Kissing is absurd to the eskimos
MODEST THOUGH MY EXPERIENCE OF AWARENESS IS, WHEN IT IS HAPPENING I FEEL INTOXICATED. IT IS A FAR MORE SUBTLE, BUT HEADIER DRUNKENNESS THAN ANYTHING THAT MAKES ONE UNCONSCIOUS.
IS THIS A CASE OF ILLUSION OR A CASE OF DIVINE WINE?
Maneesha, awareness and divine intoxication are contradictory only in language but not in experience. In experience they are synonymous. But the divine intoxication is not at all similar to ordinary intoxication. It is not unconsciousness -- it is too much consciousness.
You become so small, and the whole ocean of consciousness... you start drowning in it.
Particularly in the beginning it feels as if you are becoming drunk. But the difference is clear: you remain aware that you are drunk. The ordinary drunkenness is unconscious; you are not aware that you are drunk. And that is a very fundamental difference.
You can be intoxicated just by too much consciousness because you cannot contain it. It starts overflowing; it is bigger than you. And in the beginning it is so sudden and so much that you feel almost without any control over yourself. That's why the idea of drunkenness arises.
Because in intense awareness you start forgetting your ordinary mind -- your so-called ego, your mundane worries, your trivia of worldly matters -- there is a certain similarity with intoxication. The whole infatuation with intoxicants has remained down the ages, although all the religions, all the governments, all the masters, all the teachers, all the moralists, all the puritans -- everybody has been against intoxicants. But they have not been able to prevent humanity from becoming more and more infatuated with newer drugs.
Older drugs are there in their place; new drugs are being continuously added -- now man can manufacture synthetic drugs, certainly far more unconsciousness-creating than any drugs found in nature. One is surprised to know why, when everybody has been against, they have not been able to prevent it. The reason is very simple, and not far away to find.
It is too obvious; perhaps that's why one feels in a state of ignorance about the cause, about the reason.
Man's life has remained miserable, so miserable that he wants to forget it, at least for a few hours, just to have a little rest. And all the religions and all the governments and all the so-called social servants have not been able to alleviate misery from human life. But without removing the cause, they have been forcing man not to drink alcohol, not to take marijuana. It was absolutely certain that they were going to fail. The cause has to be removed, not the symptom. The symptom will go on its own accord; just remove the cause.
And when in intense awareness you suddenly forget all your worries, miseries, suffering, tensions, it appears similar -- that's why one feels as if one is divinely intoxicated.
Divinely because you have not taken any intoxicant, but there is a tremendous difference too, not to be forgotten: that you are aware.
Any ordinary drug makes you simply unconscious. Meditation brings awareness, but awareness is such a big phenomenon that you are bound to be drowned. And in the beginning the experience is so much, so intense, that you are almost erased, as if you have disappeared. But it is not illusion. It is not any kind of hallucination.
And to call it divine wine is just being poetic. It is pure awareness which does the same work that is expected by people through intoxicating drugs. Intoxicating drugs remove symptoms; awareness removes the very cause. Drugs simply give you a few hours of forgetfulness, and again the misery is there -- and with a vengeance, because it has to wait for six hours; it becomes more intense.
Awareness cuts the very root of being miserable, in anxiety, in anguish. And because it cuts the very roots, after you have come down from the heights of awareness you don't find misery -- you find a peace, a silence, a very mild sweetness and a very subtle fragrance, left behind the tide, the tidal wave that had come and overtaken you.
It is perfectly beautiful. There is nothing illusory in it. It is absolutely existential. It has nothing to do with intoxicants. Only in appearance, in the beginning, you will feel as if you are intoxicated.
Irving Levinsky was walking around New York City thinking how crowded and impossible city life was becoming. When he saw a man lying in the gutter Irving walked over and said to him, "Are you sick, can I help you?"
"No, it is okay," said the man. "I have found a parking space so I have sent my wife out to buy a car."
Intoxication is one thing: this kind of thing is not possible through awareness. Through awareness you can feel in the beginning things which look strange -- happy for no reason at all, smiling or laughing for no reason at all. And it becomes a vicious circle: when you laugh then you see that "This is stupid, why I am laughing?" Then you laugh more and then it becomes difficult to stop. Just seeing yourself laugh without any reason it appears as if you have gone mad, because you have never understood, never experienced that being joyous, laughing, is natural and healthy.
It does not need to have any cause. Sadness, seriousness are parts of a psychologically sick man -- they need causes. So when you are feeling happy, don't start asking, "Why am I happy?" When you are feeling sad ask why you are sad. But strangely, it has become conventional to our minds that when we are sad we accept it as if it is our nature. And when we are joyous even we are surprised; deep inside we even start worrying: "What is happening to me?"
Just this morning I quoted Walt Whitman, and he says, "I am the celebration, I am the song." It is one of his most beautiful poems, in which he sings the song of himself:
"There is no reason. It is my nature to be a celebration, to be a song, to be a festival." It is just healthy. It is just to be yourself.
While Walt Whitman was alive he was very much condemned, just because he was so happy for no reason at all -- just because he could dance alone, sing, not for anybody else but just for himself, or just as if he was the song, he was the celebration itself. Christian seriousness could not understand him. The ordinary humanity thought him either mad or drunk. But he was not drunk and he was not mad; he was one of the most intelligent men America has ever produced.
Intelligence is a celebration.
It is a festival of lights and it is a long series, a chain of songs, joys, festivities. It is only the unintelligent who remain sad and do nothing to remove it. It is the unintelligent who accept sadness, misery, suffering, behind beautiful names: fate, kismet, luck -- all these words are nonsense. But these words help people to remain miserable.
The man of awareness gets out of all that is unnatural and certainly finds sources of juice within himself. The mystics of the East have even defined God as raso vai saha; "he is just juice." There is no word in English to translate exactly the depth and the meaning of the word ras -- juice is a literal translation.
When you are happy for no reason at all you find a certain juiciness inside you -- you are not dry. Your saints cannot dance, they are so dry. You can dance only if you are full of juice. And the mystics who defined God as raso vai saha had a tremendous insight. They are removing the God of the theologians, the God of the philosophers, the God of the so- called religions. They are creating a totally new concept of God with which I can agree:
It is the juice of life.
It is the celebration of life.
It is the festivity of life.
It is the flower and the fragrance.
But people are living, even in their ordinary wakefulness, a kind of sleepy life. The whole of humanity seems to be under a spell, as if they are all walking in hypnosis, as if they are all suffering from somnambulism.
You may have heard about sleepwalkers who get up in the middle of the night and without waking, with open eyes, without stumbling, reach directly to the kitchen, find the fridge, open it, eat anything to their heart's content, and in the day they are dieting! And the doctor is puzzled and they themselves are puzzled -- "What is the matter? The more I diet the more my weight is going up."
And there are almost ten percent of people capable of somnambulism. They can walk in their sleep, they can do things, and in the morning they will be disturbed: "Who has done this?" And not just ordinary people; there are cases on record of very great geniuses.
Madame Curie, one of the first women ever to receive a Nobel Prize, was struggling for three years to solve a mathematical problem, and was becoming almost hopeless. Every angle, every dimension, every process she tried, but she was not reaching the right conclusion.
Tired one night, working on the same problem, she fell asleep. When she woke up it was almost morning. She had slept three, four hours just on the table, her head on the papers on which she was working to find the conclusion. And she could not believe her eyes: in her own handwriting the conclusion was written. There was no process, but the conclusion was there.
She could not believe it, because she had been working to find this very same conclusion... and all the ways she had tried, she had reached somewhere else but never to this point. And certainly nobody else could do it, because the door was locked, her husband was not at home and the servant did not even understand arithmetic. Looking carefully, she found it was her own handwriting -- not very accurate, because it had been written in sleep.
And then she closed her eyes and tried to remember whether there had been any dream, and she found that she had dreamt that she was working on the problem, had found the conclusion, and she was writing it -- she remembered it. And then she remembered the whole process.
Now, when she was writing the answer she must have been writing with open eyes. She was a somnambulist, and this was a sudden discovery. Then it was found that many times she had been wandering through the house asleep.
And to disturb anybody who is walking or doing something in his sleep is very shocking.
The person may get a heart attack, because he cannot believe what he is doing, how it happened to be.
In New York a case happened...
One man every night in his sleep, in the middle of the night, used to jump from his building to the terrace of another building, almost ninety-storey-high buildings -- if he were to fall from there it would be impossible to find his pieces. And the jump was really long; even professional jumpers in the Olympics would have refused, seeing the gap between the buildings. Just a little less, one step less, one inch less, and you are gone.
But people became aware of it, and every night it became a show. A crowd used to gather at the exact time when the man would appear on his terrace, would jump to the other terrace, and would jump back. People would watch it with awe, not believing in their eyes.
Slowly the crowd became bigger. When it was small they remained silent; when the crowd became bigger it was difficult to keep it silent. One night when he was jumping, the crowd, new people, simply cheered him, and he woke up in the middle of his jump.
And you can conclude what happened: he fell from ninety storeys, just in front of the crowd, shattered into pieces. He himself could not believe what was happening. And he had done it so many times....
A wife begins to get a little concerned because her husband has not arrived home on time from his regular Saturday afternoon golf game. As the hours pass she becomes more and more worried, until at eight o'clock the husband finally pulls into the driveway.
"What happened?" says the wife. "You should have been home hours ago."
"Fred had a heart attack at the second hole," replies the husband.
"Oh, that's terrible," says the wife. "But why are you so late?"
"Well," replies the husband, "for the next sixteen holes it was hit the ball and drag Fred, hit the ball and drag Fred."
Do you think these people are awake? They may not be called somnambulists, but they cannot be called conscious, they cannot be called really awake. The poor fellow had a heart attack, he has died! Now it was time to stop the game, but the game cannot be stopped and naturally, it was a difficult job to drag the dead man and then to play the hole and then again drag...
If you watch your life and the life of people around you, you will find a thousand and one cases where people are thinking that they are aware and alert, but they are not. Their action does not show alertness or awareness.
While crossing the railway lines one day, Paddy was hit by a train and badly injured. He spent six months in hospital but was finally released. While he was walking home he saw a toy train set in a shop window. He rushed inside, picked up a hammer and started smashing the toy train to pieces. The shopkeeper came running over, shouting, "Hey, what the hell are you doing?"
"It is okay," replied Paddy, "it is dead now. But you have to kill these things before they grow up and get really dangerous."
I AM ALWAYS TOUCHED WHEN YOU SPEAK OF EACH OF US HAVING A UNIQUE INDIVIDUALITY, BUT I THINK I AM OFTEN CONFUSING PERSONALITY WITH INDIVIDUALITY. IS THIS INDIVIDUALITY SOMETHING GENETIC, UNIQUE TO EACH INCARNATION, OR IS IT THE ESSENCE WHICH MOVES WITH US THROUGH INCARNATIONS?
BELOVED OSHO, CAN YOU SAY SOMETHING WHICH WILL HELP US COME TO KNOW OUR INDIVIDUALITY?
Prem Prartho, it is not only you but almost everybody who misunderstands the difference between personality and individuality. Most people live their whole lives thinking that their personality is their individuality.
The distinction is very subtle. Personality is that which is given to you by the society, culture, civilization, education; in other words, by others -- people are giving you their opinion about you and you are collecting those opinions. Those opinions are creating your personality.
You must have observed very small children whose personalities are not yet developed. It takes time; for at least three to four years the child remains more of an individual than he may perhaps ever be again. He is authentic, sincere. He does not take any note of others'
It is because of this that if you want to remember your past you can go back only up to a certain moment -- and that moment will be the age of either four years or three years, at the most three years. After that there is a complete blank. You have been here during those three years, but you don't remember anything. You were nine months in your mother's womb -- you don't remember anything at all.
The reason you cannot now remember these three years is because you had no personality. It is the personality which accumulates opinions of others and creates a false identity, a certain idea of "Who I am." You don't know exactly who you are, because to know who you are you will have to dig deep within yourself through the whole rubbish that has accumulated in the name of personality. You will have to become a child again.
That's what is meant when Jesus says, "Unless you are born again you cannot understand what I'm saying." And it was said to a rabbi, well learned, a man named Nicodemus. He was a professor in the Jewish university of Israel. He wanted to meet this charismatic young man -- so courageous... hiding behind crowds, Nicodemus had heard Jesus many times. He himself was a professor but he had never heard anybody speak the way Jesus was speaking, with such authority. He was not quoting the scriptures, he was simply quoting his own experience -- hence the authority.
Nicodemus became interested but he was not courageous enough to come to Jesus in the daytime, because if others see, what they will think? Jesus was uneducated, a carpenter's son -- perhaps what you call an illegitimate son, because virgins cannot give birth to legitimate sons. And he had no acquaintance with the ancient traditions of Judaism but he was speaking like a born prophet.
Once in the middle of the night when there was nobody else and all his followers had gone to sleep and Jesus was doing his last prayer, Nicodemus came in darkness and said, "Forgive me. I am not a courageous man, I am a coward. I wanted to meet you many times but in the crowd, before the crowd, I could not gather courage. So I have come in the middle of the night, but I had to come. Please forgive me for disturbing you."
Jesus did not ask Nicodemus what was his question, what was his inquiry. On the contrary, he simply said, "Unless you are born again, you will not understand me."
What does he mean by "born again"? He means unless you become a child again, unless you put your whole personality aside. Individuality to individuality, there is a possibility of a communion. With your personality standing in between -- you are a great professor, you are a learned scholar, you are a famous man; all these troubles are standing in between -- it is impossible to reach you. You will misunderstand me, you will distort me, you will interpret me, you will make whatever you want to make out of my statements."
And what Jesus is saying is my own experience -- continuously being misunderstood by people who are expected to be intelligent. It is strange but it is not only happening with me, it has always happened. If truth is not misunderstood then there is something wrong with the truth. If a man is not misunderstood then that man has nothing significant to say.
What you know about yourself is your personality. You know that you have a certain name -- are you aware you had come in the world without a name? You have a certain education, a certain qualification -- you know you were not born a doctor or an engineer or a professor. These are things added to you. Your degrees, your name, your fame... all these things are added to you.
But this is what you are. As far as you are concerned, if all these things are taken away from you what will you be? Just a zero.... A plain slate, all writing has been removed.
Your personality is all that you know about yourself -- I am making it absolutely simple so that you can be alert -- and your individuality is that which you don't know and you are.
Meditation is an effort to get rid of personality and to reach to your living sources of life, your individuality, your flame, that you have brought from your mother's womb -- and that you had before your birth, even before you entered the womb of the mother. You have had your individuality since eternity. It is your essential consciousness which is covered with so many layers of so many lives that it is lost completely and you have forgotten the way how to reach back to it.
And every life goes on adding more and more layers of dust around your essential life.
That essential life is immortal; your personality is mortal.
Your personality is dependent on other people; hence you are always afraid of other people. A famous man can become nobody if people change their minds. And people change their minds so easily. There is not much difficulty in it.
Who is Richard Nixon now? Do you ever hear anything about poor Nixon? He has lost his personality; by losing his presidency he has lost all. Now he is living almost anonymously, as a nobody.
It happened in Napoleon Bonaparte's life...
He was defeated only once -- all his life he had been winning. The battle in which he got defeated by the English general Wellington was a very cunning one. Wellington was not of the same caliber as Napoleon Bonaparte... but he had brought seventy cats in front of his army. His whole army was wondering -- what is the matter? Why these seventy cats?
It was a secret that Wellington had come to know from his detectives that in his childhood, when Napoleon Bonaparte was almost a six-month-old baby, a wild cat had jumped on him -- almost playfully; it didn't harm him, but it left a deep fear in the small child's mind.
It became the first impact on his personality, it became his foundation. Everything else came afterwards. He could fight barehanded with a lion or with a tiger with no fear -- the man was immensely courageous. But in front of a cat he simply lost all his nerve. It was beyond his powers to remain himself; his very foundation of personality slipped. And it was beyond him because it was deep in his unconscious, so he could not do anything; he had no idea even.
Only a woman who had been taking care of him, his nurse, was aware of it. But out of fear she had not told anybody, because it was her fault. She had left Napoleon, this little baby six months old, in the garden, and had gone to meet her boyfriend just behind the bushes. So it was her fault.
She never told anybody but somehow -- perhaps she may have told the boyfriend -- Wellington's detectives found out.
Wellington was afraid that there was not much possibility of his victory against Bonaparte, because he was continuously winning. And this was going to be a decisive moment: if England was defeated then there was nobody else who could defeat Bonaparte. So every effort was made to find out some weakness in his personality.
One thing must be said in favor of Wellington. He may not be a great general -- he was not -- but he was certainly a better psychologist than a general. Before going to the war front he looked into the personality structure and he came to know that Bonaparte was not afraid of anything except a cat. That's why he brought seventy cats -- not only one -- not to take any chances.
All along the front of his army there were cats. There was no possibility that Wellington is allowing Napoleon Bonaparte not to see the cats. And the moment Bonaparte saw the cats -- not only one but seventy -- it was suddenly as if all his power slipped out of him.
He became so nervous that he told his assistant general, "You take charge. I cannot be in the front; I will be in the back. You arrange the battle, I am no more in my senses."
The assistant general could not understand what had happened. But it was clear that Napoleon Bonaparte had gone pale, looked almost as if he were dying. Something very essential had simply gone out of him. This was the battle in which he lost -- it was not the victory of Wellington, it was the victory of cats against a six-month-old baby Napoleon.
He was imprisoned on the small island of Saint Helena. Of course he was given all the facilities that should be given to a great man of his caliber, and because he was having almost a nervous breakdown he was given a doctor, a nurse, a beautiful house... and he was not imprisoned like any prisoner, he was just kept on the island. The island was vacated completely. Only he was there, a few guards were there, the doctor was there. He was allowed to move on the island, on the beach, to swim; he was given every facility, knowing that he was passing through a tremendous personality crisis.
One day as he was going to the ocean, to the beach, a woman who must have been taking care of the horses of the guards, was coming from the other direction, carrying a big load of grass. It was a small footpath; the doctor was with him and the doctor shouted to the woman, "Move out of the way! You don't understand who is coming -- he is Napoleon Bonaparte!"
But that woman was an uneducated woman. She had never heard of Napoleon Bonaparte or why she should move.
Napoleon Bonaparte said to the doctor, "You are wrong. The time is gone when mountains used to move just with my orders. Now it is better I should move out of the way of a poor woman who is just carrying grass for the horses. You forget all about the Napoleon Bonaparte I once was. I am no longer that man."
He was saying a very essential truth. He had lost his personality. He died very soon after.
Only one thing could have revived him: not medicine but meditation, if somebody had made him aware that "What you have lost was not yours at all. You have still got your essential being and there is no need to be worried. What you have lost was false and what is real is still within you." But one has to be aware of it.
You are too much identified with the false, the personality -- that's the meaning of the word; it comes from the Greek persona, and 'persona' means a mask. In Greek theater actors used to wear masks; the sound was theirs but the face was not theirs. Sona means sound -- sound coming through a mask. You don't know who is behind it. The only real thing is the sound that is coming out; anything else that you are seeing is just false.
But with you things have become far worse; even the sound is not yours. That too has been a training, a discipline. You have been corrected continuously by your parents, by your teachers -- how to speak, how to sit.
I was being shown around a Christian theological college where they train missionaries.
It is the biggest institution in Asia for training Christian missionaries and ministers and priests and bishops.
I was surprised... I had to stand outside the door with the vice-chancellor who was showing me around. A professor was teaching the students, when you are delivering a sermon in the church, how you should stand, how you should look at the audience, where you should speak loudly and where you should speak almost in a whisper, where you should raise your hand, what gesture should be used at a particular point, where you should beat on the table...
I was horrified. I could not believe that this is religion. I said to the vice-chancellor, "If this is making Christian missionaries who are going to convert people into Christians..." I asked him, "Do you think Jesus had gone through any college, through all these gestures and training and voice? He was an uneducated carpenter's son. There were no theological colleges at that time, particularly no Christian colleges. And still none of your missionaries -- and you have millions of missionaries around the world -- speaks the way Jesus spoke."
The authority was not out of training. It was not out of personality; that is the difference.
That's why I said to him, "Although there have been hundreds of popes in these two thousand years, none of them has been crucified because none of them spoke with that authority. None of them spoke with that poetry, none of them spoke so dangerously -- and they all represented Jesus! I will not accept anybody as a representative unless he is crucified."
I said, "You teach these missionaries to carry a small cross, folding. They should always keep it with themselves and when Jesus is crucified, unfold the cross, stand with their hands on the cross, look upward the way Jesus looked... that is the last and the real thing."
The vice-chancellor said, "You are making a joke of our religion."
I said, "I am not making a joke, you are making a joke by teaching all these people. You are not even allowing them their own voices -- voice training programs, voice test!" And your voice can be changed, its pitch, its vibration can be checked and you can be trained how to change it, how to bring a new quality to it, more forceful or more peaceful, more musical.
And they had a department where they were testing people's voices, training their voices.
They were even giving them hints about where they should raise their hands. Now, that hand is going to be false -- it is personality.
Jesus also had raised his hand at that point but that was individuality. It was not a training. Nobody had told him -- it was spontaneous, it was coming from his own inner being.
So remember: whatever you have learned from others is not you. That is your persona, and you have to find your innocence again. You have to find your essence before people started putting layers on you, before people started civilizing you, making you more cultured, more educated.
You say, Prartho, "I am always touched when you speak of each of us having a unique individuality, but I think I am often confusing personality with individuality."
Not often, Prartho -- always. Because once you know your individuality you will never again get confused. Once you have seen the real, how can you think of the false as real?
Once you know the real, the false has disappeared from your consciousness completely.
So whatever you are thinking of as individuality and personality are both personalities.
One may be deeper, more unconscious, more rooted so that you cannot recognize that it is false; one may be superficial, a fresh layer, so you can recognize it as false. But both are personalities.
The moment you know your individuality you are finished forever, in a single blow, with all that is false. Suddenly you have no name, no fame, no religion, no nation. Suddenly you are just a pure consciousness, just a human being -- not even your body, not your mind, not your heart, but just a pure source of life.
That source of life goes on transmigrating from one form into another. Once you discover it your journey is coming to an end. Totally discovered, you are enlightened. Then there is not going to be any more birth for you, any more imprisonment into a body, into a personality -- you have attained to freedom.
Individuality is freedom.
That's why it touches you; even the word uttered goes deep inside you like an arrow.
And the individuality is bound to be unique. The personality is created by the society, so it wants everybody to be almost similar -- the same dress, the same haircut, the same mannerism, etiquette.
For example if you meet somebody here and you start rubbing noses with him, you will be thought mad because that is not part of the culture here. But when Eskimos for the first time saw Christian missionaries kissing each other, they said, "These idiots! They think they will teach us religion, and they are so dirty; they don't even understand the ABC of hygiene. They are mixing saliva with each other, and they think they are showing love!"
Kissing is absurd to the Eskimos; they have never kissed in their whole history. And seen from their viewpoint it seems they are right: kissing mouth to mouth is really dirty. Just think of it, what you are doing -- exchanging millions of germs. This you call love? You are giving your diseases to the person you love and that person is giving his diseases to you, and you both are in love? A great exchange is happening in the name of love!
I favor the Eskimos, they are hygienic. Rubbing noses is very clean -- noses are the cleanest and coolest part of your face. And it is possible that because of the spread of AIDS, the whole world will have to follow the Eskimos sooner or later. Kissing is going to be prohibited by law -- not for moral reasons but just for scientific reasons.
Even shaking hands is not very scientific. The Hindu way of welcoming each other with folded hands is absolutely right. Not for any religious reasons, just for purely hygienic, scientific reasons, because the virus could pass even through a handshake. It can pass through perspiration; it is possible for the virus to pass through anything coming out of your body -- saliva or perspiration. And people's hands are perspiring. It is dangerous.
Now I have been brought pictures from American magazines, from European magazines, of police with gloves on their hands because they were preventing a protest march of gay people. Now to touch the gay people is dangerous. But who knows who is gay? Popes have been gay, presidents have been gay, prime ministers have been gay, great philosophers have been gay. You would be surprised if you knew the list of great gay people... Socrates was gay. Just now I told you about Walt Whitman -- he was gay. There have been hundreds of poets and painters, writers, novelists, world-famous people, and they were gay.
It is better to fold your hands and keep away. Whoever invented the folding of hands must have been a very alert person.
For different reasons these things have come into existence. Shaking hands has not come out of love; neither has folded hands come out of love. These have both come out of showing the other, "I am not carrying any weapons. You can accept me as your friend -- I am not your enemy." When both hands are there you can see that the other person is not...
Even shaking with the right hand is enough because if a weapon has to be carried it will be carried in the right hand, unless you happen to be a leftist!
These welcoming signs, their origin is not very beautiful, it is ugly. It is just a test that the other person is not your enemy, that you can trust he will not attack you. Both are showing that they can trust each other.
Slowly, slowly the origin of things is always forgotten and then you think this is something great. Folding the hands or shaking hands -- they are really, in a way, ugly.
They show suspicion, they show distrust. But in every culture there is bound to be some kind of gesture. And everybody is brought up in a certain culture, in a certain atmosphere.
He learns those gestures.
It happened that when Japanese sannyasins started coming here I was in trouble in the beginning because they have absolutely different gestures. Nobody else has the same gestures in the whole world. How have they managed to have such gestures? For example saying yes, everybody in the world except the Japanese moves his head up and down.
The Japanese move their heads sideways. Everywhere else that means no, but not in Japan. In Japan it means yes.
So when I used to talk with them I was at a loss. I am asking, "Are you meditating?" and they are saying, "No."
"Why have you come? You are wearing a mala, are you a sannyasin?" And they are saying, "No."
"Then why are you wearing the mala?"
Finally one sannyasin who understood a little bit of English told me, "You are not understanding those poor fellows. They don't understand you. In Japan for 'yes' you have to move your head sideways and for 'no' up and down."
I said, "It is very difficult. How have you managed because the whole world is in agreement about that?"
There must have been some deep reason why the Japanese developed a certain gesture so different from everybody else.
But all that you know, the way you behave, is learned from others, is taught by others.
This is all your personality. The personality cannot be unique, it is social. Individuality is not social, it is existential. In existence everything is unique; every tree is unique, every flower is unique, every star is unique.
Existence believes in uniqueness.
Society is always fearful of uniqueness.
It does not like anybody to be unique. The unique seems to be a stranger. Society wants uniformity, not uniqueness. You should eat the same things they are eating; you should use the clothes they are using; you should not try to show that you are separate from the crowd. The crowd never forgives anybody who looks like an outsider, a stranger. It tries in every way immediately to force you to become part of the society. Then people feel at ease.
But you are destroyed; your individuality is sacrificed for the satisfaction of the crowd; hence, when you hear me talking about unique individuality something deep inside you is stirred. Something that is your real being needs some help, needs some support, needs some invitation to come up and throw away the personality.
Your being a Hindu or a Jain or a Buddhist or a Christian or a Jew are all personalities -- throw them away. And then you are just all one, pure human beings. And in that purity you will find uniqueness because every flame will have its own shape, will have its own light, will have its own fire. Every flower of your being will have different fragrances.
And if some day a better humanity arrives on the earth and this old rotten humanity disappears there will be variety, and variety will be respected and loved. Variety makes life more rich. If everybody is a unique individual we will have a world tremendously rich, because everybody will be showing his own talents, his own genius in his own way, in his own style. Nobody will be a carbon copy of anybody else. Everybody will be original.
And there is no other way, Prartho, except meditation to discover your individuality.
During the hotel-room shortage Bernie was given a room with two beds and told that they would have to rent the other bed to someone else. He was in bed reading when the other occupant, Shirley was shown in. Shirley was a beautiful blond.
She glanced at Bernie and started slowly to undress, exposing everything to her best advantage. When she was finally nude Shirley posed for some time in front of the mirror, first this way and then that.
Finally, she got in bed and leaning over as near as she could, whispered, "How would you like to come in my bed?"
"No, thanks," croaked Bernie, I've already come in mine!"