Prem Leela, the old man, the way he has existed for centuries, is afraid of life, not afraid of death. Death he worships, life he renounces.
All the religions that have prevailed in the world have been life-negative; they have continuously hammered the thought into your mind that to love life is something wrong; to love life is for sinners, to hate life is for saints. All their disciplines are managed and planned in such a way that they destroy your life; they destroy your joy of life, they destroy your longing for more and more life.
Rather than helping you to live more aesthetically, more artistically, more beautifully, more blissfully, they condemn life so much in so many ways that your whole longing for life is poisoned. And in a very indirect way, they all teach you to worship death. What is renunciation of life if not the worshiping of death? They are afraid of life because life seems to be against their religions. A man who loves life will not bother at all about temples, and mosques, and churches; life is enough unto itself.
One who has known life in its depths and in its heights will not bother at all whether God exists or not because he has already known something more real, something more certain than any God has ever been.
All gods are hypothetical.
Only life is the real God.
Naturally, the priests are worried that you should not get too much involved with the mysteries of life, because if you are too much involved with the mysteries of life... who is going to be a Christian, or a Hindu, or a Mohammedan, or a Buddhist? Who is going to worship dead gods, dead saints? Who is going to listen to the priests?
One who has heard the song of life itself, one who has lived intensely and totally the music of life itself, who has danced it, is not going to be concerned about belief systems - - he has no need. And there are only two ugliest professions in the world... one is that of the prostitutes and the other is that of the priests.
Of course, the profession of the priests is far worse because the prostitutes only sell their bodies, they don't sell their souls. And they don't interfere with anybody else's freedom, they don't destroy your joy; on the contrary, they in some way enhance it, intensify it, make it more aflame. It is the priest who sells gods, and who enslaves man, and who interferes in everybody's life -- his freedom, his individuality.
He can not tolerate seeing anybody happy, because the person who is happy is not going to be his customer; his business is dependent on your misery. The more miserable you are, the more you will seek the advice of the priest, the more you will worship statues, the more you will look beyond life for some consolation. This life is full of suffering. You have to believe in a life other than this life just to bear it, just to tolerate it; otherwise, it will become impossible even for a single moment for any intelligent man.
The priests have left only one thing, and that is suicide. They have destroyed everything that life is capable of, and they have poisoned your minds so deeply that even if you try to enjoy something... you want to dance, but you find that some invisible chains are preventing your feet; you want to sing, but you find some invisible hands are choking your voice; you want to love, but you suddenly hear some voice coming from within your own mind that you are going to commit a sin, it is against God and against all the holy scriptures.
Prem Leela, your question is of tremendous importance. You are asking, "Which is it I'm more afraid of: life or death?"
Nobody is afraid of death.
It may seem unbelievable, but I repeat that nobody is afraid of death, because you cannot be afraid of something you don't know. You cannot be afraid of something with which you are not acquainted -- what do you know about death? How can you be afraid of the unknown?
It is the known that creates fear. It is the miserable life that you have lived today, that you are afraid you may have to live tomorrow again. You know it; you have been living it year after year, hoping that some miracle will happen, and tomorrow with the rising sun everything will change. But the sun rises every day; it has risen thousands of times, and nothing changes. On the contrary, life goes on becoming more complicated, more miserable, more full of suffering, more full of fear.
Yes, you are afraid of old age, you are afraid of disease, but not of death. You know nothing about death. Death, you worship.
One of my friends was meeting with the home minister. He asked, "Ramakrishna Mission is given tax-exempt status, Vivekananda Mission is given tax-exempt status; why are you all against a man who has not done any harm to you?"
And the home minister said to him -- "they are friends, old colleagues -- because Bhagwan is still alive, he cannot be given tax-exempt status." My friend could not believe that to get tax-exempt status, you have to be dead! He said, "What kind of logic is this?"
And the home minister explained, "A living man cannot be given a tax-exempt status because he may change tomorrow, he may change his whole ideology; he may become a communist, he may become an anarchist. And particularly the man you have come to recommend to me is already dangerous!
"Once a man dies, everybody is satisfied; at least one thing is certain -- that man cannot change. He cannot give another interpretation to life, he cannot declare that there is no God. We can be certain about his philosophy, and if it fits into our categories, we can give the tax-exempt status, but not to a living man -- and especially to a living man like Bhagwan!"
My friend was going to see the prime minister, but the home minister said, "It is better you don't mention Bhagwan's name to anybody. Just the name makes them afraid for the simple reason that he does not belong to any religion; nobody knows what exactly is his teaching. He does not give any discipline to his people; on the contrary, he takes away people's disciplines and beliefs. Rather than conditioning them to be obedient to the society and the society's morality, he corrupts them. He takes away their conditionings and leaves them open, vulnerable, rebellious."
Have you ever seen anybody who is alive being worshiped as a saint? Even when Ramakrishna was alive, people thought, "He is an idiot, he is a madman." When Ramateertha was alive, the great Hindu scholars of Varanasi declared that he could not be a saint because he did not know Sanskrit. His whole upbringing was in Persian, Arabic and Urdu, because he was born in Lahore which is now in Pakistan. But once dead, nobody asks whether Ramateertha knew Sanskrit or not; dead, everything is right. Now he is worshiped as a great saint. Ramakrishna is no longer described as a madman; he is worshiped as an incarnation of God -- by the same people.
To worship the dead has been one of the basic attitudes of the old man, because the dead man cannot create rebellion, cannot provoke people to revolt. A dead man is very comfortable, convenient. But one who is alive, and not only alive, but who believes life to be the only God, looks certainly dangerous.
Just a few days ago here in Poona, one of the shankaracharyas, Swami Svarupanand, told a conference, "Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh is the most dangerous man mankind has ever known." I don't carry nuclear weapons with me, I don't have even a knife to cut vegetables, but I am the most dangerous man of the whole history of mankind because I teach life and not death, love, rejoicing and not renunciation.
The old man has lived so wrongly, so stupidly, so insanely that the harm that has been done to us is incalculable.
A man is shipwrecked, and finds himself in an uninhabited region. After wandering long in the jungle, he comes at last to a village where he sees a noose from which a corpse is hanging.
"The Lord be praised," he cries. "Civilization at last!"
But this is the civilization we all have inherited.
Two guys at a bar were comparing the sexual behavior of their wives. "Hey," one said, "Does your wife close her eyes when you are making love to her?"
"Sure, she does," the other replied. "She can't stand to see me having a good time."
The priests are just like these wives who can't stand to see anybody having a good time.
All your religions are nothing but condemnations of everything that can give you pleasure, joy. They are very supportive of everything that is nothing but self-torture.
Your question is: "Bhagwan, your outstretched hands ever-patiently wait beside my open cage door, beckoning, but time and time again, I return to my cage shouting, "Freedom, freedom!" Having a taste here and there of the vastness of the unknown, why do I return to my lesser home? Your beckoning eyes, your inviting hands pull so strongly at my heart; and yet I resist."
Naturally, a great question mark arises in your heart -- why? Why do you choose slavery when freedom is available? Why do you choose the cage when the doors are open, and the whole sky is yours?
The answer is not very far to find. The cage has security. It protects you from rain, from sun, from strong wind, from your enemies. It protects you from the vastness in which one can be lost. It gives you a shelter, it is your cozy home, and you don't have any responsibility of worrying about your food, of worrying about the rainy season, of worrying about whether tomorrow you will be able to find nourishment or not.
Freedom brings tremendous responsibilities.
Slavery is a bargain: you give your freedom and somebody else starts being responsible for your life, for your protection, for your food, for your shelter, for everything that you need. All that you lose is your freedom, all that you lose are your wings, all that you lose is the starry sky. But that was your soul.
In a cage safe and secure, you are dead; you have chosen a life of no risk, no danger.
That's why you go on returning to your cage, although your deepest soul is restless in slavery; it would like to risk all and to have the freedom to go to the very end of the sky.
It longs to fly across the sun to faraway stars. That's why my hands become significant to you, my words become a beckoning. But you decide, finally, to be a hypocrite; that's what almost everybody in the whole world has decided.
You start singing songs of freedom in the cage. Although the doors are open and the sky is available, you settle for a life of hypocrisy -- to have all the coziness and the insurance and the security of the cage, and have all the joys of freedom in your song, in your poetry, in your painting, in your music. That's why you go on shouting, "Freedom, freedom!" You are simply deceiving yourself.
The new man will not be a hypocrite.
The old man was basically taught to be a hypocrite. The greater the hypocrite he was, the more honored, the more rewarded, the more respectable. He had settled with society:
"You respect me and I will be a slave, I will be at your disposal. You just go on giving Nobel prizes to me."
But you are not to be part of that old hypocrite world. I want you to come out of all security, all coziness, all shelter. Make the whole sky your home, be a wanderer, a pilgrim, know all the mysteries and all the secrets of life. And let not your life be a serious and miserable phenomenon. Let it be a joyous laughter, a playfulness.
To me, authentic religiousness means a childlike innocence, playfulness, and a wholehearted capacity for laughter.
Then each moment becomes so precious that you will not sing the song of freedom, you will live it. You will not talk about truth, you will know it. You will not worship God, you will find him wherever life is -- all over existence.
Prem Ramarshi, the question shows you are not yet mad enough because those who are mad never accept that they are mad. That is one of the absolutes: the madman never accepts that he is mad.
You can look in madhouses, you can ask as many madmen as possible, and you will be surprised that they are all shocked that people think that they are mad. No argument convinces them; on the contrary, they are ready to give every argument to prove that they are not mad.
It happened in the second world war, Winston Churchill had gone for a walk in the evening, tired of the whole day's work, and the tremendous responsibility and tension -- because Adolf Hitler was bombing exactly over London. He forgot in his thoughts that after six o'clock he had to go inside the house; an absolute curfew ordered that after six o'clock, nobody should come out of the house. As Churchill remembered it, he saw that it was six-fifteen. And it was not in India where, if you are the prime minister, no law applies to you; it was Britain where it makes no difference whether you are the prime minister or a nobody.
He rushed to the closest house because his own house was far away, it would take fifteen minutes... the streets were deserted, he could be caught, and that would become a scandal -- that even the prime minister does not follow the rules that he decides for everybody to follow.
He knocked on the door. A man opened the door, and he introduced himself saying, "I am Winston Churchill, prime minister of the country, and by chance I forgot to return home in time. Please give me shelter."
Before he could end his sentence, the man, a very strong man, pulled him in. Churchill said, "What are you doing?" The man said, "Shut up! We already have three more Winston Churchills in here."
It was a madhouse!
Winston Churchill said, "But I really AM Winston Churchill." The man said, "Forget all about it. They all say the same thing. Everybody is really Winston Churchill."
He said, "Let me phone my wife, or to the palace." The man said, "Forget all these things.
Just get into your cell so I can lock it. And don't make any nuisance in the night, because we are tired of these Winston Churchills. Those three are also continually saying, "We want to talk to Buckingham Palace; we want to inform parliament what kind of misbehavior is being done to the prime ministers."
He thought for a moment, and realized the situation -- that there is no way; he will have to wait till the morning, unless some officer or doctor, somebody more intelligent then this idiot, comes in.
But it was the same story. The jailer came, and he was an educated man. Winston Churchill very politely said to him, "Listen, I'm really Winston Churchill. I'm not joking.
And I have too much responsibility, the country is at war, I cannot remain here! I'm needed in my office; every moment is decisive.
The jailer laughed. He said, "Just rest. Three others are also continually harassing us that they are responsible for the whole country, that they are to save the whole world."
Winston Churchill thought that now even the last hope.... The doctor came. He looked at Winston Churchill, and Winston Churchill said, "Do you recognize me? Have you seen my picture?"
The doctor said, "I have seen your picture, and that's why I'm wondering... that you look exactly like Winston Churchill."
Churchill said, "I don't look. I am."
The doctor said, "Forget all about that! Don't say that, because there are three more. They also look... and if you tell them that they look like Winston Churchill, they become very angry. They say, `We are! Don't insult your own prime minister.'" His family was in search all over the street where he used to go for a walk, and somebody said that they had seen him knock at the madhouse on the corner -- that's how he was found and released. But before getting released he said, "I would like to ask a favor. I would like to see the other three. I have become so interested in them. Once in the night, it came to me, "Perhaps I'm just mad, and they are right." But then I dropped that idea," No, I'm certainly Winston Churchill; I'm the prime minister." But I would love to see them."
So he was taken to see them. They all looked like him -- fat, with the cigar. And they all looked at him also, and they all said the same thing. They said, "Boy, you look almost like Winston Churchill -- an exact copy of me! How did you manage?"
Because he was not a madman, for a moment the idea came to him, "Perhaps I am mad."
But for those three people even that idea was impossible.
You say, Ramarshi, "The closer I get to you, the madder I become, and I have noticed this phenomenon in other disciples." You have to come a little bit closer. Just becoming madder is not enough; you have to be really mad! And the moment when you are really mad, you will not say you are mad; your will say, "I am enlightened." That too happens here; when somebody really gets mad he becomes enlightened. Unless you become enlightened, I don't take it seriously. Then it is okay, it is normal. Here in this commune of crazy people it is a normal phenomenon, and you have observed rightly.
But to be mad by coming closer to me is to attain to sanity in a world which is really insane. Because the world is insane, the sane people will appear as if they have gone mad. The sane people are so few, and they happen once in thousands of years -- a Gautam Buddha, a Zarathustra, a Lao Tzu, a Socrates, a Jesus. Centuries pass, and humanity goes on living in a lukewarm madness. But because everybody is in the same boat, nobody recognizes that anybody is doing something insane.
Coming closer to me means becoming more sane. It will appear like becoming madder...
and even more mad. All these words are very irrelevant. As far as I see, there is a certain similarity and a certain dissimilarity between the sane and the really sane, between the ordinary mad and the madness that comes as a divine gift.
The sameness is that both go out of the mind. In fact, we say -- in many languages the phrase exists -- that somebody has gone out of his mind that means he has gone mad. But Gautam Buddha also goes out of his mind. Just the difference is that: you can go out of mind and fall below mind or you can go out of mind and transcend mind and go beyond.
In both the cases you will be out of the mind -- that will be the similarity between the ordinary madman and the enlightened man. But everything else will be totally different.
The man who has gone beyond the mind has become for the first time sane, intelligent, wise. But to the ordinary humanity, to the normally insane people, both have gone beyond their fold, both will appear as if they are mad, and many of their actions can be interpreted as if they are similar.
One great Zen master, Lin Chi, was staying in a temple on a cold winter night. In the middle of the night, the priest suddenly woke up because he saw, in the middle of the temple, a great fire. He rushed there; Lin Chi was sitting by the side of the fire.
Lin Chi had come that very evening and he wanted to stay overnight. Knowing him as a great Zen master, the priest had allowed him; but now he was repenting that he had allowed this madman inside the temple because he had burned a big wooden statue of Gautam Buddha, and he was enjoying in the cold night the heat, the warmth.
The priest said, "Are you mad or something?" Lin Chi said, "What's the matter? Why are you looking so angry?"
He said, "You have burnt Gautam Buddha! It was our most precious statue; it took years to make it."
He said, "I have burnt Gautam Buddha?" So he took his staff and started searching in the ashes of Gautam Buddha for his bones, which in the East are called flowers.
The priest said, "Now what are you doing?" Lin Chi said, "I am looking for the flowers!
Gautam Buddha is gone, but at least we can save the bones."
Even the priest had to forget his seriousness and laugh, and he said, "You are really mad.
This is just a wooden Gautam Buddha. There are no bones in it."
Lin Chi said, "If that is the case then you have still got two more statues, and the night is long and very cold. Bring one and you can also participate and enjoy. And as far as worship is concerned, one statue is enough; three are not needed."
But the priest, seeing the intentions of Lin Chi, could not allow him to remain in the temple. In the middle of the night, a cold night, he forced him to leave the temple. He said, "I'm afraid if I go to sleep you will destroy another statue. I have heard much about you and I have always thought that you are a little mad, but today I know you are completely gone."
So he threw Lin Chi out of the temple. In the morning he opened the doors to see what had happened to Lin Chi. Just in front of the temple there was a milestone. Lin Chi had collected a few wild flowers, had put those flowers on the milestone and he was doing his morning worship: "Buddham Sharanam Gachchhami."
The priest said, "My God, this is too much! First he has destroyed a precious statue of Gautam Buddha and now he is worshiping before a milestone." He went and he asked Lin Chi, "What are you doing?"
He said, "The real thing is prayer. Whether the stone is carved in a certain form and proportion or not, it does not matter. It is only an excuse. You have your excuses -- I have destroyed one, two are still there. Sometime I will see... but for this morning this milestone is as perfect to meditate, to pray with, as any Gautam Buddha."
To any ordinary normal human being, this behavior will look insane. But do you think it is insane or is it super-sanity, super-sensitivity? He is a superman, because he is saving the essential and destroying the non-essential.
Don't be worried about becoming madder by coming closer to me -- rejoice! The madder you become, the more blissful you are. And you are seeing the same phenomenon happening in other people. My very being here is to drive as many people mad as possible, because these mad people are the potential for the future.
The so-called sane have ruled the world too long, and destroyed everything that was valuable. Now let this new race of the new man, who may look mad to the old, rule over the world. Let these people spread more madness, more joy, more song, more ecstasy and more dance around the earth. That's the only way to save it from destruction.
But old habits die hard. So you are becoming madder, Ramarshi, in installments -- slowly, slowly. Take a little longer steps. Don't take me for granted. I am here today, tomorrow...? Only one thing is needed -- permission from Rafia! And I can persuade him....
Sandra and Simon are arguing furiously over the breakfast table. "Oh, you are stupid!"
shouted Simon at his sister. "Simon!" says the father, "that's quite enough of that. Now say you are sorry."
"Alright," says Simon, "Sandra, I am sorry you are stupid."
Just small steps won't do; you need quantum leaps!
Ramarshi, the mind can try to be sane. But it will be very superficial sanity, just skin- deep, or perhaps not even that much; a little scratch and the insane will come out. Real sanity consists only in going beyond the mind and entering into a state of meditation.
Thoughts can never become sane. Only a thoughtless silence brings you to the world of sanity.
And when silence deepens inside you and goes on opening doors upon doors of your heart till you have reached your very being, don't stop, because the mind is very old and your meditation will be a very new experience. The old has weight, the old can pull you back again and again. The new experience of meditation and intelligence has to be given time to grow roots, has to be given time to start influencing your actions and your behavior. You should not leave the effort to create your meditation, your silence, your peace and its depth till you are absolutely certain that your mind is under your control and you are not under the control of the mind. That is the criterion of a sane man: the mind is his servant. For the insane man, the mind is his master.
Sarjano, I said certainly that you are all going to become enlightened, and masters, and you heard me right. Just one thing more I have to add to it. I could say it because enlightenment is your very nature. It is because of language that many problems arise; otherwise I would have said you are enlightened and you are masters -- you are just unaware of it.
It is as if you have a treasure in your house, but you don't know where it is. The house is big -- many mansions, many rooms; you know certainly the treasure is there, but you are poor, you are a beggar, and who is going to believe you? Even you yourself suspect a thousand-and-one times that perhaps it is all a myth, a dream; there is no treasure. But you have not looked into the house, you have not searched in all nooks and corners; you have not made enough efforts to find it.
I have found my treasure! That's why I am absolutely certain that if my consciousness can give me so much peace and so much silence, so much joy, so much blissfulness, there is no reason why your consciousness cannot do the same. Perhaps you have not looked into the possibility, you have not searched in your own being, you have never gone in; otherwise you are enlightened this very moment.
And I could say that not only you all will be enlightened; you all will be masters. All enlightened people have not been masters, but I can say with tremendous guarantee that my people, once they become enlightened, are going to be masters, for the simple reason that I have been preparing you to convey the message. I am giving you all the devices:
how to create bridges between you and those who are blind; how to find words which can contain at least a hint of your experience. Talking to you twice every day for almost thirty-five years....
The danger is that many of you may become masters before they become enlightened, because they have listened to so much; just a little articulateness and they can pretend to be great masters. A few are doing that already around the world; they have become mini- gurus.
But what you heard, you heard rightly. It seems difficult, it seems almost impossible; hence you laughed. The very idea of Sarjano as enlightened will create laughter in everybody. Sarjano, the enlightened master, the piesta seller, the pornography photographer. It certainly.... I can understand why you laughed. You know yourself!
But simultaneously you also felt a tremendous responsibility awakening in you, because it does not matter; neither piesta, nor anything else can prevent your enlightenment. In fact, my people are going to be not just like the stone statues of Gautam Buddha, sitting in a lotus posture doing nothing. How many Buddhas like that can we afford in the world? We will need a shoemaker who is enlightened, a piesta maker enlightened -- all kinds of people. Your actions don't define you; your being remains undefined by your actions. Certainly your being defines your actions. When you are enlightened your piesta will have a different taste.
In desperation the young bride finally took pen in hand and wrote to the problem page of a newspaper: "I am married to a sex maniac. My husband never leaves me alone. He makes love to me all night long, while I am in the shower, while cooking breakfast, even while I'm trying to clean the house. Can you tell me what to do?" signed, worn out.
"P.S. Please excuse the jerky handwriting."
But even these people have to become enlightened!
My deepest longing is to make all kinds of people enlightened and to make enlightenment a very ordinary, simple and innocent experience -- nothing special, nothing holier-than- thou-humble, non-pretending, not claiming spirituality... just being joyous and full of light, radiant with joy, overflowing with love, ready to share their experience in whatever way they can.
Sarjano, there is no need to laugh. You are as capable as any Gautam Buddha. And there is no need to be worried about responsibility, because when you become enlightened you also become capable of fulfilling tremendous responsibilities of which you could have never dreamt before.
[SUDDENLY THE SOUND OF FIRE CRACKERS IS HEARD IN THE DISTANCE.] Is this Sarjano making all these firecrackers from his piesta shop? -- because I think he is there!
The Golden Future