Almustafa says, "... I CANNOT TARRY LONGER. THE SEA THAT CALLS ALL THINGS UNTO HER CALLS ME, AND I MUST EMBARK."
This is the experience of all those who have become awakened to their reality, who are realized spiritual beings. Their work on themselves is complete; they need not tarry any longer in the dark valleys of life. But they tarry as long as existence allows them.
The reason is transformation: the moment you know yourself, your passion - the same energy that was dragging you down and down - becomes a new force. Hence the word compassion - passion has become compassion, lust has become love. Passion has a thousand and one problems; compassion has only one problem.
I am reminded of Gautam Buddha. It is said... the words are not important but the meaning is the most beautiful and the most significant one can experience. When Gautam Buddha became enlightened, it was a full moon night. For the first time he faced a new question. He had faced many questions - and because he was able to dissolve all those questions, he was not even aware before that this question, the last one, would also arise at a certain moment in the journey towards the stars. It was compassion.
As he became enlightened, all his own worries, anxieties, disappeared as if they had never existed before, as if he had been asleep and it was just a nightmare. Now that he was awake, all those dreams were not there. But a new thing - so new that he had not even dreamt of it - suddenly became his whole being.
Compassion is the name of that state. The whole energy that was involved in passions is purified, refined. It no longer goes downwards - it opens its wings and is ready to fly. But what about those millions and millions of people who are still wandering in darkness, in blindness? Can he simply be so selfish that he can forget all about them? Friends and enemies, lovers and those who hated him, people who nourished him all his life and the people who wanted to destroy him. But when compassion arises, the difference between the friend and the enemy disappears. Now it is just a whole caravan of humanity - fellow travelers.
Should he look back or just go ahead and disappear into the universal bliss? He has come to the point from where there is no barrier for him. He can move and fly like an eagle into the open sky of truth, beauty, goodness - satyam, shivam, sunderam.
But what about those who are left behind? They may have hated him - they have hated him; efforts were made on his life many times. But the moment compassion arises, one feels compassion even for those whose whole effort was to destroy the man, to destroy his message, to destroy him so entirely that his name disappears, forgotten. But still... they are human beings, facing same anxieties, the same problems, the same jealousies; suffering in the same hell.
The story is that Buddha stopped at the gate of paradise, for which he had been working his whole life. The door opened. There was music, celebration, because only once in a while the door opens.
Only once in a while there is a man who rises to such heights that paradise has to rejoice. The gatekeepers asked, requested: "You have arrived! Come in." But they were surprised. He was looking sad, because he was not thinking this moment about paradise and its benedictions. He was thinking of millions of souls wandering, not knowing where to go, not knowing what to do, suffering, in deep torture.
Should he go back and forget all about the paradise and its pleasures, its eternal life, its every moment rejoicings? He has achieved it with great arduousness. Now that he has found it, and now that paradise is celebrating to receive him - should he enter the gate? But that will be utter selfishness, ugly - not worthy of a man like Gautam Buddha.
He told the doorkeepers, "Please, shut the doors again. I cannot come in. I will wait until the last human being has passed into paradise. I am going to be the last human soul and these doors will not be opened again once I enter. It may take eternity but it does not matter. I see millions of sad faces, hearts full of tears, people who have never known a smile - their whole life is just hellfire.
"No. Please close the doors. I am afraid - if the doors remain open, in some weak moment I may be tempted to enter."
Buddha still stands outside the gate of paradise - because we are all still groping - for us and for millions of the past and for the millions of others who will be coming.
This may be just a beautiful story but it contains pure truth, unpolluted.
Almustafa is in the same situation. His ship has arrived, yet i cannot tarry longer.... He wants to be still in the world. He has loved the world, although there were dark nights... but there were beautiful sunrises too. And there were thorns but there were beautiful roses too. Although there were people who have tried to kill him, there were people who were ready to die for him any moment. Just a word from him would have been enough. Thousands of people have said to him, with their total heart and being:
Buddham sharanam gachchhami: I go to the feet of the awakened one.
Sangham sharanam gachchhami: I go to the feet not only of the awakened one, but also to the commune that has arisen around him, all kinds of seekers.
Dhammam sharanam gachchhami - not only to Buddha, not only to his commune, but also to his message.
There were these people also.
Buddha remained at the gate - perhaps the same situation arises in every mystic's life. But existence has certain cosmic laws. It never makes any exceptions. That's why I said it is a beautiful story, signifying a tremendously meaningful truth. Don't forget: existence cannot allow exceptions, Buddha or no Buddha. If you have arrived, you have arrived. I know from my own experience: there are no gates to paradise and there are no gatekeepers... yet i cannot tarry longer.
Almustafa wants to tarry a little longer but it is against the rules of our very life. He has to go; he will have to go - with a deep sadness in his heart.
He has achieved blissfulness, peace, silence, serenity. He has blossomed in thousands of flowers.
His spring has come... but others are still seeds. Millions have even forgotten that they are seeds, that they have a potentiality, of growth. Hence, every realized soul would like to tarry a little longer just to say that which is almost impossible to say... but at least that which cannot be said can be shown; perhaps not in words but in silence.
He would like to tarry a little longer so the people living in darkness can at least see what is possible to a man - his aroma, his presence - to tarry a little longer so that a few can drink from his eyes, from his presence, from his grace. Now that he is capable of becoming a bridge between these two worlds which are unbridgeable, the rules do not allow it. However much he wants to tarry a little longer, he will have to go:
THE SEA THAT CALLS ALL THINGS UNTO HER CALLS ME, AND I MUST EMBARK.
It is impossible, when the universe calls you, to say no.
You are part of it.
Your heartbeats are not different from the heartbeat of the universe. You are not separate. You are separate only in your ignorance. As you become enlightened, as your interiority becomes full of light, there is a great shock and surprise waiting for you: "My God, now I can help but the universe is calling me. Unwillingly, reluctantly... but I will have to go. I must embark."
This is a totally different kind of sadness. You all have known sadness that was selfish. You have lost something - a beloved, a friend, a mother, a father. Your sadness has always been of losing something that you never wanted to lose. Your sadness is the sadness of the bankrupt.
But the sadness Almustafa is talking about is not your sadness. Even your moments of happiness are lower, far lower than the moments of sadness of a man who is standing at the door - because the whole situation has changed. He is not sad for himself. Now he is no more. He is only bliss, he is only ecstasy; the question of sadness does not arise.
His sadness is for others. He can do something, but the ship is coming and the sea is calling and existence accepts no exceptions - he will have to embark.
Joy in the heart for what has happened to him, and tears in his eyes... because he will be leaving all those with whom he has lived long, suffered long. He has been almost one with them.
FOR TO STAY, THOUGH THE HOURS BURN IN THE NIGHT, IS TO FREEZE AND CRYSTALLIZE AND BE BOUND IN A MOULD.
His trouble is twofold: he cannot stay anymore, the rules are against it. And he cannot stay even if existence makes an exception, because staying neither in this world nor in that world will put him into a limbo.
FOR TO STAY, THOUGH THE HOURS BURN IN THE NIGHT, IS TO FREEZE AND CRYSTALLIZE AND BE BOUND IN A MOULD.
There are only two ways - either to go back and live the life that he never wanted to live, for the sake of others, or to go ahead and enter into a new life, a higher life, a life that knows no death. But if you remain between the two, you will be crystallized into a mould; you will be turned into a stone statue.
Life is movement, it is a flow. It is a river, it is always moving. The moment it stops moving, it becomes dirty, muddy, starts dying. Flowing, it remains fresh and young and excited and adventurous because it does not know what is going to happen in the next moment.
Existence knows only flowing - always moving, never stopping. To stop is another name of death.
In any direction, in any dimension - the moment you stop you are dead.
Hence I am against the idea that God is perfect. If he is perfect then Friedrich Nietzsche is right, that he is dead. Perfection means death. Once something is perfect, there is nothing left to be done, nowhere to go, no possibility of any more growth. Because all the religions of the world have made their gods absolute, perfect, that is the reason why Nietzsche is saying that God is dead. But Nietzsche was only a philosopher - of great intelligence, but no meditation.
I say unto you, it depends on you whether your god is going to live or to die.
Go on moving, then your god is alive.
Stop and your god is dead.
It is almost like a bird on the wing: if the wings go on moving, the bird is alive. If the wings stop moving, the bird will fall down on the earth, dead. Movement is synonymous with life. Anything permanent, unmoving is synonymous with death.
Only death never moves.
Life knows no other law than movement.
I have always loved a beautiful, ancient story. A great king dreamt that a black shadow was standing before him. Even in his dream, he felt a great fear. Somehow he managed to ask the shadow: "Who are you and why are you here in my dream?"
The shadow said, "I have come with a purpose. I am not your enemy, don't be afraid. I've come to warn you that tomorrow, as the sun is setting, you will die. So do anything that you can to avoid death.
"It is unprecedented," the shadow said. "Never is anyone informed by death beforehand. It does not come with an appointment; it simply comes and you are no more. But you have been such a beautiful man and such a nice king, loved by millions of people. You have never invaded any country, you have never gone to war. You have done no violence to anybody. Just thinking of this, for the first time, I am going against my own discipline. I am informing you. You have almost a whole day to protect yourself - do something!"
No one can sleep after such a dream. The king immediately asked his security to be on alert. He had an old servant who was almost like his father, because his father had died very early and this servant had raised him and protected his empire, and when he was of the right age, crowned him as the king. Naturally, he called the old man.
He said, "I have seen such a dream... I have tightened security measures. What else can be done?
Time is very short, I have never seen time moving so fast."
The old man said, "Security measures will not help. If death can enter even in your dreams, what can these people do to prevent it? It is better that you call immediately all the wise people of the country, astrologers, philosophers, learned scholars, great priests. Seek their advice. I'm just an old servant."
Immediately all the wise people from the capital were gathered. They came with their scriptures and they started arguing with each other. Night was gone, the sun had risen. And once the sun has risen, the sunset is not very far away. And all those wise people - philosophers, astrolgers and others - were so much engaged in argumentation, in criticizing each other's view that the old servant said to the king, "Leave these people. They have never come to any agreement in centuries! No two philosophers have ever agreed on any point. With these big scriptures they have come... they will take centuries. They all have their own hypotheses, theories about death. My suggestion is, let them discuss. You take your best horse - and you have the best horse in the world - and escape from this palace as fast as possible. Don't stop until sunset has passed and you are still alive."
The idea was appealing.
It is said in a proverb in Tibet: Why do dogs bark at each other continuously, day in, day out? The proverb says these are philosophers; from their past lives, they have not forgotten yet... barking at each other. They know only barking. And strangely enough, they bark at the moon. Now what concern have dogs with the moon? They are not astronauts. But they are discussing the beauty! To us it is barking, but that is their language.
They always bark at people who are in uniforms - policemen, postmen. Strange people - why should they bark at poor postmen, policemen, sannyasins? They are absolutely against uniformity.
They cannot agree on anything, and uniformity shows agreement. That's why I have withdrawn...
why unnecessarily trouble poor dogs? If you are not in a uniform, the dog will not pay any attention.
You don't mean anything, you are not a philosophical question. Once you are in uniform, then it is impossible for the dog not to disagree.
So the old man said, "You know the old proverb. These astrologers and philosophers are going to be born as dogs and they will bark and they will continue for eternity in this way. Don't waste time.
They are not concerned with you, they are not concerned with your death. They are concerned with their opinions about death."
The king escaped from the palace. That seemed to be a very rational approach. Death had appeared in the palace, so it was better to go as far away from the palace as possible. He had really a great horse, and he took him outside the boundaries of his kingdom. He was very happy.
The sun was setting and he came across a beautiful grove of mango trees, a silent and cool place to rest. The whole day long, they had not eaten anything. They had not even taken any care about their thirst because no moment could be lost - you cannot die in one day if you don't drink water or you don't eat food.
But now it was almost over. Almost half the sun had gone under the horizon; the other half would be slipping soon... and then there will be night and the beautiful place he has found.
So he said, "This is the right place." He stopped, got down from the horse, patted the horse and said, "You are my greatest friend. I have never seen a horse who can go so fast." And just as he was praising the horse, the sun went down. He felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked back... the black shadow that he had seen in the dream.
He said, "I must also thank your horse. You certainly have the best horse in the world, because I was worried - this is the place destined for your death. I was worried whether you would be able to reach in time or not. But you have come in time, and the moment you stopped... I was following you.
My work was done."
Whenever anything stops... a full point is a death point. For to stay, though the hours burn in the night, is to freeze and crystallize and be bound in a mould. You cannot tarry anymore. Once you have seen the ship, once you have heard the call of the ocean, nothing can be done.
FAIN WOULD I TAKE WITH ME ALL THAT IS HERE. BUT HOW SHALL I?
This is such a great insight. Although in life there is misery, pain, agony, anguish - but there are also moments of joy, moments of love. The work is difficult to sort out, everything is mixed. But life is not absolutely dark. There are in the darkness a few shining stars too. In fact, the more life is dark, the more stars shine.
Fain would i take with me all that is here... Nothing can be taken. And there is so much! ...but how shall I? The moment you pass the boundary of this life into the universal, you have to leave everything behind. You cannot take anything with you except yourself. That's why all intelligent people in the world have been only interested to know about themselves, to find themselves - because that is the only thing you have brought into the world and that is the only thing you are going to take out of the world.
All else belongs to the world - nothing belongs to you.
A VOICE CANNOT CARRY THE TONGUE AND THE LIPS THAT GAVE IT WINGS.
ALONE MUST IT SEEK THE ETHER.
Although the tongue and the lips gave birth to the voice, the song, the poetry... but the song cannot take with it the lips, the tongue. The song will have to leave them behind... alone must it seek the ether ... this eternal infinity of space. And alone and without his nest shall the eagle fly across the sun.
You cannot take your nest. You have built it, it was cozy. In rain, in winter, in summer, it protected you. But you cannot take it with you. You cannot take those who loved you, you cannot take those you had always thought that you cannot live without. It was your love nest....
Alone - -and absolutely alone - the eagle has to fly across the sun. There is no possibility for the eagle to carry any luggage, howsoever precious.
All these thoughts suddenly became very promiment. They were never before so. Before, he was thinking how to get out of this madhouse that we call the world, how to get out of this insane crowd that surrounds you.
But now that the moment has come and you are able, suddenly you realize - you will be left alone, and you have never been alone. You were born in a family, in a society, in a tradition, in a religion, in a country. You have grown with millions of people around you and suddenly you have to leave everything, without any discrimination.
The idea of renunciation arose out of such experiences. If Mahavira renounced his kingdom... he was going to be the successor of his father. His younger brother tried to persuade him: "You are going to be the king. Why are you going away?"
And the answer was, "It is only a question of time. One day, one has to go alone. Tomorrow is uncertain; hence I have to go right now. And you are here to be the king - you be the king." And he was so total in his renunciation that he renounced even clothes. He went naked.
Only three names are worth remembering. One is Mahavira of India; the other is Diogenes of Greece. And the third is Laila of Kashmir. They renounced everything, for a simple reason: when it is going to be taken away, it is more prestigious to throw it away. When it is certain, absolutely certain to be taken away, then why unnecessarily carry the burden and the problems and the puzzles that will be created by the burden?
Out of the three, Laila is the most important because she is a woman. To be naked is not that difficult for a man. But for a woman... and a beautiful woman; Kashmir produces the most beautiful women in the world. And Kashmir loved Laila so much... it is almost impossible for a Mohammedan, and Kashmir is ninety percent Mohammedan. Laila was Hindu. But Mohammedans have a saying in Kashmir: "We respect only two words in the world: Allah - God - and Laila. These two words are enough." They have raised Laila to the same status as God. They have not done that even to Hazrat Mohammed, who is the founder of Mohammedanism. Laila is not even a Mohammedan but her courage, her grace, her beauty and her absolute determination not to have any possession and just to be an eagle, totally free from possessions....
Paradoxical it is, but worth remembering: the moment you renounce everything, you possess the whole universe. Then the whole sky is yours.
NOW WHEN HE REACHED THE FOOT OF THE HILL, HE TURNED AGAIN TOWARDS THE SEA, AND HE SAW HIS SHIP APPROACHING THE HARBOR AND UPON HER PROW THE MARINERS, THE MEN OF HIS OWN LAND."
Now it is becoming more and more difficult for him. First it was a ship far away, surrounded in mist.
There was a possibility to decide in favor of the known and not to bother about the unknown. But as he was descending the hill, he looked back again - the ship had almost reached the harbor, and he saw the mariners and he saw many men of his own land.
These are all symbols. Kahlil Gibran, through Almustafa is trying to say that it is impossible to choose the known once the unknown approaches closer and closer. And the moment he saw the people of his own land... now the unknown starts becoming known. Now it is not such a risk - he knows those people, he has recognized them. Now it is not a question of choosing. By the time he has reached the foot of the hill, he knows in his heart that the time to go has come. Now nothing can prevent him. The only thing that could have prevented him was the unknowability, the strangeness of the ship. But it is no longer strange.
Those people represent experiences, experiences that he recognizes now as his true source of life - not this world in which he was an outsider, a stranger, somehow deceiving himself that "I am not an outsider. I am a Hindu. I am a Mohammedan. I am a Christian." These are deceptions that we have created, false identities, so that we don't feel that we are in a strange place where we don't belong.
No one is a Hindu and no one is a Mohammedan, no one is a Christian. No one is a German, no one is a Japanese, no one is an American. These are false identities, props - somehow we go on believing in them; otherwise we will feel so alone.
No one is a husband, no one is a wife. Just by sitting beside a fire and a priest repeating mantras in Sanskrit - which neither he understands nor you understand - and just a few minutes before, you were strangers....
In India - and the same is true in other countries in different ways - the basic thing is some ritual.
The priest creates the ritual. The husband and wife take seven rounds around the fire and two strangers have become as if they are born for each other.
I was a professor in my university. One professor was really going through difficult times with his wife.
She actually beat him. Finally, he came to me. He was not known to me but somebody suggested to him that "The man has strange ideas, maybe he can figure out something."
He said, "I will not hide anything." He showed me his back, because that very morning the wife had beaten him with a stick. There was blood.
He said, "What to do?"
I said, "You are an idiot! How did she become your wife?"
He said, "How? We have taken the seven rounds around the fire god."
I said, "Take seven rounds again in the reverse order! It is so simple. Fire is not a problem; if you have gone clockwise, this time go anti-clockwise, or if you have gone anticlockwise, this time go clockwise. And say goodbye to her - why be bothered?"
He said, "The people who have sent me to you were right that you are a man of strange ideas. I have never thought about it, such a simple solution. If seven rounds can make two persons husband and wife, then just in the reverse order they are released." He said, "But you will have to come with me."
I said, "Why are you creating trouble for me?"
He said, "But a priest is needed!"
I said, "Then I am coming."
And he said, "Do you know Sanskrit?"
And I said, "Don't be worried. Neither your priest knew it, nor you, nor your wife. And this time it is not going to be marriage. I will do it in Hebrew."
He heard the word Hebrew. He said, "Are you a Jew?"
I said, "I am no one; I just thought if Sanskrit has made you husband and wife, Hebrew may be helpful. You have to go anticlockwise anyway."
He said, "Give me a little time...."
I said, "You will get another beating from your wife. You are asking for time so that you can ask your wife what her idea is - she will beat you, and then I am not coming. Because if she can beat you...
I am a complete stranger. I don't want to be beaten unnecessarily."
We have created friends, relationships, which are just to pretend one thing: that we are not alone.
But whatever you do, it is all phony. Deep down you know you are alone. Deep down you know that even living with your wife for thirty or forty years, neither do you know her nor does she know you.
You cannot even have a nice conversation for five minutes. The husband enters in the house and immediately starts reading the newspaper, just to avoid the wife.
But it is not so easy. Wives are throwing newspapers, books, turning the radio off, the television off - "First I have been waiting the whole day, and you come home... and to avoid me, you have managed these devices." You go to any house and you will be surprised, that if the wife is in one direction, the husband keeps his newspaper... he is not reading it, or he may have read it many times.
Whatever we do, there is no glue which can make two persons one. Even if the glue is made in Germany, it won't work.
AND HIS SOUL CRIED OUT TO THEM AND HE SAID: SONS OF MY ANCIENT MOTHER, YOU RIDERS OF THE TIDES, HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU SAILED IN MY DREAMS. AND NOW YOU COME IN MY AWAKENING, WHICH IS MY DEEPER DREAM.
There is not a single human being who has accepted his situation as it is. There is a dream that things could be better, he could be in a better world. He himself could be in a better consciousness.
HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU SAILED IN MY DREAMS. AND NOW YOU COME IN MY AWAKENING, WHICH IS MY DEEPER DREAM.
As you meditate, you will pass many layers of the mind - from the conscious to the unconscious, from the unconscious to the collective unconscious, from the collective unconscious to the cosmic unconscious. This is your darker side, your night of the soul. And you will meet strange dreams, strange phenomena.
Western psychology is completely lost into the unconscious part of your being, the darker side of your being. They can't see a simple, logical truth: that if there is night, there must be a day; if there is unconsciousness, more unconsciousness and more unconsciousness, there must be another wing to your life - consciousness, more consciousness....
Meditation and psychology move in two different directions. Psychology goes on digging in the darker parts of your being and finds only dreams. It becomes psychoanalysis, just analysis of dreams.
In the East, we have not bothered about the unconscious part, because with the same effort you can move to the other side of your being, the lighter side, the day of your life where sun shines forth in an unclouded sky. From conscious to superconscious, from superconscious to collective superconscious, and from collective superconscious to cosmic superconscious... that cosmic superconscious is the moment of awakening.
Kahlil Gibran is saying: I have seen you in my nights; now I am seeing you with fully awakened consciousness. But this is my deepest dream - to realize myself, to become myself, to be my potential. So although I am seeing you in my full awakening, it is also my deepest dream, my greatest longing, to come home. It becomes more and more difficult now to tarry anymore on this shore.
READY AM I TO GO, AND MY EAGERNESS WITH SAILS FULL SET AWAITS THE WIND.
I am just waiting for the wind to take me home - ready am I to go, and my eagerness with sails full set awaits the wind. The only waiting is for the wind, so that the sails can be full of the wind and I can move back to my origins, to the land of my deepest dream and of my deepest awakening.
ONLY ANOTHER BREATH WILL I BREATHE IN THIS STILL AIR, ONLY ANOTHER LOVING LOOK CAST BACKWARD, AND THEN I SHALL STAND AMONG YOU A SEAFARER AMONG SEAFARERS.
Because the air is still right now, the ship cannot move. This small time I can use. At least I can breathe my last breath as a memory of this strange world.
Only another loving look... With loving eyes I can have a backward look at the world in which I have lived, loved, suffered, rejoiced. It has been my home up to now. Now I realize it is only a caravanserai, but old beautiful memories... just one look backwards. One more breath and I am ready.
... AND THEN I SHALL STAND AMONG YOU, A SEAFARER AMONG SEAFARERS. AND YOU, VAST SEA, SLEEPING MOTHER, WHO ALONE ARE PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE RIVER AND THE STREAM, ONLY ANOTHER WINDING WILL THIS STREAM MAKE...
Kahlil Gibran certainly has a magical touch - whatever word he touches.... There are ordinary words you all use, but once he touches them they become gold. He's saying: Every river, before it falls into the ocean, hesitates for a moment, wants to look back. The long journey from the mountains, all those experiences, good and bad....
ONLY ANOTHER WINDING WILL THIS STREAM MAKE, ONLY ANOTHER MURMUR IN THIS GLADE, AND THEN I SHALL COME TO YOU....
Just give me this much time...
A BOUNDLESS DROP TO A BOUNDLESS OCEAN.
I am ready.
The beauty of his statement... that whatever may have happened, it was always mixed, and one never knows: there may never again be a chance to visit this strange place, these strange people whom I thought were my friends, my wives, my husbands, my children, all these trees, these mountains - just a look, and there is time because the air is still. As the air starts filling the sails of the ship, I am ready.
He has come to a decision which every seeker of truth one day comes to.
I hope every one of you will come to the same point, where the river takes one look backwards and then melts into the ocean and becomes the ocean....
A BOUNDLESS DROP TO A BOUNDLESS OCEAN.