THE ARCHER SEES THE MARK UPON THE PATH OF THE INFINITE, AND HE BENDS YOU WITH HIS MIGHT THAT HIS ARROWS MAY GO SWIFT AND FAR.
LET YOUR BENDING IN THE ARCHER'S HAND BE FOR GLADNESS; FOR EVEN AS HE LOVES THE ARROW THAT FLIES, SO HE LOVES ALSO THE BOW THAT IS STABLE.
It is almost impossible to find a book comparable to Kahlil Gibran's THE PROPHET, for the simple reason that it has a tremendous inner consistency: First he talks about love, then he talks about marriage and now he's going to talk about children. This is how the river of life flows - from love to marriage to children.
AND A WOMAN WHO HELD A BABE AGAINST HER BOSOM SAID, SPEAK TO US OF CHILDREN.
Before I start my meditations on Kahlil Gibran, one more thing has to be noted - that all these three questions have come from women. Men also ask questions but they are always abstract... about God - who the hell is this guy? just an invention of man's mind, and nothing much; it is not an authentic question - about heaven and hell and about thousands of other things, but all abstract.
They don't touch your life at all. You can live perfectly well without a god. In fact, you are living perfectly well - whether God is or not makes no difference to you.
I have seen the theists, and I have seen the atheists. If you talk to them, their ideas are just diametrically opposite to each other. But if you look at their lives, they are the same. Their real problems you can see by observing their lives: they are about love, they are about marriage, they are about children. But in their books, in their philosophies, they are talking about things which do not matter at all.
Do you see the difference? The woman is more realistic, more )L( pragmatic, more earthbound.
She has roots. Her inquiries are not just games and puzzles about empty words. And for centuries, the woman has not been allowed even to ask. It is because of this that people's minds are full of all kinds of garbage and their lives are empty. They do not know anything about the real problems that have to be encountered every moment, from the cradle to the grave.
One great philosopher of India, a contemporary man, Dr. Ranade - he was the most respected and the most learned scholar, logician; he was a professor of philosophy at the University of Allahabad.
In his days, the department of philosophy at the University of Allahabad had become the most prominent department of philosophy in India, and India has almost one thousand universities.
I had seen him just a few days before he died. He was very old, retired, but still people used to come from far and wide - not only from this country but from all over the world - to ask questions, to inquire.
I was sitting with him. He said to me: "What are your questions?"
I said, "I know not."
"Then why have you come to me?"
I said, "Just to see you and to see the people who are continually coming to you from morning till night."
I watched him for almost six hours, and all the people who came had come with abstract questions:
"Does God exist? Is the soul a reality? Is there life beyond death?" And he was answering them.
After six hours, I said to him: "You are old, and I'm too young - it doesn't look right for me to say, but perhaps we may not see each other again; forgive me if it hurts you: You have wasted your whole life. In these six hours, I have seen in what way you have wasted it. I have not heard a single question or a single answer that really concerns life. And these people have come from faraway places and you have lived a long life but as far as I am concerned... don't feel that I'm not respectful to you, I am saying this because I am respectful. Whatever small time you have left, don't waste it.
At least in the evening of your life, inquire into something which is authentic."
He was shocked, because nobody had ever told him this. But he was an honest man. He said, "I am old, and you are young but you are right."
The real question is not whether life exists after death. The real question is whether you are alive before death.
The real question is not whether God is love - just, fair, compassionate. The real question is, do you know what love is? Do you know what justice is? Do you know what compassion is? Have you lived and tasted all these treasures of existence?
The real question is not whether the soul exists or not. The real question is: Have you ever entered into yourself to see whether there is any inner reality, or are you just a container without any content?
Kahlil Gibran is not a philosopher of the abstract. The people who are so much interested in the abstract are really escaping from the real problems of life. They are cowards, not philosophers. But these cowards are dominating the whole world's thinking.
All these questions are coming from women. And there was a great crowd of people - there were learned people, there were priests, there were philosophers. But when they asked, Almustafa - who represents Kahlil Gibran - did not answer them. The questioner may be an idiot; that does not mean you have to answer his stupid questions.
But the moment Almitra came out of the temple, Almustafa started answering the way perhaps nobody else has ever answered.
If you ask a great philosopher like Martin Heidegger or Jean Paul Sartre or Emmanuel Kant about children, they will laugh. They will say, "We are philosophers and we are not interested in trivia.
Children? - is this a philosophical question? Marriage? - is this a philosophical question?" Just look in the contents of the great philosophical treatises of the world and you will not find love, marriage, children, there.
But I say to you, all those great treatises are just escapes from the realities of life. Emmanuel Kant is interested in the existence of God but is unable to love anyone. He was not a friend to anyone.
These are small things, and these people are great philosophers. But I repeat again: they are cowards.
A woman asked Emmanuel Kant... she had waited long, because it is not the way of the woman's heart to take the initiative, that looks ungraceful. But life is short. You cannot wait too long. And youth is even shorter, and beauty is just a flower that blossoms in the morning and is withered by the evening. Finally the woman - against the feminine nature, against herself - asked Emmanuel Kant: "I love you. Do you love me? Just a small ???yes' and I can wait for my whole life."
But Emmanuel Kant could not say yes. He said, "First I have to think about it." It took him three years to consult all the books of different races, countries, of different centuries, to collect data about marriage - for and against. And he was very much puzzled because they were all balanced.
There were reasons in favor of marriage and there were reasons against marriage and their weight was equal.
His servant - he lived his whole life with a servant - had been watching all these three years. He said, "Listen to me: I am not a philosopher, I am a poor man, your servant, and it is none of my business but there is a limit. I have been repressing my temptation to say something to you and today I have decided to say it.
"When you have gone to the university, I have been looking into your notes for and against marriage.
They are equal; hence you cannot take any decision. Just one thing I want to say to you: that is that you have not experienced love. And all these arguments are impotent, they cannot give you any experience. My humble suggestion is, when both sides are equally weighty and decision is difficult, always decide for ???yes' because that is opening a door to experience. ???No' will close the door to experience."
Emmanuel Kant could not believe that this thought had never occurred to him. He rushed, knocked on the woman's door. An old man came out. He introduced himself: "I am Emmanuel Kant and perhaps you are the father of the woman. I have come to say yes."
The old man said, "It is too late. She is already married and she has two children. Go and knock on some other door."
But he was such a coward, he could not gather courage to approach another woman. All his great philosophy... and the same is the case with all other great philosophers. But nobody has looked into the psychology - why are they interested in absurd, meaningless problems and not in the real problems of life? Real problems need courage.
The world has known not a single woman who was a great philosopher. And how can a woman be a great philosopher? She wants to know: speak to us of children... about marriage, about love. A woman has a certain authenticity, for the simple reason that all her interest is in the small matters of life, the intimate matters of life - matters which she has to face moment to moment.
Alas, it has been a great loss. The world is full of stupid philosophies, rooted in fear and cowardliness. It would help humanity immensely if the woman is listened to, if her questions are respected and answered not just through the head but through the heart.
A man's question has no need of the heart. In what way is God connected with your heart? Or life beyond death? These are all thoughts in the head.
Remember this: that Kahlil Gibran's PROPHET opens a totally new dimension to philosophy, gives credit and respect to small things of life - because life is made of small things and if you cannot solve them, forget all about great problems. How can you solve them? You are simply asking them because you don't want even to be aware of the real and the pragmatic problems of life.
And he said.... Listen very carefully, because very few statements exist in the whole literature of the world which have such beauty, such truth, such sincerity:
YOUR CHILDREN ARE NOT YOUR CHILDREN.
A child is not a thing. You cannot possess a child. To say that "This is my child," is to assert your ignorance.
Life can never be possessed. You can have it in open hands but the moment your hands become closed fists, life has escaped out of them. Almost all the parents of the world have destroyed their children because they have claimed ownership. To own a child? You cannot create life, how can you own it? It is a gift from the abundance of existence. Be grateful that you have been chosen to be a vehicle.
The child has come through you but that does not mean he belongs to you. You have been nothing but a passage. If parents had remembered this small and simple truth, the world would have been a totally different place.
THEY ARE THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF LIFE'S LONGING FOR ITSELF.
It is the eternal life - flowing through mountains, through forests, through plains. The child that has come through you has been coming through many other people before you. He has eternity behind him and eternity ahead of him. He had been in many houses, in many cities, in many strange places.
In those millions of vehicles, you are also one. Be humble and be respectful to the child. No society in the world has been, up to now, respectful to the children. All respect is for the elders, all respect is for the old, almost dead. All respect is for the graveyards - no respect for the cradles.
And the child is the purest life - uncontaminated.
Almustafa is right when he says:
THEY ARE THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF LIFE'S LONGING FOR ITSELF.
THEY COME THROUGH YOU BUT NOT FROM YOU....
They are coming from the very beginning.
AND THOUGH THEY ARE WITH YOU YET THEY BELONG NOT TO YOU.
These small statements have tremendous implications if you understand that the child is life's longing for itself. Then the child is closer to the very source of life than the old man. The old man is closer to death... but strange - death has been worshipped, respected, and life has been crushed, destroyed in every possible way.
If you know they come from you but they do not belong to you, then no parent is going to impose his religion, his politics, his ideas on the innocent child. He comes as a tabula rasa - nothing is written on him - and the parents are in such a hurry to make him a Christian, to make him a Hindu, to make him a Buddhist.
I remember my own childhood. My parents naturally wanted me to go with them when they went to the temple, to the religion they belonged to, but I have been a little bit crazy from the very beginning.
I told them, "It is your religion, it is your temple. You should have a little more patience. Give me time. I will find my own religion, my own temple."
They said, "What kind of nonsense are you talking? Every child belongs to the religion he is born into."
I said, "Every other child may belong, may not belong - that is their business. As far as I am concerned, I do not belong to any religion. I have not even searched for it. Allow me and help me to stand on my own feet. Don't cripple me. Don't destroy me. If there is truth, I will find it. But it cannot be borrowed - you cannot give it to me."
They were not happy - obviously. I never wrote with my name, the name of my religion. It was good that I entered school a little later than other children... because my mother's father had only one daughter, my mother. And he lived in a faraway village where people had not seen the railway train, a car, a bus, because there was no road.
He asked my father: "I feel very lonely since you have taken my daughter as your wife. Let your first child be with us. We feel very empty, all the joy of our life has disappeared." And my mother was only seven years old when she was married. That's how things used to be in India - and still are in the villages.
They said, "Our daughter was our joy, she was our song. She was our life... and she is so young.
She may not be able to take enough care of the child. Let the child grow with us, and of course later on you can take him back. And you will have many more children...."
It was such a great blessing to me... because my father's mother died when he got married; he was only ten years old. When I was born, he must have been twenty years old and my mother, seventeen years old. And they themselves were at a loss how to raise a child. So it was a good opportunity. I was raised by my maternal grandfather and grandmother. But there was no school - I was so fortunate all the way - there was no temple, there was no priest. I grew almost like a wild child, and I have remained the wild child still.
My maternal grandfather died when I was seven years old. It was old enough to have one's own ideas, so when I came back to my parents, we were strangers. I had never known my mother as my mother. I had known my grandmother.
The first seven years are the most important in life, because they are the foundation. So when my father took me to the school and filled out the form in which he was required to write to what religion I belonged, I stopped him.
I said, "Write down that ???as yet, he belongs to no religion. He will search, he will try to find."'
My father said, "But that will look very strange."
I said, "No - truth, however strange is never really strange. And a lie, however familiar, is never familiar. It does not exist at all."
And it remained a problem with me as I moved from one school to another, from college to the university, everywhere. It is taken for granted that everybody is born into a religion. And this is absolute stupidity. How can one be born into a religion? You may be born to a father who is a doctor - that does not mean that you become a doctor because you are born as the child of a doctor. Your father and mother both may be doctors - that too, does not make any difference. If you want to be a doctor, you will have to go through the whole education, examinations; only then you can become a doctor.
For ordinary things, you know perfectly well that a child is not born a doctor, is not born a professor, is not born a scientist. How can he be born as a mystic?
Filling out forms was always a problem. The clerk would say, "The form has to be filled completely.
You have left out one thing."
I said, "I have to leave it out, because I don't know my religion yet."
And I was sent again and again to the principals: "What to do with this boy? He says he has not found his religion yet but the requirement is that the form should be filled out completely. Nothing should be left empty."
I said, "You can reject my form, you can refuse me admission to your institution, but I cannot lie. I don't have a religion."
They persuaded me. Lovingly, they would say, "It is just a form. Your father must have a religion."
I said, "This form concerns me, not my father. As far as my father is concerned, I have put his religion with his name. But I don't have any religion."
They had to accept it. I said, "In fact, you should withdraw this type of form in which religion is required."
Even when I graduated from the university... the education minister was well known to me because he had been a vice-chancellor and I had been to his university many times for debating competitions.
I had taken all their seals and their cups, so he was well acquainted with me.
It was a requirement that you had to win a seal continuously for three years and then it became yours. Otherwise, you would keep it for one year and return it the next year when again there would be a debate. But I went on winning continuously. He said, "You are a strange person. These seals, these cups had been with us since the university was established fifty years ago, because nobody was able to win continuously for three years. And now we are in trouble: every year we have to purchase a new seal, a new cup and we know that if you appear again...."
He had become the education minister so I went directly to him. I said, "I have passed my postgraduate examination, I have topped the whole university, and I want to be appointed immediately to any university you feel is right."
He said, "This is not the way. You first fill out the application form." And again, the same problem:
"What is your religion?"
I said, "What has religion to do with my qualifications as a teacher? I don't have any religion. And if you refuse me, I am going to have my first press conference."
He said, "Don't do any such thing. Just write anything, any religion. Write it in such a way that nobody can read it. But the form has to be filled out."
I said, "I cannot do that."
Since my first entry into school, that line on my forms has remained empty. It is still empty. I have found religiousness but I have not found any religion. And I am immensely happy that nobody tried to force upon me their idea, their god, their concept of existence.
Every child has the birthright not to be tortured and conditioned by his parents, because everybody's most fundamental right is the search, the seeking, the pilgrimage.
AND THOUGH THEY ARE WITH YOU YET THEY BELONG NOT TO YOU.
YOU MAY GIVE THEM YOUR LOVE BUT NOT YOUR THOUGHTS....
But just the opposite is being done.
Do you remember your parents? Were they interested in giving you their love, unconditionally? Or they were interested in using their love to contaminate your mind with their religion, with their political ideology, with their nationality. Otherwise, how is it that humanity is so divided? Who is the criminal behind it? Why should there be so many nations? Why should there be so many religions?
Humanity is one. Truth is one. But people have not been allowed to search for their own original face. They have been given masks, and people live their whole lives believing that this is their original face.
How do you know you are Christian? You have never been with Christ. You were not given the choice, the opportunity to choose whether you would like to be in love with Christ or Gautam Buddha or Mahavira or Lao Tzu or Zarathustra.
Your religion is your bondage. It is your imprisonment. Your Christianity, your Hinduism, your Mohammedanism, your Jainism - they are all chains which you cannot see, because they are not binding your body, they are binding your very soul. Any man who has accepted ideologies from others has sold himself. He's a slave, although it is being said from every pulpit in every country that slavery has disappeared.
I say it is not true. Yes, slavery has changed its form; it has become more dangerous. If you handcuff me, still my spirit is free; if you chain my feet, still my spirit is free. You can destroy my body; still my spirit is free. But to pollute your mind with Hinduism, Buddhism, Mohammedanism, Christianity, is to bind invisible chains around your very spirit. This is real crime. And all parents of the world up to now are responsible for it.
YOU MAY GIVE THEM YOUR LOVE BUT NOT YOUR THOUGHTS, FOR THEY HAVE THEIR OWN THOUGHTS.
Their thoughts have not yet become mature, they are still in seed form. They are still only potentialities, but given freedom and love, they will become realities, they will become actualizations.
And when your own thought becomes a reality it brings such joy to your being, such fulfillment, such bliss that you cannot dream about it. You cannot have any notion about it, it is beyond the capacity of your mind to conceive it-because it ripens in your heart, it blossoms in your heart.
YOU MAY HOUSE THEIR BODIES BUT NOT THEIR SOULS...
With all good intentions, all parents are murderers of their own children. You see all over the earth only dead people walking, who have lost their souls even before they had any notion of what it is.
FOR THEIR SOULS DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW, WHICH YOU CANNOT VISIT, NOT EVEN IN YOUR DREAMS.
You belong to the past; your days are over. Parents cannot conceive the future - and the children are not going to live in the past, so don't burden them with your dead scriptures. They will have their own scriptures, they will have their own saints. They will have their own Buddhas, they will have their own Christs. Why should they be burdened with the past? They have an open future.
And if you love your children, you should keep your hands off. Help them to be strong, help them to be able to go on the search for the unknown but don't give them your ideas; they are absolutely useless to them. Because of them, they will miss their own destiny. You are distracting them.
Just watch small children and see the clarity of their vision.
I have heard... in a small school, a Christian priest is teaching the children that God created all things, the whole universe, in six days - and on the seventh day he rested.
One small boy stood up and he said, "What about railway trains?"
The priest was at a loss. Certainly, there is no mention in the New Testament or in the Old Testament that God created railway trains. Another small boy started waving his hand. The teacher said, "You also have a question?"
He said, "No, I want to answer."
He could not believe that He could not find the answer and this small child.... He said, "Okay, let us try. What is your answer? This boy is asking, what about railway trains?"
The other boy said, "It is written that God created all creeping things - railways trains are included!"
Small children have an insight and a clarity. As you become older, you start gathering dust. And everybody is giving you advice - advice is the only thing in the world which everybody gives and nobody takes - but this is corrupting the minds of the small children who are dependent on you.
Almustafa is right:
... HOUSE THEIR BODIES BUT NOT THEIR SOULS.
FOR THEIR SOULS DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW.
You belong to the yesterdays, they belong to the tomorrows. Give as much love as you can. The present is a meeting point but also a point of departure. From the present, where you are meeting, you will depart. Every day, the gap between you and your children will become bigger and bigger.
They talk of the generation gap. It is one of the most beautiful things that has happened in this century - the generation gap. Make every effort to widen it, make it almost unbridgeable. Otherwise you will be carrying corpses all your life.
Gautam Buddha died twenty-five centuries ago. Jesus died two thousand years ago. Is man insane?
- why should anybody go on carrying dead bodies? You are twenty-five centuries ahead. Evolution has not stopped with Gautam Buddha; Gautam Buddha is twenty-five centuries back. But because you are burdened by that dead corpse, you cannot create your own buddhas.
If you are absolutely free of the past, you will find higher peaks of consciousness - higher than any Christ and higher than any Buddha. We are not falling downwards. Our consciousnesses are reaching towards the stars, but it is so difficult to understand such an obvious truth.
The past is the greatest barrier to your life.
The police commissioner... remember, I can forgive him but I cannot forget him. I will go on hammering on his head - even if he's in his grave, my hammer will go on hammering him.
He has asked the ashram in-charge that I should not criticize any religion. What does it mean? It means I should not criticize the past - and the past has been so ugly that it needs all the criticism that one can make, so that it can be erased from your minds and your minds can be made available to the future.
You are pregnant with many Buddhas and many Christs. Why should you go back? But because you are already burdened, I have to condemn them and I have to criticize them - although I accept the freedom of everyone to criticize me. But I had never thought that I was going to face such an impotent humanity. It is nothing but impotence that is asking, "Don't criticize any religion."
Mohammedans are marrying four wives. If you criticize it, you are criticizing their religion because in their holy book, the Koran, Mohammed allows them to marry four or more women. The woman is nothing but an object of your sexual lust - and you want me not to criticize it? I would not criticize it, I would not have talked about it, if Mohammed had given the same right to women too, so that each woman could marry four husbands. Then the man would have been fair. But right now he is a male chauvinist. And he is one of the causes of creating sexual perversions in the world, because nature creates an equal number of men and women... fortunately, nature knows nothing about Mohammedanism and the HOLY KORAN.
And why am I saying "fortunately"? Because one woman is enough to finish you! Four women for every man... then you will see in every house, one Jesus Christ hanging on a cross.
I have heard that a thief was caught red-handed, stealing, in a house. The magistrate asked, "At what time did you enter the house?"
He said, "Nearabout ten in the night."
The magistrate said, "But what were you doing the whole night? because you were caught early in the morning, six o'clock."
He said, "It is a long and sad story. I just want you to remember: whatever punishment you want, you can give to me. Even crucifixion is acceptable but don't punish me by telling me to marry two women."
The magistrate said, "You seem to be a strange person. The whole night you were in the house.
You have not stolen anything, but you have been found in the house and now you are asking this, that I should not punish you by making you marry two women? No such punishment exists. Don't be worried about that. But what is the whole story?"
He said, "The whole story is, unfortunately.... I entered the house; the man has two wives. One wife lives on the ground floor, and the second wife lives on the first floor. And they were both dragging the man to their floors - on the steps, one woman would come and drag the man upwards, and the other woman would come and drag him back downwards. It was so interesting that I forgot all about my own business, what I had come there for. And anyway, stealing was impossible because the man was crying and the women were screaming... so please - just avoid this punishment!"
Nature produces an equal number of men and women. The Mohammedan concept is against nature, and nobody can prevent me from condemning it, criticizing it. Yes, everybody has the right to answer my criticism. These are impotent people - because they cannot answer, they want to prevent somebody with their guns!
Mohammed himself married nine women. What do you think of women? Are they things?
Commodities? Cattle? And if it were only that it happened fourteen centuries before, a story, there would be no need to be worried about it. Just in this very century, the Nizam of Hyderabad had five hundred wives - and you want me not to criticize it? But the poor Nizam is nothing compared to the Hindu god, Krishna - he had sixteen thousand wives!
And at least this can be said in favor of the Nizam and Mohammed, that they married women with the consent of their parents. Krishna, whom Hindus think is a god, simply took away any woman who was beautiful. They were almost all women married to other men. They had their children, they had their husbands. They had to look after their own houses, their own families.
This criminal behavior... just because he had the power, the armies. His soldiers would go into anybody's house and drag out the woman he wanted. In this way, he collected sixteen thousand women, a great collector of women. But what about those sixteen thousand families? Their children, their husbands, the old father of the husband, the old mother of the husband? And I am not to criticize any religion.
If you have any answer, I am ready to pay my total attention. And if you can convince me that this kind of behavior is religious, moral, worthy of a man you think is a god, I will accept it. But first you have to prove it. Because you cannot prove it, to hide your impotence you are preventing me, saying that I should not criticize any religion.
The whole past of humanity is my past too, it is my inheritance too, and I have every right to criticize my past, my inheritance. Wherever I see something ugly, inhuman, barbarous, I have to criticize it as strongly as possible. And those who don't want their religions to be criticized should leave those religions, they are of no worth.
I have never said in my whole life, that whatever I am saying should not be criticized. In fact I have been inviting people - criticize me, because I know what I am saying has a truth. And if I cannot criticize the past - the ugly past, the rotten past - then how we are going to create a better future?
You have heard the proverb that history repeats. It repeats because of people like this police commissioner. If the past is criticized, it will not be repeated again, but if you can go on doing anything in the name of religion....
For example, Sikhs are allowed to have a sword because it is their religious thing. Strange - if Sikhs are allowed to have a dangerous weapon that can destroy any life, then what is the guarantee and defense for other people? Either everyone should be allowed or nobody should be allowed. Double standards simply show that it is a political game because you are afraid. The Britishers were afraid; for three hundred years, they allowed Sikhs to carry swords.
But then we can make our own religious ideas - nobody can criticize them. I can make it a point that every sannyasin should have a machine gun. It is our religious right. What is wrong in it? The police commissioner has ordered us that no firearms should be inside the ashram. He should look at his face in a mirror. Then why are the Sikhs allowed? And I'm not saying that Sikhs should not be allowed, I am simply saying there should be one standard for all human beings. These double standards are ugly, immoral, corrupt.
He has asked that police officers should be allowed in the discourses. Can he ask the same to the Mohammedans, that police officers should be allowed in their prayers, in their sermons, in their mosques, inside? And if he cannot do that, he cannot do it to us.
He asks that inside the ashram or outside the ashram, there should be no "obscene behavior" from the sannyasins. All the scriptures of the Hindus are obscene, and anybody who has any guts, I welcome him: I will show him what is written in his scriptures. In the HOLY BIBLE, there are five hundred pages of absolute obscenity. And still it is the "Holy Bible." You cannot find a more unholy book in the whole world.
One of my friends has collected all the five hundred pages and published a book. No government is going to allow that book entry into their country, it will be banned. But strange - those five hundred pages are verbatim from the BIBLE. If you are banning anything, the BIBLE should be banned. But strange... double standards everywhere.
Parents should not give their thoughts to their children because their thoughts are already out of date. The children will have their own thoughts.
Even trees know better. Every fall, the old leaves drop and disappear into the earth to give a place for the new leaves - greener, younger, juicier. If they go on clinging to their old leaves, there will be no space, no possibility for the new leaves to appear.
Have you ever wondered why, in the contemporary world, people like Buddha, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Basho, Kabir, Jesus, Zarathustra - are not born? What has happened? Is humanity a spent force? No - humanity is more powerful, has more energy than ever. But the past goes on becoming bigger and bigger. Naturally, every day, one day is joined with the yesterdays. And now the past has become almost like a Himalaya on the fragile chest of human beings. This is the reason why you don't have such beautiful beings. And if once in a while a man arises, he looks like such a stranger, such an outsider that you cannot tolerate him. You have forgotten the taste of the world when there were thousands of enlightened people all over. Nobody was annoyed. People were full of gratitude.
But today, the situation is completely different. All that burden on the mind prevents you from seeing the new. And the new is bound to tell the past, the dead, to get lost.
I have been looking into all the scriptures of all the religions - they are all obscene. Still, no government dares to ban them. And they ask that my people should not behave in any obscene way.
First take care of your own house. First clean your own mind, and if you cannot do it, I am here and my people are here. Come here, we do dry brainwashing! Just one thing is needed - that you should bring your brain with you, because I have heard....
A politician was on the surgery table - in fact, every politician should be there but he was going nuts.
Even other nuts started saying to him, "You have crossed the limit!" So finally, he went to a brain surgeon. They looked into his brain and they said, "My god! This seems to be a politician's brain - everything is wrong."
So they took out the whole brain to clean it. They went into another room, because it would take almost six hours to clean. When they were cleaning his brain in the other room, two persons came running, shook the politician, who was lying alone in the surgery room. He opened his eyes.
They said, "What are you doing here? You have been chosen to be the prime minister of the country!"
He jumped, rushed out with his friends, and when the doctors had cleaned the brain, they came back. The man was missing. They had never done such hard work. They said, "My god, where has he disappeared to - and without a brain!"
They went in search, inquired... somebody said, "We have seen him with two persons, rushing towards the prime minister's house."
So the surgeons went there and they saw him. He had become the prime minister of the country.
The surgeons said, "You have forgotten your brain in our surgery!"
He said, "Don't bother, just keep it safe. As long as I'm prime minister, no brain is needed."
Don't give your rotten past as an inheritance to your children. They have their future. Let them grow according to their own potential. You may strive to be like them.... This is where Kahlil Gibran simply surpasses in his insights:
YOU MAY STRIVE TO BE LIKE THEM BUT SEEK NOT TO MAKE THEM LIKE YOU.
And what does the BIBLE say? "God made the man in his own image." Since that time, every father is trying to make his child in his own image. Almustafa is saying just the opposite:
You may strive to be like them, because they are of the future, and they are innocent. They are closer to existence than you are. For you, there is nothing except death to happen, but to them millions of things are going to happen: love is going to happen, meditation is going to happen, gratefulness is going to happen. Please resist the temptation that your child should be a carbon copy of you. It is possible to make the child a carbon copy of you, but you will have to kill him. That's what I'm saying:
that all the parents are killing their children just to make them carbon copies. And the child has the potential to be his own original face.
The original face has beauty, the original face has something of the divine. The original face has charisma. A carbon copy has nothing.
FOR LIFE GOES NOT BACKWARDS NOR TARRIES WITH YESTERDAY.
YOU ARE THE BOWS FROM WHICH YOUR CHILDREN AS LIVING ARROWS ARE SENT FORTH towards the unknown and the unknowable. Don't prevent them. Give them strength, give them love, so they can reach to the farthest star.
YOU ARE THE BOWS FROM WHICH YOUR CHILDREN AS LIVING ARROWS ARE SENT FORTH.
THE ARCHER SEES THE MARK UPON THE PATH OF THE INFINITE, AND HE BENDS YOU WITH HIS MIGHT THAT HIS ARROWS MAY GO SWIFT AND FAR.
Existence wants you to bend like a bow before your own children because they have to travel far and you have to give them strength.
LET YOUR BENDING IN THE ARCHER'S HAND BE FOR GLADNESS.
Be glad when your child starts moving away from you, when he starts becoming an individual in his own right. Feel blessed that he is not an obedient idiot. Except idiots, nobody is obedient.
Intelligence is rebellion. Feel blessed and bless the child that you have given birth to a rebellious spirit. This should be your pride, but this becomes people's anxiety.
LET YOUR BENDING IN THE ARCHER'S HAND BE FOR GLADNESS; FOR EVEN AS HE LOVES THE ARROW THAT FLIES, SO HE LOVES ALSO THE BOW THAT IS STABLE.
Existence loves you both.
You are also children of the same existence.
It is just that your time is over; give place to the fresh arrows and bless them.