The Secret Taste of Honey on the Tongue
IN THE MIDDLE AGE HUA-TZU OF YANG-LI IN SUNG LOST HIS MEMORY. HE WOULD RECEIVE A PRESENT IN THE MORNING AND FORGET IT BY THE EVENING; GIVE A PRESENT IN THE EVENING AND FORGET IT BY THE MORNING. IN THE STREET HE WOULD FORGET TO WALK; AT HOME HE WOULD FORGET TO SIT DOWN. TODAY HE WOULD NOT REMEMBER YESTERDAY; TOMORROW HE WOULD NOT REMEMBER TODAY.
HIS FAMILY WERE TROUBLED ABOUT IT AND INVITED A DIVINER TO TELL HIS FORTUNE BUT WITHOUT SUCCESS. THEY INVITED A SHAMAN TO PERFORM AN AUSPICIOUS RITE BUT IT MADE NO DIFFERENCE. THEY INVITED A DOCTOR TO TREAT HIM BUT IT DID NO GOOD.
THERE WAS A CONFUCIAN OF LU WHO ACTING AS HIS OWN GO-BETWEEN CLAIMED THAT HE COULD CURE IT. HUA-TZU'S WIFE AND CHILDREN OFFERED HALF OF THEIR PROPERTY IN RETURN FOR HIS SKILL.
THE CONFUCIAN TOLD THEM: 'THIS IS CLEARLY NOT A DISEASE WHICH CAN BE DIVINED BY HEXAGRAMS AND OMENS, OR CHARMED AWAY BY AUSPICIOUS PRAYERS, OR TREATED BY MEDICINES AND THE NEEDLE. I SHALL TRY REFORMING HIS MIND CHANGING HIS THOUGHTS THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE THAT HE WILL RECOVER.'
THEN THE CONFUCIAN TRIED STRIPPING HUA-TZU AND HE LOOKED FOR HIS CLOTHES; TRIED STARVING HIM AND HE LOOKED FOR FOOD; TRIED SHUTTING HIM UP IN THE DARK AND HE LOOKED FOR LIGHT.
THE CONFUCIAN WAS DELIGHTED AND TOLD THE MAN'S SONS. THE SICKNESS IS CURABLE BUT MY ARTS HAVE BEEN PASSED DOWN SECRETLY THROUGH THE GENERATIONS AND ARE NOT DISCLOSED TO OUTSIDERS SO I SHALL SHUT OUT HIS ATTENDANTS AND STAY ALONE WITH HIM IN HIS ROOM FOR SEVEN DAYS.' THEY AGREED AND NO ONE KNEW WHAT METHODS THE CONFUCIAN USED BUT THE SICKNESS OF MANY YEARS WAS COMPLETELY DISPELLED IN A SINGLE MORNING.
WHEN HUA-TZU WOKE UP HE WAS VERY ANGRY. HE DISMISSED HIS WIFE, PUNISHED HIS SONS, AND CHASED AWAY THE CONFUCIAN WITH A SPEAR.
THE AUTHORITIES OF SUNG ARRESTED HIM AND WANTED TO KNOW THE REASON.
'FORMERLY WHEN I FORGOT,' SAID HUA-TZU, 'I WAS BOUNDLESS, I DID NOT NOTICE WHETHER HEAVEN AND EARTH EXISTED OR NOT. NOW SUDDENLY I REMEMBER, AND ALL THE DISASTERS AND RECOVERIES, GAINS AND LOSSES, JOYS AND SORROWS, LOVES AND HATES OF TWENTY, THIRTY YEARS PAST RISE UP IN A THOUSAND TANGLED THREADS. I FEAR THAT ALL THE DISASTERS AND RECOVERIES, GAINS AND LOSSES, JOYS AND SORROWS, LOVES AND HATES STILL TO COME WILL CONFOUND MY HEART JUST AS MUCH. SHALL I NEVER AGAIN FIND A MOMENT OF FORGETFULNESS?'
THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST PARABLES of Lieh Tzu, pregnant with profound significance and insight. It is based on a great experience of the inner world of consciousness. It is paradoxical but it indicates something absolute.
Let us go into it very softly delicately, carefully. It has much to give to you, it has much to show to you. It can give a great clarity to you on your path. But before we enter into it a few paradigms of Taoism will be helpful.
First, Taoism believes that the memory is the problem. Because of the memory we are not really alive. The memory holds us back in the past, it never allows us to be in the present. It is a dead weight. And it goes on growing every-day. Every day the past becomes bigger and bigger and bigger. Every day more and more experiences, more and more memories, become accumulated.
And they hold you back.
The child is free. He has no past. The old man is not free. He has a long past. The child has nothing to look back to, he has everything to look forward to - he has the future just opening up for him, a great adventure. The old man has nothing in the future. Everything has happened. And all that has happened goes on cluttering his mind. It is a weight that pulls him down backwards, it does not allow him to move with the times. He lags behind.
Memory is what roots you in the past. Unless you become so free of memory that you need not look back - memory no longer disturbs you, memory no longer clouds you - you will not be able to live in the present. And if you cannot live in the present the future is not yours - because the future is contacted only through living in the present, the future becomes a reality only through living in the present. The present is the door by which the future enters in and the past goes out. If you are looking at the past you will miss the future, because during the time you are looking at the past, the future is entering into the present and you cannot look both ways simultaneously. You have eyes to look forward, you don't have eyes at the back of your head. Nature never intended you to look back otherwise your eyes would have been at the back of your head. Nature has intended that you should be looking forwards, nature has not given you any instrument to look backwards.
So when you look back you have to turn back, and during the moment that you are looking back and your head is turned to the dead past, the future is turning into the present. You will miss that birth, you will always miss the future turning into the present - and that is the only reality there is.
Now, what happens? If you are interested too much in the past, attached too much to your memories, you start creating an unreal future too - in the imagination. A man who is too attached to the past projects a future also. He lives in the memory and through the memory he creates an imagined future. Both are unreal. The past is no more, you cannot live it again, there is no possibility. That which is gone is gone forever, it is impossible to bring it back. Because it is impossible to bring it back you start imagining a similar type of future, something similar - a little more decorated, a little more sweet, a little better. You start imagining a future but that future is based on your past experience. On what else can it be based?
You loved a woman. Almost everything was good in the woman except for a few things. Now you project a dream: in the future you will find a woman who will be as good as the past woman but with those wrong habits deleted, with those wrong habits dropped. In the future you will have a house as beautiful as in the past, more beautiful - but you will manage to have a few things which were not there in the past.
Your imagination is nothing but a modified past. This is how people are living. The past is no more and the future is nothing but a desire to repeat the past - of course, in a better way, but it is the same past. You ate something yesterday, you would like to eat it again tomorrow. Yesterday you loved a man or a woman, tomorrow you would again like to love a man or a woman. You want to repeat.
The mind is a repetitive mechanism; the mind continuously hankers for the same. And every moment the reality is new; it is never the same. You cannot step in the same river twice. Life is constantly moving, changing. Only change is perma-nent, everything else is changing. Only change is not changing. That is reality.
But then you create a false, a pseudo-reality of your own invention - fabricated in the mind, manufactured by your desire - and you start living in it.
Taoism says that to be in reality a man has to get out of his mind, a man has to become a no-mind.
To be in reality a man has to uproot himself from the past, he has to forget the past. To remember that which is, the eyes have to be completely unclouded from the past - only then can you see in the reality. Eyes that are clouded with the past are eyes that are blind. You are not really blind, you are just clouded by the past. You cannot see directly because of so many screens covering your eyes.
Those screens have been created by the past.
A man insulted you yesterday and today you come across him on the road. The past arises. A screen falls over your eyes. This is the same man who insulted you. You have to take revenge. You have to pay him back in the same coin - tit-for-tat. You start getting angry, you get into a rage. Now you are missing this man. It is possible that this man is no longer the same man; in fact, he cannot be the same man. He may have repented, he may have brooded the whole night, he may have decided to come to you and apologise, he may be coming to apologise now. But you cannot see.
Your eyes are clouded with anger and your anger colours the reality. Even if he tries to apologise you will think that he must be trying to deceive you, or he has become afraid of your vengeance, or he is a cunning man - beware, he is trying to cheat you, to deceive you. Right now he is trying to be-friend you but some day he will again bring trouble to you.
All these thoughts will be there and you will not be able to see what he is, you will miss the reality.
And seeing all these clouds on your face, there is every possibility that, though he had come to apologise, he may now not apologise. Seeing that you are in a rage and you will not understand, he may change his own ideas. We affect each other. And then, if he changes his mind, your ideas are confirmed, they become even stronger. This is how things are happening.
A man who has clarity never carries the past. He simply looks into reality with no interference from the past. That is the meaning of this story. Dropping the memory means dropping the mind.
Dropping the mind means dropping the whole world. Dropping the mind means dropping the ego - then you are no longer self-centred, then you don't have any mind whatsoever. Then you live a life with no mind of your own - that is the meaning of Tao. Then God's mind functions through you, you don't have your own mind. You function but now you don't function from your own centre. Now the centre of the whole becomes your centre. You act but you are not the doer any more, God acts.
Your surrender is total.
Just the other day I was reading a beautiful Hasidic parable.
A young man asked an old rabbi, 'In the past, in the old, golden days, we have heard that people used to see God with their own eyes, people used to encounter God. God used to walk on earth, God used to call people by their name. God was very close. What has happened now? Why is God not so close? Why can we not see him directly? Why is he hiding? Where has he gone? Why has he forgotten the earth? Why does he not walk any more on the earth? Why does he not hold the hands of people stumbling in darkness? He used to do that before.'
The old rabbi looked at the disciple and said, 'My son, he is still there where he used to be, but man has forgotten how to stoop down low enough to see him.'
To stoop down.... Man has forgotten how to stoop, man is standing very haughtily, man is standing very proudly, man is standing very erect, man is standing separate from God, man has become an island, man is no longer part of the universal, part of the whole. God is exactly where he used to be - he is still trying to hold your hand but you are not willing. He is still confronting you but you look sideways. He is still there, calling you by your own name, but you are full of your own noise, the inner talk, the continuous chattering - you have become a chatterbox.
Man has forgotten to stoop, to bow down.
In the East, bowing down has been always a very significant gesture. The disciple goes to the Master, bows down, lies down flat on the earth. That is a gesture of surrender. He says, 'I am no more.' He says, 'I will not exist any more as myself. Now I will be a vehicle, I will be passive. You pour and I will be a womb, you pour and I will be a receptacle. I will not fight. I surrender.' In that surrender something of tremendous value happens.
With the Master you start learning the ABC of surrender - then one day, when you have learned what surrender is, you try it with God. The Master is just a kindergarten, just a beginning, the beginning of surrender. When you have learned the joy of it, the beauty of it, the benediction of it, then you want to go on to deeper seas. You have learned swimming near the banks, now you would like to go to the farthest point. Then God is available. But if you exist as you, if you exist as a self, then it is impossible. Then you exist as an ego.
This ego is what this parable means by memory. These Taoist parables are very subtle.
Now let us go into it.
IN THE MIDDLE AGE, HUA TZU OF YANG-LI IN SUNG LOST HIS MEMORY.
That is a way of saying that he became a meditator.
That is a Taoist expression - lost his memory. It means: became a non-individual. It means: became a non-ego. It means: became loose from the grip of the mind, dropped the weight of the past. It is not something condemning, remember, it is a great appreciation.
In Taoist circles, when somebody says 'He has lost his memory' he is praising the man, remember.
Taoists have their own way of saying things, very peculiar ways of saying things. But the meaning of their gestures is profound.
IN THE MIDDLE AGE, HUA TZU OF YANG-LI IN SUNG LOST HIS MEMORY.
He became a no-mind, he forgot all about his past, he forgot all that had happened - it was as if all the dust from the mirror dropped away. He came to exist in the present - that's what it means. He was no longer in the past, he did not exist through the past, he did not function through the past, he had started functioning in the immediate present. Moment to moment he now lived - not gathering, not accumulating, not hoarding any knowledge or any information. Whatsoever the totality brought in the moment was all. If he felt hungry he looked for food, but he had no idea about any food that he had eaten before. And the moment his appetite was fulfilled he forgot all about it. He did not carry the idea in the mind, he had no fantasy about food, either before or after. The moment was all, the now and the here was all, there was no then and there was no there.
This is the first satori - when a man becomes loosened from the grip of the past, the hold of the past, as if a snake has slipped from the old skin. He has become absolutely new, like a tree which, after dropping all her old leaves during the fall, has sprouted new leaves. The moment something becomes old, one moment old, it is dropped immediately. One goes on slipping again and again into the present. It is a totally new style of life - the way of Tao, the way of Zen, the way of sannyas.
Watch it in your own life. How do you live? Do you bring the past in again and again? So you always live through the past? Is your life too coloured by memory ? Then you are living the worldly life.
To live in memory is to live in the world, SANSARA; to live without memory, is to live in God, to live without memory is to live in nirvana, enlightenment.
Remember, by saying that Hua Tzu lost his memory, you should not translate it to mean that he became absent-minded, no. That is not the meaning of it. To become absent-minded is a totally a different thing. It is a disease, Absent-mindedness means that memory persists but becomes distorted. You know but you don't know dearly. An absent-minded person is not a man of Tao. An absent-minded person is simply absent-minded. The man of Tao is very much present, he is not absent-minded. In fact, he is SO much present that the memory cannot interfere. His presence is tremendous; his presence is so intense, the light of presence is so intense, that the memory cannot interfere. He functions out of the present, you function out of memory.
So when somebody becomes absent-minded he looks as if he is ill - naturally - because he goes on forgetting. But it is not that he has really forgotten, he remembers that he has forgotten - the difference has to be understood. He remembers that he has forgotten; he knows that he knows and yet he cannot remember it. That is the man who is absent-minded.
I have heard many stories about Thomas Alva Edison. He was a man who could be called perfectly absent-minded.
One day he went into a restaurant, ate his lunch, came out and met a friend at the door, just on the street. They talked for a few minutes and then the friend said, 'Why don't you come with me and have your lunch?' So he said, 'Right. You made me remember. I came for my lunch.'
Then they went inside the same restaurant again. The food was served. The friend said to Edison, 'You look a little puzzled.' And Edison said, 'Yes. What.is the matter? I don't feel any appetite at all.'
And the waiter laughed and he said, 'Sir, you ate your lunch here just five minutes ago.'
This is absent-mindedness.
Once it happened. that he forgot his own name. He was standing in a-queue and when his turn came and his name was called he started looking here and there, looking for the man whose name had been called. And then somebody who was standing behind him said to him, 'Sir, as far as I know, you are Edison. So for whom are you looking?' And Edison said, 'Thank you. In fact, I had- completely forgotten.'
This is absent-mindedness. Edison is not a man of satori; he still lives in the memory but his memory is a chaos. He cannot figure out what is what. He is not a Buddha, he is not a Hua Tzu. He does not live in the moment, he still lives in the past. Of course, his past is very clumsy. Absent-mindedness is a clumsy past, a clumsy memory, a lousy memory.
But a man.who has lost his memory in the sense that Taoists use this term is a man who functions out of the presence of his mind - presence of mind.
Just a few days ago I was reading the memoirs of a very rare man. He was a saint who died a few years ago. He lived for a really long time - almost one hundred and forty years. His name was Shivapuri Baba, Shivapuri Baba of Nepal. In his memoirs he tells a story.
When he went to Jaipur a very rich man gave him a box full of notes, hundred-rupee notes. While in the train he looked into the box; it was full of notes and he wanted to know how many notes he had.
So he started counting. In the compartment there were only two persons, Shivapuri Baba, a very old ancient man, at the time he must have been about one hundred and twenty years' old - and an English lady, a young woman. She became interested. This old beggar was in the first class and was carrying a whole box of one-hundred-rupee notes?
An idea came in her mind. She jumped up and said, 'You give me half the money otherwise I will pull the chain and I will tell them that you tried to rape me.' Shivapuri Baba laughed and put his hands to his ears as if he were deaf. And he gave her some paper and said, 'Write it down. I cannot hear.'
So she wrote it down. He took it and put it in his pocket and said, 'Now pull the chain.'
This is presence of mind! It is not functioning out of the past because this has never happened before and it may not happen again. But, in a flash, like lightning, a man who is really present will act out of his presence.
You would have been in trouble because you would have looked into your memory - what to do now? You would have started groping in your memory - is there something in the past from which you can have some idea of what to do now?
But in real life nothing is ever repeated. Everything is new. That's why your responses always fall short. You act out of the past and the thing is absolutely new, it has never happened before, you don't have any experience of it. Your experience may be of something similar but it cannot be about exactly the same thing. It is not a repetition, the situation never repeats. Maybe it was something similar - you were cheated by somebody, something similar. You were deceived by somebody, something similar. You were threatened by somebody, something similar. But it was not exactly the same. So when you start looking into your memory you are showing that you don't have presence of mind.
This is a paradox: a man of no-mind is a man with presence of mind; and a man of mind, a man with memory, is a man who is absent. He looks into the past. The situation is herenow, confronting you; it is an encounter. Respond right now, like a mirror. A mirror reflects whosoever comes in front of it.
It does not look into the memory: this man has been here before, in front of me, so how to reflect him? It simply reflects. When there is no memory it is not absent-mindedness, the mirror is simply c!ear, the dust is not there, the dust is not a distraction. The reflection will be clear and out of that reflection will come the act. When you act out of the present moment your act is always total. You will never feel frustrated.
Two Englishmen were in London.
'I say, Derrick !' called Quincy. 'How are you, old chap?'
'Fine. Just fine,' said Derrick. 'Lots doing. Business grand, children fine, weather pleasant and all that sort of balderdash.'
'Jolly good. Anything else?'
'Let me see - oh yes - buried my wife.'
'Had to. Dead, you know.'
Now this man is an absent-minded man. It is not that he has lost his memory, he has a lousy memory. Remember the distinctions. Sometimes they may look the same, but they are not.
This story of Hua Tzu is about a man who lost his memory, who lost his mind, who lost his past, who became unburdened.
To say it in Christ's words - who became a child again, capable of entering into the kingdom of God.
But to his family, to his friends, he must have posed a great problem. Naturally. They must have wondered what had happened to this old man. A calamity. They must have thought he had fallen into a deep sleep, a sort of sleep. But exactly the contrary was the case - they were asleep and this man had awakened out of sleep. But they could understand only the language of sleep so they must have thought that this man had fallen asleep.
A big-city sharpie made a wrong turn and found himself helplessly lost in the sticks of Kentucky.
After bouncing along a rocky country road for more than an hour, he reached a large intersection.
There, standing on the side of the road, was an odd-looking hillbilly.
'Hey, fellow!' he shouted. 'Could you tell me where the road on the right leads to?'
'I don't rightly know,' the country boy answered slowly.
'Well, then, I wonder if you can tell me where the road on the left would take me?'
But again the boy shook his head. 'I don't rightly know that either.'
A little perturbed, the city fellow barked, 'You're hot too bright, are you?'
'Maybe not,' drawled the hillbilly, 'but I ain't lost.'
The others must have thought that this old man, Hua Tzu, was lost. He had changed so diametrically, he had changed so tremendously, that the whole village - the relations, the friends, the family, the sons, the daughters, the wife - must have become very worried. What to do with this man?
HE WOULD RECEIVE A PRESENT IN THE MORNING AND FORGET IT BY THE EVENING...
He had really become a child again. That is the quality of innocence.
... GIVE A PRESENT IN THE EVENING AND FORGET IT BY THE MORNING. IN THE STREET HE WOULD FORGET TO WALK; AT HOME HE WOULD FORGET TO SIT DOWN. TODAY HE WOULD NOT REMEMBER YESTERDAY; TOMORROW HE WOULD NOT REMEMBER TODAY.
This is not absent-mindedness. He is simply not gathering the past any more. It is not that he has a lousy memory, he is cut away from memory utterly. He is like a child.
You are angry with a child and the child is angry with you. Look at his face! He is so angry and so red that he would like to kill you. He says, 'Never again will I talk to you. Finished!' And the next moment he is sitting in your lap again and talking beautifully. He has forgotten. What-soever he has said in a rage, he has not carried it. It has not become luggage in his mind. Yes, in the spur of the moment he was angry, he said something, but now the anger is gone and all that he had said that moment has gone. He has not become committed to it forever, it was a momentary flare-up, a ripple.
But he is not frozen in it, he is a flowing phenomenon. The ripple was there, a wave had arisen, now it is no more. He is not going to carry it always and always. Even if you make him remember, he will laugh. He will say, 'All nonsense!' He will say, 'I don't remember. Is it so'?' He will say, 'Have I really said that? Impossible!' He will say, 'How I can say that? You must have imagined it.'
It was a flare-up. This has to be understood. A man who lives moment to moment is sometimes angry, sometimes happy, sometimes sad. But you can depend on it - he will not carry these things forever. A man who is very controlled and does not allow any emotion to arise in his being is very dangerous. If you insult him, he is not angry. He holds it. By and by he will accumulate so much anger that he is going to do something really nasty.
There is nothing wrong in a momentary flare of anger - it is beautiful in a way. It simply shows that the man is still alive. A momentary flare-up simply shows that the man is not dead, that he responds to situations - and responds authentically. When he feels that the situation is such that anger is needed, anger is there. When he feels that the situation is such that happiness is needed, happiness is there. He moves with the situation. He has no prejudice for or against. He has no ideology as such. He does not have a certain idea that you should not be angry, that whatsoever the situation you should remain non-angry.
If a man tries to be non-angry in that way, what will he do? He will repress his anger. And sometimes that anger will arise in situations where it will look almost mad, out of all proportion. He will be capable of murdering some-body or committing suicide or doing something really harmful - because when so much anger is released it is very poisonous, very destructive.
Ordinary anger has nothing wrong in it. In fact, a person who can become angry and forget all about it the next moment is really a very good person. You will always find him friendly, alive, loving, compassionate. A man who is always holding onto his emotions, controlling and controlling and controlling, a man of so-called discipline, is never a good person. He will always show that he is holier than you, but you can see his anger in his eyes, you can see it in his face, you can see it in his every gesture - the way he walks, the way he talks, the way he relates with people - you can see it always there, boiling. He is ready to burst every moment. These are the murderers, these are the criminals, these are the real evil-doers.
And if he goes on controlling, all his control will make his ego more and more strong. And the ego is far more danger-ous than anger. Anger is human, nothing wrong about it. It is simple It is simply a situation in which you are provoked, and you are alive so you respond to it. It is saying that you will not yield; it is saying that this is not a situation you can accept; it is saying that this is a situation in which you want to say no. It is a protest, and nothing is wrong about it.
I am not against anger, I am against accumulated anger. I am not against sex, I am against accumulated sexuality. Anything that is in the moment is good, anything that is carried from the past is bad, is diseased, is illness.
This man became like a child.
TODAY HE WOULD NOT REMEMBER YESTERDAY, TOMORROW HE WOULD NOT REMEMBER TODAY.
Jesus says to his disciples, 'Think not of the morrow. Look at the lilies in the field, how beautiful they are. They don't think of the past, they don't think of the future. They are not worried at all about what is going to happen and what has happened. They simply live herenow, that is their beauty.' That is the beauty of the trees and the rocks and the stars and the rivers. The whole existence is beautiful because it has no past.
Man is ugly. The past makes him ugly. Apart from man nothing is ugly, because it is only man who goes on brooding about the past and the future and goes on missing the life that is available in the present. That is the only life there is, the only dance there is. Naturally you become ugly - because you have no opportunity to live, to live authentically.
I have heard a beautiful anecdote.
The man was talking with his friend, the tailor, about hunting trips.
'Once,' said the tailor, 'I was in Africa hunting lions. I discovered one standing ten feet away - and there I was without my gun. The lion came closer. Now he was only five feet away.'
'What happened?' the man asked breathlessly.
'Well, to make a long story short, he leaped up and killed me.'
'What do you mean he killed you?' the man asked. 'You're sitting here, very much alive.'
'Ha!' said the tailor. 'You call this living?'
Even people who look alive are not really alive. They have been killed and not once, many times.
Killed by the past, the lion of the past; killed by the future. the lion of the future. And they are being killed every day, they are being murdered every day by these two enemies.
There is a beautiful Buddhist parable of many meanings. All the meanings are beautiful, but today try to understand it in one certain meaning.
In a forest a man is running, trying to escape from a lion who is following him, chasing him. The man comes to a precipice. There is no other way to go so he stops. For a single moment he doesn't know what to do. He looks down. It is a very deep valley, a great abyss. If he jumps he is gone. But still there is a possibility for him - miracles happen. So he looks down more closely and there, deep in the valley, two more lions are standing, looking up. So that possibility is finished.
The lion is coming closer, roaring; the man can hear the roar. His only possibility is to hang from the roots of a tree sticking out over the valley. He cannot jump and he cannot stand on the precipice so he holds onto the roots of the tree. The roots are very fragile and he is afraid that at any moment they will break. Not only that, it is a very cold evening, night is gathering, and the sun is going down.
And his hands are so cold that he is afraid he will not be able to hold on for long. Already the roots are slipping out of his hands. They are frozen. Death is certain. Each moment death is there.
Then he looks up. Two mice are chewing through the roots of the tree. One is white and one is black the symbol of day and night, the symbol of time. Time is running out fast and the two mice are chewing through the roots and they are really doing a great job. They are almost at the end, they are just going to finish - it is evening and they have also to go and rest so they are finishing in a hurry. Any moment the root will break away from the tree.
The man looks up again and there on the tree is a beehive out of which honey is dropping. He forgets all and tries to catch a drop on his tongue and he succeeds. And the taste is really sweet.
Now this parable has many meanings. I have talked about this parable in different ways. This time I would like to indicate a certain meaning: this moment. In the past a lion is coming, in the future two lions are waiting; time is running out fast, death is very close by as it is always; the two mice are cutting away the very roots of life but, if you can live in the present, the taste is tremendously sweet.
It is really beautiful.
The man lived in the moment and forgot all. For the moment there was no death, no lions, no time, nothing existed - only the secret taste of honey on his tongue.
This is the way to live, this is the only way to live - otherwise you will not be living. Each moment...
this is the situation. The parable is really very existential. You are the man clinging to the root of the tree, surrounded everywhere by death, with time running out. Any moment you will drop into death and disappear. Now what to do? Worry about the past? Worry about the future? Worry about death? Worry about time? Or enjoy this moment?
To think not of the morrow means to let this moment become a drop of sweet honey on your tongue.
Even though death is, life is beautiful. Even though the past was not very good and who knows about the future - it may not be very good, as things are it is hopeless to hope but this moment is beautiful. Look at this moment. Let it become a drop of honey on your tongue. This moment is tremendously beautiful. What is missing? What is lacking?
Be in this moment - that is the meaning of the Taoist expression: Hua Tzu lost his memory.
HIS FAMILY WERE TROUBLED ABOUT IT AND INVITED A DIVINER TO TELL HIS FORTUNE, BUT WITHOUT SUCCESS. THEY INVITED A SHAMAN TO PERFORM AN AUSPICIOUS RITE, BUT IT MADE NO DIFFERENCE. THEY INVITED A DOCTOR TO TREAT HIM, BUT IT DID NO GOOD.
Now that is beautiful - and meaningful. It was not a disease so no doctor could cure it. Had it been a disease then the doctor could have cured it. It was not anything physical. The man was perfectly healthy.
In fact, he could never have been as healthy as he must have been at that time. When you forget about your past you forget about all your illnesses also. The p ast is a reservoir of all illnesses.
When you forget the past you are neither young nor old, you simply are. And that is the moment of being healthy and whole.
The man must have been very healthy so what could doctors do? The family called the doctors but they could not treat him. It was not a disease. A disease could have been treated, but this was not a disease.
And the family asked a diviner to tell his fortune but without success because a man who has no memory has no imagination for the future. And a man who has no imag-ination for the future is unpredictable. You cannot predict anything about him. He is just open. Ordinarily men are predictable because they have a certain projection into the future some idea about the future, a seed for the future. That seed will one day sprout.
That's how the diviners, the palmists, the fortune-tellers live they live on your imagination. If you go to a fortune-teller he will look at your hand and he will say, 'There is a great possibility that money will come - but it will not stay.' It can be said about anybody except a man like me. You cannot say that about me! But it can be said about anybody - money will come. Everybody is hoping for it so who is going to deny that it will come? That's why he has come to the fortune-teller - for his ideas to be approved, to be confirmed. Money will come, but he will not be able to keep it. Who has ever been able to keep money? Money comes and goes.
In fact, money exists only in its coming and going. If you are able to keep it, it is no longer money.
You can keep a thousand notes in your house, you can hoard it underground, but it is no longer money. You could have kept stones there, it would have been just the same. Money exists only in its coming and going. When somebody gives you a hundred-rupee note, when the note changes hands, then it is money. Just for a moment it is money - when it changes hands. Then that man is getting something out of it and you are getting something out of it. When you give it to somebody else, again it will be money. That's why notes are called currency. Currency means movement. They should move. The more they move, the more there is money.
That's why there is more money in America and less in India. There is so much movement.
Everybody is just spending - spending what they have and spending even that which they hope they will have one day. People are purchasing cars and fridges and everything on the installment basis. Some day they hope they will have the money and then they will pay. But they are purchasing things right now. There is money in America because people have come to know that money exists in its movement. Let the money change hands. And the more it changes hands, the richer and richer and richer the country becomes.
Let a one hundred-rupee note circulate here. If we are five hundred people and a one hundred- rupee note changes hands, it becomes five hundred notes of one hundred-rupees. Each time it comes to one person he will have one hundred rupees. But let one person keep the note and then this group will be poor. Then only one person has a hundred-rupee note. If it had changed hands and moved, then everybody would have enjoyed a hundred rupees. Of course, there would have been much wealth.
Predictions are possible only about people who have an idea about the future.
There is a story about Buddha. When he became enlightened he was going along the bank of a river and an astrologer passed who was coming from Benares. He had become a great scholar of astrology and was coming home with all the degrees and diplomas that were available in those days.
And suddenly he saw the footprints of Buddha on the sand. He could not believe his eyes because in his books it was said such a footprint belonged to a man who had conquered the whole world, a CHAKRAVATIN one who is the emperor of the whole world, all the six continents. But why should an emperor of all the six continents come on a hot afternoon to walk by this poor river? And walk on the hot sand without shoes? Impossible!
He became very puzzled. He was just fresh from Benares and it seemed that this first encounter was undoing all his learning. Is his science wrong? What has happened? Why should the emperor come here?
So he followed the footprints. Buddha was sitting under a tree. Looking at the Buddha he became even more puzzled. A beggar! And the puzzlement became greater still because he looked like an emperor - his face, his grace, his peace. He had seen emperors; in fact, nobody had looked more emperor-like than this man. But his clothes, and the way he was sitting under the tree, and not even a servant around...?
He went to Buddha and he said, 'Sir, this is a very decisive thing for me. Allow me to disturb you. Please tell me just one single thing because my whole life will depend on it. I am coming from Benares carrying all these books. I have spent twenty years studying astrology, and here you are sitting and disturbing all my knowledge. So either you tell me that astrology is useless then I can throw these books into the river and go back home and forget all about it or tell me what has happened. These footprints are the footprints of a CHAKRAVATIN, an emperor who rules the whole world, the greatest emperor, one who is the ruler of all six continents. All the indications are there.
But what are you doing here?'
Buddha laughed and said, 'You need not throw away your books, you can take them home. You will not come across a man like me again very easily. Don't be disturbed. The people that you will meet, you will be able to predict. But it is true, about me you cannot predict anything - because I have gone beyond mind. All predictions are about the mind. People who live in the mind are predictable.'
This is significant. People who live in the mind are predictable because they are mechanical. You can say what they will do tomorrow because they will repeat. Nothing new is going to happen. They will simply repeat their past. But a man who has gone beyond mind is unpredictable because he will never repeat anything. So you cannot use any clue from his past to predict.
The diviners failed. They could not say anything about this man. And the shaman was called but he also could not do anything. The shaman can only do one thing: he can pray. He can do certain rituals to help. But a man who has gone beyond mind needs no prayer; no prayer will be of any help to him. In fact, prayer means asking God to do something for you. A man who has gone beyond mind has become part of God - there is nobody to pray and nobody to be prayed to. Who is there to ask? Only God is.
No, these auspicious rites and rituals were of no help so nobody could help.
THERE WAS A CONFUCIAN OF LU WHO, ACTING AS HIS OWN GO-BETWEEN, CLAIMED THAT HE COULD CURE IT. HUA TZU'S WIFE AND CHILDREN OFFERED HALF OF THEIR PROPERTY IN RETURN FOR HIS SKILL.
Confucians are the first Behaviourists of the world. Pavlov and B. F. Skinner are their disciples.
Confucius says that a man's behaviour can be changed, manipulated, through punishment and reward. That is the technique that has been used down the ages by the moralists. You reward the child if he follows your idea, you punish the child if he goes against you. Through punishment and reward you by and by condition his mind.
All minds are conditioned - and what Maoists are doing in China today is very ancient in China.
Confucius taught it very well. The idea has to be understood. The idea is that a man can be manipulated if you torture him or if you reward him. Through greed and fear a man can be manipulated. That's what you have been doing to your children, that's what has been done to you by your parents and by your society.
What are you doing to criminals in your prisons? Torturing them. Trying to condition their mind. Why does the priest go on talking about hell and heaven? What is the idea of hell and heaven? It is just the simple idea of punishment and reward. If you follow the priest you will be rewarded in heaven; if you don't follow the priest you will be punished in hell. And they have painted hell in such colours that every body will become afraid, everybody will start trembling. Then one starts holding on to oneself, repressing oneself'.
The Confucian said he could cure him. Now, firstly, the man was not ill so to say that he could be cured is stupid. But the same stupidity continues, even now. There are many people in Western countries who are not mad but who are being cured by psychologists. They are not really mad; in fact, they have gone a little higher than ordinary man. They are what Sufis call MASTAS those who have become drunk with God. But they are being treated. And what is their treatment? Electro- shocks, beating, torturing, in a thousand and one ways. Electro-shock treatment is a torture. the latest invention to torture man. These people are put into asylums and forced to live a very routine life.
Many of them are farther ahead than ordinary humanity, many of them have achieved a better consciousness. But naturally they have become separated from the ordinary humanity.
And the normal seems to be the rule, the normal seems to be the healthy person. The normal is not the norm, remember, the normal simply means the crowd, the mob, the mass. The mass is not healthy and the mass is not in any way sane; in fact, no individual behaviour is as insane as the behaviour of a mass. Masses are more insane. No Hindu is as insane as the Hindu society. No Moslem is as insane as the Moslem society. The Moslem mob can go and burn a temple and kill Hindus, but ask each individual of that crowd and you will not find any individual who is so insane.
Every individual will say that somehow it happened. He was just there and he somehow joined in with the crowd. Ask each individual and you will be told that it was not good. The crowd did it. The crowd has always been the insane. The wars, the conflicts between religions and nations - these are all just because of crowd minds.
The crowd mind is insane, but the psychologists and the psychiatrists and the psychoanalysts try to adjust the person if he goes a little beyond. If Freud had been available Hua Tzu would have been psychoanalysed. If Skinner had been there he would have been reconditioned. That's what this Confucian said.
THE CONFUCIAN TOLD THEM, 'THIS IS CLEARLY NOT A DISEASE WHICH CAN BE DIVINED BY HEXAGRAMS AND OMENS, OR CHARMED AWAY BY AUSPICIOUS PRAYERS, OR TREATED BY MEDICINE AND THE NEEDLE. I SHALL TRY REFORMING HIS MIND, CHANGING HIS THOUGHTS. THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE THAT HE WILL RECOVER.'
He said that he would recondition, reform, his mind. How do you recondition a mind? You start torturing the body. When the body is tortured, the consciousness that was flying beyond has to come down to look after the body, natur-ally. You exist in the body, the body is your vehicle. If your body is harmed you naturally cannot fly very high, you have to come back to protect the body. That's the way to recon-dition. And that's what he did.
THEN THE CONFUCIAN TRIED STRIPPING HUA TZU...
If it was winter and he stripped Hua Tzu naked, naturally, when he started shivering, the mind would suddenly come back: 'You are shivering, Hua Tzu. Find your clothes.' And he would start looking for his clothes.
... AND HE LOOKED FOR HIS CLOTHES, TRIED STARVING HIM, AND HE LOOKED FOR FOOD, TRIED SHUTTING HIM UP IN THE DARK, AND HE LOOKED FOR LIGHT.
His consciousness was flowing higher than the mind. If you torture the body, the consciousness has to come back to the body. Have you observed it? If a small thorn enters your foot your consciousness will go there. A small thorn, but the consciousness has to go there, it is a safety measure. Otherwise the thorn will become poisonous, will become septic. It is part of your life-survival mechanism that the consciousness has to go there and look after it and see that the thorn is taken out. When the thorn is there you forget everything else.
Have you not watched it? If your teeth hurt you forget everything else. Then your whole consciousness gathers around your teeth. That pain has to be tackled first. If you have a headache then everything else is forgotten. Somebody may be playing beautiful music but if you have a headache you cannot hear. Somebody may be dancing but you cannot look at it. There may be beauty all around but how can you look at the beauty? You are not free. Your headache is pulling you down into the body.
This is what the Confucian follower did. He starved the man, stripped him naked, put him in the dark - naturally he started looking for light, looking for warmth, for clothes, for food.
THE CONFUCIAN WAS DELIGHTED AND TOLD THE MAN'S SONS, 'THE SICKNESS IS CURABLE, BUT MY ARTS HAVE BEEN PASSED DOWN THROUGH GENERATIONS AND ARE NOT DISCLOSED TO OUTSIDERS - SO I SHALL SHUT OUT HIS ATTENDANTS AND STAY ALONE WITH HIM IN HIS ROOM FOR SEVEN DAYS.' THEY AGREED....
The art is not much of a secret. The art is simply to threaten the man with death - either to beat him or to jump on his chest with a spear. So the man is threatened with death. In that moment he has to come back to his body. And when one comes to one's body the mind starts functioning again because mind is part of the body. Mind is a subtle mechanism of the body.
This man, Hua Tzu, had lost his contact with his mind but the mind was there - the mind is always there. Even when a person goes beyond mind the mind remains there, dormant, sleepy, in the body.
If you are pulled back into the body, the mind is stirred again and starts functioning.
THEY AGREED, AND NO ONE KNEW WHAT METHODS THE CONFUCIAN USED, BUT THE SICKNESS OF MANY YEARS WAS COMPLETELY DISPELLED IN A SINGLE MORNING. WHEN HUA TZU WOKE UP HE WAS VERY ANGRY.
In fact, he was awake all this time, but now he has fallen asleep. But to the Confucian mind, or to the ordinary mind of humanity, it seems as if he has woken up.
WHEN HUA TZU WOKE UP HE WAS VERY ANGRY.
Naturally what is sleep to us was not sleep to him.
It used to happen in Ramakrishna's case. Singing the song of Kali, dancing before Kali, many times he would fall and become unconscious. He would be unconscious to us, but to himself he would be superbly conscious. From the outside it looked like he was in a coma. If you had asked psychoanalysts they would say this was hysteria, a hysterical fit.
If you go to a psychiatrist and ask about Ramakrishna he will prove that he was neurotic. They have done the same to Jesus so they will not leave Ramakrishna alone. Jesus is neurotic, they say. Ramakrishna would have been even more neurotic to them. For six days sometimes he would remain unconscious - unconscious to us. Let me remind you again and again: to himself he was superbly conscious. In fact, he was so conscious within himself that his whole consciousness was involved there all consciousness was taken from the outside to the inside, it came to the centre.
That's why on the outside he was unconscious.
You are conscious on the outside because in the inside you are unconscious. In the deepest core of your being you are fast asleep and snoring, that's why you look so awake on the outside. Things change. When a man like Ramakrishna moves into his core he falls asleep on the outside, and in the inside he becomes awake. To us it seems he has forgotten all, to him it seems he has remembered all.
WHEN HUA TZU WOKE UP HE WAS VERY ANGRY.
The same used to happen to Ramakrishna. People would try to bring him back. Naturally the disciples would become very much afraid - would he come back or not? And they would massage his feet with ghee and camphor and they would massage his head and his whole body and they would try to bring him back somehow. Sometimes the disciples would even do something which looks ugly and cruel. They would suffocate him by closing his nose - because when the body is suffocated and a great need for air arises, the consciousness has to come back.
Or sometimes they would burn very bitter things around him and the smoke would get into his nose and he would suffer terribly. And he would start moving, moaning, and then he would come back.
And these were disciples, not enemies. But sometimes you can do harm even while thinking you are doing good.
When he came back he would start crying and the disciples would ask, 'Why are you crying?' He would say, 'What have you done? Why have you brought me back? I was so tremendously happy inside. I was in a totally different world. I was in the world of God. God was very much present. I was showered by bliss. Why have you brought me back? Let me go again.'
WHEN HUA TZU WOKE UP HE WAS VERY ANGRY.
HE DISMISSED HIS WIFE, PUNISHED HIS SONS, AND CHASED AWAY THE CONFUCIAN WITH A SPEAR.
Maybe that was the same spear that the Confucian had used to threaten him to death.
THE AUTHORITIES OF SUNG ARRESTED HIM AND WANTED TO KNOW THE REASON.
'FORMERLY, WHEN I FORGOT,' SAID HUA TZU, 'I WAS BOUNDLESS; I DID NOT NOTICE WHETHER HEAVEN AND EARTH EXISTED OR NOT. NOW SUDDENLY I REMEMBER, AND ALL THE DISASTERS AND RECOVERIES, GAINS AND LOSSES, JOYS AND SORROWS, LOVES AND HATES OF TWENTY OR THIRTY YEARS PAST RISE UP IN A THOUSAND TANGLED THREADS. I FEAR THAT ALL THE DISASTERS AND RECOVERIES, GAINS AND LOSSES, JOYS AND SORROWS, LOVES AND HATES STILL TO COME WILL CONFOUND MY HEART JUST AS MUCH. SHALL I NEVER AGAIN FIND A MOMENT OF FORGETFULNESS?'
What you think is remembering is forgetfulness for a man who has arrived home. What to you looks like forgetful-ness is really remembering for a man who has awakened to his soul. Remember this paradox.
The languages are different. You are asleep but you think this is a waking state, you think this is a state of awareness. You are mistaken. Therefore, when a person becomes really aware, it seems to you as if he has fallen asleep. You are too self-conscious, so when a person loses his self and really becomes conscious you think he has gone mad. It appears as if he is ill. He has become whole, he has become healthy.
Hua Tzu said, 'I was boundless formerly, when I forgot. There was no boundary to me, there was no definition to me. I was all, I was whole, I was one with the universe, nothing separated me. I was in a tremendous unity - UNIO MYSTICA there was oneness. And it was beautiful, it was a benediction.
'NOW SUDDENLY I REMEMBER, AND ALL THE DISASTERS AND RECOVERIES, GAINS AND LOSSES, JOYS AND SORROWS, LOVES AND HATES OF TWENTY OR THIRTY YEARS PAST RISE UP IN A THOUSAND TANGLED THREADS Now I am back to madness. The whole past is again opening its doors. It is a nightmare.'
Now he has tasted a few moments of forgetfulness, or self-remembering. Now he is in a state to compare, that's why he is angry. You cannot compare because you have not experienced anything beyond the past, beyond memory. beyond mind. You have never tasted anything, not a single drop of no-mind. That's why you cannot compare.
This will happen one day if you continue meditating. One day suddenly you will see that you have taken off from the mind. The airport of the mind is left far behind and you are soaring high in the sky. Then for the first time you will say, 'How beautiful life is. How beautiful existence is.' You will feel tremendously grateful. Then to come down back to the mind will feel as if you are coming back into the madhouse. The memory is a madhouse.
EVERYTHING IS RISING IN A THOUSAND TANGLED THREADS. I FEAR THAT ALL THE DISASTERS AND RECOVERIES, GAINS AND LOSSES, JOYS AND SORROWS, LOVES AND HATES STILL TO COME WILL CONFOUND MY HEART JUST AS MUCH.
This is past and now the future is coming and he will be burdened more and more because the past will grow every day.
SHALL I NEVER AGAIN FIND A MOMENT OF FORGETFULNESS?
In that forgetfulness you come home. In that forget-fulness you remember. In that forgetfulness you become for the first time aware. In that forgetfulness you are in the present, herenow. You enter eternity. That forgetfulness is the door to eternity.
Kabir has said, 'When I was, God was not. Now I am not and God is.' Kabir has said, 'When I used to think, I used to miss. Now I have forgotten how to think and all is available. First I used to seek and there was only frustration and frustration, now I am no longer there to seek and he is there seeking for me. I have forgotten all, and in that very forgetfulness I have remembered.'
To forget means to forget the world, to forget means to forget the non-essential, to forget means to forget the dust and remember the mirror, remember consciousness.
The mind is continuously fabricating, imagining. The mind is a liar, it goes on Lying to you. The lie is that it gives you something which is not real, something which looks as if it is real but is not real.
Are you still not fed up with it? A man becomes religious when he is fed up with the mind.
Listen to this small anecdote.
'Why should I buy that mutt for twenty bucks?' the TV producer asked the agent.
'Because he is a talking dog,' said the agent.
'Listen, I'm sick and tired of that talking-dog routine,' said the producer. Take the mutt and get lost.'
Suddenly the dog jumped onto the producer's desk. 'Please, sir, I know I don't look like the most attractive dog in the world, but it's not my fault. My present master never feeds me. He's a cheap, conniving, dishonest agent. He has made a fortune booking me into the largest theatres and concert halls in the world. I have entertained kings and noblemen, presidents and premiers. I assure you that if you buy me I'll make you half a million the very first year.'
The producer was amazed at the dog's fluency, his power of speech, his intense projection.
'This dog talks like a Harvard graduate,' he said. 'Why do you want to sell him to me for twenty dollars? Have you gone mad?'
'Because,' said the agent, I'm fed up with his constant lying.'
The mind is a lying mechanism. It never allows you to see the truth. Either it is lying about the past or it is Lying about the future. And remember, whatsoever you memorise about the past, it is not true, it is touched-up, it has been created again and again by the mind. Much is dropped, much is added and the mind goes on touching it up every day. You can never be certain with the mind - it is a lying mechanism.
When a person is really fed up with this mechanism then the turn, the conversion, the quantum leap, becomes possible.
This parable is about the mind - and how, because of the mind, we have forgotten God, we have forgotten Tao. This parable says that unless you get out of the mind you will never be able to know the truth. If you want to know the truth there is no other way than to get out of the mind. That's what meditation is all about - how to get out of the mind, how not to allow the mind to constantly interfere with reality.
This is a great parable. Ordinarily the so-called religions are nothing but moralities. They condition your mind. Tao is a process of unconditioning. Ordinary religions hypnotise your mind, Tao is a process of de-hypnosis. One simply peels the mind away, just as you peel an onion and you find layer upon layer, layer upon layer. Go on peeling, go on peeling... and a moment comes when nothing is left in your hand. That nothing is what Tao is. That nothing is all, what Buddha calls SHUNYA, nothingness, emptiness.
That emptiness is the source of all. When you have once touched, lived, been in that emptiness, only then will you know how much you were missing. For the first time you will become aware that you were asleep for centuries, for lives together. Right now you are asleep.
Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples that they were somnambulists - moving, walking, talking in their sleep. The first thing is not morality but how to shock you into awareness. Gurdjieff's greatest disciple was P.D. Ouspensky. P.D. Ouspensky has dedicated his book 'In Search of the Miraculous'
to his Master with these words: To Gurdjieff, to my Master, who has disturbed my sleep forever.
Yes, the Master is there to disturb your sleep. The sleep is nothing but the mind; mind is another name for your sleep. This is the distinction between the Confucian thought and the Lao-Tzuan thought. Confucius is an ordinary moralist, a puritan, one who believes in conditioning people, in disciplining people. Lao Tzu is a rebellious man who believes in taking people beyond all conditionings - unconditioning people. Only in freedom is God possible, only in utter freedom is truth possible.
Seek this utter freedom. Destroy conditionings. Destroy by and by all the layers that hold you down.
Take off. The whole sky is yours - in fact, even the sky is not the limit.