Kahlil Gibran, in the name of Almustafa, is giving the very essence of mysticism. He is not preaching any religion, he is preaching religion as such.
In fact, the very existence of three hundred religions on the earth indicates definitively that man has missed understanding the very spirit of religion. There cannot be three hundred chemistries - not even three; there cannot be three hundred mathematics. About the objective world, we are so clear - that science is one, and can only be one, without any adjective attached to it. It would look so stupid to say Hindu science, Mohammedan science Christian physics, Jaina mathematics. But that's what has happened with religion.
And religion is your very soul, your very interiority, your very subjectivity. How is it possible that there can be so many religions? There can be only one: religiousness. I will not even call it a religion for the simple reason that the moment you use a noun, the growth has stopped. "Religion"
means something has come to a full stop. Religiousness means something continuously growing, flowering, bringing new spaces and new secrets, unrevealed to you, undreamed of.
Religion is the very river of existence.
It knows no beginning, it knows no end.
All the religions are against me for the simple reason that I am exposing their falsity, their fakeness, their masks.
For this reason, Kahlil Gibran has chosen a name, Almustafa, so that he can put all the experiences of all the mystics of the world - past, present and future - in this name. Man has limitations because he is born in a limited society, conditioned by his parents as Hindu, as Mohammedan, as Christian.
Almustafa is not born of any parents. He is not born at all, he does not exist. Almustafa is simply a symbol of all those flames that have become awakened while we have remained asleep.
Almustafa represents the very central core of pure religiousness. Remember this: he is not preaching any religion. And this is one of the reasons he was not understood before the time of his departure. Everybody suspected... because he is not a Hindu, Hindus cannot accept him. He is not a Mohammedan. Mohammedans cannot accept him. He does not belong to any organized religion.
Kahlil Gibran has such great insight that rather choosing a historical person, he has chosen a fictitious name, vast and big, which need not belong to anybody. Yet everybody can belong to him.
And this is my position too - of course, more difficult than Almustafa's. Almustafa cannot be jailed, Almustafa cannot be poisoned, Almustafa cannot be shot. Almustafa cannot be crucified, because Almustafa is just an idea. But even though he was the purest expression of the innermost experiences possible, he was not condemned. He was not stoned, but ignored - he is a "dreamer."
But when the time of departure came and when his dream appeared as reality, everything changed.
AND WHEN HE ENTERED INTO THE CITY ALL THE PEOPLE CAME TO MEET HIM.
All the people - without bothering about their ideologies, theologies, philosophies; without their trivial differences. This was not a time to lose. They forget that they are Mohammedans or Christians or Jews. The man is going. And what he has been saying for twelve years and nobody has believed, is now a reality. Nobody can deny it...all the people came to meet him. And they were crying out to him as with one voice.
They have missed. He has lived amongst them for twelve years, and they could not recognize.
They went on finding faults with him and slowly slowly, they stopped bothering about him. He talks nonsense - who has ever heard that a day comes when existence welcomes you? that a day comes when the whole existence dances because you have found the secret of life and death, you have found the golden key to the door of God.
They were all crying out to him as with one voice. Alas, if they had laughed with him as one voice, the world would have been a totally different place, a beauty unto itself - without wars, without conflicts, without discriminations. They cried together, but the time was lost.
If you are fortunate enough to find a master, don't miss a single moment. Allow him to dance in you.
Allow him to laugh through you, with one voice, and this very earth can become a paradise. It is just that we are blind and we cannot see it.
AND THE ELDERS OF THE CITY STOOD FORTH AND SAID.... These words go on echoing in my heart - songs of those days when humanity was innocent, when there were no nations and man was as free as birds of a sky. Just think of a bird, carrying a passport, a visa for six weeks....
Man has been far more beautiful when he was less knowledgeable, and even more sincere, authentic when he was as innocent as a child. We are living a very corrupted, polluted, prejudiced life. Now no elders come. Almustafa still happens, but instead of elders coming, police commissioners come - not to welcome but to serve a notice: "You have to leave this place within thirty minutes."
Man has been growing old but he has not been growing up. He is not becoming more innocent. He's not becoming more insightful.
These words of Kahlil Gibran belong to the childhood of humanity. Because they said:
Go not yet away from us. Now that we have recognized you, you are going. Don't be so hard. Be compassionate. Now that we are ready to listen, you are leaving us. Go not yet away from us, because we are wandering in our darkness of jealousies, anger, fear, anguish - and you are going?
This should be the moment of coming! Forgive us that we could not see you, although you spent twelve years amongst us.
A NOONTIDE HAVE YOU BEEN IN OUR TWILIGHT.
AND YOUR YOUTH HAS GIVEN US DREAMS TO DREAM.
NO STRANGER ARE YOU AMONG US, NOR A GUEST, BUT OUR SON AND OUR DEARLY BELOVED.
SUFFER NOT YET OUR EYES TO HUNGER FOR YOUR FACE.
Only for the first time have we seen you. And we have seen you not just as one of the crowd; now your face has become to us the face of God. This will be unbearable, this departure. It would have been better if you had gone and we had not recognized you. But now that we have seen your face, your mystery, now that we have looked into your eyes and your radiance, now that we are touched by your presence, thousands of flowers have grown within our souls. Give it one chance more - now we will not be the same. Because you are no more the person we used to think you were - a little crazy, waiting for some unknown ship nobody has heard about, without any evidence, without even a letter from the other shore that the ship will be coming at a certain time, in a certain season.
But you were so innocent, you went on waiting - "The ship is coming." Your waiting must have become heavy on the heart of God himself. In these long years of waiting, you have become a magnet. This is not the time to leave us. We will hunger to see your face again. Where are we going to find you? Please, do not go away from us.
Such was the childhood of humanity... and such is the childhood still. A child trusts, dreams of unknown lands, hopes, is never pessimistic. If it has not happened today, it is going to happen tomorrow - but it is going to happen.
My own motto in life has been: hope for the best and expect the worse. In either case, you are a victor. Either your hope is fulfilled or your expectation is fulfilled - but fulfillment is yours.
And the priests and the priestesses said unto him.... The very mention of priestesses makes it clear that Almustafa is talking about those golden, ancient days when there was no question of whether one was man or woman; even a woman could be a priestess. Man had not yet become male chauvinistic. The woman was still free, had an equal opportunity.
I am reminded of a beautiful, historical fact. In the most ancient book in existence, RIG VEDA there is a woman - Gargi. The emperor of the country used to have every year a great gathering of all the wise ones, men or women, to discuss the meaning of life. And he used to give the winner one thousand beautiful cows, their horns covered with pure gold, studded with diamonds.
Yagnavalkya was one of the greatest teachers in those days, but he was not a master... and this has rarely happened again. Gargi was a mystic, and a master. She was not interested in the reward, but Yagnavalkya and thousands of others reached early in the morning and the discussion started.
Yagnavalkya was so confident of his victory that when he arrived... he arrived late, just like any politician. And he came with five hundred disciples, just to show the emperor - "I am not coming alone. These other people who are discussing don't have any following." He must have been a good showman.
And his confidence - that he is going to win - shows his ego. You have seen how Almustafa says, "And how can I be confident in sharing my truth, my experience?" Those who know, hesitate. Only
idiots don't hesitate, because to hesitate you need some intelligence. And where the ultimate is concerned, mind is so small - you cannot be confident.
Another great seer, Mahavira, used to answer a single question in such a strange way... nobody else has ever done it. A question needs one answer, but Mahavira would give seven answers, contradicting each other.
You ask him, "Does God exist?"
And his word was: "Perhaps...shayot - maybe."
This "perhaps," this "maybe" is not coming out of ignorance. It is coming out of the infinity of the word God and the smallness of the mind which is going to express it. It can only express one aspect at one time. So he had a seven-fold logic. Aristotle is just a child in comparison to Mahavira and Aristotle is the father of Western logic. But his logic is two-fold - yes or no. But life is a rainbow; you cannot be so certain as to say yes or no. Perhaps yes, perhaps no.
So first, Mahavira would say "Perhaps, yes. But wait, this is only one aspect; language is very poor.
Perhaps no. But wait... perhaps yes and no both. But don't come to a conclusion... perhaps yes and indefinable, perhaps no and indefinable. Perhaps yes and no both and indefinable."
This is the quality of a man who wants to give you all the possible aspects. And God cannot be confined into a single word; hence he has added "indefinable." Still, there are many more aspects but I don't want to confuse you. He has already confused!
But Yagnavalkya came with such confidence... it was full noontime, the sun was hot, and the cows were standing in front of the palace, perspiring. His confidence was that of a knowledgeable person - he was learned, a great scholar. He told one of his disciples, "Take these cows to our commune.
Why should these poor cows suffer unnecessary heat? As far as victory is concerned, that is certain"
- he's taking the reward before even entering the palace.
But following him came Gargi. She was alone, sat silently through all the discussions that were going on, and when Yagnavalkya had defeated all the contestants and asked the emperor, "Please forgive me. As far as the reward is concerned, my disciples have taken the cows long before," Gargi stood up. Perhaps she might not have stood if Yagnavalkya had not shown such idiotic confidence about ultimate affairs.
Gargi said, "Wait. You have defeated everybody because they all belong to your category:
knowledgeable persons. All that is proved is not that you are true; only one thing is proved: that you are more learned, more scholarly, more knowledgeable. But to be more knowledgeable does not prove that you know the truth. I have been sitting silently, watching... if somebody asserts the truth, what is the need for me even to speak? But now this is going too far. I will have to discuss with you."
Those were beautiful days. Even a woman could challenge the greatest scholar of the country. She asked just two or three questions and Yagnavalkya was flat on the ground.
She asked, "You said God created the world - why? Why did you say that? Were you a witness when he was creating the world? In either case, you will prove wrong. If you were a witness, the
world had already been created; you were there and you are part of the world. And if you were not a witness, then on what grounds...?"
Yagnavalkya was shocked. Those thousands of other scholars were shocked. Even the emperor was shocked. She was right: a witness is needed; an eyewitness is needed.
And she said, "Just for argument's sake, even if I accept that God created the world, I want to know:
what are your reasons for believing in this hypothesis?"
Yagnavalkya said, "Everything has to be created. God is just like a potter. This beautiful and vast existence cannot come into existence out of nothing, somebody must create it."
Gargi said, "Accepted. But you have lost your victory - return those cows."
Yagnavalkya said, "What do you mean?"
She said, "If existence needs a god to create it, then who created God? If this is accepted as a criterion - that everything that is, has to be created.... You are saying this vast existence needs a creator. Certainly the creator must be vaster, bigger, greater than the universe. Who created him?"
And Yagnavalkya saw the point, that now it was impossible to get rid of this woman. Because God is created by God two, God two is created by God three... but where will it end? Finally the question remains: Who created the first God? And Gargi said, "If the first God needs no creator, why unnecessarily impose hypothetical ideas? If God can be without any creator, why can't the existence be without any creator?"
Yagnavalkya became so angry; it was such a defeat - the defeat of the confidence of the scholar - that he forgot all courtesy and said, "Woman, if you don't stop, soon you will see your head rolling on the ground!"
Gargi said, "Is that an argument? Do you think by cutting my head you will be victorious? That will be the absolute certainty of your defeat. Just go on, bring the cows back." And the cows had to be given back - to a woman!
And today, most of the religions don't allow the woman any opportunity equal to man. Jainism says that unless a woman is born again as a man, she cannot find the truth; only a man is capable of finding the truth, he has the monopoly. Even truth is monopolized. Mohammedans don't allow their women even to show their faces to the world. They don't allow them in their mosques. Jews keep a separate section for women. They don't have even at least equal rights of inquiry. Hindus don't allow their women to read the VEDAS, the UPANISHADS - that is committing a sin.
Kahlil Gibran is writing of those pure and innocent days. That's why he says, and the priests and the priestesses said unto him: let not the waves of the sea separate us now... Up to now, we were absolutely unaware of who you are. Don't go, don't let the sea separate us ...and the years you have spent in our midst become a memory.
Remain with us, give us the same eyes that you have. Show us the path that you have known, that you have traveled; otherwise you will be just a memory, as if seen in a dream. No, don't just become
a memory to us. It will be a torture, that we went on missing for twelve years continuously. It will be unbearable. Live with us, transform us, because we can see - whatever you were saying, you have made it materialize.
These are certainly of the very ancient, innocent days when priests had not become exploiters of man, when priests had not declared themselves as mediators between man and God. They were also seekers, humble seekers.
Today's priests - of any religion - have fallen so low that the pope, a few months ago, declared that nobody can confess to God directly; he has to confess to a priest and the priest will convey the message to God. Without the priest, you don't have even the right to be in direct contact with existence!
Anybody can see the business in it, the politics in it, the will to power. Because what power has the priest except the pretension that he is a mediator, that God sends his messages through him? And you have also to send your prayers, your confessions through him. This is his whole business. He is no more a seeker, he has become part of the marketplace.
Because of this phenomenon, all priests are against people like Almustafa. Why are they angry at me? - for the simple reason that I am saying it is your birthright to be in direct contact with existence.
No mediator is needed. This whole business of priesthood has to be dissolved. These are nothing but suckers of your blood. They know nothing of God; all their knowledge is verbal, from the books.
And they have reduced you to such a state that you cannot even sing a song to God or to existence - because to me, God is just a name for existence. They have taken your right of singing a song to the trees, to the stars, of dancing on a fullmoon night on a sea beach - a mediator is needed. And those idiots don't know how to sing; they don't know how to dance.
I have heard that one Catholic bishop was very friendly with a Jewish rabbi. They had decided to play golf, so at a certain time which had been decided before, the rabbi reached the church. But one never knows how many confessors are going to come. So the bishop took him inside the cabin where he sits behind a curtain, and on the other side sits the confessor of his sins.
He said, "I am sorry. If you help me a little, I will get ready. Meanwhile, you take my seat."
"But," the rabbi said, "I don't know what this confession is."
He said, "It is nothing. I will do two or three confessions in front of you so you can understand. It is a simple process: just listen to the person and according to his sin, give him punishment - five dollars, ten dollars...."
The rabbi said, "That is simple. Dollars I understand. You can go."
But still the bishop showed him two persons' confessions. To one he said, "Five dollars - deposit it with the treasurer of the church."
To another he said: "Ten dollars."
And the rabbi said, "I have understood. As far as business is concerned, nobody can beat us. You can go - get ready quick, and I will finish this whole line of confessors meanwhile. It won't take that much time - what is the point? The real point is dollars. Why bother listening to unnecessary stories?"
And the first man came and said: "Father, I am very much ashamed. Last time I raped a woman and promised not to do it again, but human weaknesses... I have done it again."
The rabbi said, "That's enough - thirty dollars."
The man said, "But last time you punished me and asked for only ten dollars."
The rabbi said, "Don't be worried. Just deposit thirty dollars - twenty dollars are in advance. But get lost."
These are the mediators between you and God. Their God is the greatest lie. They are nothing but parasites. Whenever you see a priest, find the strongest "Flit" - they are just the mosquitos of Poona.
If this earth is no longer burdened by priests... and I am not adding to it priestesses, because these priests killed all the priestesses. In the Middle Ages, thousands of priestesses... they just changed the name; they called them witches and burned them. So now there are only priests.
But this asking of the priest and the priestesses, LET NOT THE WAVES OF THE SEA SEPARATE US NOW... Now it is a totally different matter. We had not recognized you, we had not even bothered to think about you. We were simply ignoring you - a man who talks off the wall, who says a ship is coming which will take him to the other shore, the real home, to the origins of life and consciousness, to God. But now that we have recognized you, be merciful, be compassionate.
AND THE YEARS YOU HAVE SPENT IN OUR MIDST... don't let them become just a memory.
We want you here, living - because the memory will fade away and soon we will start suspecting whether we have seen a dream or there really was such a man as Almustafa.
That has been the attitude of the Western historian. It took three centuries for them to recognize that a man like Gautam Buddha is possible. If you look the old history books written by Western scholars, Gautam Buddha is just a myth, a mythology. How can such a man be real? And they were not saying it only about Gautam Buddha, they were saying the same about Jesus Christ. Three centuries ago, historians were writing books saying that Jesus Christ never existed, that it was an ancient drama which slowly slowly became a reality in the mind of man. Because how to believe in a man like Jesus? - uneducated, poor, a carpenter's son who speaks with such authority?
No one has given words so much weight as Jesus Christ. Simple, ordinary words in his hands become diamonds, start growing wings. Even the enemies of Jesus have recognized the fact that he may be wrong, he may be mad, but one thing is certain: nobody else has spoken the way he speaks. Nobody has the heart to speak with such authority that he needs no other argument - just his statement is enough. He pours so much energy into it. But the historians were saying, "No man can speaks the way Jesus speaks. No man can live the way Gautam Buddha lived. No one has the
presence, the radiance Zarathustra had. Certainly these people are creations of great poets, not realities."
That's why the priests and the priestesses are asking: "Don't just become a memory to us. We could not recognize you when you were alive, shouting in our ears, living amongst us. The moment you are gone we will start thinking we must have seen a dream." Otherwise, where can you find man like Almustafa?
YOU HAVE WALKED AMONG US A SPIRIT, AND YOUR SHADOW HAS BEEN A LIGHT UPON OUR FACES.
Now at the moment of departure, they don't see him as a physical body, but a spiritual phenomenon:
You have been to us a spirit... forgive us; that's why we could not see you. We just saw your body.
Now we have been possessed by your spirit and you are going. And now we recognize that even your shadow has been a light upon our faces.
Even your shadow has been a light upon our faces. - what to say about you now? You are no more a shadow. You have lost your shadow, you have become pure light to us. Perhaps you were always a light and the shadow was our creation.
I was a student in the university. I have always lived in my own way, never bothering about the whole world. I used to have a long robe without any buttons. And in those days, I had also a body - which I have been destroying for thirty years continuously, because now there is no use of the body for me.
Sohan must be here somewhere. She has seen me in those days and she used to say, "Your body looks like a marble statue." And I was going to all the debates in the country - wherever they were happening, in any university - representing my university. I had collected so many seals and cups that my mother's only problem was, "Where to put all this junk that you go on bringing home? You need a separate house just for this junk!"
My professors were happy, my principals were happy. Their institutions were becoming famous because all the seals from the whole country were coming to their schools. The principal himself took me to a studio for a photograph because they wanted to release it to newspapers and magazines, showing that perhaps no student had ever collected so many seals and so many cups. He was a very proper man. Everything about him was proper - shaving twice a day.
When we reached the studio and the photographer had arranged things, the principal looked at me and he said, "Without buttons?"
I said, "You want my photograph or your own? I am a very improper person."
But he said, "We can immediately find buttons for you... or a coat or something to cover it."
"Then" I said, "why don't you sit here - who knows me? - and have your photograph taken? My photograph will be my photograph - and I have never used buttons."
He said, "You are strange. But why don't you use buttons?"
I said, "I love the cool breeze coming to my chest. I hate buttons!" I said, "Decide quickly; otherwise I am going."
He said, "No, don't go. Have it your way. But you are a strange fellow."
I said, "I am not a strange fellow, I am just myself. You are a strange fellow - imposing your idea of buttons on me! Keep your buttons for yourself and for your children and their generations."
Times have changed. People who are in authority, who have power of some kind, will try to impose things on you. But these innocent farmers, gardeners, men and women - they said to Almustafa:
Much have we loved you. But we are unconscious people. Only now do we remember that we have loved you always, but it was deep in the unconscious. We could not say it to you because we ourselves were not aware of it. Your departure... and so many things have surfaced in our beings.
Your realization is not only your realization - something has happened to us all.
MUCH HAVE WE LOVED YOU.
BUT SPEECHLESS WAS OUR LOVE, AND WITH VEILS HAS IT BEEN VEILED.
Veils upon veils - even we were not aware. And now that we are aware, we can remember that even if we had been aware before, we would not have been able to give words to our love - but speechless was our love...
Yet now it cries aloud unto you, and would stand revealed before you. Just wait a little more, just linger on a little more amongst us so that you can become a mirror to us and we can see ourselves and our hidden treasures, and our love can become an expression. If not in words, then in actions - but give us time to show it to you; otherwise what will you think? Twelve years you lived amongst us and nobody even said once to you, "I love you." But now everything has changed.
AND EVER HAS IT BEEN THAT LOVE KNOWS NOT ITS OWN DEPTH UNTIL THE HOUR OF SEPARATION.
This is such a tremendously significant statement:
And ever has it been that loves knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.
There is a beautiful story. Gautam Buddha declared that he was going to die - the same; his ship had arrived - and he asked, "Before I leave you, do you have any questions?"
Only one man amongst ten thousand sannyasins asked a question - with tears in his eyes - and he was his own brother, his elder brother Ananda. Ananda had lived with him for forty-two years, day and night, almost like a shadow following him. He slept in his room, he walked with him. Nobody had been so close to him as Ananda, and only he had a question. Others said, "You have given us so much, we will not harass you with questions at this moment of separation. Just let us sit silently."
But Ananda asked, "What about me? Forty-two years I have been with you. Others, who came afterward and have not lived so long with you, have become enlightened and I am still unenlightened.
And now you are going."
Buddha said, "Don't be worried. As I leave the body, within twenty-four hours you will become enlightened."
Ananda said, "I don't understand the arithmetic of it - forty-two years with you and I have not become enlightened, and twenty-four hours without you and I will become enlightened?"
Gautam Buddha laughed and said, "Ananda, because you were so close, and you are also my elder cousin-brother, you started taking me for granted. Only separation, only my death, can make you awake. Less than that won't do. I have tried everything, but you think - you are with me, you are my brother and you must be taking care about my enlightenment... and being together for so long, you completely forgot. The obvious is always forgotten. That which you have, there is a human tendency to forget it. You remember only at the moment of separation."
AND EVER HAS IT BEEN THAT LOVE KNOWS NOT ITS OWN DEPTH UNTIL THE HOUR OF SEPARATION.
A master gives you his life as an opportunity to be awakened. He also gives you his death - a second, and the last opportunity for you to be awakened.