Anand Surendra, the coming and going are happening simultaneously. Each moment you are dying, and each moment you are resurrecting. Each moment goes on becoming past, and past is nothing but another name of the dead. Each moment goes on bringing the future in, and the future is life. The small present moment is simply a moment of transition where death and life meet.
So your question is not so simple as you may have thought, nor is it an ordinary question.
It is concerned with our very existence; this is the way life is happening to us every moment. But we are unaware that something goes on dying in us and something goes on coming fresh and new. We are not aware -- and all this transition happens within you, within your very heart.
But because we are not aware even of the heart, we are not even aware of our interiority.
Our whole lives we are outside of ourselves -- always somewhere else, but never at the center of our being. If even for a single moment you are at the center, you will see that coming and going are happening simultaneously, that life and death are meeting each moment.
To know this is of tremendous importance. That means it will change your whole perspective -- you will not think of death as somewhere far away in the future. And you will not be afraid of it because it is happening every moment. What we usually call death is not death but simply that life stops coming in; the body is no longer worth living. Life starts looking for some other vehicle, some other medium to express itself. Death has always been coming, but because life was not going you continued to live. With every breath, you inhale life and you exhale death.
Have you ever thought about whether any man in this whole millennium has ever died during inhalation? Can anybody manage to die with inhalation?
Death will always be at one with exhalation.
Inhalation is the continuation of being alive.
If you see this, then death is not somewhere far away. There is no need to fear; it is every moment with you, just like a shadow. By knowing it you will never try to postpone living, because you cannot be certain whether in the next moment life will be coming back or not; there is no guarantee. And it is not unfortunate that there is no guarantee; it keeps you more alert, more watchful, and it keeps you more in tune with the present moment.
If things were guaranteed you might not be able to live life with surprises, with mysteries; then life and death would be simply mechanical happenings and you would be just a machine. Your always being available to life and to death makes you a living being; you are not a machine. And to be mechanical in your behavior is to reduce yourself from your dignity. That which is going, say goodbye to it, and that which is coming, welcome it with deep love and deep gratitude.
But most of the people have chosen not to live. Of course they cannot choose not to die; that is beyond them. But they can choose not to live, by living in a lukewarm way. Most of the people have given their living into others' hands; others are living on their behalf.
Slade's Law says: If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy man; he will always find an easier way to do it.
And life is certainly one of the most simple and at the same time, complex phenomena.
People have distributed it: others are living for them; they are living for others. Parents are living for children. I have always felt amazed when somebody has said to me, "I am living for my wife," or "I am living for my husband," or "I am living for my children."
Nobody can live for anybody else. This is a simple mind trick to befool you; you can live only for yourself. Life on behalf of somebody else is just not possible.
That's why there are millions of people in the world, but the quantity of life is very small.
Five billion human beings, and the life is almost non-existent: there is no song, no dance; there is no joy, no love. On the contrary, people are putting their whole energy into creating more destructive forces. Anybody watching from another planet is bound to think that the planet earth has gone crazy. But it is not new, this craziness is very ancient; it has always been so.
One of the great thinkers, and a scientific thinker, Arthur Koestler, is of the opinion -- very firm opinion -- that from the very beginning something has gone wrong as far as the human mind is concerned. And unless that wrong is corrected, people are going to continue fighting, destroying each other -- any excuse is enough and people are ready to kill. My own feeling is that people are ready to kill because they don't know how to live.
If they know how to live, they will respect life, they will have a reverence for life, and killing will become impossible. War will be an impossibility for any intelligent human beings.
Our wars prove nothing else except our stupidity. What are we proving by war? Whom are we trying to conquer? It is our earth and it is one. All demarcations and lines are drawn by us; they are not on the map.
When the first Russian astronaut, Yuri Gagarin, came back from the moon -- he was the first man to have such a close look at the moon, and the first man to have such a faraway look at the earth -- he said he was amazed that in that moment he could not conceive some part of the earth as the Soviet Union, some part America, some part India, some part China; there were no parts. And the whole earth is as luminous as the moon -- it needs only distance to see the luminosity, because the sun's rays are being reflected back.
If you look from the moon, the earth looks like the moon and the moon looks like the earth. The moon does not shine on the moon. It is in our eyes from far away that the reflected rays of the sun give the light to the moon. Yuri Gagarin was not aware before this that a miracle was going to happen: the moon becomes just like the earth, and the earth becomes luminous. The earth is eight times bigger than the moon and so its light is also eight times greater. It is tremendous. It is unimaginable.
When he came back to Moscow, the people asked him, "What was the first idea in your mind when you saw the earth from the moon?"
He said, "You will have to forgive me -- I forgot completely that I am a Russian. I simply said, 'Ah, my beautiful earth.' Those were the first words that came into my mind."
To see a simple fact, one has to go that far? It is our beautiful earth. It belongs to no race, to no nation; it belongs to us all. But rather than using our life energies and forces, our intelligence, for rejoicing, we are working hard in manufacturing death. It seems the only function of life is to manufacture death; it is utterly absurd.
This planet has the capacity to become a paradise, but it is up to us. The poor mountains cannot do anything; the poor trees can dance in the sun, in the rain, but they cannot do anything more than that. It is man alone who can transform the whole atmosphere from death orientation to life affirmation.
And to me, the man who is life affirmative is authentically religious, not the people who go to the churches every Sunday, or the people who go to the mosques, or the people who go to the synagogues. Those people are deceiving themselves by purchasing religion very cheaply, without risking anything, without transforming themselves. They have managed to create beautiful toys to play with: statues of God, scriptures descended from heaven, messengers and prophets imagined by us... because we love the very idea that God cares and sends messengers to us.
We have believed in those messengers because of our ego. We have believed in God because of our ego: that God created man, and God created man in his own image, and God created man as the ultimate creation. After that he did not create. This is his last signature of his creativity; since that he has retired.
To me, it has a totally different meaning. Man has believed that he is created by God because that gives him a feeling of great ego: "I am no ordinary person, but a creation of God." But to me, the very idea of God is ugly, and the idea that he created man makes man just a puppet. The idea that you are created by somebody -- manufactured, maybe handmade -- takes away all dignity and all pride and all self-respect. Then you cannot have any soul of your own. Then you are certainly a mechanism and nothing more.
And moreover, you are in the hands of a whimsical God. In the first place, why did he remain silent for eternity and not create you? According to Christianity, he created man exactly four thousand and four years before Jesus Christ. I presume it must have been Monday, the first of January; that is a logical conclusion. He cannot create you on any other day, because before the creation there cannot be any calendar. So whichever day he created you was the first of January, and the first year of Our Lord!
That reminds me: One Jewish astrologer was very famous and well known for his accurate predictions. Adolf Hitler, although reluctant -- but knowing perfectly well that the man had predicted things which had come to pass, which did happen -- finally agreed to allow him to read his destiny, because his destiny was the destiny of the nation. In his eyes, his destiny was the destiny of the whole world -- and not just for one year; his idea was to have a one-thousand-year rule over the whole of humanity.
The Jewish astrologer came, studied the stars when Adolf Hitler was born, looked into his books and said, "Only one thing is certain: you will die on a Jewish holiday."
Adolf Hitler said, "It is a strange prediction; what do you mean by it? Which holiday?"
The astrologer said, "That's not certain. Only this much is certain, and this is certain because any day you die will become a Jewish holiday!"
In the same way, any day God created the world must have been the first of January; there is no other way.
And just six thousand years ago... What about before that? That's why I call him whimsical. This whimsical God remains silent for eternity -- never created anything -- and in just six days he created the whole world. And since then nothing is known about him. On the seventh day he rested -- okay, allowed. But one has to come back to the office on Monday! He never came back to the office. And moreover, it is dangerous if he returns to the office; what will he do? Now, the only thing left is to destroy. And a God who creates the world without any reason is also capable of destroying it without any reason. Neither do you have any answer to your question why you have been created, nor will you have time to ask why you have been destroyed. Because once you are destroyed, you are destroyed. Who is going to ask?
The whole idea of God creating man has taken away the beauty of life, the joy of life; it has turned you into mechanisms. I want to take God away from your life, so that you can feel yourself for the first time independent, free, not as a created puppet but as an eternal source of life. Only then you can rejoice.
The world looks so sad, so Christian. It is not only Jesus Christ who is sad. He can be forgiven; he is a poor fellow on the cross. You don't expect that he should smile and say hello to you! But he represents almost everybody -- not only the Christians but everybody looks as if he is on the cross, the invisible cross... so serious.
Perhaps Jesus was right that everybody has to carry his cross on his shoulder. Why in the first place should everybody carry the cross? Can't you find anything else to carry? I cannot accept the idea. Nobody should carry the cross, either for yourself or for anybody else. You should not carry the cross at all. There are beautiful things to carry: you can carry a guitar. And if you like very heavy things, you can carry very heavy things: an old big-sized piano, but something beautiful, something that is worthy of an intelligent man - - not a cross.
I see the whole humanity drowned in a sea of sadness, and the reason is that you have been conditioned to be sad. Your religions don't want you to sing and to laugh and to dance, because people who laugh and sing and dance are fundamentally of independent character. They have a certain uniqueness and individuality of their own. They are not slaves, and they will not agree to be slaves whatever the consequence. And this world only wants you to work for some vested interests, and work hard; it does not want you to waste your time in meditating, or playing on the guitar, or dancing under the stars. The vested interests will not like this idea. They would like you to be serious, sad, so that you can be enslaved easily, so that you can be purchased easily, so that you can be exploited easily.
Just think for a moment of the whole world laughing, dancing, singing -- just for one hour. All kinds of slaveries will disappear, and all nations will disappear, and all religions will disappear. Naturally, the presidents and the prime ministers and the popes and ayatollahs will look very shocked. What is happening? And they will join sooner or later, because what is the point of standing amongst the whole humanity dancing and enjoying?
And nobody even asking why, what has happened -- nobody has time, everybody is enjoying. Soon you will see the pope also in the crowd, because looking from the outside at the rejoicing people will be so awkward, so embarrassing. There is every possibility that if Jesus were alive he would come down from the cross and start dancing, forget all about the cross and Christianity!
Who cares about God? -- only miserable people. Who goes to the churches? -- only people who are close to death, old people afraid of coldness and aloneness and darkness and the grave. And one never knows how long they will have to wait in the grave before the last judgment day comes. It is going to be a long, long wait in the grave, where you cannot even move; dancing is out of the question!
On the last judgment day I can guarantee you there is going to be no judgment, because there will be billions and billions of people: all those people who have been lying in the graves for centuries, all of you, and all the people of the future up till the last judgment day comes. The crowd is going to be so big that it is almost impossible... And remember, half of the crowd will be women; there will be so much chattering and so much searching -- everybody is looking for his husband or his wife. I don't think that there is any possibility, particularly on that day, of any judgment. The whole idea is nonsense. In one day...! And why should these poor people wait in their graves?
So when people come close to their graves, when they feel that their one foot is in the grave, they put their other foot in the church! Who knows, maybe all these stories that have been told in the church are true, and anyway there is no harm -- why take the chance?
Before I was deported from Greece, the archbishop of Greece threatened the government that if I am not immediately deported, he is going to dynamite and set fire to my house.
And all the people who are in there with me, he is going to burn them alive. This is the representative of Jesus who says, "Love your enemy" -- I am not even a friend -- and "Love your neighbor." He has forgotten to say, "Love the tourist."
These people are religious heads! And why was the archbishop so troubled by me?
Because in the garden of the beautiful house by the sea where I was the guest of a famous film director of Greece... It is an ancient, beautiful house, renovated, with a big garden, and under a tree I used to sit and talk to the people. And people gathered from all over the world who had not seen me for almost a year, or two years, or five years. I was close so they all had come. We were not doing any harm to anybody; we were simply singing, dancing. There was music; I was answering their questions.
What was troubling the archbishop? -- because he must have been troubled very much; otherwise nobody threatens to burn somebody alive.
The joy... people are dancing, people are loving to each other, there is nothing but rejoicing -- no prayer, no Jesus Christ, no cross. He became afraid: "This is going to destroy our younger generation."
I came to know from friends that ninety-four percent of Greeks are registered as Christians, but only four percent of the people ever go to the churches -- out of ninety- four percent! And who are the four percent? I inquired how many people this particular archbishop has in his congregation. A woman who is my sannyasin simply laughed and said, "I was worried that you would ask that question; it is very awkward. Only six old women are his whole congregation." And he was threatening for fifteen days continuously that he would bring a protest against me. I was waiting; we were all waiting to enjoy the protest. We would have welcomed them with music and dance, but they never came.
Finally I asked, "What is the matter? Every day it is being postponed."
And they said, "You don't understand his situation. He goes on making these threats, but he cannot bring a protest because who will come? -- six old women, and one old archbishop! Seven in all; it will look hilarious."
But he managed to make the government afraid, because the government depends on votes, and ninety-four percent of the people are Christian. Their archbishop has to be listened to. They may not go to the church, but still, their conditioned minds are the same.
Against the law, against the constitution, I was deported. I was arrested immediately. And they were so afraid; the government was so much afraid. I was asleep when the police came to arrest me, and my people said to them, "Come, sit down and have tea and we will wake him up."
But they said, "We are not going to wait a single minute."
And they rushed and started throwing rocks at the windows, beautiful windows of that house. John had come to wake me, and when I woke up I could not understand what was happening on the first floor. I was sleeping on the other floor.
The police had dynamite also. It almost looked as if the house was being dynamited, because they were throwing big rocks and destroying beautiful glass windows; it was so noisy. I could not see the point. I asked the man who took me into police custody, "What is the point of it all?"
He said, "I don't understand myself." The government just seemed to be absolutely afraid of the threat that the archbishop was going to burn twenty-five people who were living in my house.
I said, "For fifteen days he has continuously been threatening to bring a protest against me; that has not happened. Can't you see that a man who cannot bring a protest can neither have the guts, nor the support? Who will carry all that dynamite... those six old women?"
Even the police were sad, and they could not believe it: "We have not even seen your people in the city; they never come out. They are just enjoying themselves in the garden of your house."
Just by the side of the window at the police station where I was sitting, two women police officers were standing to prevent sannyasins from reaching me. Sannyasins had come and surrounded the whole police station, and they started dancing and singing. Now it is not criminal to dance and sing, but the police officers said to me, "Stop your people; they are dancing and singing."
I said, "Dancing and singing -- is that against any law?"
The officer said, "It is not against any law but it is making us very frightened."
Those two policewomen who were standing just by the window, to watch the window, allowed the sannyasins one by one to come and to talk to me. And finally they said to me, "We are sorry that this is happening in this country, in this century. We hope that you will come again."
The policewomen told me, "The people of the island where you are staying are inquiring what they should do, because everybody has felt so wounded and hurt by the behavior of the government and the archbishop."
I sent the message: "Tell them they all should come to the airport to show the archbishop just who can protest against whom!" And when I came to the airport, there were almost three thousand people; the whole airport was full of people. It was a small island; perhaps everybody from the island had come except those six women!
Religions have lost their grip over man, but not over man's unconscious. Consciously, people can see the point; it is so simple: this kind of behavior is not only inhuman, it is according to their own religion absolutely against Jesus Christ, against THE HOLY BIBLE. But their unconscious is beyond their own power; they could not go to the archbishop to stop him, to say, "You are humiliating us, you are humiliating Jesus Christ, and your behavior is against Christianity."
Nor could the government say to the archbishop, "You should resign; you should not be in such a post. To an innocent person who has not done anything, your behavior, your constant threat -- and ugly threats, that you will burn twenty-five people alive -- is not gentlemanly, to say nothing about it not being Christian." But neither the government seems to have courage, nor the people. It is as if man has lost all his guts.
I have been around the world and my experience is that over the centuries religions have been castrating humanity; they have been destroying all your courage, all your dignity.
You have become so accustomed to being a slave that you cannot revolt. And that's what is needed, urgently needed, that the whole of humanity revolts against all limits and boundaries, prisons and chains.
I came across a statement of Karl Marx; I don't agree with him, but with this statement it is impossible to disagree. He says that all the religions have put flowers on your chains.
So you see only the flowers, you don't see the chains.
Throw away all the flowers and throw away all the chains. Only then will you be able to have a heart of your own, an individuality, and existence can become full of laughter. We are not here to be unnecessarily miserable, but it seems we are trained, so well trained to be miserable that even if there is an opportunity we will miss it.
In Bali there is an old saying: If you are happy you can always learn to dance. But basically man is not happy. He is so unhappy that just to forget his unhappiness he goes on drinking alcoholic beverages, uses drugs -- marijuana, hashish and opium -- just to forget, at least for a few hours, his miserable state.
And there is no reason at all to be miserable. In fact, misery should be very exceptional; happiness should be simply natural. You should not ask anybody, "Why are you looking happy?" But this is the situation. If you are looking happy and smiling and enjoying yourself, everybody will look, stare at you, as if something has gone wrong: What has happened to this poor fellow? Why is he smiling and enjoying? -- there seems to be no reason. And somebody is bound to ask, "What is the matter?" Some policeman is going to come asking, "Why are you creating this crowd in the traffic? Why are you smiling?
Why are you dancing?"
Is it necessary to show some cause to be healthy and happy? But nobody asks anybody who is miserable; nobody even stops to look at him. To be miserable is accepted as our natural state. There is no need to inquire about any cause, about any reason. If you think about it, you will not believe to what an insane state man has fallen.
A doctor calls his patient to give him the results of his tests. "I have some bad news and some worse news," says the doctor. "The bad news is that you have only twenty-four hours to live."
"Ah, no!" says the patient, "What could possibly be worse than that?"
The doctor answers, "I have been trying to reach you since yesterday!"
Man cannot fall into a worse state. But he has fallen; he has forgotten the laughter every child is born with; he has lost his way to health and wholeness.
The door opens right this very moment -- always herenow, where life and death are continuously meeting. You have chosen death orientation because it was in the interests of those who are in power, and you have forgotten that life is passing by while you are being drowned in sadness.
Once Confucius was asked by a disciple how to be happy, how to be blissful. Confucius said, "You are asking a strange question; these things are natural. No rose asks how to be a rose." As far as sadness and misery are concerned, you will have enough time in your grave; then you can be miserable to your heart's content. But while you are alive, be totally alive. Out of this totality and intensity will arise happiness, and a happy man certainly learns to dance. I agree with the old Bali proverb.
We want the whole of humanity to be happy, and to be dancing, and to be singing. Then this whole planet becomes mature, evolves in consciousness. A sad man, a miserable man, cannot have a very sharp consciousness; his consciousness is dim, dull, heavy, dark.
Only when you laugh heartily, suddenly like a flash all darkness disappears.
In your laughter you are your authentic self.
In your sadness you have covered your original face with a fake identity that the society expects of you. Nobody wants you to be so happy that you start dancing in the street.
Nobody wants you to have a hearty laughter; otherwise the neighbors will start knocking on your walls, "Stop. Misery is okay; laughter is a disturbance." Miserable people cannot tolerate anybody who is not miserable.
The only crime of people like Socrates was that they were immensely happy people, and their happiness created immense envy in the great masses which are living in misery. The masses could not tolerate such happy people; they have to be destroyed because they provoke inside you a possibility of revolt, and you are afraid of that revolt.
Once a man falls in love with rebellion, he is on the right path.
An old Russian story...
The people of Chelm were terrible worriers; they even worried about how much they worried. So the mayor and the rabbi appointed Ira the candlemaker to do all the worrying for the people of Chelm. And for this he would earn four rubles a week.
The scheme did not work because Ira went home to Ruth and said, "Wonderful, I have got four rubles a week; we have nothing to worry about!" Naturally, he was thrown out from his employment -- that was the reason that he was going to get four rubles a week, so that he could worry for the whole town. But he forgot completely... just the joy of having four rubles a week for nothing. Naturally, he said, "Now there is nothing to worry about." But that's how he lost his job!
Paddy was feeling under the weather, so he went to see his doctor. "I just can't find any cause for your illness," said the physician. "Frankly, I think it is due to drinking."
"In that case," replied Paddy, getting up to leave, "I will come back when you are sober!"
"All right," said the psychiatrist, "tell me why you hate your sister so much."
"But I don't have a sister," said Hymie Goldberg.
"Look," said the psychiatrist, "if you want me to help you, you have got to cooperate!
You can't say that you don't have a sister."
His psychoanalysis can't start if you don't have a sister! And certainly, your cooperation is needed. This is the world; it can't be worse.
Prem Anna, there is no need to fall into a deep acceptance of "I don't know." Either you know or you don't know. There is no question of acceptance. If you know, it is perfectly good; if you don't know, it is even better! Why are you making a problem out of it? If you don't know, it is perfectly okay I think, with everybody here... no objection! It is the most beautiful state.
Not knowing is the ultimate state of wisdom.
Socrates said in his last statement, "I know nothing." And he had to say this because the Oracle of Delphi had declared that Socrates was the wisest man in the whole world. The people who heard the Oracle rushed towards Socrates just to inform him, "The Oracle of Delphi has declared you the wisest man in the world." And Socrates said, "I am sorry to disagree, because I know nothing."
The people were shocked; they were thinking that they were bringing good news. They went back and asked the Oracle, "What is the matter? You declare Socrates the wisest man in the world, and when we inform him, he says, 'I know nothing.' There must have been some mistake."
And the Oracle said, "I have declared him the wisest man because he knows nothing; he has become an innocent child, clear and pure."
Knowledge is a kind of disturbance in your innocence. It is a burden, it does not help you; it simply makes you more and more puzzled, worried -- doubts arise. And you think gathering more and more knowledge is going to help? It does not help; It simply makes you more tense. What ultimately helps is dropping all knowledge. But if in the very beginning you feel, "I don't know," you are blessed -- enjoy it.
It is not a question of acceptance, because acceptance does not mean enjoying it. You may +accept something with reluctance; you may accept it because there is nothing else to do. No, rejoice in your not knowing; make it innocence. Don't say, "not knowing," because that is a negative idea. That's why it has become a problem how to accept it. Call it innocence and there will be no problem of acceptance. You will rejoice it, you will dance it, you will sing it.
Prem Anna, have you heard this?
Hymie Goldberg, who only weighs seventy pounds, goes to Texas on business. He checks into a hotel which is fifty storeys high, and is shown into a suite the size of a ballroom. Overwhelmed, he goes down to the bar and is served a drink that is so big it takes both hands to lift. "Everything is big in Texas, pal," says the bartender. When his dinner arrives, the plate is the size of his dining room table at home. "Hey pal, everything is big in Texas," says the waiter.
Finally, overcome by all this, Hymie decides it is time to go and try out his super-king- size bed, but he loses his way in the hotel's vast corridors. Opening the door of a darkened room, Hymie falls into the swimming pool with a great splash. When he comes to the surface, he begins to shriek, "Don't flush it!!! Don't flush it!!!"
Naturally he was thinking that this must be a toilet, everything is so big.
Prem Anna, just enjoy life. And you can enjoy life more when you know nothing. The more you know, the less is the possibility of enjoying life. I have never seen knowledgeable people even laughing; it is below them. Laughter is one of the greatest qualities of the evolved intelligence of humanity, because except man, nobody else laughs in the whole of existence. And to think laughter below you is to forget that it is the highest peak of consciousness.
A man was drowning in a river and was shouting for help, saying, "I can't swim, I can't swim!"
"So what?" shouted back a drunk from the bank, "I can't play the piano, but I'm not shouting about it!"
Wishing to surprise her husband with a new wig she had just bought, the wife put it on and strolled unannounced into his office. "Do you think you could find a place in your life for a woman like me?" she asked sexily.
"Not a chance," he replied, "you remind me too much of my wife!"
So, Prem Anna, don't be worried about your ignorance, just learn to call it innocence.
Always use right words, words which are life affirmative, which don't condemn you.
Then the idea of how to accept it does not arise. And if you have to accept something, you cannot rejoice about it; it can be only out of compulsion, out of necessity. I don't want anybody to live a life of compulsion or a life of necessity. One should live a life of abundance, a life of innocence, a life out of freedom of the heart. Innocence is a great quality; don't call it ignorance.
The priest has just finished his sermon on charity, and so passes his hat around for donations. The hat goes around the whole congregation and then comes back to him as empty as when he sent it out.
The priest looks inside, then shrugs and looks up to heaven and says, "Thank you Lord for small mercies. At least I got my hat back!"
In such situations, rejoice! There is no point in complaining or making a fuss about it; just be happy that your hat is back!
As far as I am concerned, innocence has not to be accepted, it has to be relished, danced, rejoiced -- it is a blessing.