The Bondage of Hope

From:
Osho
Date:
Fri, 15 November 1975 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Osho - The Great Transcendence
Chapter #:
5
Location:
am in Buddha Hall
Archive Code:
N.A.
Short Title:
N.A.
Audio Available:
N.A.
Video Available:
N.A.
Length:
N.A.

[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.]

ONE WHO HAS LONG HAIR ON HIS HEAD, ONE WHO HAS SHAVED HIS HEAD, ONE WHO
HAS PULLED HIS HAIR FROM THE ROOTS, ONE WHO IS WEARING OCHRE ROBES, OR IS
DRESSED UP IN A VARIETY OF WAYS, THAT IDIOT, IN SPITE OF HAVING EYES, IS BLIND.

JUST FOR THE SAKE OF HIS STOMACH HE DRESSES UP IN DIFFERENT WAYS.

ALL LIMBS HAVE BECOME INFIRM, ALL HAIR HAS TURNED WHITE, THERE IS NOT A SINGLE
TOOTH IN THE MOUTH ANYMORE - SUCH AN OLD MAN WALKS WITH THE HELP OF A STICK;
EVEN THEN HE IS BOUND DOWN WITH THE MASS OF HOPE.

STRUCK BY THE COLD, IN THE MORNING HE WARMS HIMSELF BY KEEPING THE FIRE IN
FRONT OF HIM OR BY KEEPING HIS BACK TOWARDS THE SUN. AT NIGHT, HE SLEEPS WITH
HIS CHIN BETWEEN HIS KNEES, HE TAKES ALMS ON HIS HANDS AND LIVES UNDER A TREE;
EVEN THEN HE DOES NOT DROP THE BONDAGE OF HOPE.

HE MAY UNDERTAKE THE JOURNEY TO THE GANGES OR TO THE OCEAN, HE MAY
UNDERTAKE MANY AUSTERITIES AND FASTS, HE MAY GIVE AWAY IN CHARITY, BUT IF HE
DOES NOT HAVE SELF-KNOWLEDGE HE WILL NOT BE LIBERATED EVEN IN HUNDREDS OF
LIFE TIMES.

ONE MAY BE RESIDING IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD OR UNDER A TREE, THE EARTH MAY BE
HIS ONLY BED, DEERSKIN MAY BE HIS ONLY ROBE, HE MAY HAVE DROPPED ALL KINDS
OF POSSESSIONS AND INDULGENCES - WHO DOES SUCH A RENUNCIATION NOT MAKE
BLISSFUL?

HE MAY BE ABSORBED IN ENJOYMENT OF THE SENSES OR IN YOGA, HE MAY BE
ENGROSSED IN SOMEBODY'S COMPANY OR HE MAY BE ALONE, BUT IF HIS HEART DWELLS
IN THE DIVINE, THEN IT IS HE WHO IS BLISSFUL, IT IS HE WHO IS BLISSFUL, IT IS HE ALONE
WHO IS BLISSFUL.

There is a very old story about an ascetic who was doing sadhana in a dense forest. He was sitting with closed eyes and was praying to God continuously. He wanted to gain heaven. Hunger and thirst did not worry him.

A very poor young woman used to come to that forest to collect firewood. Out of kindness and consideration for the ascetic she used to pluck some fruits, bring water from the pond in cups made of leaves, and she used to put them near him. The ascetic was able to sustain himself on these things.

Gradually his asceticism became even more intense. He forgot about hunger and thirst and he neither touched the fruits nor the water. That poor young woman felt very unhappy and sad about this but there was no way out. Lord Indra also became worried and said that this person is going beyond the limits: does he intend to get hold of the throne of heaven? It is absolutely necessary to disturb his sadhana.

It was not very difficult to do so because Lord Indra knows the mind of man. A breeze came from heaven and turned that poor dark, ugly, young woman into a stunning beauty. It seemed as if a ray came down from heaven and turned her ordinary body into a golden one. As she was filling water for the ascetic from the pond, she saw her reflection in the water and just could not believe that she was looking like a fairy. She became fascinated by her own reflection.

She continued to look after the ascetic. Then one day the ascetic opened his eyes and told the young woman that he wanted to leave that place and go to other mountains as he has to tread on a more difficult path; he cannot rest till he has conquered heaven itself.

The young woman started crying, tears fell from her eyes. She said, "What wrong have I done that you are stopping me from serving you? I have never asked you for anything."

The ascetic thought and he looked at her face. He had never seen such a beauty - not even in his dream! The woman looked familiar and unfamiliar both. The outlines were just the same but now there was a glory in it. The body and the features were the same but they were radiant now. She was like the forgotten melody, played again on a flute by some musician. The ascetic sat down and closed his eyes again. He did not go.

That night the young woman could not sleep because she felt happy at her victory and also repentant for polluting the sadhu. She was happy that she had won but felt unhappy for being an obstacle in the path of the ascetic. She felt sorry that because of her he could not continue the journey upwards.

She could not sleep at night. She cried and she laughed. In the morning she took the decision. She touched the feet of the ascetic and told him, "I have to go. My family is going to another village."

The ascetic blessed her so that she would be happy wherever she lives, and the young woman went away.

After many years the asceticism was complete. Lord Indra himself came down, bowed and said, "The doors of heaven are open to welcome you."

The ascetic opened his eyes and said, "I do not want heaven."

Indra was very surprised. He could not believe that any human being can say that he does not want heaven. Then Indra thought that maybe this ascetic has the desire of attaining liberation. So he asked, "Do you want liberation?"

The ascetic said, "What will I do with liberation?" Lord Indra was highly impressed by this attitude.

He thought to himself that this is the height of asceticism - even the desire of attaining liberation is not there. So out of regard he wanted to bow down in front of that ascetic but before doing so he said, "But there is nothing beyond liberation. What else do you want?"

The ascetic replied, "Nothing except that young maiden who used to collect wood in this forest. I want her!"

Do not laugh. This is the weakness of man. Do not laugh, but think over it, because the gravitation of earth is so strong! Do not think this story to be just a story; this is the whole agony of the mind of man. And do not think that this alternative was only before that ascetic, that it was only he who had to choose between the young woman and heaven. You also have the same alternatives. In fact everyone has the same alternatives: either you choose the pleasures which are transient or you choose the eternal. Either you lose the eternal for the transient or you dedicate the transient to the eternal. And of course most of the people will choose what that ascetic chose.

Do not think that you have done anything different. Whether Lord Indra has stood in front of you or not, whether someone has given you the alternative of heaven and earth or not, the fact is that the alternative is always there for you. And when you choose the one you miss the other. One whose eyes are filled with the intoxication of the earth remains deprived of the heavenly awareness. The heavenly gold cannot shower on the hands full of earthly dust; heaven can shower only if the hands are empty. The divine can descend only if you are empty within.

If you are filled with some infatuation the throne of your soul is already occupied. Then do not say that the divine has been unfair to you - this was your choice. Do not blame the divine if you do not find him - it means that you have not chosen him yet, because whenever someone chooses him, he finds him immediately. It does not even take one second. But if you yourself do not want him, then the divine will not force himself on you.

Truth does not force itself upon you. You have the freedom to refuse the truth birth after birth, life after life. This is the glory of man and this is the misfortune of man as well. The glory is because of the freedom - the freedom to choose. The misfortune is that we choose the wrong. But the choice of the wrong is included in that freedom. It cannot be called freedom, a freedom which can choose only the right and not the wrong; then that is not freedom. The meaning of freedom is that you have the right to go astray, to go on the wrong path. The meaning of freedom is that you have the freedom to sin. The meaning of freedom is that you have the freedom to refuse godliness.

Buddha was born, and the fifth day after his birth, according to the custom, the best of the pundits got together and gave him the name Siddhartha. The meaning of Siddhartha is fulfillment of desire, fulfillment of hope, attainment of wealth, attainment of destination. After waiting his whole life, after hoping and dreaming and going through many disappointments, at last a son was born to Shudhodhana in his old age - certainly he was a 'Siddhartha'! The pundits had given him the correct name.

There were eight great pundits. The king asked them to tell him the future of the newborn baby.

Seven pundits raised their hands and pointed two fingers. The king did not understand, he said, "I do not understand these gestures so please tell me clearly."

The seven pundits said that there are two alternatives: either he will be a great emperor or he will renounce everything and be a great sannyasin. Either he will be a great emperor or he will be a great sannyasin.

Only one pundit kept quiet. He was the youngest of them all. His name was Kodanna. But he was the most intelligent. The king asked him "Why are you quiet? You have not raised the two fingers!"

Kodanna said, "The two fingers can be raised at the birth of everyone because these two alternatives are for everyone: either this world or sannyas - these two alternatives are for all. These pundits, therefore, have not said anything important about Buddha by raising two fingers. Well, I raise only one - he will be a sannyasin!"

On hearing this Shudhodhana started crying. The unfortunate mind of man always behaves like this. He knew that Kodanna was an all-knowing astrologer. He was young but very luminous and his words, his prophecy will certainly turn out to be true. The other pundits had talked about the possibility of his being a great emperor, but Kodanna had disregarded that alternative. He said that the boy will definitely be a buddha.

The king felt happy when these pundits said that he will be an emperor. He did not give any importance to the other alternative of his becoming a sannyasin, because if one can be an emperor then why should one think of becoming a sannyasin? But Kodanna destroyed this hope by raising one finger.

The king tried to console himself by thinking that Kodanna is just one person and there are seven pundits opposing him. Man always goes on consoling himself like this: seven will be right and one will be wrong. But only that one proved to be right - and it is good that only that one proved to be right.

At the time of your birth also, whether the pundits are called or not, nature raises two fingers.

Nature puts forward two alternatives: either to be lost in unconsciousness or to be awakened in consciousness. Either collect the outer wealth, run the race of becoming a great emperor, or collect the inner wealth, rest in your being. Always remember Kodanna's one finger. In real life no Kodanna will meet you with a raised finger. You yourself will have to raise your finger.

These sutras of Shankara are most subtle gestures of renunciation and detachment.

ONE WHO HAS LONG HAIR ON HIS HEAD, ONE WHO HAS SHAVED HIS HEAD, ONE WHO HAS PULLED HIS HAIR FROM THE ROOTS, ONE WHO IS WEARING OCHRE ROBES, OR IS DRESSED UP IN A VARIETY OF WAYS, THAT IDIOT, IN SPITE OF HAVING EYES, IS BLIND.

JUST FOR THE SAKE OF HIS STOMACH HE DRESSES UP IN DIFFERENT WAYS.

Always remember that man's mind is very dangerous. Even in sannyas it looks for the world. It finds hypocrisy even in the temple; even in sadhana it finds the enjoyment of the senses. Whatever the outer activity, the mind goes on acting according to its old habit.

So Shankara says: Do not get deceived by someone who has long hair on his head. Long hair does not make any difference. Do not get deceived by anyone whose head is shaven. The shaving of the head, keeping long hair or pulling out the hair does not make any difference, it just does not matter.

So do not get deceived by seeing such people. Jaina Digambar munis pull out their hair - do not get deceived. There are people who wear ochre robes - do not get deceived by them. Do not worry if the other is deceived but you should not get deceived, because it is very easy to wear ochre robes or to pull out one's hair; only a little experience is needed. What is the difficulty in shaving the head or in keeping long hair? Only a little experience is needed. But try to see what is going on inside the mind. Under these various garbs of sannyas they are just carrying on business to fill their stomachs.

Ninety percent of sannyasins are only filling their stomachs. If only the stomach had to be filled up then the world would be a better place. At least one would be honest - the shop could be run as a shop without bluffing others; there would be no need to pollute the temple. Ordinary clothes were alright, there was no need to pollute the ochre robes. What was the need to pull the hair out? The barber could have cut your hair. All these outer things do not matter if your mind is doing business.

If your mind is involved in running the shop then this is just a deception.

I received the news a few months before that two Jaina munis - they live naked, they have given up everything and possess nothing - went out of the village to answer the call of nature and they started quarreling. They were master and disciple. They attacked each other. Because of this quarrel and attack their secret was out. Both of them had hidden money in the hollow stick of the pichie they were carrying; the fight was over the distribution of the money. Both of them were caught and brought to the police station. Their disciples in the village became worried and were unhappy because it was also a question of their prestige. Somehow they quieted the matter down by bribing the police so that this news did not spread to other places.

The naked man is also doing the same thing as the shopkeeper is doing. Then is it not better for him to sit in the shop? Then at least the nudity will not be polluted.

Nobody is forcing you to give up the world. Give it up only when you feel like it; otherwise this pretence of giving up the world is nothing but a deception.

ONE WHO HAS LONG HAIR ON HIS HEAD, ONE WHO HAS SHAVED HIS HEAD, ONE WHO HAS PULLED HIS HAIR FROM THE ROOTS, ONE WHO IS WEARING OCHRE ROBES, OR IS DRESSED UP IN A VARIETY OF WAYS, THAT IDIOT, IN SPITE OF HAVING EYES, IS BLIND.

Why does Shankara say: THAT IDIOT, IN SPITE OF HAVING EYES, IS BLIND? Whom is he deceiving? It is not a question of deceiving others; the other is not concerned about him. He is deceiving himself. The final conclusion is based on what you are inside, it is not based on what you are outside. Life is determined by what you are inside, not with what you are from the outside.

Inside you are continuously counting money, outside you are chanting "Ram, Ram." This chanting is futile. Your counting the money is meaningful - the judgment will be based on that, because there is no one else making the judgment, the judgment is being made every moment by what you are doing within you. If it had been someone else who was making the judgment then you could have asked his forgiveness, you could have asked him to relent. But there is no judge. There is no God sitting somewhere who can be pacified by you. Whatever you have done, your action is your destiny. The result is hidden in your action. Your thinking is the basis of your being.

There is a very sweet story about Mahavira's life. Mahavira was standing in a forest engrossed in meditation and a king who was his childhood friend was coming for Mahavira's darshan. On the way he saw another king, who had become Mahavira's sannyasin, standing near a rock doing austerities, tapasya. These three were childhood friends.

The first king felt very repentant for leading the worldly life. He thought, "Look at this king, Prasenchandra, how peaceful and silent he is. How blissful he is. How unfortunate I am. Mahavira has attained liberation and I am still counting money." The thought of renunciation arose in him.

When he met Mahavira he said, "I want to ask you a question. On the way I saw Prasenchandra doing austerities, tapasya. He is your disciple. Seeing him I also feel like renouncing this world. And I want to know something: if Prasenchandra had died at the moment when I was standing near him, where would he be reborn?"

Mahavira said, "If Prasenchandra had died at that time he would have been born in the seventh hell."

The king was shocked to hear this. Prasenchandra was standing so peacefully, so silently, merged in meditation - and if he dies he will be born in the seventh hell! Mahavira said, "Don't be worried.

But if he dies now - only a few moments have passed between the two events - he will enter the seventh heaven."

The king said, "This sounds like a riddle. Please explain it to me."

Mahavira said, "Before you came soldiers had passed by Prasenchandra. They saw him and remarked, 'This fool is standing here with closed eyes. His sons are too young yet and the ministers, to whom he has entrusted his kingdom, are busy looting his wealth and he is standing here like a fool!' The soldiers said this while passing him, and when Prasenchandra heard this, that the ministers were looting his wealth - that the people whom he had trusted were deceiving him - for a second he forgot that he had renounced everything. He forgot, he was not conscious, and the thought came to his mind, 'I am alive yet, you fools. What do you think? I am very much alive yet and I will sever the heads of these ministers from their bodies!' And unconsciously his hand tried to get hold of his sword which is not there now, but due to the old habit he tried to draw the sword from its sheath! And another old habit was that when he used to be angry he used to adjust his crown...."

Many of you are also in the habit of scratching your head or scratching your brow. So now in his anger when he tried to adjust his crown there was no crown, and he could touch only his shaven head. At once he became conscious: what am I doing? I am no longer King Prasenchandra, I have renounced everything. How could I think of killing people?

Mahavira said, "When you were standing near Prasenchandra, within him the sword was drawn, so if he had died at that moment he would have gone to the seventh hell. But now he has become conscious, he is laughing at his own foolishness. If he dies at this moment then he will be born in the seventh heaven.

Every action is the judge, and the decision for the action is within you, not outside you. You can stand silently outside while a storm may be raging within you. You may look very peaceful from outside while you may be restless within. You may be quiet outside, while within you may be ready to explode at any time.

Your outside is not valuable. Your inside is your existence. Every action of yours decides the nature of your soul. Every action of yours creates you. There is no other judge except you.

That is why Shankara says: THAT IDIOT, IN SPITE OF HAVING EYES, IS BLIND - because he thinks that he is deceiving others.

But all deception is deceiving yourself. You are bluffing yourself. You cannot make others lose anything, it is you who will lose. You may be able to get hold of some money from the other's pocket, but with that money you will lose your soul. You will lose a lot and gain nothing. Even if you are able to deceive others, what will you receive? At the most you will snatch some money from the other person. That money is going to remain here - neither you can take it with you nor the other person can take it with him after death. It does not matter whether the money is in this pocket or in that pocket. But by snatching it, by desiring it, you became perverted, your mind became dirty, you sowed the seed of sin within you. Then you should not hope to get any tasty fruit or any fragrant flower from this seed.

THAT IDIOT, IN SPITE OF HAVING EYES, IS BLIND. JUST FOR THE SAKE OF HIS STOMACH HE DRESSES UP IN DIFFERENT WAYS. THEREFORE, OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.

ALL LIMBS HAVE BECOME INFIRM, ALL HAIR HAS TURNED WHITE, THERE IS NOT A SINGLE TOOTH IN THE MOUTH ANYMORE - SUCH AN OLD MAN WALKS WITH THE HELP OF A STICK; EVEN THEN HE IS BOUND DOWN WITH THE MASS OF HOPE.

Till the last moment of death hope is not given up. You die but hope does not die. Even in death hope lives, remains alert and young. Even the man who is dying thinks that tomorrow everything will be alright. He dreams about tomorrow even when he is dying; people die dreaming.

One must understand hope. What is hope? The illusion of getting what you do not have. This dream of what is not now, of what will be there sometime, is hope. And what is waking up from hope? The awareness of what is. Hope disappears when you become aware of what is. Hope exists in the demand of what is not. The poor live in hope and the rich also live in hope.

When Alexander the Great was coming to India he went to meet a fakir named Diogenes because he had heard a lot about him. And many times it so happens that even emperors become jealous of fakirs.

Diogenes was also such a fakir. He used to live naked just like Mahavira. He was a unique fakir, he did not even keep a begging bowl with him. In the beginning when he became a fakir he used to keep a begging bowl. But then one day he saw a dog drinking water from the river. He said, "I must be mad! Why am I carrying this bowl with me? This dog is drinking water without any bowl. The dog is more sensible than me; if he can do without the bowl then why can't I do without it?" So he threw away the bowl.

Alexander heard that Diogenes lived in ecstasy, so Alexander went to meet him. When he saw Alexander Diogenes asked him, "Where are you going?"

Alexander said, "I have to conquer Asia Minor."

Diogenes asked him, "What will you do after that?" Diogenes was lying down on the sand of the river. It must have been a winter morning like this. He was taking a sunbath. He stayed lying down, he didn't even get up and sit. He again asked, "What will you do after that?"

Alexander replied, "Then India has to be conquered."

Diogenes asked, "Then?" And Alexander said that after that he will conquer whatever is left of the world. Diogenes asked, "And then?"

Alexander said, "Then what? Then I will rest."

Diogenes started laughing. He said, "I am resting now. You will rest then! If you want to rest in the end, then why go through all this trouble? I am resting now. You can also rest on this river bank, there is a lot of space here. There is no need to go anywhere, you can rest here right now."

Alexander was definitely very much impressed by this. For a moment he felt embarrassed, that what Diogenes was saying was correct: if he is to take rest in the end then why is he planning for it in this way? And Diogenes was certainly resting. It cannot be said that he was saying something wrong - he was resting and was happier than Alexander. His face was like a fully blossomed lotus.

Alexander possessed everything but there was nothing inside him. Diogenes had nothing outside but had everything within him. Alexander told Diogenes, "You make me feel jealous of you. If ever I am to be born again I will ask God not to make me Alexander but to make me Diogenes."

Diogenes said, "You are again deceiving yourself. Why are you bringing God in? If you want to become Diogenes then what is the difficulty in your being Diogenes right now? It is difficult for me to be an Alexander because I may or may not be able to conquer the world. I may or may not be able to collect such a big army. But there is no difficulty in your being Diogenes: just throw away your clothes and rest!"

Alexander said, "What you say appeals to me, but it does not appeal to hope. I will come back. I will definitely come back. But now I have to go as my journey is incomplete. What you say is one hundred percent correct."

This is most interesting. What he says seems right and yet hope goes on pulling you. Just a few days before I was narrating the words of a great Japanese poet named Issa. His wife had died, he was very unhappy; then his daughter died, and when he was thirty-three years old all of his five children died and he was left alone. He was in great agony. His was a poet's heart, he was completely shaken. He could not sleep at night; he was not in his senses during the daytime. He went on asking the question, "Why is there so much agony in this world? What did I do? Why did I have to face this misfortune?"

Somebody suggested to him to go to the temple as there was a monk in the temple who may solve his problem. He went to the temple. The monk said, "The question, Why is there so much agony?

is meaningless. Life is like the dewdrop which will disappear at any moment. You will also go. Your wife has gone, your five children have gone - you will also go. Now do not waste time. Life is like the dewdrop on the grass leaf which will fall down any moment." Issa came back home. The monk's words appealed to him. Life is like this. He wrote a small haiku which is:

Life is a dewdrop, yes I am perfectly convinced.

Life is a dewdrop, and yet and yet....

"And yet," is hope. Even if you understand the fact, hope does not let you do it. Even when the intellect understands, it does not affect life. At the most thinking may get an inkling of it but it is not reflected in the emotions. And hope goes on weaving its net.

ALL LIMBS HAVE BECOME INFIRM, ALL HAIR HAS TURNED WHITE, THERE IS NOT A SINGLE TOOTH IN THE MOUTH ANYMORE - SUCH AN OLD MAN WALKS WITH THE HELP OF A STICK; EVEN THEN HE IS BOUND DOWN WITH THE MASS OF HOPE.

Hope is the thread with which we live. It is a very thin thread. It can break at any moment, but it does not break. It has become a very strong shackle. If it breaks from one end we hold it from the other. If it breaks from the world we start hoping for heaven, for liberation. Hope continues. Hope is bigger than the world.

When the agony of the world is realized and one becomes detached from the world, then one starts hoping for heaven. Hope drags you on even when you are tired and fall down. Many times this question must have arisen in you. When you see a beggar on the roadside who is without hands, feet, eyes - whose whole body is wasted, you also start wondering why he is living. What is he living for? But he is not the only one who is making the mistake. If you were in his place what would you do? You will also continue to live. You will hope that tomorrow everything will be alright on account of some miracle.

Man goes on living in spite of suffering any amount of misery and anguish. I want to tell you a unique thing: man does not give up hope even in great misery. Logically it seems that anguish will kill hope. But no, anguish cannot destroy hope. The greater the anguish, the greater the hope man has. Anguish does not destroy hope, it kindles it. Yes, sometimes hope is destroyed in happiness, but not in misery.

That is why the hope of princes like Mahavira and Buddha was destroyed but the hope of beggars is never destroyed. All the twenty-four tirthankaras of the Jainas were princes, all twenty-four buddhas of the Buddhists were princes, all the avataras of the Hindus were princes. What can be the reason?

The irony is that hope can disappear in happiness but it does not disappear in unhappiness. Hope should disappear in unhappiness, hope should disappear in misery, but the fact is that as the misery increases the mind goes on creating more and more hope. Hope sprouts in misery, hope blossoms in misery, but is destroyed in happiness.

That is why the society which is happy becomes religious. The society which is unhappy can become communist but cannot become religious. There is a possibility of America becoming religious but India cannot. India was religious when it was happy, when the country was happy; when its people were satisfied and contented hope disappeared.

When you have everything then you realize that it is all futile. And this is right, because how can you see the futility of something which you do not have? The person who has money can see the futility of money. But the person who does not have money, how can he see its futility? To realize the futility of anything one has to have it first.

A person who has knowledge can see the futility of knowledge, but a person not having knowledge cannot see the futility of it. If you have the Kohinoor diamond in your hand you realize its futility - you cannot eat it or drink it. But if you do not have it, then you can go on dreaming about it. Dreams never seems futile - you have no way of discovering their worth. You cannot see the uselessness of anything until you possess it.

Hope lives in unhappiness, gets nurtured by it, but is destroyed in happiness. That is why a man on the roadside may be suffering and going through hell, yet he goes on hoping. If you ever visit hell you will find there the most hopeful people in this world. In spite of their agonies they go on hoping that they will be free of this tomorrow.

I have heard that a new prisoner came into a prison. He was taken to a cell where another prisoner was already living. That person asked him how long he was going to be in the prison. The new prisoner replied, "For ten years."

He said, "Then you had better stay near the door, because I am imprisoned for thirty years. I will stay near the wall. You be near the door as you will be going soon. You are here only for ten years."

Even in prison one goes on hoping for the day when he will be set free. People go on living, hoping for that day.

You must understand one thing in life: watch carefully the happiness which you have, for it is only out of happiness that you can be free. If you have a beautiful wife then you must enjoy beauty thoroughly; if you have money then you must taste it properly; if you have position, observe it from all sides. You must watch carefully whatever you have, only then can hope be destroyed. And if you observe what you don't have, hope will never be destroyed.

Religion cannot enter into the life of a person whose hope is not yet destroyed. Hope is the door of irreligiousness; the annihilation of hope is the entry of religion. And you should also know that the annihilation of hope is not hopelessness. The defeat of hope is hopelessness: hope is quite alive in hopelessness. One may feel hopeless now but after a moment he will be again hopeful.

Hopelessness is the defeated aspect of hope. It is the tired, exhausted hope. It is not destroyed hope, it is fallen hope.

When hope is destroyed then hopelessness also disappears.

Because of this Mahavira and Buddha seem to be pessimistic to the Western mind because they ask you to give up hope. They are being misunderstood. Mahavira and Buddha are not pessimistic; they are neither optimistic nor pessimistic. They say that when hope gets annihilated, hopelessness also disappears by itself because hopelessness is the shadow of hope.

Your shadow is cast when you walk in the sun. If you do not walk in the sun then the shadow will not be cast. When hope is not there at all, hopelessness disappears automatically. The more you hope the more hopeless or disappointed you will be, the more unhappy and miserable you will be. Then new hope is born out of hopelessness and this game goes on like day and night.

If hope breaks then there is neither hope nor hopelessness. Then you are at peace. The light of your consciousness goes on wavering with the strong wind of hope and hopelessness. When there is no hope and no hopelessness then the strong wind stops blowing and the consciousness becomes stable, unwavering and steadfast. That stability, that steadfastness is very fortunate. That steadfastness is samadhi.

STRUCK BY THE COLD, IN THE MORNING HE WARMS HIMSELF BY KEEPING THE FIRE IN FRONT OF HIM OR BY KEEPING HIS BACK TOWARDS THE SUN. AT NIGHT HE SLEEPS WITH HIS CHIN BETWEEN HIS KNEES, HE TAKES ALMS ON HIS HANDS AND LIVES UNDER A TREE; EVEN THEN HE DOES NOT DROP THE BONDAGE OF HOPE.

THEREFORE, OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.

HE MAY UNDERTAKE THE JOURNEY TO THE GANGES OR TO THE OCEAN, HE MAY UNDERTAKE MANY AUSTERITIES AND FASTS, HE MAY GIVE AWAY IN CHARITY, BUT IF HE DOES NOT HAVE SELF-KNOWLEDGE HE WILL NOT BE LIBERATED EVEN IN HUNDREDS OF LIFETIMES.

Try to understand this:

HE MAY UNDERTAKE THE JOURNEY TO THE GANGES OR TO THE OCEAN, HE MAY UNDERTAKE MANY AUSTERITIES AND FASTS, HE MAY GIVE AWAY IN CHARITY, BUT IF HE DOES NOT HAVE SELF-KNOWLEDGE THEN HE WILL NOT BE LIBERATED.

... Because it is easy to do these things - to fast, to give in charity, to live in discipline, to live by rules and regulations and in austerity. They are easy because actions are always easy. You do not change and the action is done.

Self-knowledge is difficult because knowledge means transformation. Knowledge means that you have to change and the way of consciousness has to change. The meaning of knowledge is that the movement and the direction of your consciousness should change. The meaning of meditation, the meaning of knowledge is that your consciousness should not waver, it should be unwavering, stable and steadfast. It is difficult.

It is easy to do something. If you eat more then you are troubling your body, if you fast even then you are troubling your body; there is no difference between these two conditions. First you were troubling the body by eating more, now you are troubling it by fasting. You go on collecting money, you can give it up also. You will know the futility of money only after you have collected it. Is it very revolutionary to give away in charity something which is useless?

There is a story in the Kathopanishad - because of that story, that Upanishad is called Kathopanishad; katha means story. Nachiketa's father performed a big yajna, a religious ritual.

After the yajna he gave away many gifts. Nachiketa is a small child. He is sitting near and asking his father again and again, "Will you give away everything?"

The father said, "Whatever I have I shall give. Everything will be given in charity." Nachiketa saw that his father was giving away only the cows which were incapable of giving milk.

People usually give away such things in charity which have become useless. The father was distributing with enthusiasm and pleasure things which are of no use. Nachiketa's intellect is fresh, the father's intellect is old. So what Nachiketa could see, the father could not see. Nachiketa said, "What is the use of giving these cows who stopped giving milk long ago? The poor brahmins, to whom you are giving them, will have to take the trouble of feeding them. This is not a good deed at all." The father told him to keep quiet.

But just like a little child Nachiketa went on asking him, "If you are giving away everything of yours then to whom are you going to give me? To whom will you give me?" When he asked this question several times, the father got very annoyed and said, "I will give you to death."

Man gives whatever is useless; you also distribute those things which are of no use to you. I see that a few things keep on rotating - they keep on going from one person to another. They are of no use to anyone, so people go on distributing them. You give it to someone, then he passes it on to another person. It is just giving for the sake of giving.

A friend of Mulla Nasruddin gave him a bottle of alcohol. Later on he asked him, "How was it?"

Mulla Nasruddin said, "Almost alright."

The friend asked, "What do you mean by almost alright? Either it is good or it is not good."

Mulla said, "No, it was almost alright. If it had been absolutely good then you would not have given it to me, and if it was less then alright then I would have given it away to someone else. It was almost alright so I drank it."

Like this, such things are given which have no value. You give away in charity that which is useless.

You do not have to make much effort to fast - it is only a little trouble to the body. You can do austerities also because it satisfies your ego. But the one and only revolution is the revolution of self-knowledge. Nobody can be free without that revolution.

Self-knowledge is the only liberation. Knowledge is liberation.

But knowledge does not mean the knowledge of the scriptures because, that is very easy. It is easier even than fasting and charity. There is no difficulty in reading the scriptures and there is no difficulty in filling the mind with scriptures. You can memorize the Gita even when there is no song in your life. When there is no inner harmony in you how can you sing the song of the divine? Yes, the Gita can be memorized without having any song within you.

When the inner music is so deep that you are absolutely lost in it only then that music, that song becomes the song of the divine. Then one does not remember or think of Krishna and Arjuna or the words of the Gita. You become what is said in the Gita. You yourself become that. Then there is no need to remember all that garbage.

Scriptures are valuable for those who are interested in collecting garbage. But scriptures have no value for those who themselves have become scriptures. You cannot gain knowledge until you yourself become scriptures. You will have knowledge when every gesture of yours indicates truth.

Even the winking of the eyes, this small gesture too will express the truth. Whether you speak or you do not speak, truth will be expressed through you.

You may undertake the journey to the Ganges. Poor Ganges! Why do you bother it? Someone asked Ramakrishna, "I am going to bathe in the Ganges. Do you think that by bathing in the Ganges all the sins are washed away?"

Ramakrishna was a very simple person. He said, "Certainly they get washed away when you bathe in the Ganges. When you dip yourself into it, the sins get separated from you and they go and sit on the top of the trees which are on the banks of the Ganges. But after the bath, when you come out of the Ganges, these sins jump back on you from those trees. They had to leave you because of the Ganges, not because of you. If you do not come out of the Ganges, if you remain in it for ever, only then can you be free of the sins."

That man said, "But I will have to come out of it at some time."

"Then there is no point in your going there," Ramakrishna said.

The Ganges will free you of your sins? But if you have done the sins, how will the Ganges free you from those sins? If the Ganges goes on freeing people of all their sins then the Ganges itself will become very sinful because then it will be burdened with all the sins made by all the people.

Man goes on looking for excuses. Man sins, then tries to find some excuse so that his conscience may not prick him. By taking a dip in the Ganges he feels free of the sin and is again ready to sin.

He will sin again and will again bathe in the Ganges. The Ganges did not free you from the sin; actually it made you an expert in sinning, because you found a cheap way of getting rid of it. You did not have to pay much. The real journey is not very costly - and then most pilgrims travel without tickets, they are not bothered about paying money for the tickets. When so many sins are being washed away by the Ganges, then one more sin will not matter.

HE MAY UNDERTAKE THE JOURNEY TO THE GANGES OR TO THE OCEAN, HE MAY UNDERTAKE MANY AUSTERITIES AND FASTS, HE MAY GIVE AWAY IN CHARITY, BUT IF HE DOES NOT HAVE SELF-KNOWLEDGE HE WILL NOT BE LIBERATED EVEN IN HUNDREDS OF LIFETIMES....

THEREFORE, OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.

ONE MAY BE RESIDING IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD OR UNDER A TREE, THE EARTH MAY BE HIS ONLY BED, DEERSKIN HIS ONLY ROBE, HE MAY HAVE DROPPED ALL KINDS OF POSSESSIONS AND INDULGENCES - WHO DOES SUCH A RENUNCIATION NOT MAKE BLISSFUL?

This is a very important statement. Shankara is raising a very serious problem. He is saying that if you have really renounced, then the proof of your renunciation will be your bliss. Bliss will prove whether your renunciation was true or not.

If the renouncer seems unhappy, then it means that his renunciation was false. If you say that you have lit a lamp in your house and still it is dark, then your lamp is false. If the lamp is lit, then there will be light in the whole house.

Shankara is saying that if you are living in a temple or under a tree and you are unhappy and sad, then you have not reached the temple yet, then you have not known the deity of the temple yet. THE EARTH MAY BE HIS ONLY BED. One who is so free that the sky becomes his covering and the ground becomes his bed - that is why Mahavira was called digambar. The sky became his cover and the earth became his bed.

When, THE EARTH MAY BE HIS ONLY BED, DEERSKIN MAY BE HIS ONLY ROBE, HE MAY HAVE DROPPED ALL KINDS OF POSSESSIONS INDULGENCES - WHO DOES SUCH A RENUNCIATION NOT MAKE BLISSFUL?

Blissfulness is the measuring rod. There is no other proof of your renunciation except bliss. Your bliss will prove whether your renunciation is true or false.

You may give up your home, your money, you may become naked, you may shave your head or keep long hair, you may wear ochre robes and go to the Himalayas or sit on the bank of the Ganges but if you are not happy, if you are not blissful, then all these things are nothing but a deception. You may look like gold but you are not gold, you are just brass.

Just as gold can be tested, your renunciation also can be tested by your bliss. True renunciation means bliss and worldly enjoyment means misery. A blissful person proves that his renunciation is true and unhappiness, misery, is the result of worldly enjoyment.

That is why Shankara says:

HE MAY BE ABSORBED IN THE ENJOYMENT OF SENSES OR IN YOGA, HE MAY BE ENGROSSED WITH SOMEBODY'S COMPANY OR HE MAY BE ALONE, BUT IF HIS HEART DWELLS IN THE DIVINE, THEN IT IS HE WHO IS BLISSFUL, IT IS HE WHO IS BLISSFUL, IT IS HE ALONE WHO IS BLISSFUL.

Then it does not make any difference whether he is living in the home or out of the home, whether he is sitting on a throne or on a stone on a mountain, whether he is absorbed in the enjoyment of the senses or in yoga, whether he is with someone or alone, whether he is in the company of the family or of the society or alone, whether he is in a palace or in a cottage.

IF HIS HEART DWELLS IN THE DIVINE, THEN IT IS HE WHO IS BLISSFUL, IT IS HE WHO IS BLISSFUL, IT IS HE ALONE WHO IS BLISSFUL.

Therefore, OH IDIOT! SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE.

Dwelling in the divine, in Brahma. The definition of Brahma is satchidananda - to be engrossed in truth, in consciousness and in bliss.

One who is authentic, and who is the same from inside and outside; who tastes the same within and without; who is truth and consciousness; who is awakened and is not unconscious; who is blissful and who is full of the fragrance of the divine; whose very breathing is full of music; whose movements are like a dance; whose presence reminds you of the divine... if you go near him his coolness affects you, his bliss starts dancing in you. All your misery disappears by looking at him. His blessing means the attainment of everything. When you feel this, when you feel deep contentment, then that is the proof of his being engrossed in Brahma, of being in a deep embrace with the divine.

There is a very interesting thing. You must have seen the image of Mahavira - he is very blissful.

You must have seen his body also. But look at the Jaina muni. He looks so unhappy, so miserable.

There is no bliss showering from him; he looks sad. It seems as if the bud has not blossomed into a flower, it has shrunk. But you say that this shrinking is renunciation. He does not bathe, he does not brush his teeth, so he smells of sweat and his mouth stinks and he thinks that this is renunciation.

When you are with him you will never feel like dancing out of joy; when you are with him you will never hear the song of the divine music of the flute which you had never heard before. Rather, you will feel a little restless when you come back after seeing him. Perhaps his presence will create self- condemnation in you; perhaps in his presence you will feel that you are a sinner. But his presence will not make you aware of the divine within you.

And that is the difference - with the real sannyasin you will not feel self-condemnation, you will feel happy and joyful. With the real sannyasin you will feel gratitude. The real sannyasin will never show you your darkness, he will indicate the light within you. You may be a great sinner but the real sannyasin will never give you any hint about your sins because that is not worth talking about; that topic is worthless, meaningless. The glory within you is the real thing.

You are a sinner because you have not known your inner glory up till now. If you are made more aware of your sins then your inner glory will get even more suppressed. No, these sins are like the dream of the night. They are meaningless. You should be able to remember the godliness within you. But only that person can make you remember the divine, can remind you of the divine, who himself is engrossed in him, who is in the deep embrace of Brahma. In his presence someone within you will start waking up. In his presence - just as the peacocks start dancing when the sky is full of clouds - the same way in his presence....

Buddha has said that the inner peacocks of many people start dancing when someone's inner space is full of the clouds of the ultimate. Yes, you will dance in his presence. You must know that where you experience the bliss that is the abode of Brahma, that is the temple.

HE MAY BE ABSORBED IN THE ENJOYMENT OF THE SENSES OR IN YOGA, HE MAY BE ENGROSSED IN SOMEBODY'S COMPANY OR HE MAY BE ALONE, BUT IF HIS HEART DWELLS IN THE DIVINE, THEN IT IS HE WHO IS BLISSFUL, IT IS HE WHO IS BLISSFUL, IT IS HE ALONE WHO IS BLISSFUL.

And that is the aim, that is the destination which has to be approached from all sides.

Therefore, OH IDIOT! ALWAYS SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE. SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE, SING THE SONG OF THE DIVINE. OH IDIOT!

Enough for today.

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The Golden Rule of the Talmud is "milk the goyim, but do not get
caught."

"When a Jew has a gentile in his clutches, another Jew may go to the
same gentile, lend him money and in his turn deceive him, so that
the gentile shall be ruined. For the property of the gentile
(according to our law) belongs to no one, and the first Jew that
passes has the full right to seize it."

-- Schulchan Aruk, Law 24

"If ten men smote a man with ten staves and he died, they are exempt
from punishment."

-- Jewish Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 78a