Strangers in a Strange Land

Fri, 12 September 1976 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Osho - The Mahageeta, Vol 1
Chapter #:
am in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium
Archive Code:
Short Title:
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[NOTE: This discourse is in the process of being edited for publication. It is for reference use only.]

The first question:

Question 1:




We are on this earth, but in fact we cannot be on this earth, and we are not. We feel it: we are strangers to this earth. We have made a home in our body, but our body is not our home.

It is as if someone settles abroad and forgets his homeland. Suddenly in the market one day he meets someone who reminds him of home, who speaks his own language. For a moment the foreign country will vanish and his homeland will be present.

This is the significance of scriptures.

This is the real purpose of the words of the masters.

After listening to them, for a moment we are no longer here. We go where we belong. We flow in their music. The situations which had completely involved us vanish, and that which was very far away comes near.

Ashtavakra's words are absolutely unique. Hearing them, it will happen again and again: again and again you will feel you are not on this earth but have become part of the sky - because these words are of the sky. These words come from the homeland, come from that from which source we all come, the source to which we must return. Without going back to it we will never find peace.

Where we are is like an inn, not a home. No matter how much we may insist it is a home, still an inn remains an inn. Try to explain it away, to forget it; it makes no difference. The thorn goes on pricking us, the memory keeps on coming. And sometime, if we happen to encounter such a truth that pulls us, and like a magnet would show us another world, then we feel we are not part of this earth. It is good: "While listening to the discourse yesterday, I felt that I was not of this earth." There is no one who is of this earth. We appear to be of it, we feel as if we are: in reality we exist in the sky. Our nature is of the sky.

Being means the inner sky.

Body means the earth, the body is made of earth. You are made of sky.

These two have met within you.

You are the horizon where the earth seems to be meeting the sky. But has it ever met it? Far away the horizon appears - sky touching earth. Start walking towards it, expecting to reach it in a minute or two. Continue walking for life after life - you will never reach a place where the sky touches the earth. It is only a mirage. It always appears that you can touch it a little further on, just a little further.

The horizon does not exist, it only appears to. It is the same inside us as with the outer horizon.

Inside no contact ever happens either. How will being touch body? How will the mortal meet the immortal? Milk mixes with water - both are of the earth. But how will being merge with body? Their basic quality is different. However near they come, they cannot touch. They may be forever near, still they cannot touch, they cannot meet. It is only our assumption, our concept - the horizon exists only as our idea.

If you allow Ashtavakra's statements to penetrate your heart like arrows, they will awaken and remind you. They will arouse that long forgotten memory. For a moment the sky will open, the clouds will break, and your life will be filled with sunlight.

It may be difficult: the experience goes against our whole way of life. It will cause discomfort. And you did not disperse the clouds within, they were dispersed by the words of a master - the clouds will gather again. Before you reach home, again the clouds will surround you. You won't drop your habits so quickly. Again the clouds will gather, and you will be more uneasy. You will doubt. Was it not a dream that you saw? Was it not some kind of projection? Was it not a trick of the ego, of the mind? Perhaps you fell into a kind of madness?

Naturally, the weight of your habits is heavy, very old. Darkness is ancient - it doesn't exist, still it is ancient. Whenever rays of sunlight burst in, they are fresh - absolutely new, freshly bathed. You see them for a moment, and again you are lost in darkness. Your darkness has a very long history.

When you weigh these two, doubt arises about sunlight but not about darkness. Darkness should be doubted. Instead sunlight is doubted because its rays are new, and darkness is very old. Darkness is like a tradition coming down from century to century. The rays of light have just arrived - fresh, new. So new, how can they be trusted?

"I felt I was not of this earth." There is no one who is of this earth. We cannot be of this earth. To think otherwise is our belief, our projection. It seems so, but it is not the truth.

"... And I felt I was a small particle of light in the infinite sky." This is the beginning, "a small particle of light in the infinite sky." You will soon feel, "I am the infinite sky." This is the start.

Right now we are not ready to be completely absorbed in the infinite sky. And if we feel the flight coming, the storm coming, that winds are carrying us away, still we keep separate and save ourselves. "... a particle of light." You are no longer darkness, you have become a particle of light.

But the difference from the sky is still there; the division remains, a gap remains. The ultimate will happen the day you become the sky. The particle of light is also separate. The day you become integrated, one, on that day you will feel "I am the vast empty sky."

That's how we express it in language: "I am empty sky." But how is it possible as long as "I" is there?

If "I" is, then the sky remains separate. When the feeling of empty sky comes, then "I" will be gone, only empty sky will remain.

People say aham brahmasmi - I am God, I am Brahma. But when Brahma is, how can "I" remain?

Only Brahma remains, not I. But there is no other way to express it.

Language is for people who are asleep. Language belongs to those who have settled in a strange country but consider it their homeland.

Silence is for those who know.

Language is for the ignorant.

So as soon as you say anything, just saying it truth becomes untruth. "Aham brahmasmi" - I am Brahma, I am the sky. Say it, it becomes a lie. Only sky is. But to say, "Only sky is" is not the whole truth, because "only" indicates that there must be something more; otherwise why the emphasis on "only"? "Sky is"? There is difficulty even in saying this because "is" can become "is not."

We say, "The house is." Some day it will cease to be, it may fall down, become a ruin. We say, "The man is." Some day the man will die. The sky is not like this, that sometimes it is and sometimes not.

The sky always is, so to say "Sky is" is a repetition. The very nature of the sky is to be. So why repeat "is"? It is correct to say "is" for those things which some day cease to exist. A man is. One day he was not, today he is, and tomorrow again he will not be. Our "is" exists between two "nots."

The isness of the sky was yesterday, is today and will also be tomorrow. What is the meaning of "is"

between two "ises"? "Is" has meaning between two "is nots." So to say "Sky is" is also a repetition.

Let us say, "sky." But when we say sky, when we make a word, even then it is wrong. Just to say sky means there is something which is different from it, separate from it; otherwise what is the need of a word? If there is only one, there is no need to say one. One is meaningful only when two is, three is, four is - where there are numbers. Why say sky?

This is why wisdom is silent. It is impossible to bring the ultimate wisdom into words.

But we are fortunate that rare individuals like Ashtavakra have made untiring, impossible efforts. As much as it is possible they have made the effort to bring the fragrance of truth into words.

And note: few have been as successful as Ashtavakra in their attempt. Many have attempted to bring the truth into words - all were defeated. Defeat is certain. But if you look among the defeated, the least defeated is Ashtavakra. He is the most successful. If you listen rightly you will be reminded of your home.

It is auspicious that you felt you were a particle of light. Prepare to be lost. One day you will feel that the particle of light is also lost, and only sky remains. Then drunkenness will completely overwhelm you. Then you will drown in the wine of truth. Then you will dance. Then you will experience the full taste of nectar.

"After discourse, an experience of lightness and aloneness continued. I wanted to keep wandering in this sky." Here we make a small mistake. When we have any pleasant experience, we want it again and again. How weak man's mind is! It is full of desires, full of greed; temptations go on arising. It wants to repeat whatever is pleasant. But remember one thing: repetition is already wrong. As soon as you wish "Let it happen again" it can never take place, because the first time it occurred it was not from your desire. It happened by itself, it was not your act.

This is where Ashtavakra puts the whole emphasis: truth happens. It is not an act, it is a happening.

It happened to you while listening. What were you doing? Listening means you weren't doing anything. You were sitting feeling empty. You were silent, you were alert, you were awake, you were not asleep. Good! But what were you doing? You were simply a receiver. Your mind was mirrorlike - what came before it was reflected, what was said was heard. You were not adding anything to it. If you were adding anything it would never have happened. You were not making commentaries.

You were not in your mind saying, "Yes, this is right, that is wrong. I agree with it, I disagree. It is according to the scriptures," or "It is not." You were not making logical statements about it. If you had been lost in logic, this happening would never have taken place.

The one who has asked - Swami Om Prakash Sarasvati - I know him. His mind is far away from logic, far away from doubts and arguments. Those days are gone. He may have made logical arguments once, may have raised doubts. Now he has ripened from the experiences of life. Now that childishness is not in the mind. This is why it could happen. He was simply listening, sitting, not doing anything - he just went on sitting and it happened.

It happened the first time without your doing anything. If you want it to happen a second time, this will create a disturbance. Desiring was not the cause of its happening. So when such a rare happening takes place, do not desire. When it happens, accept it joyously. When it doesn't happen don't complain, do not ask for it. Ask and you will miss. In asking is a demand, an insistence: "It should happen. It happened once, why doesn't it happen now?"

This occurs every day. When people come here to meditate, in the beginning they are fresh and new. They have no experience, so it happens. This is very surprising. You must comprehend this - it will help you understand Ashtavakra better. This is my daily experience. When people come new and fresh and they have no experience of meditation, it happens. It happens and they are filled with joy - but the very experience creates difficulty. Then expectations begin: what happened today should happen tomorrow; not just happen, but happen stronger. But it doesn't happen again and they approach me, crying. They say, "What happened? Have we made some mistake? It happened once, but now it's not."

"This is your mistake," I tell them. "When it first happened you were not expecting anything; now you are. Now the mind is no longer innocent. Your expectation has contaminated it. Now you are not genuine, you are not open - asking has closed the doors. Expectation has arisen, and this expectation spoils everything. Now desire is aroused, greed enters."

This happens every day. People who have meditated a long time go on trying many methods but drop into meditation only with great difficulty. Their experience becomes a barrier. Sometimes someone just comes, flowing with the vibe... he had never even thought about meditation. A friend was coming, so he thought "Let's go see what it is." He came out of curiosity - no desire, no spiritual searching, no efforts toward meditation - he just came. Something was triggered inside when he saw others meditating and he joined them. Then it happened! He was surprised: "I didn't come for meditation, but meditation happened." Now the problems start. Now, when he comes again there is expectation. The mind is interested: it must happen again. There is greed, a desire for repetition.

The mind has come in and the whole process is disturbed.

It happens only when there is no mind.

Remember, mind is the desire for repetition.

Let the pleasant happen again, let the unpleasant never repeat - this is the mind. The mind chooses:

let this happen and that not happen. Let it happen again and again like this, but never like that - this is the mind.

When you begin to flow with life: whatever happens, okay; what doesn't, okay.... Suffering comes, it is accepted. Suffering comes, there is no resistance. Happiness comes, it is accepted. Happiness comes, there is no excitement. When there is calmness, in both happiness and suffering, an equanimity starts arising. Then happiness and suffering begin to appear very similar - because no choice is left. Now it is out of our hands. What happens happens.

We go on watching - this is what Ashtavakra calls sakshi-bhav, witnessing. And he says if witnessing is attained, everything is attained. Inside, sakshi-bhav awakens the witness, outside it brings equanimity.

Equanimity is the shadow of witnessing.

Or if you achieve equanimity, witnessing comes. These two go together. They are the two feet or the two wings of the same phenomenon.

"I wanted to keep wandering in this sky." Be alert. Don't give the mind a chance to destroy the moments of meditation. This same mind has already destroyed your life. It has spoiled all of your relationships. This mind has made your whole life dry like a desert. Where many flowers could have blossomed there are only thorns. Do not bring this mind with you on your inward journey. Say good-bye to it and take your leave. Lovingly, bid it farewell. Tell it, "It is enough. Now I won't demand anything. Whatever happens I will be awake, I will be watching."

As soon as you demand, you can no longer be a witness. You become identified as the one who enjoys and suffers. Then meditation vanishes. To be identified means you are saying: "I am the one who enjoyed this, it made me happy."

"I do not know what knowledge, karma, and devotion are, but in aloneness I wish to remain immersed in this state." Throw this wish away, and you will slip into the same state. Not only in aloneness but in the crowd you will slip into it. Even if you are in the market you will remain immersed. This state has nothing to do with aloneness or the crowd, the market or the temple, the masses or isolation. This state is related to your mind becoming quiet, to its being in equilibrium. This happening will take place wherever there is peace, equanimity. But do not demand it, otherwise the very demanding becomes uneasiness, creates tension.

Ashtavakra says, "Right here, right now." A demand is always for tomorrow. It cannot be here and now. The nature of demanding is that it is not in the present. It jumps. Demanding means: "Let it happen - tomorrow, after an hour, in a moment, let it happen." A demand cannot be right now. Time is required. It may be very short, but time is required. And the future does not exist. The future means what is not. The present means what is. The present and demanding are not related.

When you are in the present you will find there is no demanding. And then the happening takes place.

When there is no wish for it, it will happen abundantly.

Understand this double bind well. Become familiar with every aspect of it. The day you don't demand anything is the day everything will happen. The day you aren't running like a madman after godliness, it will come after you. The day you don't show any eagerness for meditation, when there is no tension within you, that day you will be filled, overflowing with meditation.

Meditation does not come from outside. What is left inside you when you are not tense is called meditation. That which remains when there is no desire within you is called meditation.

It is a lake. Waves arise, then sudden gusts of wind. The surface of the lake is covered with storm and winds; everything goes topsy-turvy. The moon is in the sky, full; but no reflection is made because the surface is shimmering. How can it be a mirror? The moon's reflection is broken into a thousand pieces - like silver spread over the whole lake, but no image is made.

The lake becomes quiet. Have the waves gone somewhere? Did the waves come from somewhere else? They are from the lake. Now they have gone back to sleep, hey have returned to the lake.

The lake has regained its stillness. The moon, which was scattered like silver all over the surface of the lake, is now gathered in one place. The image becomes clear.

As soon as there are no waves on the lake of your mind, desiring waves, demanding waves, waves of, "This should be so and that should not be so," when there are no waves on the lake of the mind, then truth is reflected as it is. Then how can the beauty of the moon within you be described? How can its ecstasy be told? A river of ecstasy showers. One meets the inner beloved. Then there is a honeymoon, only a honeymoon.

But if you desire it, you will miss.

And I know this desire looks completely natural. But this is a great hurdle. So much joy comes in such moments, how can you avoid desiring? It is human. I don't say that you have made a big mistake, unworthy of a human being. It is an absolutely human error. When for a moment the window opens and the vast sky flows into you, when for a moment darkness vanishes and rays of light descend it is impossible, almost impossible, not to wish for more. But the impossible will have to be learned. Learn it today, learn it tomorrow or learn it the day after, but it will have to be learnt.

The sooner you learn it the better. Become ready right now and it happens immediately. There is no need to wait even a moment.

"... I wish to remain immersed in this state." This state will come. It has nothing to do with your mind, so leave your mind behind. Whenever it sneaks in, you have to tell it again and again, "Excuse me, but you have meddled more than enough! You have messed up the world, now don't mess up the divine too. You have spoiled all of life's happiness. Now happiness is coming from the inner depths; at least don't spoil this."

Remain alert and say good-bye to the mind.

Gradually, increasingly, such moments will be coming.

They will come through your experience. Whenever mind is not, immediately the window opens again. Again the stream of heavenly joy flows, again the light descends. Again you are radiant, intoxicated. Again you drown in nectar.

When this happens again and again, it will become clear. You will become skilful at keeping the mind away from you. When it happens, let it happen. When it does not happen, wait quietly for it.

It will come. That which has come once will come again and again - just do not wish for it. Do not come in between at all. Do not create any hindrance.

"Still, the feeling sometimes arises that this may be madness...." Such feelings will arise in the intellect, because it cannot believe that bliss is possible. Intellect is absolutely at home with unhappiness. It has totally accepted unhappiness because it has given birth to it. Who will not accept their own offspring? So the intellect says, "If there is unhappiness, it is absolutely right.

But ultimate happiness? Certainly there must be some mistake. Does it ever happen? It must be imagination. You saw a dream, you were lost in some daydream. You went into hypnosis. Certainly you have gone mad." The intellect will often say such things. Don't listen to it. Don't pay any attention to it. If you give attention to it, the experiences will stop. Those doors and windows will never open again.

Remember one thing: Bliss is the definition of truth.

Wherever you find joy, know it is the truth. That is why we have called God, Sat-chit-anand - truth, consciousness, bliss. Anand is the ultimate definition for him. Bliss is above even truth, even above consciousness - truth, consciousness, bliss. Truth is a lower step, consciousness is a lower step, bliss is ultimate. Wherever bliss flows, wherever you find ecstasy - don't worry at all, you are near the truth.

It is like someone nearing a garden. The breeze becomes cooler; he begins to hear the singing of birds, he begins to feel a coolness. The garden is not yet visible, yet these signs tell him that he is on the right path, he is nearing the garden. Similarly, as you start approaching truth springs of bliss well up. The mind begins to cool down, you begin to be in equilibrium, patience begins increasing, happiness increases. An exultation overwhelms you - uncaused. No cause can be found. You haven't won the lottery or made a big business profit, nor been offered a prestigious job. Or it may happen that you lost the job you had, you lost what was in your hands, your business went bankrupt - but there is an uncaused exultation that goes on dancing within, never stopping. The intellect will say, "Have you gone mad? These are the signs of madness!"

This is a very strange world. Here, only the mad look happy. This is why the intellect says you must have gone mad. Have you ever seen anyone here cheerful and happy besides madmen? There are thousands of reasons to be happy, but still man is not happy. He may have a big palace, wealth, all sorts of comforts; still he is not happy. This world is a world of miserable people, the majority are miserable. So if you begin to laugh without cause here, people will say you are mad. And if you say, "This laughing comes for no reason, its waves arise within, it just spreads," people will say, "Enough!

His mind is disturbed."

But if you pull a long face, look so dejected that seeing your face even ghosts are frightened, then you are fine, then you are okay here: no problem, everything goes smoothly for you. You are a man just like any other man. You are human the way human beings should be. But when you start smiling, start laughing, start humming songs, when you begin dancing at the side of the road - then certainly you have gone mad.

This is the way we have denied God. If he should come here, we would put him away in a madhouse.

Perhaps this is why he doesn't come. He is afraid of coming....

Imagine: if you met Krishna on the street, playing on his flute, wearing his peacock feather crown, his yellow silks, his girlfriends dancing all around - what would you do? Run immediately to the police station, reporting: "There's trouble on the road. What's going on there? That kind of thing is not supposed to happen!" You would throw him in jail.

Bliss has been boycotted.

We have banished joy from our lives. We sit embracing unhappiness. Here, a pessimistic man appears intelligent, a cheerful man appears insane. Our whole criterion is upside down. It is natural:

if all of a sudden what you had considered intelligent throughout your life begins disappearing, begins slipping away; if the foundation of your so-called intelligence begins shaking, and suddenly you start seeing joy everywhere, and remember "without cause".... This is what insanity means, happy without cause - no cause at all. You are sitting alone and you start smiling. Enough, you've gone mad, because we have seen only mad people sitting like that.

Understand: the insane and the paramahansas, enlightened ones, are a little similar. The insane laugh and are happy; they have lost their intelligence. Paramahansas also laugh and are happy; they have gone beyond intellect. Both laugh - an insane person because he has fallen below, a paramahansa because he has gone beyond intellect. There is this small similarity between the two.

The insane and the paramahansa have one thing in common: both have lost the intellect. One has forsaken it consciously, the other in unconsciousness. Hence the difference is vast, as different as earth and sky, and yet there is this similarity. So sometimes you see a paramahansa as a mad person and sometimes a mad person as a paramahansa. Mistakes go on happening.

In the West there are many people locked up in asylums who are not insane. Recently a great revolution has begun there. Some psychologists, notably R.D.Laing and his co-workers, have started a movement. They claim that many in asylums are not insane. If these people had been born in the East they would have been respected as paramahansas. R.D. Laing does not know that the opposite happens in the East - here many madmen are taken for paramahansas. But to err is human. Here in the East are many madmen who are understood to be paramahansas. These mistakes happen because the boundaries of these two touch. This confusion is natural.

Make it a point that if joy is increasing, no need to worry. But joy can increase due to insanity also.

Then what is a safe criterion for it? This is the criterion: if your joy is increasing and at the same time you are not causing anybody's unhappiness to increase, then continue untroubled. Your joy should not be dependent on violence towards anyone, on aggression towards anyone, or on making anyone unhappy. Then there is no reason to be afraid of going mad. Even if you are going mad, it is a good sign, it is right. Go into it with no hesitation.

You need to be concerned only when you begin to harm somebody. Nobody is bothered by your dance. But if somebody is sleeping and you play your drum over his head and start dancing?...

Dance, there's no problem in it. Chant your prayers, that's fine. But if in the middle of the night you set up a mike and start non-stop kirtan singing, then you are really mad - although in India no one would call you mad because you are singing devotional songs. Many madmen do this. They say, "We are performing a non-stop kirtan - twenty-four hours straight. Whether you sleep or not is your problem. And if you object to our program, you are irreligious."

See that your joy is not violent. This is sufficient. Your joy should be your own. Don't disturb anybody else's life with it. Let your flowers bloom, but in blooming, don't let anyone be pricked by its thorns.

If you always make sure of this, then you are moving in the right direction. When you feel that now others are being disturbed by your behavior, be careful - you are not moving towards enlightenment but are on the path to insanity.

Nobody is disturbed by Om Prakash. You can proceed without hesitation, fearlessly.

Yesterday I was reading a poem: "All that was beautiful, lovable, desirable; what was good, refined, new, true and real, I picked and brought, presenting my offerings. But what happened? It all withered where it was placed. Dried out. Wilted. Not a thing did he lift a hand to take, though somewhere it is written he would accept.... But what I gave, received, drank, knocked over, what I poured out, spilled, what I uncovered, covered, what I unloaded, what I loaded up - all that was recorded. Then I saw that it all fell into the same sacrificial fire and at that moment I felt, Oh! I am released, I have made it across! Alright, I accept it, my head has spun away in craziness."

The man has made it - from his head spinning away. You may go on offering very select things to God, the very best - but nothing will come of it until you offer your head.

Listen again: "All that was beautiful, lovable, desirable; what was good, refined, new, true and real I picked and brought, presenting my offerings. But what happened? It all withered where it was placed. Dried out. Wilted. Not a thing did he lift a hand to take...."

Find the most beautiful and bring it, find the most valuable, offer the Kohinoor diamond - all will pale into insignificance. Pick flowers, lotuses, roses, offer them - all will wilt. Only one thing is accepted here: your head, your ego, your intellect, your mind. These are different names for exactly the same thing. You must offer yourself here.

"... and at that moment I felt, Oh! I am released, I made it across! Okay, I accept it, my head has spun away crazily."

Om Prakash, people will tell you the same thing: you have gone mad. Let them say so! Don't worry about what they say. When people call you crazy they are trying to save their own heads, nothing else. When they say you are crazy, they are saying, "Keep away from us, don't come near us! Don't sing these songs to us, don't bring this laughter to our doors, don't show us your wine-filled eyes, don't bring us this message." They will feel threatened.

They have this same music within. They have a veena lying within them, waiting many lives for someone to caress its strings. But they are afraid, insecure. They have built much and become settled in this phony world. Now they fear being uprooted.

I was in Allahabad, and a friend was sitting right in front of me, listening to me. Millions of people have sat before me and listened, but there are very few who have listened with as much feeling as he was listening. Streams of tears were flowing down his face.

Suddenly, he got up in the middle of the lecture and left the hall. I was a little surprised and I asked the organizer what happened. It turned out that the man was very famous - I hadn't known. He was a literary man, a poet, a writer.

The organizer went to his house and inquired.... The man told him, "Forgive me - I was becoming disturbed. After twenty minutes I thought, It is better to run away from here. If I stay a little longer, something or other will happen. This man is already cuckoo - he will drive me mad. I will come, but not now. I will certainly come again, but give me a little time. I could not sleep for two nights, and what he said is echoing in my mind. No, at present I have so much work. Now my children are young, I have a house and family to look after, but I will certainly come. Go and please tell him I shall certainly come - but not now."

When someone says you are cuckoo, he is only trying to protect himself. By deciding you are mad he means he is repressing his attraction. He also has an irrepressible longing within him. Who has not sought God? Who has no thirst for bliss? Who is not longing for truth? Such a person has never existed. Those you call atheists are people who have become frightened. They say, "No, there is no God" - because if they don't deny him, they will have to seek him.

It is my own experience that there is a deeper desire for truth in an atheist than in a believer. He is afraid of going to a temple, but you are not. You are not afraid because the desire in you is not so strong that it will drive you mad. You go to the temple as if you were going to your shop. You go in and out of the temple but you are not affected at all.

An atheist is a person who knows that if he enters the temple he will not be able to return. If he enters he will not return the same as he entered. So there is just one escape; he says, "God does not exist - religion is all hypocrisy." In this way he saves himself, persuading himself, "There is no God, so why go to the temple? There is no God, why get into all this mess? Why meditate? Why pray?"

As I see it, the atheist is inwardly trying to save himself. I have not yet seen a real, authentic atheist.

How can man be an atheist? An atheist means a person who tries to live in "no." How can anyone live in no? How can anyone live in atheism?

To live one needs yes.

Do flowers ever bloom in no? Yes is needed. Acceptance is needed. The more acceptance of life, the more flowers bloom in it. But you are afraid flowers will bloom beyond your capacity, that the flowers will be so abundant that you will not be able to contain it....

Last night a young man told me, "Help! This experience is becoming uncontrollable. I am so elated, it seems I will burst. The ecstasy is too great, I cannot contain it. The vessel of my heart is so small.

Help me! It is carrying me away. All my limits are being smashed. And I am afraid if I flow along with it there will be no return."

Losing control - this is the fear. Ego can readily live with unhappiness; control is not lost in unhappiness. No matter how much you weep in misery, you remain the master. Control is lost in joy, the limits are shattered. Limits are never broken in misery. Even in hell limits are never broken. If you fall into hell you remain strong inside. Limits are broken in heaven - there, control is lost. And where control is lost, ego is lost. Where control is lost, the grip of intellect is lost, the power of reasoning is lost.

This is what is happening. Don't be afraid. The moment of being carried away comes near you. But that current has never carried anyone away unless they have gone mad.

"I am searching for a song not yet on my lips, which would dance in my veins, boiling like lava. I am searching for a fire that will vibrate each and every cell with joy and reduce me to scattered threads, weave me into a fine net so I become transparent. I am in searching for a fragrance to make me weightless, so I can float on the air and quiver in the soft shower of a light rain in the slatey sky of the darkening evening. I am searching for a flashy color...."

Om Prakash, I have given you this flashy color; these orange clothes are the flashy color. Go on flowing, transcending limits. Float beyond intellect. Let go of control. Control means the doer - leave control aside. If there is a doer, it can only be existence. Do not compete with existence, do not become its adversary. Don't fight with it. Surrender, flow with its stream. You will float.

Those who drown are carried afloat - those who try to swim are drowned.

The second question:

Question 2:


It is the truth.

It is not a method, not a device.

Your asking this is a method and device to save yourself. The mind is not ready to accept that godliness can be attained here and now. Why can't it accept it? It can't accept it because if he is available here and now and we are not attaining him, then what could be causing this? How can we explain it? If he can be attained here and now, why are we not attaining him? A great uneasiness arises: it can be attained here and now, but we are not attaining. How to explain it? It becomes a great frustration. To relieve the frustration you say he can be achieved but that you need to be worthy.

Intellect always manages to find a way. Whatever complication arises, the mind finds a solution. It says, "The way has to be sought, worthiness has to be sought, you will have to become purified:

then you will attain. And if Ashtavakra says he can be achieved here and now, certainly he must have a reason for it. He says it so we will start making intense effort. But we will have to make efforts."

Mind is very clever.

Ashtavakra's statement is absolutely clear. Godliness can be found here and now, because it is not an achievement, it is your nature. His whole emphasis is simple: You are it. The very idea of attaining is wrong. When we say godliness can be attained here and now, it simply means it is already attained. Just open your eyes and see!

The very language of attaining is wrong. In attaining it seems that you and existence are separate.

You are the seeker and it is the objective to be sought. You are the traveler and it is the destination.

No, that it can be attained here and now simply means you are that which you are seeking.

Know thyself.

Open your eyes and see - or close your eyes and see.

But see!

It is a matter of insight, not of worthiness.

Worthiness means that even godliness is a business deal. When you go to the market something is sold for a thousand rupees, something for one hundred thousand rupees, something for a million rupees. Everything has its price. Worthiness means that godliness also has its price. Whoever pays the price by proving his worth will get it. You want to make even godliness a commodity in the market: "Renounce, do austerities, then you will attain it. Pay the price and you will get it. Where can you get it for free?" You drag godliness into a shop, seal it in a box, stick on a price tag, and put it on the shelf. You say, "Do this many fasts, that many meditations, this much austerity; stand in the sun, suffer cold and heat, then you will attain it."

Have you ever thought what you are saying? You are saying that realizing godliness is related to your doing something. Whatever you do will be your doing, and your doing cannot be greater than you. Your austerity will be yours - as low as you are, as dirty as you are. Your austerity cannot be greater than you. And whatever you attain through your austerity will be limited, finite, because through the finite only the finite can be obtained, not the infinite. Through austerity you will find a projection of your mind, not God.

Ashtavakra says God already is.

He is the one throbbing within you.

He is the one breathing within you, the one who is born, the one who will pass away. He is eternally manifesting himself in infinite forms - here as a tree, there as a bird, somewhere else as a man.

God is! There is nothing else except him. The recognition of this truth, the remembrance of this truth....

I have heard that once an emperor was very upset with his son and sent him into exile. Because he was an emperor's son, the boy didn't know how to do anything. He had never done anything else - he could only beg. When an emperor is no longer an emperor, begging is the only thing he can do.

He began begging. Twenty years passed and he completely forgot: can anyone begging twenty years remember he is an emperor? Impossible. It is difficult, it would make begging difficult. It is better to forget it. So he forgot; otherwise how could he beg? An emperor and begging! Door to door, holding his begging bowl, standing in front of hotels and restaurants begging, asking for leftovers? An emperor! He had to forget the emperor. It had to be wiped out of his memory. It was finished, that chapter was closed. It was like a dream, like a story he had read long ago or a movie he had once seen. What did it have to do with him?

Twenty years later when the emperor, the father, became old, he got upset - he had only one son and that son would be the ruler. He said to his ministers, "Go and find him. And wherever he is bring him back. Tell him his father has pardoned him. It is not a question of pardoning or not pardoning:

I am dying. Who will look after the kingdom? It is better that it stay in the hands of my own blood rather than go to someone else. However he may be, good or bad, bring him back."

The ministers found the prince standing in front of a dining hall with his broken bowl, begging for money. He was naked. He had no shoes on his feet. It was mid-afternoon, in the heat of summer, a hot wind blowing. His feet were burning and he was begging for a little money to buy shoes. He had a little change in his bowl.

The chariot came and stopped. The minister got down and fell at his feet-he was the future emperor.

As the minister touched his feet, in a flash it happened, it all came back. For twenty years he had not remembered that he was an emperor. Now to remember he had no need to sit and think, contemplate, do austerities, meditate. No, within one second, not even a second - in a moment the transformation happened.

The man became something else. He was still a beggar, impoverished. He was still naked, still he had no shoes on his feet. He threw away his begging bowl and told the ministers to arrange for his bath and make arrangements for proper clothing. He stepped forward and mounted his chariot. His glory was a sight to see. He was still the same, but his face was majestic, his eyes were shining, there was a splendor all around. He was an emperor. The memory returned. His father had sent the invitation.

It is just like this.

When Ashtavakra says here and now, he is saying the same: however long you have traveled - twenty years, even twenty lives.... You have been in exile, you have begged long, you have totally forgotten. The memory is sound asleep - it had to be put to sleep. If the memory were not asleep, begging would have been impossible. You wandered from door to door with a begging bowl.

Ashtavakra is saying, "The invitation has arrived. Wake up! You are not a beggar! You are the son of an emperor!"

If someone listens rightly, the happening takes place just by listening. This is the greatness, the glory of the Ashtavakra Gita. There is no insistence on doing anything. Just listen, just let the truth reach your heart. Don't come in the way, just be receptive. Just listen, let the arrow reach your heart.

Its impact is enough. The forgetfulness of many many lives will break open, the memory will come back: you are God. Hence he says right here, right now.

Don't find excuses. You say, perhaps this is a method, a device, to increase urgency, to increase intensity in people.

This question is from Swami Yoga Chinmaya. With Chinmaya... in Chinmaya's intellect there is too much effort, striving, asceticism. His understanding is like an ordinary Yogi's. Ashtavakra's statements are not for the ordinary yogi. They are for the extraordinary, the intelligent - those who can awaken just by listening. Chinmaya is a bit of a HATHA Yogi - he moves only after a thorough beating. He cannot move just by seeing the whip, just by seeing the shadow of the whip.

Don't laugh, because most people are just like Chinmaya. Don't think that your laughing proves that you are different than Chinmaya. Chinmaya at least got up the courage to ask - you didn't even ask. This is the only difference. You are just like him. If you haven't become God by the time the Ashtavakra Gita discourses are over, then know: there is no difference, you are just like him. But if while listening you wake up and become God, then just the shadow of the whip has worked.

"It has always been the observation of seekers that the realization of God is a very arduous phenomenon." The seeker is off track from the very beginning. The very meaning of seeker assumes that God has to be sought, that he has lost God somewhere. The seeker accepts that he has lost the divine somewhere. What a strange idea. He has lost God? How can you lose him?

People come to me saying they want to seek God. I say, "Alright, seek! But where did you lose him?

When?" They say, "We don't know anything about that." Look into it first. It may be that you have not lost him at all. Sometimes it happens that your glasses are on your nose and looking through them you are searching for them. Could it not be that God is on your nose and you are searching for the same god? This is how it is. The seeker is fundamentally mistaken. He has accepted that he has lost the divine, or has not yet found him, that God is somewhere far away and has to be found.

The divine is never found by seeking. By searching and searching one learns that there is nothing in seeking. While searching, one day the very seeking drops away. As soon as the seeking drops God is found.

Buddha sought for six years, searched totally. Where can you find a greater seeker than him?

Wherever he heard that someone had attained knowledge, he went there. He put his head at their feet. He did whatever the gurus, the teachers, told him. Even the teachers tired of him. Teachers never tire of students who don't follow their instructions. They are never tired of them because they can always say, "You are not following instructions. That's why nothing is happening. What can we do?" A teacher is relaxed when you don't obey him - he can always say that you didn't obey. If you had obeyed it would have happened.

But with Buddha the teachers were in trouble. Buddha did whatever the gurus said. Buddha always managed to do even more than what they said. Finally the gurus told him with folded hands, "Look, go somewhere else. Whatever we have to say, we have said." Buddha said, "But nothing has happened through it." They said, "Nothing has happened to us either. We cannot hide it from you. Just go somewhere else."

Faced with such an authentic man even the gurus could not be deceptive. After searching intensely in every direction, at last Buddha saw that seeking is futile, it is not found by seeking. The world already had no meaning for him; spirituality also became meaningless. Worldly pleasures had no meaning for him. The day he left the palace they had become meaningless for him, so he left. Yoga also became meaningless. Nothing left in pleasure, nothing left in Yoga. What to do now? Now there was nothing left to be done - it was no longer possible to be a doer.

Understand this sutra correctly. Neither worldly pleasure nor Yoga remains, neither the world nor heaven. There is no space left for the doer. If there is something to do the doer can remain. Nothing was left to do, and that very night it happened.

That evening sitting under the bodhi tree, there was nothing to do. Buddha was thrown into confusion. When he dropped the world, he grabbed hold of Yoga: when he dropped indulging he jumped into spiritualism. There was something to do - the mind remained busy. Now the mind had no space. The mind-bird began fluttering - no space! The mind needs space. The ego needs the nourishment of doing, it needs duties. If there is something to do the ego can survive. There was nothing left to do. Think about it a little. A deep indifference was born in him, what Ashtavakra calls nonattachment.

A Y is not detached, because a yogi seeks new pleasure: a yogi seeks spiritual pleasure. He is not indifferent, he still has the desire to enjoy. He couldn't find it in the world, so he searches in God - but the search continues. It is not found here, so he looks there. It is not found outside, so he looks inside. But the search continues. Neither the hedonist nor the Yogi is indifferent to pleasure. Yes, they search differently for pleasure. One goes outside, one goes inside, but they both go somewhere.

That night there was nowhere for Buddha to go, neither inside nor outside. Just imagine that night, bring it to life. Feel how that night must have been. For the first time he attained rest, that which Ashtavakra says - the rest in consciousness out of which one attains the truth. That day relaxation happened.

As long as there is something to do, effort continues. As long as there is something to do, tension continues. Now there was no question of tension. The body was completely exhausted, the mind was completely exhausted. Buddha collapsed under that tree and fell asleep. At dawn when his eyes opened, they opened the way everyone's eyes should open. At dawn when he opened his eyes, those eyes opened for the first time. Those eyes that had been closed for centuries opened.

At dawn when he opened his eyes, the last star of the morning was fading. He watched as the last star disappeared outside. Outside the last morning star dissolved - inside the last trace of the mind also disappeared. There was nothing, no one left inside. There was absolute silence, a void, a great void, space.

It is said Buddha remained sitting that way for seven days - like a statue, without the slightest movement. They say the gods became worried and descended from heaven. Brahma, creator of the universe, descended and fell at the feet of Buddha saying, "Please speak! Such a phenomenon occurs only once in centuries, and then too with great difficulty. Please say something. We are eager to hear what has happened!"

Hindus are very angry that in Buddhist stories Brahma is made to fall at the feet of Buddha. But the story is perfectly right... because gods may be living in heaven but they don't live beyond the sky. Today the phenomenon has happened that an individual has gone beyond desire. Now there is no one higher than Buddha. Buddhahood is the ultimate. Even gods are lower. They still have the desire for heaven and heavenly pleasures.

That is why there are stories that Indra's throne begins to shake when he hears that some competitor is coming, some sage is going deep in meditation. Indra becomes nervous, his throne starts shaking.

It is the same story as with the throne in Delhi. Call it Indra's throne or Indira's, it is the same, there is no great difference. A challenger is coming: competition, anxiety, fear....

Buddha attained by non-doing. What happened in Buddha's life must have happened in Ashtavakra's life too. We do not have any story about it, no one has written it, but certainly it must have happened because whatever Ashtavakra says is just this: "You have done a lot of running - now stop. God is not attained by running, he is attained by stopping. You have sought enough, now drop the search.

You cannot find truth by seeking because truth is hidden in the one who is seeking. Why are you running here and there?"

Kabir says, "The musk is in the navel - that fragrance is your own." But when fragrance emanates from the navel of a musk deer, he goes mad. He starts running here and there, searching. Where does this scent come from? Who has produced this perfume? Where does it come from?

... Because whatever fragrance the deer knows comes from outside: sometimes from flowers, sometimes from something else, but always from outside. Today the fragrance comes from within, but still he thinks it must come from outside. He starts running. And the musk is in his own navel, that fragrance is his own!

God resides within you. As long as you seek him outside - in Yoga, in hedonism... it is useless.

An ordinary Yogi takes you out of indulgence, Ashtavakra takes you out of indulgence and Yoga both - beyond Yoga, beyond hedonism. Hence you will find that the worldly man has an ego, but have you seen the ego of a Yogi? A worldly man gets angry. Have you heard the curse of a saint? A worldly man walks vainly with his head high, waving his flag. Have you seen the flags, the elephants, the pomp of the Yogis? An ordinary man proclaims his wealth, announces his achievements. Have you seen the Yogis boasting they have such-and-such powers, such-and-such abilities? But these things are all one and the same, there is no difference in them.

Unless Yoga is transcended, unless a person is completely free of the idea "I am the doer," nothing has happened. You have only changed color. You are a chameleon, you simply changed color. But only the color changed, not you.

"It has always been the observation of seekers that the realization of God is a very arduous phenomenon." In a sense this is true. If you insist on reaching by running hard then what can anyone do? If you want to touch your nose by reaching around your head, go ahead and do it.

Certainly when you touch your nose from the far side you will feel that touching one's nose is a very arduous phenomenon. This is because of you, not because of your nose.

If you stand on your head and try to walk, it is difficult to walk even five or ten steps. Then if you say that walking is an arduous phenomenon you are not lying; what you say is right. But you are standing on your head. For those who stand on their feet walking is not a difficult thing.

You fast, overheat yourself in front of a fire, unnecessarily trouble your body, torture it, do a thousand kinds of idiocies - and then you say that to realize God is a very arduous phenomenon. What you say is right. What you could have reached easily, naturally, you are reaching by becoming unnatural, so you find it difficult. Your way of reaching is wrong. But why does man choose the impossible?

It has to be understood. What is the joy of walking on your head when you have feet? There is pleasure in walking on the head. It is the pleasure of the ego.

Mulla Nasruddin was fishing in a lake. I watched for a while. I went on watching but he was not getting even a bite. It seemed there were no fish in the lake. I asked him, "Nasruddin, it seems there are no fish in this lake. How long are you going to sit here? That other lake is nearby - why don't you go over there and fish? Here there is not a fisherman to be seen; all the fishermen are over there."

Nasruddin said, "What is the point in catching fish there? There are so many fish in that lake that there is no place for them to swim. If you catch fish there, so what? If you catch fish here, it is something!"

The impossible is attractive. The more impossible it is, the more the ego is strengthened by doing it. It is something if you catch fish here. What is the point if you do what everyone else is doing?

Everyone walks on their feet. If you do the same, what fun is it? Walk on your head.

As I see it, there is no connection between arduousness and God. Arduousness is connected to the ego. The ego enjoys doing arduous things. Everyone does things the easy way. What's the point? If you tell someone that you walk on your feet, people will say, "Have you gone mad? Everyone does."

But if you walk on your head your name will be printed in the newspapers. People will start coming to you, they will bow their heads at your feet. You have achieved something: you are walking on your head!

Ego is worshiped when you do something impossible - like when Edmund Hillary climbed Mount Everest, the whole world came to know about it. If you climb a small hill near Poona and plant your flag on it, and say, "No reporter is coming, no photographer is coming - what is the matter? Why this discrimination? They made so much noise over Hillary, his name is set down now in history, and nothing is happening with me. He planted a flag - I am doing the same thing!" But to climb Everest is difficult. For fifty to sixty years people tried to climb it. Then one man finally succeeded. That's why.

Eventually a road will be made. Sooner or later buses will start going there. Everest cannot keep itself safe from man for long now - when one man has reached its summit, a whole chain begins. Recently a woman reached there too. When even women reach, what is left in reaching it?

Eventually everyone will be going. Within a short time there will be hotels and buses and everything else. If you go when buses have started going and plant a flag, saying, "This is the place where Hillary placed his flag. But I am being discriminated against, favoritism is being shown against me"....

Ego enjoys difficulties. Man makes many things harder so his ego can be fulfilled. We make many things difficult: the more difficult we make it the more juicy it becomes. Arduousness is not in realizing God - arduousness is juice for the ego.

What you say is right: "It has always been the observation of seekers that the realization of God is a very arduous phenomenon." These seekers are all egoistic. And when have seekers realized God?

It has happened when seeking dropped away. You realize God only when seeking drops away, when you are not going anywhere - just sitting, at rest, in ultimate rest. It happens when the pilgrimage disappears into the void.

People usually think that if they realize God the pilgrimage will end. But it is exactly the opposite. If you drop the journey, God will be realized immediately. People think, "When we reach the destination we will relax." The situation is otherwise: if you relax, you reach the destination.

Relaxation is the key to meditation and samadhi. Effort is the key to the ego.

That's why you will find that the more effort-oriented a religion is, the more egoistic the monks of that religion are. A Jaina monk is more egoistic than a Hindu monk. A Jaina monk says, "A Hindu monk? So what? Anybody can become one. A Jaina monk? It is a difficult thing - only one meal a day, many many fasts, all kinds of arduous practices...."

Again, among Jainas there are Digambar monks and Shvetambar monks. The Digambar monks say, "What is there to Shvetambar monks? They wear clothes. The real monks are Digambaras."

Nowhere will you ever find the ego shining more than in a Digambar monk. His body will be dried out, just a skeleton - because of so much fasting, naked living, suffering in sun and fire - but his ego will be aflame. His conceit will be that of a Hillary.

There are at the most twenty Digambar monks in India, five or six thousand Shvetambar monks, and five million Hindu monks. And if it is in my power I will make the whole world sannyasin. So there can be no ego in becoming my sannyasin. ... Because I don't say do this and do that. It is a very simple matter: put on orange clothes and you are a sannyasin!

If sannyas becomes easy then where is juice for the ego?

People come to me. They say I should make special arrangements for giving sannyas. Special arrangements for sannyas! They are right. This is what happens when a Jaina initiation takes place.

Loud music is played, a horse is brought in, there is a lot of festivity. It seems as if something great is happening, somebody is being enthroned. Sannyas has become like a royal throne. People start praising, applauding this great happening. And I give sannyas so silently that no one knows - I give it even by mail. I do not know who the fellow is, nor does he know who has given it. It is good.

As I see it, sannyas should be simple.

As I see it God is realized in relaxation, not by ego. It is not a doing, not a seeking.

God is already attained.

Be a little lighter, be a little more peaceful, just stop.

Suddenly you will find he was always here.

The last question:

Question 3:




Who is it that is saying there are twenty billion cells in the body? Certainly it is not the cells. One cell cannot keep track of all the other cells - there are billions of cells in the body. Who is saying this?

Who asks this? Who found this out? There is definitely someone inside you quite separate from the cells, who counts and says there are twenty billion cells.

"In our body there are some twenty billion cells, and chemical reactions go on continuously. When you or Ashtavakra say, "Be a witness," who are you addressing?" That one, who says there are twenty billion cells.

"If you are addressing the brain cells, it is meaningless, because mind is transient." No, we are not addressing the brain cells, we are talking to you. Ashtavakra is addressing you. He is not such an idiot as to address your brain cells, it is you he is talking to. Your being is beyond your cells. The fact is, you use the cells. It is like a driver sitting at the wheel of a car. The car is running, moving fast, moving at one hundred miles per hour. Still the driver inside is not the car. If a policeman pulls him over and he asks the policeman, "Who are you addressing? The motor? - the motor is propelling the car. Who are you addressing? The petrol? - the petrol makes it run. The wheels? - they spin fast."

What would the patrolman say? The same as I say to you: "I want to talk to you. It's you I pulled over."

"If you are trying to wake up the soul then it is meaningless, as the soul is already awake. It is foolish to awaken it and say "Know thyself."

You are absolutely right: the soul is already awake. There is no way to wake it up. Nor are we trying to do that.

The situation is something like this. You lie down and knowingly fake sleep; you are lying awake with your eyes closed. It is very easy to rouse the sleeping: shake him a little or throw water in his face and he will wake up. But the man who is lying awake with eyes closed pretending to sleep, how will you rouse him? Throw water; it won't do any good. Shake him, move him; he will roll over and keep on sleeping. Call his name; he hears but does not respond. This is your condition.

It is meaningless to rouse the awakened, but the awakened is pretending to sleep; hence the need to awaken.

We are not waking up any sleeper, because the soul cannot sleep. It is the body that sleeps, and the body can be awakened. There is no meaning in awakening a soul that is already awake. You are absolutely right, you are speaking with great wisdom - but it must be borrowed. If it came from your own understanding you would never have asked.

Ashtavakra or I, we are awakening the one who is already awake but has forgotten that he is awake; who is awake but goes on pretending to sleep; who is playing at sleeping. And this is why there are difficulties in awakening anyone, great difficulties.

"Are you not throwing people into illusion?" Do you think people are not already in illusion? If they are not, then definitely I am throwing them into illusion. But if they are not in illusion, how can they be thrown into it? Can all these buddhas be thrown into illusion? And if people are in illusion, what I am doing is an effort to bring them out. However you are, I reverse it.

If you think you are in illusion, this is an attempt to awaken you. And if you think that you are already awakened, this is an attempt to throw you into illusion.

But who can throw you into illusion if you are already awakened? Remember, no one but you can throw you into illusion, and no one but you can awaken you. Someone can attempt to wake you up, but unless you cooperate you will not wake up - because this is not a sleep which can be broken.

You are faking it. Your cooperation is necessary. Cooperation means discipleship. Cooperation means that you go to someone who can awaken you. You tell him, "It has become an old habit to deceive myself - please help me to come out of this habit."

A young woman came to me and told me she was in the habit of taking an addictive drug. She wanted to stop it. She wanted badly to get off the drug, so eager to be finished with it some way. But the drug addiction had gone deep into the cells of her body. When she did not take the drug, there was such severe pain and discomfort throughout the body that she couldn't sleep, couldn't get up, couldn't sit down, so she had to take it. And if she took it, she became depressed by the mess she was in. She had come to me to get off the drug, asking for my hand in support. This is the situation, this is your condition.

Your practice of remaining asleep life after life has deeply affected you. You are an awakened one under the illusion that he is asleep, a king considering himself a beggar. He has believed it for so many lives that now his own habit....

Nothing will happen only from listening. You can listen to me, but nothing will happen through it - until you make it your own, until you accept it. No one but you can awaken you; otherwise one enlightened one would have been enough. He could have shouted loudly and awakened everyone.

He could have beaten on his drums and awakened everyone.

If a hundred people are sleeping here, one person is enough to awaken them. Actually, no one is needed; an alarm clock can awaken them. One man can come and beat a drum and all will get up, or strike a bell and all will get up. But why couldn't this happen when Buddha was here, when Mahavir was, Ashtavakra was, Krishna was, Christ was, Zarathustra was, when Lao Tzu was here?

Why couldn't they have rung a bell loudly and awakened the entire earth? They rang the bell loud and long. If anyone were really sleeping they would have awakened - but here people are faking sleep. They lie with their eyes closed. They hear the bell and they think, "Go on ringing it. We'll see who's going to wake us up!"

When you want to wake up you will.

I cannot throw you into illusion. You are already in illusion: what more illusion can you be thrown into? Do you think you can be led further astray? Do you think there is still somewhere you can be misled? Can you fall down further than this? Is there any place left to fall? Can the greed in you be increased an inch? Can the anger in you be increased even one gram? Can desires which overwhelm you be stronger still? You are standing at the end of the line. He who should be first stands last. He who should be a king stands like a beggar. You cannot go lower - there is no way to fall further.

There is no possibility for you to be more deluded. Even if someone wants to, he cannot do it to you.

Yes, the most anyone can do is switch your illusion. If you are bored with one illusion, he'll give you another. And that is what the sadhus go on doing.

You start feeling out of sorts with worldly illusions, you feel bored, you have lived in them too much.

Now nothing is real - you have seen it all. Now they create a spiritual illusion. They say, "Come enjoy heaven: do good deeds, renounce, do austerities, enjoy heavenly maidens. You have enjoyed and suffered much, but for nothing. Here you drink wine in small measure, mere handfuls; there, in the walled heavenly garden, springs of wine are flowing. You can drown in wine. What is here?

In heaven there are golden palaces, trees of diamonds and jewels. Sit under the wish-fulfilling tree and ask for anything you want. You have suffered too much here." But this is a new illusion.

I am not giving you any new illusion. I simply suggest: you have seen enough illusion, now wake up a little.

How can witnessing be illusion? Think about it.

I simply ask you to be a witness.

Whatever is, I ask you to watch it. If I asked you to do something, illusion would arise. If I asked you to give up this and do that, illusion would arise. I simply suggest that whatever you are doing; whoever you are, a yogi or a Zorba; whatever you are, Hindu or Muslim; wherever you are, in a temple or mosque - wake up, watch with alertness. How can there be illusion in being aware? For an awakened person there is no possibility of being in illusion. Dreams come in sleep, how can they come when one is wide awake?

"And if people cease responding to pleasure and pain will they not become like plants and animals?"

First, who told you that plants and animals are worse off than you? You just take it for granted. You should ask trees and plants. Ask animals as well... look into the eyes of animals. This also is man's ego - that he thinks he is above animals. And the strange thing is animals have never been asked to offer testimony. You have made a one-sided decision, you have decided by yourself. If animals were writing books like your scriptures it would be written in them that man is the animal beyond cure.

I have heard that among monkeys it is said that man is a fallen monkey. Darwin says man has evolved from monkeys, but who is Darwin to decide? You should listen to the monkeys too. Both parties need to be heard. Monkeys say man is fallen. And what they say is understandable. Monkeys are above, up in the trees, and you are on the ground below: you are fallen. Monkeys are up above, you are below.

Challenge any monkey to a fight, and see: has strength increased or decreased? Just see if you can leap from one tree to another - your bones will break. Is competence evolving or disappearing?

Who told you that you are superior? Or did you just take it for granted?

It is just ridiculous. One disease among the many diseases man has is to believe he is superior.

If you ask men, they think they are superior to women - without even asking women. Women's testimony has never been taken. There was never any vote on it. Men wrote the scriptures, expressing what was in their minds, and women were prohibited from reading, so they couldn't object. If she had known how to read, the pundit's wife would have harassed him for what he wrote.

So women were prevented from reading: women should not read the Vedas, should not do this, should not do that.... These male chauvinists went right to the limit: they said women cannot even be liberated. First they will have to be born as men, to come into life in a male body; then they can get enlightened.

Then ask among men. The white man considers himself superior to the black man. But ask the black man....

I have heard that an Englishman went to an African jungle to hunt, taking a black guide with him.

They got lost in the jungle and then they saw a tribe of about a hundred savages with spears coming at them. The Englishman freaked out! He told his black guide, "Our lives are in danger!" The black said, "Our lives? Leave me out of this! Just take care of yourself. Why should my life be in danger?"

The white man thinks he is superior, the black thinks he is superior. Ask the Chinese. It is written in Chinese books that the English are monkeys. They do not even count them as human.

This disease exists throughout the whole world. It has gone very deep in man. He goes on deciding things without consulting the other party. This is all the play of the ego. If you just look, leaving aside your ego, you will find that all are manifestations of God - animals, birds, plants, man, everything.

Sometimes God wants to be green, so he is green. Sometimes he wants to manifest in the song of birds, and he does. Sometimes he wants to become man so he becomes man. There is no stratification here, no hierarchy, no one above or below. All are simultaneously the infinite waves of God. In a small wave, it is he, in a big wave it is he, in a white wave it is he, in a black wave it is he, in grass it is he, in trees touching the sky it is he.

The religious vision says God is whatever exists this very moment. In God how can anything be further ahead or behind? This would be very difficult. For something to be lower, something to be higher would be very difficult. There is only one. If you look as a witness, you will see all is one.

So the first thing is don't ask, "If people cease responding to pleasure and pain will they not become like plants and animals?" If they do it is not a loss. Would there be some loss if Hitler became an animal or a plant? Yes, millions of people would be saved from death; no other harm would be done. What danger if Nadirshah became a tiger? He would have been satisfied with killing five or ten people, killing only for food. As a man he covered the earth with corpses for no reason at all.

This much is certain - animals have not yet invented anything like the atom bomb. Animals use their claws to kill, a very ancient way. And they kill only for food. Man is the only animal who kills with no intention of eating. Man goes to the jungle to hunt birds and animals, and says it his recreation, his sport. But if a lion attacks him, it is not recreation. He does not say, "The lion is just playing - let him do it. It is his recreation." You kill for sport? No animal kills for sport.

Another significant point is that no other animal kills his own kind. No lion kills other lions. No monkey murders other monkeys. Man is the only animal who kills his own kind. Ants don't kill ants.

Elephants don't kill elephants. Dogs don't kill dogs. They quarrel and fight but they don't kill, they don't murder. Men are the only animal who murder one another.

What is it in man that you are so worried about losing? What would be lost? Trees and plants are beautiful, animals are very innocent. But I am not asking you to be like trees or plants or animals; I am only saying, "Drop the ego."

And the second thing is, I have never said to cease responding to pleasure and pain. Ashtavakra has not said that either. To maintain an equanimity in happiness and pain does not mean ceasing to respond to pleasure and pain. To maintain an equanimity in pleasure and pain means only this:

"I will remain a witness. If pain comes I will observe it; if happiness comes, I will observe it."

This does not mean if you prick Buddha with a thorn he will not feel pain. If you prick Buddha with a thorn he will feel more pain than you do because he is more sensitive than you are. You have become stone-like, while Buddha is like a delicate lotus. When you prick Buddha with a thorn he feels more pain than you do. But the pain is in the body. Knowing this, Buddha remains standing apart. He watches - pain is happening. He knows pain is happening, still he does not identify himself with pain. He knows, "I am the knower, by inner nature, the knower."

Ashtavakra does not ask you to cease responding. He doesn't say that if your house catches fire don't run out; remain seated and you will become a buddha. He says that while running away know that the house is burning, but you are not burning. And even if your body is burning, know that the body is burning, not you. He does not mean you should allow your body to be burnt - take your body away from the fire. He does not say to cause any hardship to the body.

To be unresponsive means to become stone-like, lifeless. The Buddha is not a stone. Have you ever met anyone more compassionate than Buddha? Ashtavakra could not have been a stone - a river of love flowed through him. The sensitivity of those whom springs of love flow through has increased, not decreased. A great compassion descended through him. ... But you can misinterpret it.

And whoever has asked the question seems to have some kind of scriptural intellect, a bit too much garbage in the intellect. He has read a little, heard a little, gathered a little information - now it churns around in him, not allowing him to listen, not allowing him to see. It goes on distorting things.

"The pilgrims all stopped. Water within is half-jelled, outside it's frozen solid. On one side unfathomable quicksand to the neck, on the other an oceanic flood. Wild winds are blowing, the jungles have all bowed down, the pilgrims have all stopped. Closed doors, through open windows eyes go on looking out. On the face of the sun there are infinite black rods, like arrows of dusk.

Silent behind their masks all are frightened, overawed seeing this. The pilgrims have all stopped."

How long will you go on hiding behind these masks, these facades of intellectualism, of scholarship, of scriptural knowledge? How long will you hide behind these layers of thought? Push them aside and awaken the pure consciousness within you. Watch like a seer, not as a thinker. Thinker means one in whom the mind process has started.

So, if you want to understand Ashtavakra you can understand only as consciousness, pure consciousness. If you fall into thought you will not be able to understand Ashtavakra. You will miss. Ashtavakra is not a philosopher, Ashtavakra is not a thinker.

Ashtavakra is a messenger, a messenger of consciousness, of witnessing. Pure witnessing, just watching. If there is unhappiness, observe it. If there is happiness, observe it. In unhappiness don't become identified with unhappiness. In happiness don't become identified with happiness. Let both come, let both go. Night has come, observe it. Day has come, observe it. At night, don't think you have become night. In the day, don't think you have become the day.

Remain detached, beyond, transcendent, above, far away. Be identified with only one thing: you are the observer, you are the witness.

Hari Om Tat Sat

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"The Palestinians are like crocodiles,
the more you give them meat,
they want more"....

-- Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel
   at the time - August 28, 2000.
   Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000