[NOTE: This is a translation from the Hindi series BHAJ GOVINDAM, literally: Singing the Song of the Divine. This version is the final edit pending publication, and is for research only.]
The first and the basic sutra to be understood is that truth is attained in emptiness and is lost in words. Truth is attained in silence and is lost in speech. Truth has no language; all language is untruth.
Language as such is created by man. Truth is not created by man, it is his discovery. Truth is. It is neither to be created nor to be proved but only to be unveiled. And this unveiling of the truth happens only when all the noise of language inside stops, because language is the veil. Thoughts are the only obstacle.
When a child is born he has no language. He does not come with any scripture, any religion, any caste or any nation. He arrives as an emptiness. The sacredness of emptiness is unique. Emptiness is the only virginity, the rest is all perversion. The child arrives like a fresh flower, there is not even a scratch on his consciousness. He does not know anything. But the child's capacity to know is pure. He is like a mirror on which nothing is reflected yet, but the mirroring capacity is total and pure.
Later on there will be many reflections; knowledge will increase but the capacity to know will go on decreasing. Because that emptiness will become full of words the emptiness will cease to exist. It is as if the reflections on the mirror go on sticking to it and do not disappear from it. Then, the mirror's capacity to reflect will go on decreasing.
A child is born; he does not know anything but his capacity to know is pure. That is why children learn quickly and old people learn with difficulty. It is so because the old person's capacity to learn has become less - he has had enough of everything. A lot has been written on his slate; his paper is no longer blank now. For writing something new, the paper has to be made blank all over again.
You can attain truth only if you can become again like the newborn child. So the arrival of the child in this world is the first birth, and the second birth is when sainthood is born in him. Whosoever goes through the second birth is dwija, twice born, and he is the real brahmin.
The scriptures say that all are born like sudras, untouchables. It is very rare that someone becomes a brahmin. Most of the people are born like sudras and die like sudras.
Who is a brahmin? Not the one who knows the Vedas, because anyone can know the Vedas. Not the one who has memorized the scriptures because anyone can memorize scriptures. Memorizing the scriptures is just memory, not true knowledge. Only he is a brahmin who knows Brahma.
You have come here. You may not know that your coming here is actually the quest for being a brahmin - the quest to know Brahma.
Shankara wrote the first verse of this sweet song when he was passing through a village and saw an old man memorizing the rules of grammar. He felt pity for this old man who was on his death bed - he had wasted his whole life and he was now wasting the last moment too. During his whole life he had never remembered the divine and even now he was busy with grammar. What will he gain by memorizing the rules of grammar?
Swami Ramateertha went to America and the Americans were deeply impressed by him. He was a unique person, a living vedantin. For him the divine was not a borrowed idea, it was an actual experience - he was luminous with his experience. The simple heart of America was greatly impressed by him. The heart of America is very simple; the reason for this is that America has no past, no history, no tradition. The country is only three hundred years old. Its heart is as simple as that of a child; it is not covered with many layers of words of knowledge and scriptures. So the people of that country loved Ramateertha. They listened to his words so attentively, as if he had brought the message of nectar, of the deathless. They danced and sang with him.
Ramateertha returned to India. He thought that if a country like America - which has no tradition of religion, where people are absolutely materialistic - could be so impressed by his talks and by his personality, then what will happen in India? I am coming back to my home country whose tradition is thousands of years old. Its history is so old that nobody knows when it started, it is hidden in darkness. The land where the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Gita were created, the land where people like Buddha, Mahavira and Shankara were born. With this background the people of India will listen to me so eagerly, as if I am distributing diamonds. When such a miracle could happen in America where people are materialistic, where they cannot understand godliness, where their connections with the divine are broken, then what would not happen in India?
But what actually happened in India, Ramateertha could never have imagined! He thought that it would be better to enter India through Benares, the old city of Kashi, because this is the city which has witnessed the whole glorious past of India. Buddha delivered his first sermon there, Shankara declared his universal victory in scriptural debating there, Jaina tirthankaras were born there. There is no other city older than Kashi in the whole world. Even Jerusalem is new; Mecca and Medina are also new. Kashi is the oldest place of pilgrimage. It is the first city on earth to have become civilized.
So Ramateertha came to Benares and he gave his first discourse there. But just in the middle of the talk a pundit got up and said, "Stop! Do you know Sanskrit?" Ramateertha just could not understand this interruption. He was a carefree man. He didn't know Sanskrit. He knew Urdu and Persian very well. He had never thought about what the knowledge of Sanskrit had to do with the Vedas, with Brahma and with knowledge. The divine can be realized without knowing any language. In spite of being illiterate Kabir knew, illiterate Mohammed knew; the flowers of that knowing blossomed in the life of the carpenter's son, Jesus. For this one does not have to be a scholar.
So Ramateertha was quite surprised by the question and he replied, "No, I don't know Sanskrit."
That pundit started laughing.
The other people got up to leave and they said, "When you don't know Sanskrit, how can you know Vedanta? First go and learn Sanskrit, then come to teach others."
After this Ramateertha went to the Himalayas, and the sad part of the story is that he gave up the sannyasin clothes. When he died he was not in his ochre robes, because he thought that why be a part of the tradition whose religion has got stuck in mere words and whose sannyas has become only scholarliness and who thinks that the knowledge of Sanskrit is necessary to know Vedanta? So when he died he was not in his ochre robes. He had even given up sannyas.
Tradition has polluted even sannyas. America could understand him but India could not. America is ignorant - that is why it could understand. India is very knowledgeable - a bit too knowledgeable.
Without knowing, India has the illusion of knowing too much. Its mind has become scholarly but not wise. It has become so full of words that there is no space left for the wordless, and religion has nothing to do with words. Therefore you should be more attentive to what I do not say than to what I say to you. When I speak, don't pay too much attention to my words; be attentive to the empty space between the two words. It does not matter if you miss my words but do not miss what is unspoken.
One has to read Brahma in between the lines. One has to search Brahma between the words. It happens only in the gaps. When I am quiet for a moment you wake up, you look at me attentively; that is when you give me the chance to come close to you so that I can caress your heart.
Religion is not in the rules of grammar, it is in singing the song of the divine. And it is not in your song of the divine; when even the song is lost, only you are left. When all words disappear, only an emptiness surrounds you. You do not even speak because there is no need to speak to existence; it knows without your speaking. Your speaking is not going to add anything more to this knowing. And anyway, what can you say? Whatever you say will be nothing but your crying, and if unhappiness is to be conveyed then it is better to convey it through crying, only because your tears will be able to express what your words cannot.
How can you express your gratitude in words? Words are too small and gratitude is too vast, it cannot be contained in words. It can be expressed only by dancing. If there is nothing to be said then it is better to remain quiet so that the divine may speak and you may listen.
Bhajan, devotional singing, kirtan, divine songs and dance - these are the means of expressing the feelings. Shankara is hinting that without saying anything you yourself should become a song, a divine song. These verses are very simple, these sutras are direct, and they are written by a genius like Shankara. In the whole of Shankara's literature there is nothing more precious than Bhaj Govindam. Shankara is basically a philosopher; whatever he has written is very complex; it is all words, scriptures, logic, analysis and thinking. But Shankara knows that godliness cannot be attained through logic, analysis and thinking. The way to attain is to dance and sing - through feeling and not through thinking.
The path of Shankara's realization is through the heart and not through the head. That is why, although Shankara has written commentaries on the Brahmasutra, the Upanishads and the Gita, you will find his innermost feelings expressed in these small verses; here he has opened his heart.
Here Shankara does not speak like a scholar or a thinker, here he expresses himself like a devotee.
OH IDIOT! SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE, SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE, BECAUSE AT THE TIME OF DEATH THE MEMORIZATION OF GRAMMAR WILL NOT SAVE YOU.
OH IDIOT! SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE. What is the idiocy? Shankara is not calling you names by addressing you as 'idiot'. In fact it is his very loving expression. OH IDIOT! SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE, SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE, SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.
What is the meaning of idiocy? Try to understand it. Idiocy does not mean ignorance. Idiocy means to think yourself to be knowledgeable when you are ignorant. Scholars are idiotic and not the ignorant ones. Why call the ignorant an idiot? Ignorant is just ignorant; he does not know, that is all. Many times it has happened that the ignorant one has come to know and the knowledgeable one has not reached anywhere, because the one who does not know has no ego. He is humble.
Since he does not know he does not make any claim to know. But the scholar who does not know, thinks that he knows. Because he has learned words and scriptures and he can repeat the rules of grammar, he gets lost in all these things.
There is a Sufi story. To earn his living a Sufi fakir used to work as a ferryman on a river. One day a village pundit wanted to go across the river. The fakir offered to take him across free of charge.
He used to charge one or two paisa for the journey. The pundit sat down in the boat and the fakir started rowing. They were the only people in the boat.
The pundit asked him, "Can you read and write?" What else can a pundit ask? He wants to teach others whatever he knows himself. We can give to others only what we have. Pundits are obsessed with their so-called knowledge. He could not see the radiance of the fakir, he took him to be an ordinary boatman. But the fakir was an extraordinary man. The pundit did not know that the godliness about which he had been contemplating, hearing and discussing was present in this extraordinary man. It was peeping through him. If he had eyes to see he could have found in the fakir all that he had dreamed about and read about in the scriptures. Something was present there.
But all that the pundit could ask was, "Do you know reading and writing?"
Well, if a pundit even meets God he is sure to ask, "Where is your certificate? What is your education?" A pundit has his own world, he lives in his own world of words and scriptures.
The fakir replied, "No, I do not know reading and writing. I am absolutely illiterate and rustic." If there was an iota of awareness in the pundit he would have seen the utter humility of the fakir. To accept one's own ignorance is the first step towards self-knowledge. If one accepts one's ignorance wholeheartedly then it can become the last step also. When you are acutely aware of not knowing anything then your ego is bound to disappear, its very foundation will give way. The building of the ego will fall down and you will slip into egolessness. That is the door from where one can be in contact with the divine.
The fakir said, "I don't know anything. I am absolutely illiterate."
On hearing this the pundit remarked, "Then one-fourth of your life is wasted."
The boat sailed a little farther. The pundit asked again, "But you must know arithmetic at least? It is necessary for maintaining accounts."
The fakir said, "I do not possess anything so there is no need to maintain any accounts. Whatever I earn during the day, I spend by the evening. I do not earn more than the need of my daily bread. By the night I am a fakir again. Then in the morning I start earning again. Existence has been providing for me enough until now so why should I worry about tomorrow? If somebody gives me money, it is all right. If somebody does not give me anything, even then it is all right. I have lived up to now and will be able to live in the future also. Neither the giver gives anything which lasts forever nor the one who does not give takes away something which may be a loss forever - it is all just a play."
On hearing this the pundit said, "Well, half of your life is wasted." Just at that time a storm started, the boat began to toss over the waves and it seemed that it may sink any moment. The fakir laughed because the pundit got very frightened. Who will not when death is imminent? The pundit used to talk of deathlessness, used to say that the soul is immortal, but these scholarly claims of the soul, of deathlessness, are of no use when faced by death.
The fakir asked him, "Do you know how to swim?"
The pundit answered, "No, not at all."
The fakir said, "Then the whole of your life is wasted! I am going to jump because this boat will sink."
OH IDIOT! SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE, SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE BECAUSE AT THE TIME OF DEATH - perhaps Shankara knew the story which I have just told you - THE MEMORIZATION OF GRAMMAR WILL NOT SAVE YOU.
When you are about to be drowned, when death surrounds you, you will be saved only if you know how to swim... swimming in death. If you do not know how to swim in death, then death will drown you. It has drowned you many times before too, but you have not woken up yet, you have not learned to swim yet. At the time of death your knowledge of languages - no matter how many languages you know - as well as your knowledge of grammar, will be absolutely useless.
Death is the criterion. Whatever is useful at the time of death is wisdom and whatever is useless at the time of death is scholarliness. Go on testing whatever you know on this criterion. Keep this touchstone always with you just as a goldsmith goes on testing the gold on the touchstone. Whatever is useful, helpful at the time of death, is true knowledge, and whatever is useless and deceptive is nothing but scholarliness.
And can anything which is useless in death be useful in life? What is of no use even in death, how can it be useful in life? - because death is the ultimate culmination of life. It is the pinnacle of life. It is the festival of life. Whatever is useful in death is useful in life. Although it is easy to deceive in life it is impossible to deceive in death. Death exposes everything.
Whom is Shankara calling idiot? He is calling that person an idiot who does not know the truth but who has memorized grammar, who knows the words and scriptures and can repeat them, explain them. Shankara is calling the pundit an idiot. His very words: OH IDIOT! SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE, SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE, BECAUSE AT THE TIME OF DEATH THE MEMORIZATION OF GRAMMAR WILL NOT SAVE YOU, prove that he was using the word idiot for the pundit; otherwise all of a sudden there was no need to mention about grammar. It is not the fool or the ignorant whom we consider as such; it is the pundit who is memorizing grammar, he is the idiot.
The pundit is memorizing grammar, and this has become a big burden in India, so much so that almost every person has this false notion that he knows the divine just because he knows the word God. Remember that the word God is not godliness, just as the word water is not water. When one is thirsty the word water is of no use and actual water is needed to quench the thirst. At the time of death the principles and theories of immortality are of no use; the actual taste of immortality is needed.
Once I was traveling during the summer. It had not rained that year in that area. The train stopped at a station where a man was selling water - ten paisa per glass. He was calling out, "A glass of water for ten paisa." He went on selling the water and collecting the money.
A man sitting near me asked him, "Won't you sell it for eight paisa?"
Hearing this the water-seller did not even stop and he said, "Then you are just not thirsty!"
Yes, he was right. When one is really thirsty, one does not worry about eight paisa or ten paisa.
Only those who are not thirsty can think of bargaining. The water-seller's remark appealed to me.
When one is thirsty one cannot think of saving two paisa. In fact one is ready to give everything at that time. The bargaining goes on only while one is not thirsty.
You say that you are a Hindu, a Mohammedan, a Christian; this only means that you are not thirsty yet. When one is thirsty one does not bother about being a Hindu, a Mohammedan or a Christian.
When one is really thirsty one asks for the divine; temples, mosques or gurudwaras don't mean anything to him and these cannot quench his thirst. One does not bargain when one is thirsty.
The meaning of renunciation, the meaning of sannyas, is that you are thirsty and you are ready to stake everything.
People say, "Yes, we want to know God but at present there are lots of other things to be done, there are lots of problems to be sorted out." So they go on postponing religion to the last. God is the last on the list of your necessities and the last of necessities is never fulfilled. He remains the last. One day you will be finished, you will never be able to attain him. When one necessity is fulfilled, ten others arise. When one ambition is fulfilled, thousands of others arise. Religion always remains the last. The divine does not come nearer even by an inch. Everything depends on whether religion is the first or the last on your list of life. An idiot is one who keeps religion as last on his list, and certainly that person is not an idiot who has it as first on his list. He has started waking up. He has understood properly that he may accumulate any amount of wealth but eventually death will snatch it away from him. So there is no sense in wasting time in accumulating things which will be snatched away in the end.
OH IDIOT! SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.
The meaning of bhajan should also be understood. You will see lots of people doing bhajan, singing the song of the divine, but they are not really doing bhajan. They are doing it very superficially. It may be a sort of recreation for them as they have not staked their life. It may be just an enjoyment for them, and this type of enjoyment they can get from any other song or from any other music.
Bhajan means that there is a deep agony in your inner being; a sound arises from your inner depth.
Your whole life is at stake as if it is a question of life and death. If you want to sing the song of the divine then you have to lose yourself. If you want to save yourself and to be devotional to Govinda, God, then you are deceiving yourself.
Bhajan in itself is the climax. It is the ultimate. The disciples of Ramakrishna used to be very careful that when he is walking on the road nobody should say "Ram Ram," or "Jai Ram," because even if a stranger saluted him by saying "Jairam-ji," he would stand there overwhelmed with emotion and ecstasy and he would start dancing right in the middle of the road. The disciples used to be embarrassed. The policeman would arrive and tell them to clear the chaos on the road. If he was invited to some wedding then nobody would bother about the bride and the bridegroom and all of them would gather around him.
Once, one of his admirers had invited Ramakrishna to his daughter's wedding so that he could give his blessings. The wedding ceremony was about to start when somebody called out the name of Govinda. There was a big crowd and somebody was shouting, "Where is Govinda?" Ramakrishna heard the name of Govinda and started dancing, and the bhajan of Govinda started! That wedding place changed into a divine scene. The marriage party was no longer a marriage party. The wedding ceremony was no longer a wedding ceremony; it was altogether a different thing.
Bhajan means that there is a constant flow of the remembrance of the divine within you twenty-four hours a day. That constant flow was there within Ramakrishna, so when anyone uttered the name of Ram, Krishna or Govinda, the inner flow would erupt. The slightest outer stimulus would reveal the inner dance, the inner music, the inner sound. It is just like a well which is full of water. If somebody puts the bucket in the well, it will come out full of water. In the same way, if someone uttered the name of Ram, the inner bhajan, the inner remembrance would be expressed outwardly.
Bhajan is not something which you can do at your own convenience. Bhajan is a continuous remembrance. When it starts it never ends, it goes on and on - a continuous remembrance inside your being.
OH IDIOT! SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE, BECAUSE AT THE TIME OF DEATH THE MEMORIZATION OF GRAMMAR WILL NOT SAVE YOU.
Death is not going to ask you, "How much do you know about the scriptures?" Death will reveal how much truth you have known. At the time of death only what you have known yourself will remain with you, and what was known by others and what was borrowed by you from others will be lost. If scripture is borrowed then it is useless, but if the scripture is revealed to you then you have reached the same source where the rishis of the Upanishads had quenched their thirst. In that case the Upanishads are not mere scriptures for you; then they are the expression of your own realization, of your own knowledge.
People ask me why I speak on Shankara, Buddha or Christ - I can also speak directly. I tell them that I am speaking directly, because in this song of Shankara, he has said the same thing which I would like to say, and he has said it so beautifully that it just cannot be improved upon. He has said the last word, so there is no need to repeat it. I am not speaking on Shankara because it seems to me that he knows; the question of my having belief in Shankara does not arise. It is because I have also drunk water from the very source from where he drank and this song was born in him.
OH IDIOT! DROP THE DESIRE OF ACCUMULATING WEALTH, AWAKEN RIGHT UNDERSTANDING, MAKE THE MIND DESIRELESS AND BE CONTENTED AND HAPPY WITH WHATSOEVER YOU GAIN THROUGH YOUR OWN LABOR. OH IDIOT, ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.
Give up the desire of accumulating wealth. 'Wealth' does not mean the wealth you know as wealth.
Here wealth means all that which you go on collecting or accumulating... all that is wealth which you accumulate according to your desire, even knowledge. When you are accumulating knowledge you are accumulating wealth.
One person goes on counting how much money he has put in his locker, another one is counting how much knowledge he has accumulated, how much information he has gathered and how many scriptures he has read, but both of them are accumulating. The third person may be accumulating renunciations, counting how many fasts he has done. The fourth may be accumulating fame - he may be counting how many people have faith in him, how many worship him and how many follow him. Whatever you accumulate and whatever can be accumulated is wealth. And this wealth is very deceptive because outside you may go on accumulating, but you remain poor within.
Whatever is accumulated outside cannot be taken inside, and death will snatch away what you cannot take inside, because you alone can go through death and nothing else. Only your being will pass; flames will not be able to burn it, arrows will not be able to pierce it. Only you will be able to pass through the gate of death, you in your purity and nothing else.
If you have accumulated only the outside wealth you will remain poor while passing through the gate of death. If death proves you to be poor, then it means that the wealth accumulated during life was nothing but a deception. Wealth is only that which can go with us; otherwise the rest is nothing but trouble. What you are accumulating appears like wealth to you but actually it is not so, it is only trouble. You also come to know after accumulating that the trouble has increased.
The real wealth would bring contentment, the real wealth would bring peace, would bring fearlessness, would resonate a paradise in your life, would bring relaxation in your life. It would bring the relief of reaching the destination, of reaching home; a perfume of relaxation would arise in your life.
But there is no such thing in you. With the increase of wealth your life stinks more, it becomes more unhappy and more fearful. The amassing of wealth creates thousands of worries. Wealth does not bring peace; it only disturbs peace.
OH IDIOT! DROP THE DESIRE OF ACCUMULATING WEALTH.
Yes, give up the desire to accumulate. Why are people so mad about accumulating?
Once I used to live in a house whose owner was mad about collecting things. He even used to collect such things which were absolutely useless. His house was like a junk-house. I used to wonder how he managed to live in it. One day I was standing out in the garden and, while he was talking to me, his younger son came out and threw away an old, used, broken broomstick. Immediately he became restless. He kept looking at the broomstick as he talked to me. I knew that my presence was disturbing him, so I told him that I shall be back in a few minutes and I went in.
When I came out I found the broomstick had disappeared. He had taken it in. I followed him in and caught him redhanded. He was standing there with that broomstick. I asked him, "Why have you brought it in?"
He said, "Well, it may be needed sometime."
I said, "But it is useless now."
He protested, saying, "No, no, it may be of use sometime. Why throw it away? Let it stay."
This is the mania of collecting things. What is the reason for this? Why does man want to accumulate? Really there is big emptiness inside which has to be filled, and it has to be filled up with anything, otherwise one feels very empty. If one possesses nothing then one feels very empty inside. Just think: if you have nothing to possess, you will be free and empty inside.
Friends come to me for meditation. When they have meditated for some time - say for a month or so - they start seeing that emptiness inside themselves. That emptiness was always there but it was not noticed. Meditation makes you more aware - awareness increases and then one becomes aware of the emptiness. A very peculiar thing then happens. Whosoever feels that inner emptiness starts eating a lot. One or two cases of this type come to me every day. They say, "What are we to do? We never used to eat so much food. The effect of the meditation is such that we want to eat all the time."
I explain to them that the reason for this is that meditation has shown you the inner emptiness, and this emptiness hurts so it has to be filled up. You therefore fill up this emptiness with money, position and fame. By accumulating things and sitting amongst them, one feels that one has something.
Those who do not have anything have the desire of accumulating. But those who have something do not accumulate, they are sufficient unto themselves. Just 'being' is so fulfilling that there is no need to collect anything.
That is why we worshipped Buddha, we worshipped Mahavira, we worshipped Shankara, because we noticed that their wealth is within them; there is something in them on account of which the emptiness has disappeared. There is some light within them on account of which the inner emptiness has become fulfillment, the inner emptiness has become truth. Meditation brings emptiness.
If you are in haste you will have the desire to fill up the emptiness. But if you are not in haste and if you accept the emptiness and you are ready to live with it, then you will find that gradually the emptiness gets filled up by itself. Nature does not tolerate emptiness. You create the emptiness, nature fills it up. God does not tolerate emptiness; if you create emptiness, God fills it up. Only emptiness is needed, fullness comes on its own. Just like when it rains, water from all sides rushes into the pit; in the same way, when you become empty, the divine rushes towards you from all sides.
If you make a pit, existence will fill it up. Half of the work is done by you, half by existence. But your doing is not so important, the real work is done by existence. All that you have to do is to be ready, to be empty. That is why all the enlightened people go on insisting, "Do not accumulate. Do not have the desire to collect things"... because if you fill yourself, then you are not giving a chance to the divine to fill you.
I have heard a story. Once Krishna sat down for a meal. Rukmani was serving the food. Krishna had hardly taken the first morsel when all of a sudden he got up and ran out. But no sooner had he reached the door than he came back and sat down.
Rukmani couldn't understand this behavior. She asked him, "Why did you run? for what? Then why did you come back from the door? You ran as if some house was on fire and you had to extinguish it before having your meal. But then you came back as if nothing had happened."
Krishna replied, "Yes, certainly something was on fire, but by the time I reached the door it was extinguished, so I came back. One of my devotees was walking on a street of the capital. People were throwing stones at him, his forehead was bleeding and he was calling, "Govinda, Govinda!" He was neither reacting nor trying to save himself. He had trusted himself to me entirely. So to save him I had to run."
When one becomes helpless like that man, existence has to take care of him. When a person becomes so empty that in spite of being stoned he is doing nothing to save himself, he is not even running away and not even reacting, then the whole existence comes to save him. When there is a pit, water rushes from all sides to fill it up. Rukmani asked, "Then why did you come back?"
Krishna replied, "By the time I reached the door, he had changed his mind. He had picked up a stone in his hand. He himself was reacting so I was not needed anymore."
God is needed when you are helpless, and in that helpless condition when "Govinda, Govinda!" is uttered by you, then that is bhajan, devotion. There is no need to say the word Govinda aloud; the inner emotion is enough. When your eyes full of love look towards the sky, when your heart is opened towards the sky and you're making no effort to do anything from your side, that is the moment when the divine rushes towards you. If you become a pit, he is always ready to fill it up.
Mohammed used to say that if you take one step towards Allah, he takes a thousand steps towards you. But if you don't take even one step - and that one step is very necessary because until and unless you give him the invitation, how is he going to come? Even if he wants to come, how is he to come? In spite of your not inviting him, not asking him to come, if he comes to you, your doors will be closed. Even if he knocks you will think that it is the mind. Even if he calls you loudly you will not be able to hear him because of your inner turmoil.
OH IDIOT! DROP THE DESIRE OF ACCUMULATING WEALTH, AWAKEN YOUR RIGHT UNDERSTANDING.
Intellect means your cunningness; right understanding means your wisdom. That is why, as the world is becoming more and more clever, it is becoming more cunning too. It was expected that education would make people simple and innocent, but the surprising thing is that with the increase of education man is becoming more cunning, more dishonest and more of a hypocrite. He has become expert in exploiting others.
Cleverness means efficiency in this world and good sense means efficiency in the inner world. The worldly people may think that the person of good sense is stupid. They are bound to say so because he will ask, "What are you doing?" It was because good sense prevailed that Buddha gave up his home, his palace, his kingdom. The charioteer who had gone to see him off at the boundary of his kingdom was an ordinary servant, but even he said, "Please excuse my impertinence but I can't help telling you that what you are doing is absolutely stupid. Have you gone mad? The whole world craves for such a palace and for such a kingdom. You are fortunate enough to have them but you are giving up all these things. Where else will you get such a beautiful wife? Where else will you get this wealth, these comforts, these luxuries, this type of family and this respect? You had better come back."
Certainly the old charioteer is more worldly wise than Buddha, so he is giving this advice.
Buddha said, "I quite understand what you are saying. But where you see the palace I see only flames of fire; where you are seeing beauty I see death; what you see as wealth is only a deception of wealth for me. I am in search of real wealth, I am in search of a real home which cannot be snatched away one day. My search will continue until I get it. For the sake of this search I am ready to stake everything, because why not stake something which is eventually going to be taken away, it is only a matter of time? If I attain something which cannot be lost by staking something which is going to be lost, then this deal is not bad. It is just a matter of time. If I can stake what is to be snatched away tomorrow anyway for something which can never be taken away, it is not costly.
Good sense has prevailed upon Buddha and the charioteer is just worldly wise indeed.
Buddha became enlightened and returned home after twelve years. But his father was angry. He said, "Don't be stupid! Come back home. You have deceived me, deceived your wife and the newborn child. In spite of all these things I will forgive you, because I have the heart of a father.
Come back, your begging on the road does not look right. And why do you beg? You can give alms to thousands of beggars every day."
Even now Buddha seemed stupid to his father. The religious intelligence always appears as stupidity to the worldly wisdom, and people generally think it to be utter madness. But to the person who has this religious intelligence, this worldly wisdom seems stupidity.
And it is you who have to take the decision. Without this decision you cannot enter the world of religion. Until worldly wisdom seems stupidity to you, you cannot attain good sense. When you see worldly wisdom as foolishness, when you see worldly cleverness as deception, when you see the futility of worldly fame, of position and of reputation, then it means that the seed of right understanding has sprouted in you.
AWAKEN RIGHT UNDERSTANDING, MAKE THE MIND DESIRELESS, AND BE CONTENTED AND HAPPY WITH WHATSOEVER YOU GAIN THROUGH YOUR OWN LABOR.
This is true regarding all types of wealth - about the outer wealth also which one gets with one's own effort. Whosoever is satisfied with it, his life will be full of morality. And the same is true about the inner wealth also: when the inner wealth is obtained by one's own effort he will be religious within.
Memorizing the scriptures means that you are committing theft. You are stealing the knowledge hidden in the scriptures; you did not get it by your own effort or hard work. It is all borrowed and stale, you are just holding on to the other person's knowledge. Don't construct your building on it.
Its foundation is on sand so it will crumble down in the slightest gust of wind.
Just a few days ago I was telling a Zen story. One evening a Zen monk knocked at the door of a Zen monastery. It is a tradition of the Zen monasteries that if any traveling monk wants to rest there he has to give the right reply to at least one question. He has to earn the shelter to rest in by giving a correct reply to one question; otherwise he cannot halt at the monastery, he has to continue his journey.
The head of the monastery opened the door and asked the guest a very old puzzle of Zen monks.
The puzzle is: Which is your original face, the basic face? the real one which was yours even before the birth of your father and mother? This question is regarding the soul. What you have received from your mother and father is the body; your face was also received from them. But what is your basic face, the original face? What is your nature?
And Zen monks say that the reply to this question cannot be given in words, its reply should be a living expression. As soon as this question was asked, the traveling guest monk took off his shoe and struck the face of the monk who had asked the question.
The host stepped aside, saluted and said, "You are welcome! Come in!"
After they had dinner together, they sat down by the fire at night and started talking. The host told the guest, "Your answer was wonderful."
The guest asked, "Have you yourself experienced this answer?"
The host said, "No, I have not experienced it. But I have read many scriptures and have learned from them that the one who gives the correct reply does not hesitate. You replied without any hesitation and your reply said everything. On the basis of the scriptures I understood that you have come to know the reply, because through your reply you said, 'You idiot! You are asking the question in words and you are wanting the reply without words; you are asking about the original face which you also have. Therefore by striking your face with the shoe I am saying that this face is not your original face - it deserves a shoe-hit."
The host said, "So I understood your reply. I have also read the scriptures and such replies are written in them."
The guest did not say anything. He went on sipping his tea. Upon this the host became a little doubtful. He looked at the face of the guest carefully and what he saw was very dissatisfactory. He said, "Friend! I am asking you once again: Have you really experienced the answer or not?"
The guest answered, "I too have read many scriptures. I have read this is an appropriate reply to the question you asked. But the fact is that I have not experienced the answer."
Scriptures can be very deceptive because the replies are also written there. But to repeat the answer from the scripture is just like using the answers written at the end of the arithmetic book. One reads the problem, then turns the book and sees the answers at the end. In this way you will give the right answer but you will never know the method by which one reaches that answer. The answer will be correct but you will remain wrong, because if you had passed through the method you would have evolved, you would have developed.
Another person's answer is of no use. An answer should be one's own. No one is going to test your knowledge of the scriptures; existence is going to test you existentially. No one is going to ask, "What did you hear? What did you read?" Existence will ask, "How have you lived?" If the answer came from your life then it means that it came with your own effort. With outer wealth, if you earn it with your labor, with your hard work, then your life will be full of morality, and if you earn the inner wealth with your labor then your life will be religious - it will be authentic religion. That is why Ramateertha called this real religion. Yes, there is borrowed religion and there is authentic religion.
Borrowed religion means the answers are correct but impotent; they are like empty, spent cartridges, they can't be used in a gun. People will laugh at you, but this is what most people are doing: they go on repeating others' answers. They go on repeating them mechanically. How can they get their own answers when they don't even have their own questions? They don't even know what exactly they want to know. They don't know the question which they go on seeking.
OH IDIOT! DROP THE DESIRE OF ACCUMULATING WEALTH, AWAKEN THE RIGHT UNDERSTANDING AND BE CONTENTED AND HAPPY WITH WHATSOEVER YOU GAIN THROUGH YOUR OWN LABOR. OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.
DON'T BE INFATUATED BY THE BEAUTY, THE BREASTS, THE NAVEL AND THE WAISTLINE OF A WOMAN. THESE ARE NOTHING BUT CONTORTIONS OF FLESH AND FAT, CONTEMPLATE UPON THIS AGAIN AND AGAIN. OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.
Man is attracted towards woman and woman is attracted towards man. The opposite always attracts, and this attraction is like hypnotism. Let us understand this.
When a child is born his first contact with this world is the breast of the mother; the first contact with the other is the mother's breast. His journey in this world begins after getting acquainted with the mother's breast. That is why man is always obsessed with woman's breasts; that is the first impact, no other impact is deeper than this. That is why all painting, pictures statues, films, stories, all go on revolving around the breasts of women. The breasts are the part of a woman's body which hypnotizes man's mind the most. Women keep trying to hide the breasts and men keep trying to uncover them. Women know what attracts men and men also know what interests them in a woman's body.
As civilization develops this problem also goes on increasing. The fact is that the uncivilized tribes have no attraction to the breasts because their women's bodies and breasts are not covered. Every child is free to suck the milk from the breast of his mother as long as he wants. He can even go on sucking them till the age of ten. In the civilized societies they try to wean away the child from the breast of the mother as early as possible. The sooner they wean the child away from the breast, the deeper becomes the attraction for it. People go on writing poetry, painting pictures, making statues etcetera regarding the beauty of the breasts. Their mind is totally obsessed with breasts.
This means that the child was not satiated, he remained dissatisfied. This dissatisfaction creates dreams. This dissatisfaction creates an inner hypnotism. But now there is no means of satisfaction till good sense awakens.
Shankara says to remember this continuously - the earlier impact can only be removed by remembering this again and again.
Scientists have made a few discoveries; one of them is very important. One scientist was experimenting with chickens. When a chicken was born out of a hen's egg he did not let the chicken see the hen but kept it with a duck. When the chicken opened its eyes it saw the duck, and this was its first imprint. And an interesting event happened: it would run after the duck and it would not recognize the hen. The duck could not tolerate the chicken running after her all the time so she used to kick it, beat it, but in spite of this it would follow her everywhere. The hen tried her best to win it over, to get it near her, but it would be frightened of her and would stand far away. At night also the chick wanted to sleep in the same place where the ducks were kept, but the ducks would throw it out. The hen wanted to take it to hen house, but it was not ready to go there.
The first imprint, the first conditioning, is very important. It goes on haunting you the whole of your life. The first event of life, whatever it is, always haunts a person, and the mind keeps on dreaming about it. What is so attractive in a man's or a woman's body? Certainly there is something. Your body is built by a meeting of the bodies of a man and a woman - half is given to your body by the man and half by the woman. Every person is half woman and half man - it is a mixture of both.
Your whole existence is half man, half woman; it is incomplete. The womanly half in you goes on yearning for the man and the manly half in you goes on yearning for the woman.
According to the latest researches in psychology, in the unconscious mind of every man is hidden the woman and in the unconscious mind of every woman is hidden the man. They go on searching outside till their inner man and their inner woman meet.
Until your inner man and inner woman unite, until your conscious mind and the unconscious mind become one by being united, the attraction for the opposite will always be there. A man will be attracted towards a woman and a woman will be attracted towards a man.
You must have seen the statue of Ardhanarishawara where Lord Shiva is shown as half woman and half man. Until the half man and half woman within you become the image of Ardhanarishawara, until you become whole within yourself, you will go on searching outside feeling lost and thinking that meeting a woman will bring fulfillment. But the woman is there in your unconscious mind.
That is why all the yogas and tantras are basically the process of uniting your inner energies. When you become united and one within you, then your outer desire ceases to exist. But at the same time, when the outer desire ceases to exist, only then can you become one. These two things are interdependent. That is why Shankara says:
DO NOT BE INFATUATED BY THE BEAUTY, THE BREASTS, THE NAVEL AND THE WAISTLINE OF A WOMAN.
Shankara is speaking to men, because in those days, especially in this country, religion was monopolized by men. But the same thing has to be told to women also, that there is nothing special in the body of man which should obsess or hypnotize her.
These words of Shankara and other words of this type by other saints have created a misunderstanding. It seems that there is nothing in the body of a woman but there is something special in the body of a man. Actually, there is nothing in any body. Men look at a woman's body contemptuously saying, "It is nothing but bone and flesh and fat." But what about man's body? Is it made of gold, silver or diamonds? As long as you do not see the bones, flesh and fat in your own body you cannot see them in a woman's body. Because of the misunderstanding of these words, it has become a tradition to condemn women.
Men think that women are the cause of their bondage. But who has put women in bondage? Men think that women are the main obstacle in their attainment of liberation. But the question is: if woman is the obstacle in the attainment of liberation, then who is the obstacle for a woman in attaining liberation? Then it means that women can attain without any obstacle. If there is no obstacle in their life, then they can directly attain without any difficulty.
No, it is not a question of a man or a woman. The attraction for the opposite is of no use. You must contemplate again and again that these are the perversions of flesh. It is necessary to contemplate again and again in this way to remove this imprint which is there in the mind. Continuous remembrance is like the waterfall which breaks the stone, a strong stone. Nobody can imagine that a small trickle of water falling for the first time will be able to break the stone. Eventually the stone turns into sand granules and the water goes on falling in the same way. This imprint is very strong and very deep but if the thought continues like the trickle of water, drop by drop, then one day the stone will break and disappear. And the day your imprints disappear, you become free.
OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE. Shankara is saying: Go on being devotional to Govinda continuously. Whatever you may do, you should always remember Govinda. Don't ever forget Govinda.
The bhajan of Govinda means that what is visible is not sufficient, is not enough, is not whole, is not all. Remember that there is also that which cannot be seen. Let the invisible not get lost in the visible - always remember the invisible.
You are seeing me, I am seeing you. As far as you can see me, that is visible. When you come across men, animals, trees while walking on the road, whatever is visible is the world. These things are visible. But if you can remember the invisible within me... the invisible hidden in the visible is Govinda. The meaning of the bhajan of Govinda is that the visible should not deceive you, you should not get lost in the visible; you should be able to remember the invisible always.
During the 1857 revolution a sannyasin was killed by a soldier by mistake. A silent naked sannyasin was passing by the cantonment of an English battalion. The soldiers caught hold of him and asked him, "Who are you?" But as he was in silence he did not reply. Because of his keeping quiet they became suspicious of him and one English soldier pierced his chest with a spear. The sannyasin had taken the vow of speaking only once at the time of death: he had been silent for the last thirty years.
When the spear pierced his breast and the blood gushed out, then he spoke only one sentence of the Upanishads: tattvamasi, shvetketu - you are also that, Shvetketu.
People gathered round him and asked him, "What do you mean?"
He said, "I mean that the divine can come in any guise, he will not be able to deceive me. Today he has come with the spear in his hand. The spear has pierced my chest but I can see that inside the soldier it is only him. He cannot deceive me." The blood was oozing out of his chest, but the sannyasin was dancing because he could see godliness in his murderer.
OH IDIOT! SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE, SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.
This means that whatever may happen, in all types of circumstances, the divine should be visible.
He should be seen in the enemy, he should be seen in death too when it comes. He should be seen in a friend and in the enemy also.
But at present you cannot see him even in a friend. At present you cannot see him even in the person whom you love; you do not see him even in your beloved or lover, what to say of others. You do not see him in your own self, so how can you see him in the other?
OH IDIOT! SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE, means that whatever may happen, the divine is to be seen everywhere. Even in a rock he is there - maybe in deep sleep. He is to be seen even in a tree - he is dumb there but he is. Even in the lunatic - he is mad there, but he is. You should be able to recognize him in any form.
There is an anecdote in the life of Sai Baba. A Hindu sannyasin used to live about three miles away from the mosque where Sai Baba lived. This sannyasin used to come daily for Sai Baba's darshan, only taking his food after seeing Sai Baba. Sometimes there was a big crowd and he could not enter the mosque so the whole day would pass without his darshan. But the sannyasin never took food without touching Sai Baba's feet. Sometimes he had to sleep without eating food because he ate only during daytime, that was his rule.
So one day Sai Baba told him, "There is no need for you to come here daily. I will come to you, but you must recognize me. Don't let it happen that I come and you do not recognize me. I will come just when your meal is ready, you can have my darshan there. Your coming here from a distance of three miles then going back all that way is too much. It hurts me to think that sometimes you have to go without food."
The sannyasin was very happy. He said, "It is my good fortune. Tomorrow I will wait for you."
The next day he cooked the meal early and was waiting happily for Sai Baba. Nobody came but a dog. The dog must have smelled the food. He chased the dog away with a stick and turned him out saying, "I am waiting for Sai Baba, get out from here." He struck the dog with his stick twice and made it run away. After that nobody came.
In the afternoon he ran to the mosque. There was a great crowd there. He asked Sai Baba, "Why didn't you come? You are sitting here surrounded by people but you had promised me to come."
Sai Baba said, "I came but you didn't recognize me. I was beaten by your stick."
The sannyasin was puzzled. He said, "But it was only a dog who came."
Sai Baba said, "Didn't I tell you that I will definitely come, but you must recognize me?" I can't say in what form I will appear; it all depends on whatever form is easily available. At that time it was just appropriate to appear in the form of a dog. On this sunny day no other form was available. Only this dog was there, so I used him."
On hearing this the sannyasin started crying. He said, "It was my fault, but please give me another opportunity. You must come tomorrow. I will definitely recognize you."
If the dog had come the next day he would have recognized him. But the dog did not come. He kept on waiting for either of the two - either Sai Baba will come directly or he may appear in the form of a dog. But the dog did not turn up at all. Well, dogs are not very dependable - they may come, they may not come. The dog did not come, but a beggar came who was a leper. He was stinking terribly.
The sannasin thought that the food would get spoiled by this stink; nobody would feel like eating it.
It was nauseating to see the beggar so he said to him, "Please go away from here. Don't come in."
For a moment he was doubtful but then he thought, "How can this leper be Sai Baba?" Compared to this leper even the dog was better to look at, he looked nice and healthy.
In the evening he again went to Sai Baba and said, "I waited for you and for the dog but you didn't come."
Sai Baba replied, "I came, but you couldn't bear the stink. You drove me away."
The man started crying and said, "Give me one more chance."
Sai Baba said, "Even if I come a thousand times you will not be able to recognize me." You can recognize only when you are awake; only then it is possible.
Singing the song of the divine means that whatever you see will become a song of the divine.
Anything from anywhere will become a message - when the breeze blows it is his remembrance, the sound of the waterfall is his remembrance, when the birds sing it is his remembrance, if it is silence it is his remembrance. The noise is his, the silence is his, the market is his and the void of the Himalayas is his. His remembrance, his message comes from everywhere - the flower, the leaf, the stone, everything reminds one of the divine. His remembrance will surround you from all sides; whenever you look into somebody's eyes you will be seeing the divine.
And this is not imagination or poetry, this is a fact, because he is looking from every eye. If you have not seen, it is your fault. If you have not recognized, it is your stupidity, but he is seeing from every eye. Go back and look into the eyes of your wife or look into the eyes of your child. Soon you will realize that the child disappears and the formless is there. Wherever you see deeply you will find godliness. But you will go on missing the inner world as long as your sight is shallow.
LIFE IS AS TRANSIENT AND UNSTABLE AS A DROPLET ON THE LOTUS LEAF.
This has to be understood properly - that the world is suffering from the disease of ego and is ill with unhappiness. So, OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.
Here nothing is stable. Everything is flowing, everything is changing. So don't make a building on the unstable. Even sand is more stable than this. This world is like the flow of water: don't make a building on it, otherwise you will repent. Look for the stable, the permanent. Always look for the one who is stable in this flow.
A wheel turns with the movement of the vehicle but the axle does not move. So look at the axle, you will find the divine in the axle. The wheel means the world; that is why we call it sansar chakra, the world wheel. The wheel goes on moving but the axle, on which the movement of the wheel depends, is stable. The existence of the unstable depends on the stable. Even a lie has to depend on truth for its existence. A seer is needed for a dream to exist, otherwise a dream cannot be dreamt.
LIFE IS AS TRANSIENT AND UNSTABLE AS A DROPLET ON THE LOTUS LEAF.
Do not entangle yourself too much with life, otherwise you will repent and be unhappy. Nothing stops here; even if you want to stop it, it will not stop. Everything is flowing. You are young but this youth will pass away. You will try to hold on to it but you will not be able to do so. You will then repent because time will be spent in the effort of holding on to it. Today this body is; by tomorrow it will perish. Many such bodies have existed and perished. The world is transient, unstable and ever-changing. Don't make your home here, this is only a night's shelter. One stops here for the night and has to go away in the morning. If you have made a home here you will be unhappy - that is why you are unhappy.
People ask me, "Why are we unhappy?" You are unhappy because you are making your house where it cannot be made. You do not see where it can be built or where it is already built. You are unhappy because you are looking in the wrong direction. Unhappiness is the result of being associated with the wrong, being in the company of the wrong. To be in the company of truth is bliss.
Your family will love you as long as you have the energy to earn money. When you become old and the body becomes weak, nobody bothers about you. Therefore, OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE. If you have to have a family, make it with the divine. If you have to marry, then marry the divine. The marriages of this world are nothing but divorces. All the relationships in this world are shallow. There is no depth in them.
Mulla Nasruddin was in love with the daughter of a multi-millionaire. He used to tell her, "I may live or die, but I cannot leave you. If ever there is a need, I will die for you."
One day the girl was very sad. She told Nasruddin, "Listen, my father has become bankrupt."
Nasruddin said, "I knew that your father will create some trouble to stop our marriage."
The very reason for which they were getting married was gone.
This is your sort of relationship. You do not mean what you say. You are deceiving most of the time and sometimes you deceive yourself also. You not only deceive others, you also deceive yourself.
Man is very cunning; he deceives even himself.
The family members go on inquiring about your welfare as long as there is life in the body. When the body becomes lifeless your own wife is scared of that body. Therefore, OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.
It is better to be in the company of the one who can be with you always. The company of those whom you meet for a short time while traveling together or while crossing a river in a boat does not count much. That company is momentary: for some time travelers are together, they move together, but soon each of them goes his own way. Don't give too much importance to this. In this world people are together for a short time. It is like meeting someone in a dream. When the dream is over the meeting will end.
A CHILD IS OBSESSED IN PLAYING GAMES, A YOUNG MAN IS OBSESSED BY YOUNG WOMEN, THE OLD ARE OBSESSED WITH WORRIES. MAN NEVER TURNS TOWARDS THE DIVINE.
SO, OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.
Childhood is spent in play, in games; youth is spent in the play named love; old age is spent in worries of old times, in thinking of the past, and the whole of life is wasted like this. The divine is never remembered. We go on postponing till tomorrow, and tomorrow brings death. We hardly ever remember the inner world until we die.
OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE... before death arrives. Whenever you become a little conscious, awake yourself. Just think, what are you doing? What are you involved with? What is the result of your actions? Your actions, your money, your reputation will be of no use in the end. So do not spend too much time on what is going to be useless. The sooner you wake up the better it is.
You cannot be in love with the divine till your infatuation with life is over. If you are too infatuated by life you cannot recognize the divine. How can you recognize the formless if you are obsessed with the form? You cannot understand the formless with a materialistic attitude. If you are looking at the earth all the time how can you see the sky? You cannot get rid of your infatuation until you wake up and realize that this infatuation is the cause of your misery. The essence of life is misery.
All the temptations of happiness end up in misery. All hopes of happiness end up in misery. All the plans of getting happiness are as futile as the plan of getting oil from the sand. You remain empty- handed. If you are ready to go empty-handed from this world then there is no need to remember the inner world. But then you will leave crying. If you want to go from here fulfilled, then the sooner you remember the divine the better it is. You should spend as much time and effort as possible in his remembrance; that is virtuous, that's the only thing which can fulfill you. But you do not bother to remember and you go on worrying about things which will never be able to fulfill you.
Mulla Nasruddin's wife was about to die. She was lying on the bed. She opened her eyes and asked him, "Do you really mean to say that you will go mad if I die?"
Nasruddin said, "Certainly I will go mad if you die."
The wife laughed and said, "You are lying, I know that you will marry again after my death."
Nasruddin said, "It is true that I will go mad, but not to the extent of getting married again."
If you watch this life carefully you will not want to be born again, you will not want to marry again, because out of them you gained nothing except misery. The quest of the East is how to get rid of this cycle of birth and death. Those who have seen life in the right perspective, their only desire is how to get rid of this life.
I have heard that when a unique sannyasin named Bodhidharma went to China with the message of Buddha, Emperor Wu told him, "I do not have much time. My kingdom is vast; I cannot spare time to be with you for a longer period. Please tell me in short what is the most valuable thing in life? What is the greatest good fortune?"
Bodhidharma said, "You will not be able to understand.... The greatest good fortune is that you were not born."
Wu was shocked - what a thing to say! Is it fortunate not to be born? But Bodhidharma is talking about good fortune. Buddhas certainly desire that they should not be born again.
Bodhidharma said, "But now this is not possible as you are already born. But the next good fortune for you is to die as soon as possible." It is said that Wu never went to see him again.
I also want to say the same thing to you, that the greatest good fortune would have been not to be born, but since you are already born, the next best thing is that you may die while living. The attraction for life should be over.
The meaning of dying while being alive is to live as if you are not. Sit in the marketplace but as if you are not. Look after your wife and children but as if you are not. Become absent and soon you will find that your absence is not empty; godliness is appearing gradually.
OH IDIOT! SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.
Enough for today.