A glimpse of your own future
I HEARD YOU SAY THAT SOMEONE WHO IS NOT YET PREPARED FOR ENLIGHTENMENT MIGHT DIE FROM THE EXPERIENCE. I BELIEVE IT IS ALSO POSSIBLE THAT THE EXPERIENCE REMAINS A SHORT SATORI AND THE PERSON COMES BACK TO HIS NORMAL STATE. THIS IS MY OWN EXPERIENCE. I WAS IN A STATE OF EXTREME HAPPINESS AND PROBLEMLESSNESS, AND HAD A STRONG FEELING OF "I AM LOVE," AND THEN I CAME BACK AFTER MAYBE HALF AN HOUR. CAN YOU PLEASE COMMENT?
Veet Diti, you came quite soon! It is really unique -- just in half an hour! You made a great comeback. You had gone through the experience of problemlessness, of extreme happiness and of the feeling of "I am love." But what happened after half an hour? The problems must have come back, and the misery may have deepened. And what to say about the experience of "I am love"? Now who are you? -- I mean after half an hour.
You really did a great job! I am at a loss what to say to you, from where to begin? -- before half an hour or after?
Satori is not such a thing. Satori is a miniature experience of samadhi, but once you get into it, you cannot get out of it. That's the real test and the criterion. Anything that comes and goes is of the mind; it is imagination. Anything that comes and remains, even in spite of you, even if you want it to go it is impossible to get out of it... Satori is forever.
Samadhi is just like the total opening of the lotus, and satori is the beginning of the opening of the petals. Satori is the beginning, samadhi is the climax. But you don't get out of it. It is one-way traffic; nobody has come out of it.
But mind is capable of imagining anything. It can imagine that there are no problems, but if you look deep down you will feel that you are uneasy about "no problems." Deep down you will find absolutely a feeling..."What has happened to me?" You will not feel blissful because there are no problems. You will feel very lonely because all your friends are gone, all your relatives... the whole family has disappeared, leaving you alone in darkness. You will make a problem out of this situation. This situation will not be a blissful state, but a state of deep anguish, anxiety, loneliness and a deep longing to be somehow out of it.
What you think is happiness is just a dream of your mind. Your mind is inherently capable of dreaming about everything. It can dream about satori, it can dream about samadhi, in a dream it can become the Buddha -- but the dream cannot last long. Even half an hour is too much!
But you seem to have fallen into the trap of the mind. You say, "I have heard you say that someone who is not yet prepared for enlightenment might die from the experience." You have heard it, but you have not understood it. You have not explored all the implications of it.
What I am saying is: Enlightenment can happen this very moment, even in your unpreparedness, because it does not depend on your preparedness. It is not something that depends on your efforts, readiness. It is a happening beyond you, beyond your reach. It can happen this very moment. It is not happening because this will be dangerous to your very life.
The experience of enlightenment is such a great shock to your body, to your mind, to your very system. It is exactly a lightning experience. Everything that you have been is simply shattered. The shock is so much you may forget breathing, you may forget that your heart has stopped.
Preparedness is needed not for enlightenment, but to absorb it. Preparedness is needed not to achieve enlightenment, but so that when it comes, you don't fall apart but you remain centered and silent and peaceful and let the great experience happen. But it does not destroy you. Your preparedness is necessary to save your life from the great experience, which is almost like fire.
Unless you are prepared, enlightenment and death are almost simultaneous. Many people have died because of sudden enlightenment. They were not ready for it, it was too much.
Their body, their whole system, was too fragile for the experience. They were too small and the experience was too big.
So when people say to you, "Prepare for enlightenment," they really mean, "Prepare... not for enlightenment, it will not come by your preparedness; prepare so that you can welcome it without being shattered, without being killed by the great joy." Have you not heard of many people dying out of great excitement?
I have heard... a man was continuously purchasing every month a ticket for a million dollar lottery. He had been purchasing it for years, and all his friends and his family had become tired of telling him, "What is the point, why do you go on wasting money in purchasing the ticket? We have seen: almost thirty years have passed, nothing comes."
But the man had become so accustomed to the habit. The day he got his salary, the first thing he did was to purchase a ticket for the coming lottery. Then one day a telegram came. He was in the office, his wife received the telegram -- he has won the lottery, and by the evening the money will be delivered.
His wife became very much worried. They had been poor, they had lived in poverty; she knew that it will be too much for her poor husband -- one million dollars out of the blue!
He was not even expecting... Thirty years have passed; he had even forgotten why he goes on purchasing the ticket. He knew perfectly well that it was not going to happen to him. It is not his fate.
The wife suddenly remembered the Catholic priest -- they were Catholics -- "This is the moment I should run to the priest and ask his advice... 'What to do? Because the moment he will hear it -- one million dollars -- I am afraid he will have a heart attack. You are a wise man and this is the time we need your help.'" The priest said, "Don't be worried. I am coming with you. You need not convey the message; I will convey the message, and I will convey it in installments, so he does not get the shock so suddenly -- one million dollars! First I will say, 'You have got fifty thousand dollars.' When he has absorbed it I will say, 'No, you have got really one hundred thousand dollars.' When he has absorbed that, and I am certain that he is still alive, I will go on. This way by a slow process he will be able to come to the point where he can accept one million dollars."
The wife said, "You are really great! You are certainly the wisest man around and if you can save my husband's life I will donate fifty thousand dollars to the church."
The priest said, "What? Fifty thousand dollars?" -- and he fell down then and there. He never came back after half an hour! Fifty thousand dollars so suddenly... the poor priest, and he was not expecting it at all.
Enlightenment is the greatest experience in life. You cannot even conceive what it is -- no conceptualization is possible. You can think of pleasure, great pleasure; you can think of happiness, because you have known something of it -- a little bit. You can think, "Perhaps there will be no problems." But these are not the real contents of enlightenment.
Because here you are constantly living in the atmosphere full of longings for enlightenment, your mind can start weaving, spinning dreams. But don't take those dreams seriously. You have done that. You say, "I believe it is also possible that the experience remains a short satori and the person comes back to his normal state." You don't understand what is your normal state.
Enlightenment is your normal state!
The state in which you are is abnormal! Coming back from satori to your so-called normal state is coming back from satori into insanity. It is simply not possible. Once you have seen the light you cannot become blind again. Once you have known love, hate cannot raise its head in your being. Once all problems are dissolved, from where can they come back again?
Michelangelo was painting the ceiling of the Sistine chapel. He was getting tired of lying on his back, so he rolled over and sat on the edge of the scaffold. Looking down he noticed a little old lady praying in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary. Wanting to have some fun, he shouted down in a deep voice, "I am Jesus Christ, I am Jesus Christ! Listen to me and I will do miracles."
The old lady looked up, clasping her rosary, and shouted back, "You shut-up-a your mouth! I am-a talking to your mother!"
"The last time I met you," said the priest, "you made me very happy because you were sober. Today you have made me unhappy because you are drunk."
"True," said the drunk with a smile, "but today is my turn to be happy."
Beware of your mind -- it can deceive you!
There is not anything in life which mind cannot hallucinate about, and when you are living in a special atmosphere like this, where meditation, enlightenment, blissfulness, ecstasy are in the very air, where everybody is thinking about these extraordinary experiences... This is not a common place. In the market people are thinking about money, about power, about respectability.
This is not a marketplace.
This is a temple of silence.
Here everything is vibrating, and it is very easy to get caught into imagination. And particularly a woman is more capable of imagination than a man.
Veet Diti -- a man thinks, a woman feels. Feeling is irrational. A man finds it hard to imagine. A woman is very easily capable of imagining anything. Her center of functioning is feeling, emotion, sentiments; her eyes are continuously filled with dreams.
These dreams can be useful in poetry, in drama, but these dreams cannot be of any help -- on the contrary they are great hindrances -- on the path of truth.
Truth is not your imagination, it is not your feeling.
Truth is your being.
But the woman is very easily persuaded... it is not her fault, it is her nature. These are the differences between man and woman. Men are basically skeptical, doubtful about everything, suspicious; hence they are more capable of scientific research.
For a woman it is difficult to be a scientist, very rare. But as far as imagination is concerned, if she is allowed -- but she has not been allowed for centuries -- then no painter can compete with her, no poet can compete with her, no musician can go higher than she can go, no dancer can come even close to her. She can prove of tremendous help in creating a beautiful planet. She can fill it with songs, dances and love.
But unfortunately man has not allowed her freedom to stand on her own and to contribute to life. Half of humanity has been deprived of contributing, and perhaps... it is my understanding that this has been done out of fear.
Man is afraid of woman's imagination. He is afraid because once she is allowed freedom to be creative, man will not be able to compete with her. His superiority, his ego, is in danger. Because of this fear that his superiority will be destroyed, that all his great poets will look like pigmies, and all his great painters will look amateur, it is better not to allow the woman education, the opportunity to express her feelings and her heart.
But as far as enlightenment is concerned, man's problem is his reason and woman's problem is her feeling. Both are barriers to enlightenment. Man has to drop his reasoning, the woman has to drop her feeling. Both are at equal distance from enlightenment. Man's distance is of reasoning, of mind; woman's distance is of feeling, of heart -- but the distance is equal. Man has to drop his logic and woman has to drop her emotions. Both have to drop something which is hindering the path.
In various stages of her life a woman resembles the continents of the world. As a child she is like Africa, virgin territory, unexplored. In her youth she is like Asia, hot and exotic. In her prime she is like America, fully explored and free with her resources. In middle age she is like Europe, exhausted, but not without places of interest. And after that she is like Australia -- everyone knows it is down there, but nobody much cares.
Man has to drop his approach towards reality; he is always thinking and the woman is always feeling. Both are equally incapable of experiencing enlightenment, because one is filled with thoughts, the other is filled with feelings.
Enlightenment is possible only when you are utterly empty -- no thought, no feeling, just utter silence. Then what happens remains. It never goes away.
So the question is significant for all. In your longing, in your desire, in your passion you are vulnerable to hallucinate, to start thinking or feeling that which you would like to experience. But this is dangerous because it will become your final block. You will never be able to reach beyond this barrier.
It is good to be alert from the very beginning. Never imagine! Remember all that you can do for enlightenment is a preparedness, a silent being, a serenity. Enlightenment will come at the right moment, whenever you are absolutely silent.
You don't have to imagine it, you don't have to even worry about what it is like. You don't have to find the definition of it, you don't have to be concerned about the description -- what qualities, what experiences are going to happen through it -- because all that is dangerous. All that can give your mind beautiful opportunities to imagine, to think and to believe... and Diti has even mentioned the word, saying that she believes: "I believe it is also possible..."
The world of experience is not the world of belief: either you know or you don't know.
Belief is deceptive. An authentic religious person has nothing to do with belief. It is the unauthentic, the false, the phony who lives in systems of beliefs. These systems of beliefs make you Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans... they don't allow you to become simply and purely religious. And remember that unless you are simply religious, you are not religious at all.
It is not a question of your believing.
It is a question of your experiencing.
And for the experience, get prepared! Become the right receptive host... the guest comes.
I am reminded of a beautiful story. Rabindranath has made a poem based on the story; his poem is named, "The King of the Night." There is a great temple, perhaps the greatest because there are one thousand priests in the temple. It is vast and has thousands of statues, and millions of people pass through the temple every day.
The high priest one night dreams that God has come into his dream. God says to him, "You have been preparing the temple every day for thousands of years with flowers, with fragrance and you are waiting for me. I am sorry that I could not come before, but tomorrow I am coming."
Just the idea that God is coming tomorrow... in the middle of the night the priest woke up. He was in a very great dilemma -- whether to tell the other priests or not, because nobody is going to believe it. They will laugh, they will say, "You have got old and senile. God has never come. It was only a dream after all, and dreams don't come true.
Dreams are dreams! So don't be worried about it, nobody is going to come."
But then he was also afraid. If it turns out to be true and God comes, then the temple will not be perfectly ready for him. So much work has to be done -- the garden has to be cleaned, the path has to be made clean, the whole temple has to be washed, delicious food has to be made -- the great guest is going to come. He thought, "It is better to be thought to be mad, senile, but it is dangerous to take the risk of not telling others." Alone he cannot do it -- the work is vast and the time is short. Tomorrow -- who knows at what time -- maybe in the morning, maybe in the afternoon, or by the evening certainly he will be coming.
So he woke up all the priests, one thousand priests. They were all angry that he is talking nonsense in the middle of the night. They said, "You just go to sleep. You have become too old. Thinking and thinking continuously for your whole life that God will come one day, now you have convinced yourself. This is just a dream managed by your own unconscious. You simply go to sleep!"
He said, "I will go to sleep, but I don't want to take any chance. What is the harm if we clean the whole temple? It is good -- it has not been cleaned thoroughly for centuries.
There is no harm; even if God does not come it is good to clean the temple, to clean the garden, to clean the road as if he is coming. And who knows, he may come!"
The other priests also thought that it was not good to take a chance, so the whole garden was cleaned, the whole temple was washed, all the statues were washed and so much incense, so much fragrance, so many flowers... The whole day they were waiting with delicious food prepared, but they could not eat unless the guest had come. And when it was afternoon and he had not come, doubt started arising and a few priests started saying, "It is all nonsense! We have been unnecessarily tortured the whole day; now it is afternoon and he has not come."
Slowly, slowly, more and more skepticism, more and more doubt, and by the evening almost everybody -- except the high priest -- was against waiting any longer. They said, "You simply managed to torture us. We have been starving the whole day; now it is enough. The sun is setting and the day is complete. Now we should eat, we should be allowed to eat. And we want to go to sleep early; we are tired." Unwillingly the high priest agreed; they ate and they went to sleep.
In the middle of the night a golden chariot comes to the doors of the temple. The noise that the wheels of the chariot make reaches the priests in their sleep.
One priest says, "It seems he has come, because I can hear a strange noise which can only come from the great wheels of a chariot."
Others say, "Shut up and go to sleep! There is no chariot, nothing; it is just the clouds in the sky...." (A SUDDEN BURST OF FIRECRACKERS) You listen to the clouds -- it feels like he is coming!
And finally the chariot stops at the gate. He steps down; he climbs the marble steps up to the main gate. Somebody says, "I hear his steps, he has come. I have even heard a knock on the doors."
But many others shout, "You idiots, will you allow us to sleep or not? We are tired, the whole day waiting and cleaning and working, and now somebody hears the chariot, somebody is hearing the footsteps. Nobody has come, it is just the wind that is knocking on the doors. Just go to sleep!"
In the morning when they opened the door, they were shocked: the chariot had come, because there were, on the dirt road coming to the temple, the marks of a chariot. They could see on the steps some footprints.
They were all silent. Their eyes were full of tears and the high priest said, "You did not listen to me! For centuries this temple has been waiting, and now the King of the Night has come. And we forgot completely that the temple was known as the temple of the King of the Night. Naturally the King of the Night will come in the night, not in the day.
We waited in the day, and we went to sleep when it was time to be awake and alert and to watch and to wait. We missed the opportunity."
All that you need is a waiting consciousness.
In absolute silence -- aware, conscious -- God, enlightenment, truth, whatever you name it, comes.
It has always come, whenever somebody was ready; it has never been otherwise. In your readiness is the guarantee, the promise, that the ultimate is going to happen to you. You are not to think about it; you have to drop all thinking. You are not to have any feeling about it; you have to forget all feeling.
You have to be just a silent waiting with deep trust, with great love, with infinite gratitude.
DURING THE DAYS YOU WERE NOT SPEAKING, I WAS IN A TOTAL EMOTIONAL AND MIND CRISIS. I GOT SO MUCH LOVE, JUICE AND ENERGY FROM SITTING TWO TIMES A DAY IN DISCOURSE -- AND AFTER YOU STOPPED SPEAKING MY ENERGY BROKE DOWN. IT SEEMED THAT ALL THE DIRT AND MIND CAME OUT EVEN STRONGER THAN BEFORE. PLEASE COMMENT.
Deva Shikha, it is going to happen to you -- it is natural. But you have to learn to transcend it. I cannot be always with you. I would love to, but existence does not allow it.
Existence gives only so much rope, and it is good; otherwise you will start taking me for granted.
One day I will not be amongst you. It is good that once in a while I am absent, so you can start learning that what happens in my absence is your reality. When I am with you, you become overwhelmed with me. You forget yourself.
And you have not to forget yourself!
You have to remember yourself, because only through remembrance you will be able to transform yourself.
It is natural; hence I am not condemning it. But you are in search of something beyond -- beyond the normal, the natural -- something transcendental. You have to learn the way, and the way has to be traveled alone.
I cannot come with you. I can show you the way, I can show you the moon. But my fingers are not the moon, and I cannot continue to show you the moon. Sooner or later you have to forget my fingers and you have to look at the moon yourself. You have to follow the path alone.
Naturally when I was not coming daily, morning and evening, to be with you, you started feeling a kind of breakdown. It was not a breakdown; it was simply that your reality was surfacing. It had not been getting the opportunity to surface. I was so much with you that you had gone into the shadow, into the background. I had become more real to you than yourself.
When I was not coming, in my absence your reality was exposed to you. It is good, because unless you know what you are, where you are, your pilgrimage cannot begin. So those days were of great importance.
Remember: whatever you find within yourself, however much rubbish it may be, it is your reality. It can be cleaned, it can be dropped; you can move away from it. But before anything can be done about it, you have to know it. That is the first and the most significant thing.
A farmer, plowing with one ox, kept crying out: "Giddup, Joe! Giddup, Alexander!
Giddup, Henry! Giddup, Ronnie!"
A man passing by asked him, "How many names does that ox have, anyway?"
"Only one," the farmer replied. "His name is Pete, but he does not know his own strength.
So I put blinkers on him, yell a lot of names, and he thinks there are half a dozen other oxen helping him."
That's what I have been doing with you. You are alone, but I go on shouting, "Giddup, Joe! Giddup Alexander! Giddup, Henry! Giddup, Ronnie!" And you feel relaxed... you are not alone, so many people are on the path.
But the truth is that everybody is alone. And it is good to understand that you are alone. It will make you aware of your own strength. You have enough strength to complete the pilgrimage; in fact you have more strength than any pilgrimage needs. You are just not aware of it.
When you are with me, you are not with yourself -- it is perfectly right. But once in a while you have to be with yourself too, just to get the comparison -- the comparison between what you are and what you can be. Otherwise you don't have any sense of direction, you don't know where to move, what is the right dimension for you. You don't know your potential.
If my presence can make you aware of your potential, your possibilities, your blossomings, then I have done my work. I have given you a glimpse of your own future.
But remember, it is your future not your present.
Once in a while you have to be reminded of your present too; otherwise you will start living in a euphoria of the future and you will forget all about your reality in the present.
That reality in the present has to be changed: you have to go beyond it. You have to attain that euphoria and make it real. But it has to be your own -- not mine, not anybody else's.
The false teacher is one who never gives you a chance to know that his euphoria has become slowly, slowly your euphoria, that his experience and his presence has become a kind of drug. You feel good, but a drug cannot be the source of ultimate transformation.
The authentic master goes on continuously giving you glimpses of the beyond, but always reminds you about the earth you are standing upon. He goes on telling you about the flowers and the spring that is going to come, but he never allows you to forget your roots and your reality. Your spring has not come yet. It is possible to experience my fragrance and get into a delusion that it is your fragrance, your peace, your silence, your love.
I am not your enemy and I will never do such a thing. I am your friend, and I would like you always to remember your reality -- side by side with remembering your ultimate potential. What you are and what you can be, both have to be remembered. Then, and only then, the transformation.
The understanding between me and you is not always exactly the way I would like it to be. But I never expect anything impossible from you; in fact I don't expect anything from you. I share my experience, knowing perfectly well all the possibilities of misunderstanding. So I go on making you alert about the misunderstandings that are possible. They can be avoided if you are alert.
All communication is a difficult process, because I want to say something which cannot be said, and yet I have to say it -- and I have to say it in words which are absolutely impotent to convey it. I say something, you hear something else. But I know this is natural, and particularly in those sannyasins who are new, who will only listen to my words and interpret those words according to their own prejudices. Those who are old enough, who have lived long enough with me, know perfectly well my ways of working.
A girl said to her date, "You remind me of the sea."
"You mean," he said, "because I am so wild, magnificent, and romantic?"
"No," she said, "because you make me sick."
Human communication is a difficult problem!
Walking down the street in New York, Hymie Goldberg said to his wife Becky, "Hey, did you see that pretty girl smiling at me?"
"That's nothing," said Becky. "The first time I saw you I laughed out loud."
Paddy complained to his friend Sean, that he had seen his wife going into a movie with a strange man.
"Did you follow them inside?" asked Sean.
"No way," replied Paddy, "I had already seen the movie."
A hotel night clerk was surprised to see a guest walking through the lobby in his pink pajamas.
"Hey there," he shouted, "what do you think you are doing?"
The guest woke up and apologized. "I beg your pardon," he said, "I am a somnambulist."
"Well," said the clerk, "you can't walk around here like that, no matter what religion you belong to."
Farmer Jenkins had two cows, Daisy and Tinkerbell. One day he borrowed the bull from the next farm and instructed his farmhand, Jake, to watch and make sure that the bull did his job properly.
That afternoon the local priest came round for tea and just as the farmer's wife was pouring it, Jake came rushing into the room and shouted, "Mister Jenkins, the bull just screwed the hell out of Daisy."
Jake's face fell when he saw the priest, and the farmer was furious. He took Jake into the other room and said, "Look, I want to be kept informed of the bull's progress, but this is too much. Next time use the word 'surprised', not 'screwed'."
Twenty minutes later Jake came running in again and said, "Boss! Boss! The bull just...
the bull..." but seeing the priest he could not say another word. The farmer got up and said, "Jake, did the bull surprise Tinkerbell this time?"
"Surprise Tinkerbell? I will say he did," cried Jake enthusiastically. "He screwed the hell out of Daisy again!"
The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here