The love that never ends
ONCE, IN KATHMANDU, I ASKED YOU ABOUT THE NEED OF THE DISCIPLE FOR A MASTER. THEN I ASKED YOU IF THE MASTER NEEDS THE DISCIPLE, AND YOU SHOWERED ON ME SOME WORDS THAT I RECEIVED IN TEARS, LIKE PETALS OF AN UNKNOWABLE FLOWER. WOULD YOU PLEASE BE SO KIND AND SPEAK TO US ABOUT THE NEED OF THE MASTER FOR THE DISCIPLES. AREN'T YOU THE FORMLESS FORM, WITH WHOM EXISTENCE IS FULFILLING OUR LONGING? AREN'T WE, IN SOME WAY, YOUR FOOD, YOUR NOURISHMENT?
Sarjano, I do not remember what I said in response to your question in Kathmandu. I never remember anything I have said. That keeps me responsible. I cannot repeat, because I do not remember. I can only respond to the question, and to the questioner in this very moment.
Between Kathmandu and this moment, neither you have remained you, nor I have remained I. And so much water has gone down the Ganges, that any repetition is always out of date. Any repetition is dead, is not alive.
That's how the whole of humanity is only pretending to live, but deep down is dead, because it has forgotten the language of response. It knows only the language of reaction.
It reacts according to the memory. It does not respond according to the awareness of the moment, of the need here and now. It is full of the past.
There is no present in millions of people around the world. Millions of people live without knowing the taste of the present. And when you are full of the past you are a graveyard. Howsoever beautiful the past may be, it is still dead. And beauty is meaningless if it cannot dance, if it cannot sing, if it cannot even breathe.
I am here, you are here, why bring Kathmandu in? I don't know what Kathmandu means in Nepalese, but in Hindustani we have a phrase which immediately reminds one of Kathmandu. The phrase is kath ke ullu. It means, "You are an owl. And that too not real, but made of wood." I don't know what Kathmandu means; Kath certainly means wood....
Why bring Kathmandu in? You really want to listen to the same answer again, but it is impossible Sarjano. You will have to forgive me, because I don't remember a single word. Kathmandu is almost as far away as the farthest star, as if it happened in some other life.
While we are alive, why waste your time? You can ask a new question and you can receive a new response. The new will be fresher, and the new will be better. The new will be more mature.
But people have lived to live in the past. It has become almost a second nature to them. It is very difficult to drag them out of their graves and tell them, "You are not dead yet.
Start breathing, you are still alive."
An elderly Jewish man walks into a jewelry store to buy his wife a present. "How much is this?" he asks the assistant, pointing to a silver crucifix.
"That is six hundred dollars, sir," replies the assistant.
"Nice," says the man, "and how much without the acrobat on it?"
People cannot forgive the past, people cannot forget the past. Two thousand years have passed, but Jesus is not yet acceptable to the Jewish mind. Not a single Jew in two thousand years has repented that crucifying Jesus was a criminal act, and that he finds himself also part of the conspiracy. You will be surprised to know that not a single Jewish scripture even mentions the name of Jesus. It is so unworthy. Such is our approach to life....
I will take your question as fresh, because we are not in Kathmandu. And I will answer you in this moment, responding to your question and to you. I am not in the habit of quoting myself.
You are asking, what is the need of the disciple for a master, and vice versa -- what is the need of a master for a disciple? Condensed to its essentialness, the question is, "Does love exist in the lover or in the beloved? Or does love exist in the harmony of both?"
Only in those rare moments, when there is no "I" and no "thou," love blossoms. It does not exist in the lover, it does not exist in the beloved, it exists in the disappearance of their separation.
That's why all lovers are disappointed, because they cannot remain organically one for more than a few seconds. Just a small thing and the separation returns; it was just waiting.
If in twenty-four hours you can find twenty-four seconds of organic unity and harmony, you should think yourself immensely blessed, tremendously rich.
The same is the situation between the disciple and the master. Something higher than love, something deeper than love and togetherness exists in those moments of silence, those moments of communion, when the disciple forgets that he is separate from the master, when the disciple melts and merges into the master.
The master is already merged into existence. Merging into the master you are really merging with existence itself. The master functions only as a door, and a door is an emptiness; you pass through it.
The master is the door to the beyond.
And the beyond exists in the organic unity, in the communion, in the merger, in the melting of the master and the disciple. It is the highest form of love. It is the greatest prayer, the deepest gratitude, and the most ecstatic experience available to human consciousness.
The master is missing something when he is alone; he is like an ocean into which no rivers melt. A disciple is certainly just a nobody without a master. With a master, he becomes the whole existence. Both are fulfilled in a togetherness. And because this togetherness is not of the body, not of the mind, but of that which is beyond the mind in you, it is possible to attain and never lose it.
Love is always up and down, one moment joyful, another moment sad. But the love that we are talking about -- love between two spirits, between two beings -- only begins, it never ends.
The masters ordinarily will not accept what I am saying, but if they don't accept it they are insincere. And if they are insincere, what kind of masters are they?
The masters have been pretending that they don't need anything -- they don't need you, they don't need your eyes, they don't need your heartbeat, they don't need your love, they don't need your merger and meeting. That is an egoistic attitude. And anybody who pretends that he needs nothing is only a teacher, not a master. He himself needs to be a disciple. He has heard many beautiful truths, but he has not known anything on his own.
A true master, out of his sincerity, out of his humbleness, will accept the simple fact that he is not beyond any need. Of course, his needs are of a very spiritual kind.
He cannot live unless he can share. Even to exist is impossible for him -- he loses all meaning -- unless he can wake up people who are fast asleep, unless he can make people who are miserable become transformed into dancing roses. In their fulfillment he becomes again and again enlightened.
His enlightenment is not an incident: the authentic master is becoming continuously enlightened each moment. His enlightenment is a progress, an eternal progress; otherwise, the world would have been far more poor. It is already poor.
If Gautam Buddha needed nothing, then for forty-two years walking the whole land, talking to people, knowing perfectly well that they cannot understand, is an arduous task.
Why is he doing it? He is helpless, he has to do it. It comes as an intrinsic part of his own enlightenment.
Before, it was a longing to become enlightened. Now it is a longing to make the whole world enlightened.
I LOVE THE WAY YOU SPEAK SO INTIMATELY TO SANNYASINS WHO HAVE BEEN WITH YOU FOR A LONG TIME, REMEMBERING VEENA WITH PHOTOGRAPHIC CLARITY AND WHETHER SOMEONE ELSE'S HANDS WERE COLD OR WARM, AND WHERE HE USED TO STAND TO GREET YOU. THE INTIMACY OF YOU ACKNOWLEDGING US IS SUCH AN INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL GIFT IT MAKES ME WEEP. COULD YOU SAY SOMETHING ABOUT ACKNOWLEDGEMENT?
Prem Pankaja, one of the most important secrets of life is that the something can be of immense spiritual value, and the same thing can be a great hindrance for your growth.
Such is acknowledgement. It can arise out of your ego -- to be acknowledged -- then it is dangerous. Then it is going to strengthen that which is false in you and block the doors for the real to open up.
But if it arises out of a simple, innocent heart -- not as a nourishment to the ego but just as a blissful recognition that you are also there, that you are also in existence, that you are accepted as you are, that you are respected as you are -- then acknowledgement can become a tremendous experience and transformation.
It all depends on you, what you make of it.
There are people whom I feel afraid to recognize -- not that it is going to do any harm to me, but because it is going to do harm to them. I can see in their eyes, in their faces, a deep desire, a greed to be recognized. I ignore it. But there are people who are simply here -- just enjoying. It is more than enough that they are breathing the same air, that they are sitting under the same roof, that they are surrounded by the same trees.
I am reminded of a strange story about Ananda, one of Gautam Buddha's most intimate disciples.
And he was not only a disciple, he was also his elder cousin-brother. Just the fact that he was more deeply related with Gautam Buddha, the fact that blood is thicker than water, the fact that, "Not only I am related, he is younger in age to me," became a hindrance.
Forty-two years he remained with Buddha, but could not attain enlightenment. And many, many others came and became enlightened. It was the day when he was taking initiation that he had asked Gautam Buddha, "I have come to be initiated. After initiation I will be your disciple. Right now I am your elder brother." And in India, even cousin- brothers, if they are elder, have to be respected just like your real brothers.
Ananda said, "I want you to remember three conditions, and give me a promise that you will not go against your word, because after initiation your order will be my life, your word will be my law -- then I cannot say anything. So just before initiation I want three promises. As your elder brother you have to respect my desires."
Sariputra, one of Gautam Buddha's earliest disciple's, said to Ananda, "Don't be stupid, these promises will become hindrances for your growth. These conditions will prohibit all for which you are taking the initiation. You are saying, `I am going to become your disciple,' but deep down you will never be a disciple. You will always know that you are the elder brother, and those three conditions will always make you certain about it."
Initiation has to be taken unconditionally, but Ananda was not going to listen to an ordinary sannyasin. Sariputra was one of the wisest disciples of Gautam Buddha, but in the eyes of Ananda he was nobody. Ananda was a king, had his own kingdom; Sariputra was just a commoner. Ananda said to him, "You keep quiet. It is a question between two brothers, you need not interfere."
After forty-two years Ananda wept when Gautam Buddha was dying. And he said, "I did not listen to Sariputra. I was ignorant, I insisted. Those conditions were nothing but an enhancement of my ego."
The first condition was, "I will always remain with you. You cannot send me anywhere else to spread the word." Second, "I can ask any question. You cannot say to me, `Wait, and when the time is right you will receive the answer.' No, you will have to give me the answer immediately." And third, "If I bring a friend -- even if it is in the middle of the night, and I wake you up -- you will have to receive him and answer his questions."
Gautam Buddha laughed. There are very few occasions when he laughed -- in his whole life maybe three or four occasions. He laughed, laughed at the stupidity of human ignorance. What he was asking was just meaningless, and what he was losing he was not aware of.
Buddha said, "You are my elder brother. I have to obey you, respect you. Your conditions are accepted. You will never find a fault. I give my promise -- but I am giving it with a very heavy heart, because you don't know what you are missing. You are thinking you are becoming special, and this is the place where you have to become humble."
But a blind man is a blind man. He took initiation only after those conditions were accepted. And he wept tears of blood, because he remained always with a subtle ego: "I have a certain speciality amongst ten thousand disciples.
Nobody has any promise from Gautam Buddha except me."
But the people who had no promise, their promises were fulfilled. Those who had come without asking anything and surrendered themselves, they attained. He remained lagging behind. He could not believe it: "What is the matter? Very junior people have attained to liberation, and I am one of the most senior persons. And I am the closest."
But closest only physically. He slept in the same room in which Gautam Buddha slept.
He moved just behind him like a shadow, and he felt greatly proud of his specialness. He was acknowledged by Gautam Buddha and by everybody else; but his acknowledgement became his fault, his failure.
Pankaja, never desire acknowledgement. Enjoy when it comes, relish it, dance... but when it comes on its own, not asked for. The master always recognizes -- but only those who will be helped by it. And he ignores those who will be helped by his ignoring them.
Perhaps they will come to an understanding of why they are being ignored: because they want to be special, because they want to be acknowledged.
Drop that! If you cannot drop, even with a master, then what kind of discipleship is it?
What kind of initiation have you taken? Now leave it to him. If he feels that you need being ignored, he will ignore you -- and you have to be thankful for it. And if he feels you need acknowledgement he will acknowledge you, and you have to be thankful for that too. But it should not be a demand on your part.
The moment you demand you miss the intimacy, the deep spiritual connection. You fall far away, because the desire is not of your being, it is of your ego, of your personality -- which is not you, which is your enemy. This enemy has to be crucified.
Without ego, without any sense of "I", you will know the innocence of a child. Then the whole starry sky and its freedom is yours.
A smart New York career girl married Stefano, a handsome young Italian farmer. She was not too happy with his social manners, and started trying to improve him immediately. Throughout the wedding reception she continuously corrected his mistakes, telling him what to say, which knife to use at the table, and how to pass the butter.
Finally, the celebrations were over, and they were in bed at last. Stefano fidgeted between the sheets, unsure of himself, but finally he turned towards his new wife and stuttered, "Could you pass the pussy please?"
It is better to recognize whatever you are: ignorant, uneducated, knowledgeable, moralistic, puritan, egoist -- it is better to recognize whatever you are.
There is no need to hide yourself from the master.
The function of the master is not to improve upon you, but to transform you -- and these are two different processes.
To reform you means to decorate you, to polish you; to transform means to help you die as an ego and be born as an innocent child, who knows no idea of "I-ness".
Only the childlike consciousness is capable of understanding all that is beautiful in life, all that is great in existence. And the whole existence is full of greatness, full of glories.
This is the only existence there is; its beauty, its truth, is the only beauty and the only truth. But they are available only to the innocent people.
Blessed are the innocent, for theirs is the kingdom of God.
The Golden Future