The only criterion is your thirst
The first question:
HOW TO START THE JOURNEY? WHAT DOES IT EXACTLY MEAN TO TRANSCEND SEX?
THE JOURNEY HAS ALREADY STARTED; you are in the journey. This has to be recognized. Unconsciously, you are inthe journey: that's why it feels as if you have to start it. Recognize it, become conscious about it; the very recognition becomes the beginning. The moment you recognize that you are always moving going somewhere- knowingly, unknowingly, willingly, unwillingly-but you are going...some great force is constantly working within you: God is evolving. He is constantly creating something within you, so it is not how to start it. The right question will be, how to recognize it. It is there, but recognition is not there.
For example, trees die, but they don't know; birds and animals die, but they don't know.
Only man knows that he has to die. That knowledge is also very cloudy, not clear -- and the same is so with life. The birds are alive, but they don't know that they are alive -- because how can you know life if you don't know death? How can you know that you are alive if you don't know that you are going to die? Both recognitions come together. They are alive, but they don't recognize that they are alive. Man recognizes, a little, that he is going to die, but that recognition remains very cloudy, hidden in deep smoke. And the same is true about life: you are alive, but you don't know exactly what being alive means.
That too is cloudy, not clear. When I say recognition, I mean becoming alert to what this life energy is, that is already on the way. To become aware of one's own being is the beginning of the journey. To come to a point where you are so absolutely alert that not even a fragment of darkness exists around you is the end of the journey. But in fact, the journey never starts and never ends. You will continue even after that, but then the journey will have a totally different meaning, a totally different quality to it -- it will be sheer delight. Right now it is near misery.
"How to start the journey?" -- become more alert about your actions, about your relationships, about your movements. Whatsoever you do -- even an ordinary thing like walking on the street -- try to become alert, try to take steps with full awareness. Buddha used to say to his disciples, "When you take a step with the right foot, remember, now this is the right foot; when you take a step with the left, remember, now this is the left.
When you breathe in, remember, "Now I am breathing in"; when you breathe out, remember, "Now I am breathing out." Not that you have to verbalize it. Not that you have to say in words "I am breathing in", but just becoming alert that now the breath is going in. I am saying it to you so I have to use words, but when you are becoming alert you need not use words because words are like smoke. Don't use words -- just feel the breath going in and filling your lungs then being emptied. Just watch, and soon you will come to a recognition, a great recognition. that it is not simply breathing that goes in and out, it is life itself. Each breath in is life infusing its energy into you. Each breath out is a short death. With each breath, you die and you are reborn. Each breath is a crucifixion and a resurrection.
And when you watch it, you will come to know a beautiful feeling of trust. When you breathe out, there is no certainty that you wiil ever be able to breathe in again. What is the certainty? Who has guaranteed it? Who CAN guarantee that you will be able to breathe in again? But somehow, a deep trust; you know that "I will breathe again". Otherwise breathing would become impossible. If you become so afraid that, "Who knows if I let my breath out, and if I go through this small death, what is the certainty that I will be able to breathe in again? If I can't breathe, then it is better not to breathe out", then you will die immediately. If you stop breathing out, you will die. But a deep trust exists -- that trust is part of life. Nobody has taught you.
When a child starts walking for the first time, tremendous trust exists in him that he will be able to walk. Nobody has taught him. He has just seen other people walk, that's all.
But how can he come to a conclusion that "I will be able to walk"? He is so tiny. People are so big, giants compared to him, and he knows that whenever he stands he falls down - - but still he tries. Trust is in-built. It is in your every cell of life. He tries, many times he will fall; he will try again and again and again. And one day, trust wins over and he starts walking.
If you watch your breath you will become aware of a deep layer of trust, a subtle trust in life -- no doubt, no hesitation. If you walk, and walk alert, by and by you will become aware that you are not walking, you are 'being walked by'. That's a very subtle feeling:
that life is moving through you, not that you are moving. When you feel hungry, if you are aware you will see life is feeling hungry within you, not you.
Becoming more alert will make you conscious of the fact that there is only one thing you have got that you can call yours and that is witnessing. Everything else belongs to the universe; only witnessing belongs to you. But when you become aware of witnessing, even the idea of being I is dissolved. That too does not belong to you. That was part of darkness, part of the clouds that had gathered around you. In the clear light, when the sky is open and the clouds have disappeared and the sun is bright, there is no possibility of any idea of being I. Then simply witnessing is; nothing belongs to you. That witnessing is the goal of the journey.
How to start the journey? -- start becoming more and more a witness. Whatsoever you do, do it with deep alertness; then even small things become sacred. Then cooking or cleaning become sacred; they become worship. It is not a question of what you are doing, the question is how you are doing it. You can clean the floor like a robot, a mechanical thing; you have to clean it, so you clean it. Then you miss something beautiful. Then you waste those moments in only cleaning the floor. Cleaning the floor could have been a great experience; you missed it. The floor is cleaned but something that could have happened within you has not happened. If you were aware, not only the floor but YOU would have felt a deep cleansing. Clean the floor full of awareness, luminous with awareness. Work or sit or walk, but one thing has to be a continuous thread: make more and more moments of your life luminous with awareness. Let the candle of awareness burn in each moment, in each act. The cumulative effect is what enlightenment is. The cumulative effect, all the moments together, all small candles together, become a great source of light.
And the second part of the question is: "WHAT DOES IT EXACTLY MEAN TO TRANSCEND SEX?"
Sex is a subtle subject, delicate, because centuries of exploitation, corruption, centuries of perverted ideas, conditioning, are associated with the word 'sex'. The word is very loaded.
It is one of the most loaded words in existence. You say 'God'; it seems empty. You say 'sex'; it seems too loaded. A thousand and one things arise in the mind: fear, perversion, attraction, a tremendous desire, and a tremendous anti-desire also. They all arise together.
Sex -- the very word creates confusion, a chaos. It is as if somebody has thrown a rock in a silent pool; millions of ripples arise -- just the word 'sex'! Humanity has lived under very wrong ideas.
So the first thing: why do you ask how to transcend sex? Why do you want in the first place to transcend sex? You are using a beautiful word, 'transcend', but out of a hundred, ninety-nine are the possibilities that you mean, 'How to repress sex?'
A person who has understood that sex has to be transcended is not even worried about transcending it, because transcendence comes through experience. You cannot manage it.
It is not something that you have to do. You simply pass through many experiences, and those experiences make you more and more mature.
Have you watched that at a certain age, sex becomes important? Not that you make it important. It is not something that you make happen; it happens. At the age of fourteen, somewhere near there, suddenly the energy is flooded with sex. It happens as if the flood- gates have been opened in you. Subtle sources of energy which were not yet open have become open, and your whole energy becomes sexual, colored with sex. You think sex, you sing sex, you walk sex -- everything becomes sexual. Every act is colored. This happens; you have not done anything about it. It is natural; transcendence is also natural.
If sex is lived totally, with no condemnation, with no idea of getting rid of it, then at the age of forty-two -- just as at the age of fourteen sex gets opened and the whole energy becomes sexual, at the age of forty-two or near about -- those flood-gates close again.
And that too is as natural as sex becoming alive; it starts disappearing.
Sex is transcended not by any effort on your part. If you make any effort that will be repressive, because it has nothing to do with you. It is in-built in your body, in your biology. You are born as sexual beings; nothing is wrong in it. That is the only way to be born. To be human is to be sexual. When you were conceived, your mother and your father were not praying, they were not listening to a priest's sermon. They were not in the church, they were making love. Even to think that your mother and father were making love when you were conceived seems to be difficult. They were making love; their sexual energies were meeting and merging into each other. Then you were conceived; in a deep sexual act you were conceived. The first cell was a sex cell, and then out of that cell other cells have arisen. But each cell remains sexual, basically. Your whole body is sexual, made of sex cells. Now they are millions.
Remember it: you exist as a sexual being. Once you accept it, the conflict that has been created down through the centuries dissolves. Once you accept it deeply, with no ideas in between, when sex is thought of as simply natural, you live it. You don't ask me how to transcend eating, you don't ask me how to transcend breathing -- because no religion has taught you to transcend breathing, that's why. Otherwise, you would be asking, "How to transcend breathing?" You breathe! You are a breathing animal; you are a sexual animal also. But there is a difference. Fourteen years of your life, in the beginning, are almost non-sexual, or at the most, just rudimentary sexual play which is not really sexual -- just preparing, rehearsing, that's all. At the age of fourteen, suddenly the energy is ripe.
Watch...a child is born -- immediately, within three seconds the child has to breathe, otherwise he will die. Then breathing is to remain the whole of his life, because it has come at the first step of life. It cannot be transcended. Maybe before you die then, just three seconds before, it will stop, but not before it. Always remember: both ends of life, the beginning and end, are exactly similar, symmetrical. The child is born, he starts breathing in three seconds. When the child is old and dying, the moment he stops breathing, within three seconds he will be dead.
Sex enters at a very late stage: for fourteen years the child has lived without sex. And if the society is not too repressed and hence obsessed with sex, a child can live completely oblivious to the fact that sex, or that anything like sex, exists. The child can remain absolutely innocent. That innocence is also not possible, because people are so repressed.
When repression happens, then side by side, obsession also happens.
So priests go on repressing; and there are anti-priests, Hefners and others -- they go on creating more and more pornography. So on one side there are priests who go on repressing, and then there are others, anti-priests, who go on making sexuality more and more glamorous. They both exist together -- aspects of the same coin. When churches disappear, only then Playboy magazines will disappear, not before it. They are partners in the business. They look enemies, but don't be deceived by that. They talk against each other, but that's how things work.
I have heard about two men who were out of business, had gone broke, so they decided for a business, a very simple business. They started journeying, touring from one town to another town. First one would enter, and in the night he would throw coal tar on people's windows and doors. After two or three days the other would come to clean. He would advise that he could clean any coal tar, or anything that had gone wrong, and he would clean the windows. In that time the other would be doing half of the business in another town. This way, they started earning much money. This is what is happening between the church and Hugh Hefners and people who are continuously creating pornography.
I have heard....
Pretty Miss Keneen sat in the confessional. "Father," she said, "I want to confess that I let my boyfriend kiss me."
"Is that all you did?" asked the priest, very interested.
"Well, no. I let him put his hand on my leg too."
"And then what?"
"And then I let him pull down my panties."
"And then, and then...?"
"And then me mother walked into the room."
"Oh shit," sighed the priest.
It is together; they are partners in a conspiracy. Whenever you are too repressed, you start finding a perverse interest. A perverted interest is the problem, not sex. Now this priest is neurotic. Sex is not the problem, but this man is in trouble.
Sisters Margaret Alice and Francis Catherine were out walking along a side-street.
Suddenly they were grabbed by two men, dragged into a dark alley, and raped. "Father, forgive them," said Sister Margaret Alice, "for they know not what they do."
"Shut up!" cried Sister Catherine," this one does."
This is bound to be so. So never carry a single idea against sex in your mind, otherwise you will never be able to transcend it. People who transcend sex are people who accept it very naturally. It is difficult, I know, because you are born in a society which is neurotic about sex. Either this way or that, but it is neurotic all the same. It is very difficult to get out of this neurosis, but if you are a little alert, you can get out of it. So the real thing is not how to transcend sex, but how to transcend this perverted ideology of the society: this fear of sex, this repression of sex, this obsession with sex.
Sex is beautiful. Sex in itself is a natural rhythmic phenomenon. It happens when the child is ready to be conceived, and it is good that it happens -- otherwise life would not exist. Life exists through sex; sex is its medium. If you understand life, if you love life, you will know sex is sacred, holy. Then you live it, then you delight in it; and as naturally as it has come it goes, on its own accord. By the age of forty-two, or somewhere near there, sex starts disappearing as naturally as it had come into being. But it doesn't happen that way.
You will be surprised when I say near about forty two. You know people who are seventy, eighty, and yet they have not gone beyond. You know 'dirty old people'. They are victims of the society. Because they could not be natural, it is a hangover -- because they repressed when they should have enjoyed and delighted. In those moments of delight they were not totally in it. They were not orgasmic, they were half-hearted.
So whenever you are half-hearted in anything, it lingers longer. If you are sitting at your table and eating, and if you eat only half-heartedly and your hunger remains, then you will continue to think about food the whole day. You can try fasting and you will see: you will continuously think about food. But if you have eaten well -- and when I say eaten well, I don't mean only that you have stuffed your stomach. Then it is not necessarily so that you have eaten well. You could have stuffed yourself, but eating well is an art. It is not just stuffing. It is great art: to taste the food, to smell the food, to touch the food, to chew the food, to digest the food, and to digest it as divine. It is divine; it is God's gift.
Hindus say, ANAM BRAHMA: food is divine. So with deep respect you eat, and while eating you forget everything, because it is prayer. It is existential prayer. You are eating God, and God is going to give you nourishment. It is a gift to be accepted with deep love and gratitude. And you don't stuff the body, because stuffing the body is being anti-body.
It is the other pole. There are people who are obsessed with fasting, and there are people who are obsessed with stuffing themselves. Both are wrong because in both the ways the body loses balance.
A real lover of the body eats only to the point where body feels perfectly quiet, balanced, tranquil; where body feels to be neither leaning to the left nor to the right, but just in the middle. It is an art to understand the language of the body, to understand the language of your stomach, to understand what is needed, to give only that which is needed, and to give that in an artistic way, in an aesthetic way.
Animals eat, man eats. Then what is the difference? Man makes a great aesthetic experience out of eating. What is the point of having a beautiful dining table? What is the point of having candles burning there? What is the point of incense? What is the point of asking friends to come and participate? It is to make it an art, not just stuffing. But these are outward signs of the art; the inward signs are to understand the language of your body: to listen to it, to be sensitive to its needs. And then you eat, and then the whole day you will not remember food at all. Only when the body is hungry again will the remembrance come. Then it is natural.
With sex the same happens. If you have no anti-attitude about it, you take it as a natural, divine gift, with great gratitude. You enjoy it; with prayer you enjoy it.
Tantra says that before you make love to a woman or to a man, first pray -- because it is going to be a divine meeting of energies. God will surround you. Wherever two lovers are, there is God. Wherever two lovers' energies are meeting and mingling, there is life, alive, at its best; God surrounds you. Churches are empty; love-chambers are full of God.
If you have tasted love the way Tantra says to taste it, if you have known love the way Tao says to know it, then by the time you reach forty-two, love starts disappearing on its own accord. And you say goodbye to it with deep gratitude, because you are fulfilled. It has been delightful, it has been a blessing; you say good-bye to it.
And forty-two is the age for meditation, the right age. Sex disappears; that overflowing energy is no more there. One becomes more tranquil. Passion has gone, compassion arises. Now there is no more fever; one is not interested in the other. With sex disappearing, the other is no more the focus. One starts returning towards one's own source -- the return journey starts.
Sex is transcended not by your effort. It happens if you have lived it totally. So my suggestion is, drop all anti-attitudes, anti-life attitudes and accept the facticity: sex is, so who are you to drop it? And who is trying to drop it? -- it is just the ego. Remember, sex creates the greatest problem for the ego.
So there are two types of people: very egoistic people are always against sex; humble people are never against sex. But who listens to humble people? In fact, humble people don't go preaching, only egoists. Why is there a conflict between sex and ego? -- because sex is something in your life where you cannot be egoistic, where the other becomes more important than you. Your woman, your man, becomes more important than you. In every other case, you remain the most important. In a love relationship the other becomes very, very important, tremendously important. You become a satellite and the other becomes the nucleus; and the same is happening for the other: you become the nucleus and he becomes a satellite. It is a reciprocal surrender. Both are surrendering to the God of love, and both become humble.
Sex is the only energy that gives you hints that there is something which you cannot control. Money you can control, politics you can control, the market you can control, knowledge you can control, science you can control, morality you can control.
Somewhere, sex brings in a totally different world: you cannot control it. And the ego is the great controller. It is happy if it can control; it is unhappy if it cannot control. So there starts a conflict between ego and sex. Remember, it is a losing battle. The ego cannot win it because ego is just superficial. Sex is very deep-rooted. Sex is your life; ego is just your mind, your head. Sex has roots all over you; ego has roots only in your ideas -- very superficial, just in the head.
So who is trying to transcend sex? -- the head is trying to transcend sex. If you are too much in the head then you want to transcend sex, because sex brings you down to the guts. It does not allow you to remain hanging in the head. Everything else you can manage from there; sex you cannot manage from there. You cannot make love with your heads. You have to come down, you have to descend from your heights, you have to come closer to earth. Sex is humiliating to the ego, so egoist people are against, always against sex. They go on finding ways and means to transcend it. They can never transcend it. They can, at the most, become perverted. Their whole effort from the very beginning is doomed to failure.
I have heard....
A boss was interviewing applicants to replace his private secretary who was resigning because of expectant motherhood. The boss's right-hand man sat with him as he looked the applicants over. The first girl was a beautiful buxom blond. She turned out to be intelligent, and had excellent secretarial skills. The second was a dark-haired beauty who was even more intelligent and proficient than the first. The third one was cross-eyed, had buck teeth, and weighed one hundred and ninety pounds. After interviewing all three candidates, the boss informed his associate that he was hiring the third applicant.
"But why?" asked the astonished employee.
"Well," boomed the boss, "in the first place, she looks very intelligent to me! In the second place, it is none of your damned business, and in the third place, she is my wife's sister."
So you may pretend that you have won over sex, but an undercurrent.... You may rationalize, you may find reasons, you may pretend, you may create a very hard shell around you, but deep down the real reason, the reality, wi]l stand untouched: "She is my wife's sister" -- that is the real reason. "She looks intelligent"; that is just a rationalization.
"And it is none of your damned business"; that too is getting annoyed and irritated -- because the person is afraid that the other is poking his nose and may find the real cause.
But the real cause will explode; you cannot hide it, it is not possible.
So you can try to control sex, but an undercurrent of sexuality will run and it will show itself in many ways. Out of all your rationalizations, it will again and again raise its head.
I will not suggest that you make any effort to transcend it. What I suggest is just the contrary: forget about transcending it. Move into it as deeply as you can. While the energy is there, move as deeply as you can, love as deeply as you can, and make an art of it. It is not just to be done. That is the whole meaning of Tantra: making an art of lovemaking. There are subtle nuances which only people who enter with a great aesthetic sense will be able to know. Otherwise, you can make love for your whole life and still remain unsatisfied -- because you don't know that satisfaction is something very aesthetic. It is like a subtle music arising in your soul. If through sex you fall into harmony, if through love you become non-tense and relaxed, if love is not just throwing energy because you don't know what to do with it, if it is not just a relief but a relaxation, if you relax into your woman and your woman relaxes into you, if for a few seconds, for a few moments or a few hours you forget who you are and you are completely lost in oblivion, you will come out of it purer, more innocent, more virgin. And you will have a different type of being -- at ease, centered, rooted.
If this happens, one day suddenly you will see that the flood has gone and it has left you very, very rich. You will not be sorry that it has gone. You will be thankful, because now richer worlds open. When sex leaves you, the doors of meditation open. When sex leaves you, then you are not trying to lose yourself in the other. You become capable of losing yourself in yourself.
Now another world of orgasm, inner orgasm, of being with oneself, arises. But that arises only through being with the other; one grows, matures through the other. Then a moment comes when you can be alone, tremendously happy. There is no need for any other. The need has disappeared but you have learned much through it -- you have learned much about yourself. The other became the mirror, and you have not broken the mirror. You have learned so much about yourself. Now there is no need to look into the mirror. You can close your eyes and you can see your face there. But that face you would not be able to see if there had been no mirror from the very beginning.
Let your woman be your mirror; let your man be your mirror. Look into her eyes and see your face; move into her to know yourself. Then one day the mirror will not be needed.
But you will not be against the mirror; you will be so grateful to it -- how can you be against it? You will be so thankful -- how can you be against it? Then, transcendence.
Transcendence is not repression. Transcendence is a natural outgrowing -- you grow above, you go beyond -- just as a seed breaks and a sprout starts rising above the ground.
When sex disappears, the seed disappears. In sex, you were able to give birth to somebody else, a child. When sex disappears, the whole energy starts giving birth to yourself. This is what Hindus have called DWIJA, the twice-born. One birth has been given to you by your parents, the other birth is waiting. It has to be given to you by yourself. You have to father and mother yourself. Then your whole energy is turning in -- it becomes an inner circle.
Right now it will be difficult for you to make an inner circle. It will be easier to connect it with another pole -- a woman or a man -- and then the circle becomes complete. Then you can enjoy the blessings of the circle. But by and by you will be able to make the inner circle, because inside you also you are man and woman, woman and man. Nobody is just man and nobody is just woman -- because you come from man and woman's communion. Both have participated; your mother has given something to you, you father has given something to you. Fifty-fifty, they have contributed to you. Both are there.
There is a possibility that both can meet inside you. Again your father and mother can love inside you. Then your reality will be born. Once they met when your body was born; now if they can meet inside you, your soul will be born. That's what transcendence of sex is: it is a higher sex.
Let me tell you this: when you transcend sex, you reach to a higher sex. Ordinary sex is gross, higher sex is not gross at all. Ordinary sex is outward-moving, higher sex is inward-moving. In ordinary sex, two bodies meet, and the meeting happens on the outside. In higher sex, your own inner energies meet. It is not physical, it is spiritual -- it is Tantra. Tantra is transcendence. If you don't understand this and you go on fighting with sex....
The question has been asked by Prageeta. I know she is passing through some critical moments in her mind. She would like to be independent, but it is too early. She would like not to be bothered by anybody else, but it is too early, and it is too egoistic. Right now transcendence is not possible, repression is possible. And if you repress now, in your old age you will repent -- because then things become very messed up. Each thing has its own right time. Each thing has to be done in its moment. While young, don't be afraid of love. If you are afraid of love while young, in old age you will become obsessed; and then it will be difficult to move deeply in love, and the mind will be obsessed.
This is my understanding: that people, if they have lived rightly, lovingly, naturally, then by the forty-second year they start transcending sex. If they have not lived naturally and they have been fighting with sex, then forty two becomes their most dangerous time -- because by the time they are forty-two their energies are declining. When you are young you can repress something because you are very energetic. Look at the irony of the fact: a young man can repress sexuality very easily because he has energy to repress it. He can just put it down and sit upon it. When the energies are going, declining, then sex will assert itself and you will not be able to control it.
I have heard an anecdote: Stein, aged sixty-five, visited the office of his son, Dr. Stein, and asked for something that would increase his sexual potential. The M.D. gave his father a shot, and then refused to accept a fee. Nevertheless, Stein insisted on giving him ten dollars. A week later Stein was back for another injection, and this time handed his son twenty dollars.
"But Pop, shots are only ten dollars."
"Take it!" said Stein, "the extra ten is from Momma."
That will continue...so before you become a poppa or a momma, please be finished with it. Don't wait for old age, because then things go ugly. Then everything goes out of season.
The second question:
IT IS SAID THAT UNLESS ONE IS IN CONTACT WITH ONE WHO IS AWAKENED, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO COME OUT OF ONE'S IGNORANCE OR DEEP SLEEP. HOW TO FIND OUT THAT ONE IS AWAKENED?
It is a difficult question. Not that it is difficult to find out -- the question is difficult because if you don't yet have the urge to find out, then there is no way to help you to find.
If you have the urge, that very urge helps. There is no other help needed. Your very urge becomes your path.
How do you find if you are thirsty, in a desert; how will you find water, how will you find an oasis? You will run hither and thither; you will do all that you can do because thirst will be killing. And your thirst will decide whether you have come across real water or not, because your thirst will be quenched whenever you come across real water. If it is a mirage and from far away it looked like water and you ran to it, when you come face to face with it you will know it is not water.
But the only criterion is your thirst.
How do you know that something is food? -- if you are hungry and it satisfies you, you know. It is very difficult for a man who has no appetite to find out what food is.
Psychologists have come across a very significant fact: that if small children are left to themselves, they always choose the right thing to eat. You put everything around, you leave it on the dining table, don't force anything, and don't say what to eat and what not to eat. It has been a tremendous discovery that children eat only the right thing in the right time. If a child is suffering from something and a certain thing is needed which will be helpful for it, he will choose to eat it. By the time that suffering disappears he will stop eating that. We confuse them. We tell them to eat this and don't eat that. Then by and by, their natural instinct functions no more.
Have you seen animals eating? They are not dieticians, and they never go to any dietician, but a buffalo or a cow just chooses the right grass for itself, instinctively. They will leave other grasses; they will eat only the grass that is right for them. You cannot deceive. Somehow their inner nature, their appetite, decides.
The problem arises: how to find whether someone is enlightened, awakened, or not? If you have an appetite there will be no problem. If you don't have an appetite then I say the problem is very difficult, almost impossible to solve. If you have appetite and hunger, then something around an enlightened person will start fulfilling your desire. Something will start falling in harmony and in line. Your chaos will start subsiding. You will see a silence arising -- a new being is born. That is the only way. But if you don't have a real thirst, or if you have been confused by the society, and if you cling to outer symptoms....
For example, a JAINA thinks an enlightened person should be naked. Now if you come across a person who is not naked, even Buddha or Jesus, the JAINA will not be satisfied.
He will say, "He is not an enlightened person because an enlightened person is always naked." This is foolish. He has no appetite. He has learned only through scriptures, he has learned only through tradition. Now if you have been a Christian, brought up as a Christian, and you know only that a Christ is one who is crucified, then what will you do if you come across Krishna playing on his flute? You will say, "This man looks like a clown. How can he be an enlightened person? An enlightened person is always on the cross suffering for others, trying to take everybody's sin on his own head, and this man is singing and dancing." No, with the mind that is too conditioned by the cross, a flute will not suit. It will be simply impossible to believe that a flute can also be a symbol of enlightenment. A cross, of course, is.
And the same happens with the follower of Krishna. He knows the flute, singing, dancing. He cannot believe for what Jesus was on the cross. If you ask him he will say, "He must have done some very wrong deeds in his past life. Otherwise, how is he crucified? Crucifixion happens only to great sinners. He must have done something great, a very great sin. That is why he is suffering -- because no Hindu AVATAR has ever suffered like this. This is not possible."
Hindus have the theory of KARMA; whatsoever happens is your karma: Krishna is playing on the flute because he has beautiful KARMAS which sing in him, and Jesus must have been a sinner. It is not a question that others have forced him on the cross.
Nobody can force anybody except your KARMAS. It is not that Judas has betrayed him; it is his own past. Nobody can betray anybody. If your KARMAS are good, nobody can make you suffer.
Now this is problematic. These people listen only to the scriptures, the tradition, the society they were born into -- accidental things. They don't have real thirst.
If you have real thirst, you will find that where Krishna is playing on his flute, you will be satisfied. And if you have real thirst, you will find the same satisfaction near Jesus also. Maybe he is on the cross and Krishna is playing on his flute, but you will find that both are food. Jesus says so many times to his disciples, "Eat me; make me your food.
Drink my blood and eat my body." He is food; that's what he is saying.
The questioner asked, "It is said that unless one is in contact with one who is awakened, it is impossible to come out of one's ignorance and deep sleep. How to find out that one is awakened?"
I have heard....
A man walked into the police station to report that his wife was missing. The sergeant began writing up the case.
"How tall is she?"
"About so high, give or take a little."
"How much does she weigh?"
"About average, I guess."
"Color of eyes?"
"I would say they were neutral. I'm not too sure."
"Color of hair?"
"I don't know, it changes."
"What was she wearing?"
"I suppose a hat and coat."
"Was she carrying anything?"
"Yes, she had a dog on a leash."
"What kind of dog?"
"A pedigreed brindle-and-white German shepherd, weighing forty pounds, six hands high, licence No. 401278976 C.D.7, wearing a brown collar, slightly deaf in the right ear, and answers to the name Rover."
When it was a question of the dog, then the man came alive. When it was a question of his wife: how tall is she? -- about so high, give or take a little; and how much does she weigh? -- about average, I guess; and color of eyes? -- I would say they were neutral. I'm not too sure.
Whenever it is your desire, you know. If it is not your desire, then it is difficult. So the person who has asked the question may be greedy, but he has no desire yet.
And I know the man, and he has been to Sivananda ashram, to the Aurobindo ashram, to Shri Ramana Maharshi's ashram, to Satya Sai Baba, and to this and that; he has been everywhere. Now I am his last victim, and he cannot find anything anywhere that is satisfying. He has not asked the basic question: are you hungry? Just by going to this restaurant and that is not going to help; appetite is needed. The man is greedy but he has no appetite. The man is very learned but is not very aware. He knows the scriptures, he can repeat them parrot-like, but he has no understanding. He goes on asking such questions again and again. This is for the first time that I am answering, because when the appetite is not there it is futile to talk about. It is better that he should go and live in the world and forget all about religion. Let the appetite come, this life or next. There is no hurry; God can wait. But let it come. It should be authentic. His appetite is just false. He has listened to talks about food, or he has listened to advertisements on the television about food, and he has become greedy. But he never looks inside to see that he has no appetite, so nothing happens.
Once he came to me and he said, "I have been to Shri Aurobindo ashram, I have been to Ramana ashram, to Sivananda, to Rishikesh, to Arunachal, to here and there, and nothing happens. Now I am here."
I said, "Before you say about me also that nothing happens, let me say to you that nothing will happen -- because I don't see any desire in you. I don't see any flicker, any passionate urge."
He has money so he can go anywhere. He is fed-up with his life, bored with his life, so he goes on finding, trying to find at least some thrill, some kick somewhere. And he is a very egoistic man, so he cannot try to find non-spiritual kicks. He tries to find spiritual kicks and nothing happens.
Watch... the basic thing to be remembered is whether you have an appetite. If you don't have, why bother? It is not for you. Let these people talk about God; it is not for you. You don't go to a musical concert if you don't have an ear for music, and you don't get bothered about it. You don't go to listen to some musician, you don't go to see a dancer, you don't go to visit an art gallery to look at paintings if you don't have any sense, artistic sense; you don't go there.
But this is one of the problems about religion: people who don't have any sense of religiousness, they also become greedy about religion. And now he is getting old, and death is approaching. Now he wants to achieve something which he can carry beyond death. He is simply afraid. He has not lived his life -- and unless you have lived your life, you cannot move into religion.
Only one who lives his life truly, one day comes to the point where a new desire for life beyond arises. See the difference between the two. You can be afraid of death; then your desire will be false. If you have lived life and loved life, and loved it so much that you would now like to know the unknown life also -- it is not out of fear of death, it is out of love for life -- then, you will recognize immediately whenever you come across an enlightened person. It is impossible to miss. You will recognize immediately. This recognition needs no knowledge. It will simply happen.
How do you recognize when a beautiful woman passes by? Have you any criterion? But if you have desire, suddenly you recognize that the woman is beautiful. If somebody asks you and tries to force you to confess to what exactly beauty is, you will be in trouble.
You will not be able to define. Nobody has yet been able to define. Centuries and centuries of philosophers have been working on it, trying to define what beauty is, and ultimately they decide that it is indefinable. But still you feel beauty. If you talk to a small child whose desire has not yet ripened, and you say, "This woman is beautiful," he will look at you surprised, shrug his shoulders, and go on his way -- "Gone mad. All women are alike." For a small child, it makes no difference. He cannot see why one woman should be thought beautiful and another not.
In fact, he knows only one woman who is beautiful: she is his mother -- and that too, for some other reasons, not for beauty. She is his nourishment, his life, so she is beautiful.
But one day when his desire arises and his love ripens, he will start looking with different eyes. Then all women are not alike. Then certainly there are women who are beautiful; then certainly there are men who are tremendously appealing and magnetic. But one day again, when one becomes very alert, understanding, again all men and women are alike.
Then again beauty or ugliness don't matter. Then again duality is transcended.
When you come across an enlightened man, if you don't have desire, nothing will happen.
You will just shrug your shoulders -- "Why are people so attracted to this man?" You can't see anything; there is nothing. He is as ordinary as you, or maybe even more ordinary than you. You can't see why people are mad. But if the desire is there, if the search has started, if you have lived this life rightly and deeply, then you have earned that desire for another life. Then immediately, when you come across such a one, you will start feeling.
It is said, a beautiful myth about Mahavir, that people who had desire would become aware of Mahavir from a very faraway distance, twenty-four miles. The area of twenty four miles around Mahavir was so filled with his being that people who would come into that area, if they had some desire, would be pulled by Mahavir, against themselves. They might have been going somewhere else, but they would not be able to go. They would be pulled. They would have to come; they would find this man in some unknown way. And he would be sitting under some tree or hiding in a cave, and they would find him. And there were people who would pass just in front of him and would be thinking that he was mad -- not only mad, but like a criminal, standing there naked. Either he was a criminal or he was a fool, and they would beat him, they would throw him out of their town, they would force him to leave their place. And both were people: one sort of person throws him away, beats him; the other sort of person is pulled. It depends on you.
I have heard one anecdote:
"Well my man, what is on your mind?" the worldly matron asked the marriage broker.
"I have picked out a wife for your son," he announced triumphantly. "She is the Princess Sessusi Wilnanee, the richest young woman in the world," said the marriage broker.
"The richest woman in the world?" snapped the mother. "Why have I never heard of her?"
"But she is a wonderful girl," insisted the marriage broker. "She is gorgeous, a terrific skin-diver and skier, and golfs in the low seventies. She is royalty all the way."
"It does not make sense to me, but all right, I will give you my consent. I will let my son marry the princess."
"Well," sighed the marriage broker, "that's half the battle. " Half the battle about religion starts with you. If you have the desire, that is half the battle -- and the other half is very easy. Then you have the eyes. But if you don't have an appetite, then it is almost impossible to recognize: you are blind, you cannot see. If a blind man comes and asks, "When I come across light, how am I to recognize it?" what to say to him? How can he recognize? -- he will need eyes. You always find that which you REALLY desire; it never happens otherwise. In fact, let me tell you: whatsoever you have found is that which you had desired passionately -- maybe it is hell, but you desired it -- and whatsoever you have not found, you have not desired passionately.
Every time Mulla Nasrudin came home drunk, the wife would bawl the daylights out of him. One day a kindly neighbor gave her some advice: "You should not do that. You should not call attention to his drinking. Be lovable, be kind, and you will find he is a new man. Tonight when he comes home, give him a great big kiss."
That night Mulla staggered in, but the wife remembered the advice and puckered her lips:
"Darling, give me a kiss."
He puckered his lips, staggered to her, and kissed her on the forehead. He tried again, missed, and kissed her on the ear. The third time he missed again, landing his lips on her cheek.
"You bum," she said, pointing to her mouth,''if this were a saloon you would find it."
You always find that which you really want to find. Whatsoever you desire happens. If it is not happening, look inside; somewhere you must be missing in your desire.
There is a beautiful story in Hindu annals about a great saint, Valmiki. He was a robber, a murderer. He has written the story of Rama, one of the most beautiful epics in the world.
He became converted. His conversion happened in such a way that it is almost unbelievable. He was a great sinner, but he went to a great teacher and asked him how he could purify himself of his sins. "Chant Rama a thousand times a day," advised the great teacher.
The sinner went to a solitary mountain and chanted and chanted, but in spite of his good will, he made a mistake and chanted Mara instead of Rama.
It happens that if you chant Rama Rama Rama fast, you can get messed up; it can become Mara Mara Mara. That's how it happened: he was chanting so fast, and he had never heard this name. It was almost an unknown language to him. He tried hard to remember, but somehow he forgot, and for years he chanted Mara, Mara, Mara.
After years of chanting he went back to the great teacher who immediately realized that the man was now pure -- not only pure, he was enlightened. "Did you sing the sacred name?" the teacher asked.
"Yes, great one," the ex-sinner answered, "for ten years every single day, thousands of times I have chanted Mara, Mara, Mara."
The teacher burst into a laughter that shook the mountains. As his laughter, like a pebble in the lake, vibrated farther and wider into the cosmos, the great teacher took the ex- sinner into his arms. "Your will to good, to do good, has saved you," he said, "even though you chanted Mara, Mara, Mara, millions of times: the name of the devil."
Rama is the name of God; Mara is the name of the devil -- but if the desire is there, the thirst is there, then everything is okay. Even the name of the devil will do. Just his intention, just his tremendous passion for God, to purify himself, for ten years, day in and day out, thousands of times he was continuously chanting Mara, Mara, Mara. Even a wrong technique will help if the desire is intense, and even a right technique will not be of much help if the desire is impotent.
Remember it: if you can't recognize enlightened people when you come across them, don't throw the responsibility on them. Watch inside -- are you ready yet? It has happened that people who were not enlightened have sometimes helped people to become enlightened. If the desire of the seeker is tremendous, then even an unenlightened Master is enough.
It is reported about one great mystic, Milarepa:
When he went to his Master in Tibet, he was so humble, so pure, so authentic, that other disciples became jealous of him. It was certain that he would be the successor. And of course there was politics, so they tried to kill him.
One day they said to him, "If you really believe in the Master, can you jump from the hill? If you really believe, if the trust is there, then nothing -- no harm is going to happen." And Milarepa jumped without even hesitating for a single moment. They rushed down because it was almost a three-thousand-foot deep valley. They went down to find his scattered bones, but he was sitting there in a lotus posture, very happy, tremendously happy.
He opened his eyes and said, "You are right; trust saves."
They thought it must be some coincidence, so when the house was on fire one day, they told him, "If you love your Master and you trust, you can go in." He rushed in to save the woman and the child who were left inside. He came, and the fire was too great and they were hoping that he would die, but he was not burned at all. And he became more and more radiant, because the trust....
One day they were going somewhere, they were to cross a river, and they told him, "You need not go in the boat. You have such great trust; you can walk on the river" -- and he walked.
That was the first time the Master saw him. He was not aware that he had been told to jump into the valley and told to go into the burning house; he was not aware. But that time he was there on the bank and he saw him walking, and he said, "What are you doing? It is impossible!"
And Milarepa said, "Not impossible at all! I am doing it by your power, sir."
Now the Master thought, "If my name and my power can do this to this ignorant, stupid man.... I have never tried it myself"...so he tried. He drowned. Nothing has been heard about him after that.
Even an unenlightened Master, with deep trust, can revolutionize your life. And the reverse is also true: even an enlightened Master may not be of any help. It depends on you, it depends totally on you.