb people. Finally they could not endure to be disturbed anymore. They had to crucify Jesus - just to have peace in the land, just to have a certain relaxedness in life.
Their contemporaries have always been condemnatory to people who could have led you to the ultimate. But there is something strange: nobody wants to go to the ultimate. And there are a few people like me whose whole business is that whether you want to or not, it does not matter; they are bent on taking you to the ultimate. They are ready to sacrifice themselves, but they will not leave you, they will haunt you for centuries.
Now Moses is still haunting people, Jesus is still haunting people. Gautam Buddha is still nagging....
But once these people die, you start feeling a little guilt that you did not listen; perhaps the man was right. Your own experiences in life teach you that jealousy is not right, anger is not right, greed is not right, and what these people were teaching perhaps was right - and you killed them. Now that guilt takes revenge.
Once I was asked, "Why does Jesus have more followers in the world than anybody else?" I said, "The simple reason is the crucifixion."
Mahavira was never crucified, so there was no guilt. But because Jesus was crucified, people started feeling guilty, started thinking about it: perhaps that innocent man... he had not done any crime and we killed him. They found blood on their hands; now how to wash it?
Guilt turns into worship.
This is a strange psychology. The moment you start feeling guilty, the only way to get rid of the guilt is to worship the man whom you have crucified. The worship will help you to feel good: although you crucified him, now you recognize that you committed something wrong, and you are ready to do everything....
You will worship him, you will pray, you will read the HOLY BIBLE, you will follow him for centuries.
You will become a fanatic - just as fanatical as were the contemporaries of Jesus who crucified him.
They were fanatically against him and their descendants will be fanatically for him. This is a very strange psychological change that happens, again and again.
If you can behave with me just humanly while I am alive, there is a possibility of a window opening for you. And if you can love and if you can trust, then nothing is impossible. Only very few will be able to do it, but only those very few will be able to attain something - not the millions of Christians who are worshipping someone whom they crucified. Their worship is only a compensation; it is not love. It is a consolation, not love.
Love has a totally different quality. It is a rejoicing, it is feeling blessed in the presence of the person with whom the great love affair is happening.
Prem Gatha, your question is, "You say we don't know what love is." Even if you start loving you will not know what love is. You will experience it, you will be full of it, you will be overflowing with it, you will be able to share it, but you will not be able to understand what it is; because love is one of the ultimate mysteries of life.
You are asking, "What is it I feel for you? It caresses my heart, it makes me laugh and cry, it makes me feel ecstatic, it takes me deep inside. What is it?"
Don't seek for any explanation. Every explanation becomes a disturbance in the growth of the mysterious. Never ask what it is. If you are rejoicing in it, it must be right. If you are celebrating it, it must be right. If you are dancing it, you are on the right path.
But never ask what it is, because the moment you start asking what it is you start making it something intellectual. It is something of the heart which knows experience but does not know any explanation. Something tremendously beautiful is happening to you, but don't give it a name.
Words are dangerous beyond a certain stage. If you give it a name, you may think you have come to the end.
Don't call it love. You are on the right path, you are in the right direction, but don't give it any name.
If you call it love you will become satisfied and you will stop growing - "What more can there be?
You have arrived at the final stage: it is love." Please avoid giving names; just remember that you are on the right path.
One day the mystic rose will open within you and the fragrance will be released. Even then, don't give it a name. Existence is so eternal, there are no boundaries to growth. There are skies beyond skies, and there are peaks beyond peaks.
That's the beauty of existence, that it ends nowhere. It is always an adventure; it is always a pilgrimage; it is always a searching, searching for more, searching for deeper realities. But you never come to an end so that you can say, "I have passed the final examination." There is no final examination as such.
Hymie Goldberg went to see a fortune teller. After he had sat down in the darkened room, the fortune teller said, "I will read your palm for fifty dollars, and that entitles you to ask three questions."
"Questions about what?" asked Hymie.
"About anything," replied the psychic.
"But is not fifty dollars an awful lot to charge for that?" complained Hymie.
"Maybe," said the palmist, "and what is your last question?"
In life the last question comes very soon; but in real existence, even the first question never arises.
One goes on becoming more and more silent. In that silence questions don't grow, and when there are no questions, the possibility of any answer becomes impossible.
Those who know - they don't know the answer. We call them the awakened ones, the enlightened ones, because they have dropped all their questions; now they don't have any questions in them. If you want to call the answer this absence of questions, you can call it that - but there is no answer either.
A man is stretched out on his back across four seats in a theater. The usher comes down and says, "Mister, you will have to get out of those four seats. You are only entitled to one."
The man only grunts and does not move. The manager comes down and says to the man, "Mister, you will have to get up. All you are entitled to is one seat." The man grunts and does not move.
Finally a policeman is called in. He walks down the aisle and says to the man who is still on the four seats, "Get out of those seats!"
The man grunts, and policeman says, "Okay, wise guy, where are you from?"
The man moans and says, "The balcony."
Prem Gatha, you love to laugh. Everybody should love to laugh, because in my vision of religiousness laughter is far more valuable than any prayer. Prayer is just intellectual. Laughter is total; your body, your mind, your heart, everything joins in it. You laugh as a single unitary whole.
Three famous surgeons were bragging together over their morning coffee.
The first said, "I grafted an arm onto a man and now he is a professional golfer."
"That's nothing," said the second, "I grafted a leg onto a man and now he's one of the world's best long distance runners."
"So what?" said the third, "I grafted a smile onto a donkey and now he is the president of America."