[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 question:
Shankara is a hidden Buddhist, a hidden Jaina, a hidden Mohammedan, in the same way as Buddha is a hidden Hindu, a hidden Jaina, a hidden Christian - and in the same way as Christ is a hidden Hindu, a hidden Mohammedan, a hidden Buddhist.
Those who have known, have known only the one; two are not there to be known. Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian - these are just the names on the surface, the outer identity; the inner truth is one. Language may be different but what is said is not different. The style of saying will be different, the process of explaining will be different, but there is no possibility of the taste being different - it is the same.
This has to be understood properly. This misunderstanding, this stupidity creates a lot of unpleasantness. Hindus fight with Mohammedans, Jainas fight with Buddhists - and you must understand that truth is lost whenever and wherever there is any type of conflict. Truth is murdered in your fighting, untruth is created in your conflict, because conflict means violence. Then it does not matter whether the violence is expressed in physical conflict or mental conflict. Violence is violence - it makes no difference whether the effort to destroy the other is physical or mental. The desire and the mentality to find fault in the other is the expansion of violence. You must know that until you can see yourself in the opposite you have not gone beyond mind, nor have you entered the temple of consciousness. That temple has many doors and entry is possible from every door. And whosoever enters the temple forgets the door. Nobody remembers the door after entering Before entering the door seems to be very important because one has to enter through it, but after that it becomes useless. Before entering one was facing the door and after entering the door is behind your back.
All the creeds are doors. You must know that you have not entered the temple if the creeds - Hindu, Mohammedan, Jaina - if they still seem very important to you..That means you are still looking at the door. After you have entered the temple and your back has turned towards the door, then the words Hindu and Mohammedan will become meaningless.
The great meaning which will appear in the inner recess of the temple will not only destroy your creed, your scripture, but it will also destroy you, and in that flood everything will be drowned.
Whatever is left after that flood is your very nature. In that flood whatever was the other element will be swept away, in that flood whatever were the outer coverings will be lost; in that flood your relations will break with whatever was foreign to your nature and only you will remain in your pure virginity, in your innocence.
And you cannot understand that inner being without experiencing it; you have to taste it, you have to drink it and get intoxicated. Until you get drunk, until you get lost in it after losing everything, only then godliness will begin. The world will remain as long as you remain.
The divine is not until you are not. And the divine begins only when your ego, your separate identity is dissolved. Shankara is a hidden Buddhist because he is saying the same thing which Buddha said.
Buddha was also a hidden Vedantin because he was saying the same thing which the Upanishads had said. The garments are different, and sometimes the garments even seem contradictory.
Try to understand this. Buddha opposed the Upanishads and the Vedas and still he propounded the Upanishads and Vedas. One has to oppose. When the Upanishads were born, when the Ganges of the Upanishads was born, then the Ganges was very clean, pure; it was the Gangotri, the source.
Then the Ganges flowed on - thousands of people bathed in it, it passed by thousands of villages - it became dirty, rubbish got into it, rivers and rivulets joined it. In Varanasi the Ganges does not have the piety which it has at Gangotri. It cannot be so. With the passing of time the original source loses its purity.
Two thousand five hundred years before Buddha, when the Upanishads were born, their grandeur was unique. Each and every word contained in them was luminous, every line was full of the divine!
But that grandeur was lost by the time of Buddha - the mirror was there but lots of dust had gathered on it. Now the mirror had become blind and nothing could be reflected in it. A big belief system had stood near the mirror. Even if Buddha tried to clean the mirror that creed would not let him do so, because what is called dust by Buddha is said to be religion by the masses. The communal mind does not know the mirror, it only knows the dust gathered on it and it thinks that this dust is the decoration, is the jewel. The communal mind cannot agree to the dust being wiped away; it thinks that by this its religion will get destroyed.
Because of this dust Buddha had to deny this mirror. People could not accept another mirror until this mirror was denied. But the other mirror is exactly like the first one; the only difference is that the first one had become old, dilapidated, and dust had gathered on it.
When truth gets organized it dies. Now the other truth is again new - newly born, fresh like the morning dew. The new truth will also become old in a few days.
Buddha's truth had become old by the time Shankara was born. Time does not forgive anyone and covers everything with dust. The thing which is new today will become old tomorrow, the newborn baby of today will become old tomorrow; today he is being welcomed into this world, tomorrow goodbye will be said to him when he dies.
Just as men are born and die, in the same way religions are born and die. With time everything becomes old, weak, dilapidated and useless. When somebody dies in the house - your mother dies, how much you loved her... but when she dies you have to take her to the cremation ground. If some foolish person keeps the corpse of his mother in the house then it will be difficult for the living people to live there. It may be very painful to cremate your mother whom you loved, but there is no way out: a dead body cannot be kept in the house, it has to be cremated.
But we do not deal with belief systems with such understanding. Religion means living religion; when it becomes a creed it becomes a dead body. But we keep the corpse very carefully; because of the stink of the creed it becomes difficult to breathe. Religion unites but creeds fight and make others fight. Creeds break and make others break. There is a lot of enmity between a temple and a mosque, but there cannot be any enmity in the divineness of the temple and of the mosque. There is a lot of enmity between the worshippers of the temple and of the mosque, but the one who is being worshipped in the temple and in the mosque - someone calls him 'Rama' and someone calls him 'Allah'... these addresses can be different but the one who is called is one.
By the time Buddha's stream reached Shankara it had became dirty, it had lost its purity - the Ganges had reached Varanasi. Shankara had to oppose it because now there were lots of Buddhists, followers of Buddha, and it was a large creed. They would not allow the dust to be cleaned, so again a new mirror had to be made. Today the condition is just the same: dust has gathered over the mirror of Shankara. It will always be thus.
Do not worship the dust. Always look for the mirror. Then you will find the same mirror in everyone.
When you can see the same mirror in everyone, only then wisdom is born in you.
This is the only difference between intelligence and wisdom. Intelligence criticizes, opposes, debates, but wisdom communicates. Intelligence tells where the difference is and wisdom shows where the unity is.
Intelligence analyzes: wisdom synthesizes. Intelligence draws the boundaries; wisdom destroys all the boundaries. When all the boundaries disappear then the unlimited is obtained.
Do not think that you can know the unlimited while remaining limited. Who will know? If you are bound and limited then who will know the unlimited? Whatever you will know will be limited. For knowing the unlimited you will have to break all your limitations. If you see the sky from the window you will see only that much which is visible through the structure of the window, not more than that; the window limits the sky also. If you want to see the whole of the sky then you have to come out.
Be under the open sky where you will be neither a Hindu nor a Mohammedan, because these are the names of windows. Only you will remain under the open sky and only your remaining means pure existence.
There is a way to know the unlimited. To know the unlimited one has to become unlimited - this is the only condition, because only like can know like. How can you, the limited one, know the unlimited? If you try to see the unlimited you will only see what your limitations can show you.
Not only Shankara is a hidden Buddha, Buddha also is a hidden Vedantin. Anything which is polluted has to be destroyed; that which has become perverted has to be destroyed. Anything which has become dilapidated has to be put on the fire so that there can be space for the new. The mind says, "Save the old"; mind says, "Look after the old." But if you go on looking after the old too much then there will be no space for the new. The old man has to go so that children can come in. The old, rotten tree will fall down so that a new seed may sprout.
I have heard that there was a very old dilapidated church. It was in such a bad condition that it could fall down at any moment. People who used to pray in it were also afraid to go in. Then at last the trustees called a meeting to decide what to do about it, because now even the priest was afraid to go in. People were afraid to go in and even passers-by were afraid of its falling down at any moment - anyone could get killed. So now nobody passed by that road - it became quite lonely. So they passed three resolutions:
The first was that the old church had to be demolished. It was passed unanimously with great sorrow.
Second was that a new church had to be constructed. This was accepted with a lot of heartache because the attachment for the old is always there. The new is not born yet, the new is not known yet, so there cannot be any attachment with the new - attachment is always with the old. That is why if a small child dies then the anguish is not much. But the anguish goes on increasing with age, because relationship, attachment increases proportionately. The old one has to be demolished - with great sorrow. The new has to be constructed, just out of sheer helplessness.
And they passed a third resolution that the new church will be constructed on the same site where the old church is, and until the new one is built we will go on using the old one. For the new church we will use the stones of the old one. And while the new one is not yet built we will continue to use the old one. This was also passed unanimously! That church is still there. It cannot be demolished, because there is deep attachment to it.
I call only that person religious who, after giving up the old, is always moving towards the ever new, and thus is able to retain his innocence and purity; one who is coming out of the past every moment, just like the snake coming out of his skin, and does not look back. If you get attuned with that which is ever new, if you live in that which is always new, if you refuse to carry the old garbage, then you will find in the new that which is eternal. In that eternal, godliness is hidden.
The second question:
Because you are! To call you anything else will be a lie! When Shankara says: OH IDIOT! SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE, he says this with great love, he says this because of his compassion.
He is not cursing you, he is not calling you names, because Shankara just cannot curse or call names; it is impossible for him. He is shaking you, he is waking you up. He is saying "Get up! It is morning and you are still sleeping." He is calling you 'idiot' because until he uses some strong words your sleep is not going to be disturbed and you are not going to wake up. He is calling you 'idiot' because this is true, this is a fact.
Idiocy means unconsciousness. Idiocy means to live in sleep. Idiocy means to be without discretion.
Idiocy means not being wakeful, not being conscious when you are angry. Then you become more idiotic because then you lose consciousness even more. But sometimes, when you are conscious, then you are not too idiotic. And you also know that sometimes you are less idiotic and sometimes you are more idiotic.
When the mind is full of attachment then idiocy increases, when there is passion you become more idiotic. In the life story of Tulsidas it is said that when his wife went to her parents' home, he followed her at night. It was raining and dark. He climbed up to her room by holding onto a snake. He must have been in a very deep idiotic state to mistake the snake for the rope. It must have been a very strong passion. That passion made him almost blind; he could not even see the snake!
Generally people mistake a rope for a snake because of fear. Death scares a man. A rope on the road always appears to be a snake. But this was just the opposite: Tulsidas thought the snake to be the rope. He caught hold of it and climbed! He did not realize it even by the touch; he must have been absolutely unconscious. Passion must have made him mad.
Seeing his condition his wife said, "If you had loved God the way you love me, then by now you would have attained liberation!" He turned back and saw the snake and realized that passion had made him blind. A revolution took place in his life. The wife became the master. The passion had pointed out to him the non-passionate state. He became a sannyasin and went in search of the divine - the energy which was being spent in passion turned towards Rama. The energy which was expressing itself in sex started turning into Rama.
Idiocy is that energy which is asleep today but will wake up tomorrow. It is hidden today but it will be revealed tomorrow. This idiocy will become your wisdom. Your sleep will become your awakening.
So do not be angry with it, do not condemn it, and do not try to hide your idiocy. Most of the people are doing this. They are trying to hide their idiocy - so they are even bigger idiots! You collect information and you try to cover up your idiocy with this information. You cover up the inner wounds with flowers.
Knowledge borrowed from scriptures is like these flowers, the borrowed information from others is like these flowers with which you cover your idiocy to help you forget it. Idiocy is not to be forgotten. Idiocy is to be remembered because it can be destroyed only if it is remembered. That is why Shankara goes on repeating: SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE, SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE, OH IDIOT!
Seeing your unconsciousness, he goes on repeating it out of compassion so that you may not forget that you are an idiot. You try your best to forget it. You make all effort to forget that you are an idiot. You believe that you are a very knowledgeable person. Only a really knowledgeable person knows that he is not knowledgeable. All the ignorant people believe that they are knowledgeable.
The ignorant person is not ready to accept that he does not know. Only the most knowledgeable person is ready to question his own knowledge.
Edison has said, "People say that I know a lot. But the reality is that a child on the seashore who has gathered a few seashells.... My knowledge is only that much - a few seashells in my hands and there is this vast sea which I do not know."
Your little knowledge seems great to you. You have lit a small lamp; its dim light is able to light up a small place and you think it is great knowledge. But you are not aware of the unlimited darkness surrounding you. When you understand your idiocy then you will say, "Is this knowledge, this dim light? I have gathered a few seashells in my hand and I think that I have become knowledgeable. But the journey of knowledge is endless, the search is unlimited." Then you will give up that knowledge also.
The day you become aware of your idiocy, the day you are aware that you are an idiot, your idiocy will start dissolving, because that awareness will bring you out of it. Idiocy is unconsciousness; it will start dissolving with awareness.
Psychologists say that a madman will become alright if he realizes that he is mad. A mad person never knows that he is mad, he thinks that the world is mad.
Kahlil Gibran has written that one of his friends became mad, so he went to visit him in the mental asylum. The friend was sitting on a bench in the garden of that asylum. Gibran sat down near him and said, "I am very sorry to see you here."
The friend looked carefully at Gibran and said, "Sorry for what?"
Gibran replied, "To see that you had to come to this mental asylum."
That mad friend started laughing and said, "You are mistaken. Since I have come here I have found the company of sane people. Outside all of them are insane; I am fortunate to get rid of them. You think this is the mental asylum? No, the mental asylum is outside these walls. Only a very few wise people live here."
An insane person cannot understand that he is insane. If he had that much understanding he would not have gone insane. If he understands that he is insane, then insanity will disappear.
If at night in your sleep you realize that you are dreaming, then the dreaming will stop. To dream it is necessary that you do not remember that you are dreaming. In the morning you will remember it when the dream is over. As long as you are dreaming it will seem real to you. But if right in the middle of the dream you remember that this is a dream, it will be over.
Gurdjieff used to tell his disciples that before breaking big dreams they should learn how to break small dreams. This big world is an illusion, a big dream; you cannot break it till you break the small dreams. How can you stop the day-dream when you cannot stop the night-dream? So Gurdjieff used to tell his disciples that while going to sleep at night they must go on reminding themselves that whenever they start dreaming, at once they must remember that this is a dream. It takes about three years to break the night dreaming. For three years continuously, every night while going to sleep, if you go on thinking, contemplating, meditating on this thought then that moment comes - that fortunate moment - when suddenly you remember that this is a dream. And this remembrance breaks the dream and consciousness even enters the sleep. From that moment dreaming stops.
Then there is no more dreaming.
Only after this you can wake up in the big dream - this dream of the open eyes is the big dream.
The night dreaming is personal, private - alone. It is absolutely private. A husband cannot call even his wife into his dream. Even a friend cannot call a friend into his dream. This dreaming is alone; nobody else can participate in this dream.
But this big dream is collective, public. It is very difficult to break it because it is not only yours, it is everybody's, collective and joint. But if the first dream breaks, then that remembrance can break this dream also. That remembrance is enough. Even while awake one should be able to remember that this is a dream. Just think, if somebody has cursed you or called you names and you remember that this is a dream, then it will be impossible for you to lose your temper. If anything valuable of yours breaks and you remember that this is only a dream, you will not be unhappy. If your wife or husband or son dies, then it will be difficult to remember that this is all a dream, but if you can do so then your agony will disappear.
The person who has realized that this is a dream becomes a buddha, a jinna; neither death nor life is able to waver him. Happiness, then, does not seem like happiness to him and unhappiness does not seem unhappiness. This is the ultimate wisdom: neither happiness nor agony affects you!
Shankara is reminding you again and again that you are an idiot - so do not get annoyed. If you get annoyed then you are proving that Shankara is right in calling you an idiot. Perhaps you are a big idiot and Shankara is calling you just an idiot, he is hesitant. Do not insist on proving that you are not an idiot, otherwise this insistence will strengthen your idiocy. You must accept it. Your acceptance will dissolve your idiocy.
Not only should you accept it but you should also remind yourself every moment that you are an idiot - you are unconscious, ignorant and insane. Then your consciousness will move into a new direction, your inner quality will change, your actions will change. If you could only remember that you are not sensible then that will be the beginning of your becoming sensible.
Realization of one's ignorance is the first step towards knowledge. The effort to kindle the fire, the light, starts only after understanding the darkness. If one does not know darkness as darkness and blindness as blindness, he will not try to heal his eyes. When you go to a doctor he does not give you the medicine at once. First of all he tries to diagnose the illness, then he gives the medicine. If the diagnosis is correct then it is easy to give the treatment. That is why all the great doctors take the fee for the diagnosis and not for the treatment, because after the diagnosis anyone can give the medicines. Once the illness is diagnosed, its treatment will be easy.
Shankara is telling you again and again: OH IDIOT! SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE. He has diagnosed your sickness. Idiocy is your sickness and SINGING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE is the treatment. But if you are not an idiot, then why would you sing the song of the divine? If you do not consider yourself ill, then why would you take the treatment? If you go on protecting your illness, if you go on claiming that your illness is your health, then of course you are incurable, nobody can treat you.
The third question:
They are in you but they are a little deeper. When a well is dug, first of all it is stones, pebbles and mud which come out and not the water. It depends on the land also. Somewhere the water is at thirty feet and somewhere the water is at sixty feet deep. Water is certainly there. Every land has water underneath it but the difference is of depth.
A simple-minded person will get the water soon - maybe at two, three or ten feet, and if a complicated person digs then he may get it at fifty or sixty feet. An innocent-minded person will get it quickly, but a violent, angry man will take a long time to reach the water level. The difference is in the layers of the land. Water is underneath all land. The soul is there in everyone, godliness is there in everyone - the difference is in the layers of past actions. When you start digging you cannot straight away get the divine, you will get only the layers of actions because these surround it. When you first of all start digging the well you only get stones and pebbles. Do not get dejected by this. In fact this is a good beginning; these things give the signal that the journey has started. Yes, first of all stones and pebbles will come out, then garbage, then good earth, and then wet earth. You are going nearer and nearer every day. When you see the wet earth you must know that water is not very far away.
Water is inside everyone, because you cannot live without water. Life is inside everyone, how can you exist without life? You may have hidden it, you may have covered it, but you cannot destroy it.
Soul can be covered with your activities but it cannot be destroyed. We have suppressed the soul in birth after birth, so the catharsis has to be done according to the degree of suppression. Therefore, do not be disheartened.
"During catharsis I express only negative emotions, anger, jealousy, anguish, etcetera."
It is alright. These are good signs. Throw them out. When you cathart absolutely then you will come across the other hidden streams. The day anger is plucked and thrown out of you, from that day you will get compassion, because compassion is the other side of anger. The moment violence is finished in you, nonviolence will be born in you.
Go on digging as long as you go on having these negative emotions - the positive emotions are hidden somewhere underneath these. But the digging has to be done and you cannot be lazy.
Continuous labor is necessary, continuous watchfulness is necessary, because it is possible that you will go on digging with one hand and putting back the stones and the earth with the other hand.
In the morning you will throw out anger while meditating but you will gather anger the whole day in the market. Then this digging will be useless. It will be like digging a well during the daytime and getting it filled up with stones at night and again having to start digging it the next day.
There is a story that Jesus used: A man sowed wheat in a field but someone put the seeds of wild plants and weeds into it to destroy the field. The servants got very worried. The head of the servants called a meeting to think over what to do and how to save the crop. They asked the master. He said, "If you start uprooting the wild plants then the wheat plants will also die. The two can be separated at the time of the harvest."
But this thing did not appeal to the servants. They said that the field should be weeded out soon.
The evil should be destroyed as early as possible. They decided to look out for the person who had done the mischief "Who could be an enemy of our master, who is a thorough gentleman?" They tried to find out but could not succeed.
Then one evening a servant came to the head servant and he said, "Forgive me, but I cannot hide this secret any longer. I know who has thrown the seeds of these wild plants into our field. I myself have seen that person because I was awake at that time and I saw him going into the field. But perhaps he was not conscious at that time, because I was standing in front of him but he neither saw me nor recognized me; perhaps he was in a sleep. I have kept this secret so long but now it is difficult to keep it."
The head servant got very annoyed and asked him why he had kept this secret until now. Why didn't he tell him about it earlier? The servant said, "Even now I do not have the courage to tell you but I cannot keep it with me any longer. So you had better listen to the whole story first."
The head servant said, "You must tell me the name of that man. He will be punished." The servant sat down with bowed head. The head servant asked him, "Why do you not tell his name? Why are you afraid?"
The servant replied, "You will not believe me. It is our master who has thrown the seeds of the wild plants in the field. It is our master." Then both of them decided to keep this secret to themselves.
This story of Jesus says that whatever you build in the day you demolish at night. Whatever you make during the daytime when you are conscious, you destroy it at night when you are unconscious.
There are some people who walk in their sleep. There have been cases in the courts - a woman gets up at night, sets fire to her clothes and goes back to sleep. She is not deceiving anyone because these are her own clothes which are very valuable and she likes them immensely. But in the morning when she gets up she cries that somebody has burnt her clothes. But nobody has entered the room; only the husband and the wife are sleeping in that room and nobody else has come in. The husband could not burn, them and how can the wife do such a thing? Yes, it could be the mischief of some ghosts! But after a lot of investigation it was found that it was the wife who was burning her own clothes; she had the habit of sleepwalking. There are some people who go to the kitchen in their sleep, eat something and sleep again. If you ask them about it in the morning they will deny this and say that they never got up at night. At the most they may remember that they saw a dream; that too they cannot remember clearly.
Actually, every individual suffers from this disease. What you make with one hand you destroy with the other hand. You hate the very person whom you love. You have disrespect for the person whom you respect a lot. You are contradictory; you are divided into many pieces, into many parts within yourself. You destroy your love with your hatred and you destroy your compassion with your anger.
You go to the temple to remember God and you start remembering the market, the shop! There was no need to go to the temple, you could have sat in the market. But the trouble with you is that when you are sitting in your shop you go on remembering the temple, and when you are in the temple you go on thinking about the shop.
I have heard that a sannyasin died. That very day a prostitute also died. They had lived in houses facing each other. When the angels came to take them, they were taking the sannyasin towards hell and they were taking the prostitute to heaven. The sannyasin said "Stop it! You seem to have made some mistake. You are doing just the opposite - taking me, the sannyasin to hell and taking this prostitute to heaven! You must have misunderstood your instructions and it is quite natural.
Even ordinary governments make mistakes so there can be a mistake in the administration of this universe. You had better find out first."
The angels also became doubtful. They said that there has never been any mistake "... but it is quite clear that you are a sannyasin and she is a prostitute." They went and checked and there was no mistake - the prostitute is to be taken to heaven and the sannyasin is to be taken to hell. "If he insists on knowing the reason then tell him this reason...."
The reason was that the sannyasin was living in the temple but was always thinking about the prostitute. While worshipping God his mind was thinking of the prostitute. And when at night there was singing and dancing, drinking and merrymaking in the house of the prostitute, this sannyasin would be missing all that and thinking that he had wasted his life sitting in that empty temple. He would say to himself, "What am I doing sitting in front of this stone image? I do not even know whether God exists or not!" He was doubting God! He could not sleep the whole night; he kept on dreaming about having a good time with the prostitute.
And the mental attitude of the prostitute was just the opposite. She was a prostitute, so she had to entertain people by dancing, but she was always thinking of the temple. When the temple bells used to ring she used to think, "When will that fortunate day come when I will be able to enter the temple? I am the most unfortunate person. My whole life is wasted, it is dirty. Oh God! Please make me a priestess in my next birth. I will consider myself very fortunate even if I become the dust on the steps of the temple so that people who come to worship will touch me with their feet. That will be more than enough for me."
When she would get the scent of the incense of the temple she would be lost in ecstasy. She would be thankful to God for keeping her near the temple. She would think that there are many people who live far away from the temple but "I am lucky to be so near - though I am a sinner." She would sit down and close her eyes whenever the priest would worship.
The priest was thinking of the prostitute and the prostitute was thinking of worship. The priest went to hell and the prostitute went to heaven.
Man is always in a dilemma. You think of the temple when you are in the market. The householder, the family man, thinks of becoming a sannyasin, and the sadhus go on repenting and thinking that they may have made a mistake in renouncing the world: this life may be all there is and we are dreaming about the next life. Heaven and liberation, who has seen it?
Sometimes some old sannyasins come to me - honest sannyasins, because the dishonest ones never say this to anyone, they keep it to themselves. Yes, the honest sannyasins sometimes come and tell me, "We are now seventy years old; it is forty years since we became sannyasins but until now we have attained nothing, and now we have started doubting whether there is anything worth all this trouble. Have we wasted our life? We did not enjoy what we had and we have wasted our life in the hope of getting something which is not." These are honest people. What they are saying is authentic, they are not hiding anything.
If you come to know the inner stories of your sannyasins you will be surprised, and it will be difficult for you to bow down your head at their feet. You are thinking that they have attained bliss, they have attained peace, they have attained God, but most of them have attained nothing, they are in a worse condition than you. There is no doubt that they have lost their world and have not attained God.
Now this is a complicated matter. By renouncing or by giving up the world one does not attain the divine. The fact is that if you realize the divine then the world is lost. Light cannot be created by removing the darkness; the arrival of light removes the darkness.
Sannyas therefore is not negative, it is positive. First one has to attain, then one gives up. And this is right, too. How can you give up the futile till you have seen the meaningful, the significant?
The glimpse of the meaningful gives the courage to give up the nonessential. After seeing the meaningful, automatically the nonessential is given up. You will not have to make the effort of giving up, you will not get the pain of giving up; your steps will go towards the significant with great joy, you will never look back. Only he is a sannyasin who does not look back. Looking back means the sannyas is immature.
In the beginning you have to take out the negative emotions which are hidden in you. In the 'beginning the disease has to be thrown out. When the disease is thrown out, the catharsis has been done, then health will appear. Do not be afraid. You are fortunate - you have the opportunity to throw out the disease. If the disease is thrown out then the water of health is not very far away. You have dirt in the upper layer; once that is removed the water within you is as pure as it is in Mahavira, in Buddha and in Shankara. Your innermost nature, your being, is exactly the same. There is no difference at all - there cannot be. The 'meaning' of nature is that there is no difference.
But to reach that nature a lot of digging has to be done. The earlier you do it, the better it is. And you must be careful about one thing, which is that whatever you throw out should not be put in the pit again. Otherwise you will be laboring your whole life and you will attain nothing. Many people start digging many times.
There was a great Sufi fakir, Jalaluddin Rumi. One day he took his disciples to the nearby field. He showed them how the field had been spoilt by the owner; it was full of big holes. He had started digging a well, but did not find water after digging fifteen or twenty feet deep so he started digging at another place. He did not find water even at the second place, so he started digging at the third place. In this way he dug at eight places and now was digging at the ninth place. Like this he had spoilt the whole field.
Jalaluddin said, "Look at this man! If he had concentrated on one place and worked hard only on one place, he would have surely come across water, however deep it might have been. But he digs only ten or twenty feet and thinks that there is no water there, so he tries at another place. He has dug eight holes and in all he has dug one hundred and sixty feet deep, and even then he could not find water. But if he had dug one hundred and sixty feet deep in one place he would have definitely found water.
You will also start digging many times in life. Sometimes you start meditation and out of enthusiasm you do it for fifteen days or a month and then forget about it. Then you think about it again after four years, you start digging and become a bit peaceful and then forget about the meditation again. Like this you will dig many holes but you will not reach the level of water. Your field will be spoilt.
If you get into the habit of giving up after digging for a few days then it would have been better if you had not dug at all, because that labor is wasted. If you do not reach the water level then all the labor is wasted. Continuity is needed. And remember that as the continuous trickle of water breaks stones, the continuous trickle of meditation will certainly break the big rocks around you.
Today it may seem that your anger is very strong, how can meditation break it? But it breaks - it has always broken. Rock is very strong and meditation is very delicate, but this is the mystery of life - the continuity of the delicate can break the strongest and the hardest.
The fourth question:
Singing the song of the divine in order to get lost is an intoxicant, but to get lost while singing is not an intoxicant.
Let me repeat it - it is a little complicated. It is subtle but it can be understood. For getting lost, singing the song of the divine is an intoxicant. If you only want to get lost.... Life is full of worry, anguish, pain, tension, disturbance, misery; to forget this, to save oneself from all this, one has to make oneself busy or get involved somewhere so that he can forget himself. So somebody sits in the movie house and forgets himself; somebody sits at the wine bar and forgets himself for two hours; somebody goes to the temple, starts singing the song of the divine and forgets himself. These are all different methods of forgetting oneself. But the aim of the three is the same - to forget your worries. But the worry is waiting for you to come home. After you return home you will be the same.
Those two hours were wasted, they were futile. Because of these two hours the worry is not going to disappear.
The search for something with which you can forget yourself is intoxicating, is like alcohol. For this you can make religion like alcohol. But to get lost while singing the song of the divine is entirely a different thing. You did not go there to get lost, you did not have any wish to forget yourself, you did not go there to save yourself from worry; you had gone there to awaken from the worry.
The worry is not to be forgotten but to be destroyed. You went to destroy the worry, to understand the essence of life; you went to create such a moment in life where worry would become impossible, a moment where there is no disturbance, no restlessness; you had gone in search of, your nature.
You had gone in search of deep sources of water. You had gone not to forget but to awaken. But you got lost while meditating. This type of getting lost is not an intoxicant. If this is an intoxicant then this intoxicant is of consciousness. In this you will be lost and yet you will remain awake. You will find yourself absolutely finished and at the same time, for the first time, you will be. On one side you will find that everything is lost and on the other side you will find that everything has become new.
You are and yet you are not. This thing you can understand only by experience.
In meditation there is a moment when you are not - there is no 'I' at that moment; only existence is, only your being is. 'I' is lost, only existence is. There is no thought, no ego; the mirror of mind is absolutely clean, there is no dust on it. The divine is reflected in that clean mirror. This is a wonderful moment of peace, this is the unique experience of samadhi.
But you did not go there to get lost, you went to get transformed, you went to change yourself. You did not go to get lost, you went to be finished; you did not go there to rest for a while, you went for the revolution of your whole life.
Meditation can be done in two ways: the first is that you only want to forget yourself and the second is that you want to transform yourself. And you will get the fruits of whichever is the real reason within you. You will reap whatever you sow.
If in meditation you sow the seed of finishing yourself, then in the harvest you will find that you are finished; only godliness remains. If in meditation you sow the seed of forgetting yourself, then you will find that even meditation has become an intoxicant; you forget yourself for a moment but afterwards remain just the same. You go back to your original condition, maybe worse than before, because even that moment was wasted, was futile.
So I definitely say that to get lost in singing the song of the divine is an intoxicant - if you do it to get lost. But if you do it to finish yourself then it is not an intoxicant, it is an awakening, it is consciousness.
And always remember that when you go in search of joy, of ecstasy, then you will not find it because that very search will become an obstacle. You will miss joy whenever you are seeking it, because you get joy only when you do not ask for it. Joy and bliss go only to emperors and not to beggars. When you go with a begging bowl you do not get joy; it comes to you when you stand like an emperor. You will not get it as long as you ask for it. You will get it only when you give up asking for it. Then it will come running to you from all sides. The most important rule of life, the most ancient religious law of life, is that you will not be able to attain joy and bliss when you go on running after it.
Try to understand it like this: you have forgotten somebody's name. You say, "I know it but I cannot remember it. It is just on the tip of my tongue." But if it is on your tongue, why don't you say it? The harder you try to remember, the more difficult it becomes to do so. The more you try, the more you forget. And you know that you know it. You try hard; you begin to perspire. What is the problem?
Actually, when you go on trying to remember you create tension within you, and that tension affects the mind - it becomes narrow, it shrinks, no space is left in it. Then you give up and start reading the newspaper, or you go to the garden or start sipping your tea. Just when you forget trying to remember the name, all of a sudden like a flash the name appears in the mind - you remember the name. When you are making an effort you become disturbed, restless. This effort causes tension.
When you give up the effort and you are at peace with yourself, then automatically the name is remembered.
Ecstasy, bliss is your nature. You shrink when you make an effort. It is within you, it is not to be brought from anywhere. But you shrink so much that there is no space left. You must have seen that the more you try to hurry, the more you get delayed. If you are in a hurry to catch the train then you go on putting the buttons in the wrong button-holes. In your hurry you cannot close the suitcase properly. When you leave in a hurry you either leave the key or the ticket at home, thus your reaching the station in time becomes useless.
And you also know that if you had done all these things without tension, without the hurry, then everything would have been done very conveniently. Every day you button up your coat properly, there is never an error in it; but the day you hurry the button is in the wrong hole. The coat is not your enemy, the coat is not trying to take any revenge on you; the coat has nothing to do with you.
But your hurry upsets you, makes you worried, and your hand becomes unsteady. When you do things with confidence and certainty then everything is done in time. But because of the worry you get delayed. If you try to run fast, you will reach late; the slower you go, the earlier you will get there.
It sounds paradoxical but it is not, because patience is a great strength, and not to ask for anything is a great self-confidence.
You get joy, bliss, ecstasy when you are not looking for it. Then the festival of ecstasy, of joy starts from every side - from within and from outside. Give up the search for it. Do not ask for it. Do not make meditation the means, make it an end. Do not think that you are meditating to get bliss. No, the meditation itself is a bliss, a joy. You should not do it with the idea of attaining bliss. The bliss, the joy is in doing it. When the means becomes the end, then you have attained the destination. You do not have to go anywhere. Your godliness appears wherever you are. Where can you go? You do not know God's address, you do not have any inkling of his whereabouts, where will you look out for him? Where will you search for bliss? Where will you search for truth? Where will you search for liberation? You had better sit down quietly.
You must have seen the statues of Buddha, of Mahavira, of Shankara. They do not seem to be walking, running or going anywhere, they are just sitting quietly. On their face there is no expression of any search. Look at Mahavira's face carefully: there is no hurry on the face. Does the face show the expression that he is searching for something? He is just sitting. There is no search, no desire, no expectation and no future - only here and now.
If you have seen the statues of Buddha, Mahavira and Shankara then you will find that their whole message is "now and here." They are sitting peacefully, they are not going anywhere, they are not becoming anything, they are not attaining anything, there is no running for any desire. And then everything happens in that moment! The sky showers.
The last question:
Prayer is the seed, bhajan, singing the song of the divine, is the tree. Prayer is hidden - not expressed, bhajan is the expression. Bhajan is the dancing prayer, the singing prayer. Bhajan is the expression of prayer. If you want to see prayer, you will have to look at it in Mahavira and Buddha.
If you want to see bhajan then you had better look at Meera and Chaitanya. Bhajan is the prayer expressed. What remains within Mahavira and Buddha flows out of Meera and Chaitanya. What is static within Buddha and Mahavira has started dancing in Meera and Chaitanya. Bhajan is the expression of prayer.
You can understand it like this. Suppose you are in love with someone. You can just keep it to yourself, there is no need to say anything about it. It does not matter even if you do not say, "I love you." You can keep your love within you. Usually women do not tell about their love to anyone, they keep it to themselves. There is no need to say that love is, because the very experience of love is sufficient in itself. But love gets expressed - sometimes in a song, sometimes in the touch of the hand, sometimes in the expression of the eye, and sometimes in silence also. And whenever love is expressed flowers blossom, the seed does not remain a seed. Both are beautiful.
There are two types of people in the world. For some prayer is enough - there is no need to say anything - those will attain God in their emptiness, in their silence. But this is not enough for the other type of people. Unless it is more than enough it is not enough for them - they have to overflow. They have to go on flowing, expressing their inner ecstasy. So Meera dances. Buddha did not express himself in this way, but Meera did; and both are beautiful, both ways are good. You must know your own nature. If you want to keep it to yourself it does not matter, and if you want to distribute it, then, too it does not matter. And I do not compare the two. The seed is beautiful because the flowers bloom out of it, and the flower is beautiful because it becomes the seed. They are interconnected.
The expressed and the unexpressed, the manifest and the unmanifest, both are connected. You must find out your nature, your temperament, and choose whatever appeals to you. But remember that bhajan is an expression and prayer is silent.
The question is: "Like prayer, is singing the song of the divine also an expression of thanks?"
No, prayer is thanks and bhajan is gratitude with ecstasy. Prayer says: whatever is given to me is a lot; I am fully satisfied and contented with what is given to me. But bhajan says that whatever is given to me is more than necessary, it cannot be contained within, it has to be distributed. Bhajan expresses itself by dancing; it is not silent, it speaks. It has its own beauty.
Prayer is an unsung song - the picture hidden in the mind of the painter which has not taken form on the canvas. It is the statue hidden in the stone which has not been carved out with the chisel.
Bhajan is the visible statue. The stone has been cut, the chisel has done the work. Bhajan is the song which is being sung.
A friend came to see Rabindranath when he was about to die, just two days before his death. He said, "Yours has been a very successful life. There is nothing to worry about or to regret now." Both of them were friends since their childhood and now both of them were old. He said: "You can die peacefully. I did not attain anything in this life, I have wasted it so I will not die peacefully. You have sung so many songs!"
Rabindranath has sung six thousand songs. No other poet in this world has sung so many songs.
The poet Shelley is very famous in the West but his songs number about three thousand, while Rabindranath's are six thousand, and all these six thousand songs can be put to music.
The old friend said, "You were given the Nobel prize; honors have been showered on you, you can die peacefully. Of course I will die without peace but you can thank God while saying goodbye to the world."
Rabindranath listened to what his friend was saying. Then he said, "Well, I have not been able to sing the song which I wanted to sing, it is still within me like a seed. These six thousand songs are the unsuccessful efforts to sing that one song. I have tried many times to sing that one song which is in me like a seed but I have failed every time. You may have liked those songs but they are the stories of my failure. My song has not been sung yet. I have not sung it yet, and God has come to take me away. Just now I was tuning my instruments; with great difficulty I was able to tune my sitar. People thought I was singing. No, I was tuning my instruments. Now I have become mature enough, the instruments are ready, my spirit is ready, the moment of singing has come just now, but now it is time to go. Yes, I am complaining to God."
Rabindranath could not sit like Buddha under a tree. He wanted to sing the song of the divine.
Rabindranath has criticized Buddha a lot - not out of any dislike but out of love and gratitude. But Buddha never appealed to Rabindranath: he had regard for him but Buddha's sitting silently like a stone statue did not appeal to him. But the Baul fakirs appealed to him - the fakirs, the sadhus dancing with the ektara. This is the difference of individuals. Rabindranath had respect for Buddha, he had nothing against him, but they were two different types.
The personality of bhajan is different and the individuality of prayer is different. Prayer is silent, bhajan is speech, words, expression. Prayer is silent, quiet.
The people who pray have said, the Sufis have said, if your left hand is praying your right hand should not know about it. It should be done in the darkness of night. If a husband prays, the wife should not know about it, otherwise it will be showing off, and showing off means ego. The person who prays is afraid that others may come to know about it.
But the one who sings the song of the divine dances in the middle of the road. He is just not bothered about other people coming to know about it. He says that it does not matter whether people know or do not know. He destroys his ego in dancing. His ego is lost in his dancing. These are two different ways. Prayer is only thanks, bhajan is the expression of gratitude.
You should understand your inner condition. You can reach the divine through prayer or through bhajan. The paths are different but the destination is the same. And you must always choose the one which suits you, the one which you can enjoy. Always think of yourself, observe yourself...
because it is possible that something in the other person is very appealing to you but it does not suit you. So you should not go for it even by mistake. What is good for the other may not be good for you. The other person's medicine can be poison for you. Your medicine also can be poison for the other person. Actually, medicine is not medicine, poison is not poison - the poison which suits you becomes the medicine for you; the medicine which does not suit you becomes poison for you. So you should always go on observing what suits you, what is harmonious to you, and then choose the one which is meant for you.
If you want to sit quietly like Buddha, if you want to go deep in silence without any movement of the body.... We have made the statues of Buddha and Mahavira out of marble. The reason is they were sitting like this marble. When they were living they were unwavering. But a marble statue of Meera will not be appealing. People have made it but it does not appeal. Meera's statue cannot be static, it has to be made of water - dancing, liquid, not static.
Meera is a movement, a physical expression of emotion, a dance. Mahavira is static. He is like a pond without any ripple. Meera is like a waterfall - like the water falling from a hill, where every drop dances.
These are the big differences, but these differences are of paths. Ultimately the pond also gets lost, evaporates in the sky by riding on the rays of the sun, and the river also gets lost in the sky by riding on the rays of the sun after it flows into the ocean.
The destination is one but the paths are many. The temple is one but the doors are many. Choose your own door, do not follow the other. A creed is created by following and religion is born by going according to your nature.
Enough for today.