The very fundamental effort of Kahlil Gibran is to demolish the very idea of evil. And he is absolutely right about it.
The idea of evil is the invention of the priesthood of all the religions. It is a great device to exploit humanity - because once your mind becomes contaminated with the idea of evil you can never live in peace, you can never live in a togetherness, you cannot stand erect in human dignity. On the contrary, the idea of evil creates wounds in you - which you have known as guilt.
Anything that is natural is bound to assert itself; whether you call it good or evil does not matter. The sun will rise from the East; it does not depend on your opinion.
Deep inside your being you are not a simple phenomenon - you are a complexity. Something can be condemned, and the condemnation can be justified by all kinds of rationality and logic if taken out of context; and the same thing can be praised - if you are not divided into good and bad, into higher and lower. If you are one organic unity, that which looked like evil out of context becomes immensely valuable to the whole, in its right place. The whole question is, how to arrange your inner being?
All the religions are criminals in the sense that they have not allowed man to be arranged as an orchestra. They have divided man: a part they have called good, and another part they have condemned as evil. But they both exist together, and can exist only together.
Now man finds himself helpless. On both sides there is danger. If he follows nature, all the religions are going to call him a sinner; if he does not follow nature but follows the principles and the doctrines preached by the priests, he is in a constant conflict. He becomes a hypocrite. He pretends to be good - because that is what is respectable, honorable - and from the back door he goes on allowing his nature.
This dualism, this dichotomy, this schizophrenia has destroyed all dignity of man, all his pride.
Even wild animals move with a pride, with a natural dignity and grace, but man is so burdened....
Everything that is natural in you has been poisoned by the religions.
Just a few examples will help you. All the religions are agreed on one point. They differ in their philosophies, but they don't differ as far as destroying the dignity of man is concerned: whatsoever is pleasant has to be condemned - this is a simple criterion followed by all - and whatsoever is painful, arduous, has to be praised as virtue, as piousness, as saintlihood.
I have been wandering in this country for almost two decades, meeting all kinds of saints and sinners, and my conclusions are that the sinner is more innocent, because he has chosen the path of nature - although he is not respectable. He laughs more heartily, he sings more joyously, he dances like a Zorba... but the whole world condemns him. He is just like a child.
And I have seen your saints; they are all cunning, all hypocrites without exception, because whatever they preach and whatever they show to the world is fake, it is only a mask. Deep down, nature is gathering energy to explode; and if you don't allow the natural way, then it is going to explode in some perversion.
The whole credit of all perversions on the earth goes to the religions. No animal in the wild is perverted. Have you come across a deer you can call perverted? - or a lion, or a bird, free in the vast sky, under the sun? Have you come across some bird who needs psychoanalysis, some deer who needs psychiatry, some tree who needs any kind of psychological treatment? They are not perverted - because, fortunately, they don't understand the language that the priests have been speaking, because, fortunately, they are not Christians and they are not Hindus and they are not Mohammedans and they are not Buddhists. A rosebush is just a rosebush, without any adjective to it. You cannot call a rosebush Christian - unless you are mad.
But man has been under the influence of the priests, and they have condemned each single thing in you that can make you smile, that can make you sing, that can make you dance, that can allow your love to blossom. They have crippled you in every way, they have cut your wings - you cannot fly in the sky. They have taken away your freedom, your dignity. And their strategy is to create the idea of evil. Once you are influenced by the idea of evil, you will live your whole life out of fear. Whatever you do, you will be always afraid - who knows whether this is good or evil?
Kahlil Gibran's whole effort here is to destroy the very foundation of the exploitation of the priests.
There is no such thing as evil.
Existence is simply good.
Existence is pure innocence.
Yes, it is a very complex phenomenon. You can put things upside down, you can make your life disturbed, retarded, but it is not evil. It is only human to err. And to understand every mistake with deep alertness, so that it is never committed again.... To commit mistakes is good - that is the only way one grows, learns, matures. But to commit the same mistake again and again is stupid. That too is not evil; it is unintelligent.
Kahlil Gibran says:
YOU ARE GOOD WHEN YOU ARE FULLY AWAKE IN YOUR SPEECH.
Something about speech has to be understood. There is a certain harmony between your thought, between your speech, and between your action. Speech is just in the middle. Before speech is thought - thought is words unspoken, still in the womb.
When thoughts are born into the world they become speech, and if your thought and speech are harmonious they will still go one step more, and that will be action. And when all these three are together, not against each other.... Only in your awareness is it possible that whatever you think, you say, and whatever you say, you act. Your action is your innermost thought brought into the full daylight, before the world. It is exposing your heart.
Speech is the medium between thought and action. That's why he has chosen speech - that if you are fully awake in your speech you are good - because if you are awake in your speech you will need to be awake in your thought, because thought is potentially speech... just on the verge, the word is just on your lips. You cannot be aware about your speech if you are not aware of your thoughts. And if you are aware of your speech, you will be aware of your action too.
Action and thought are almost like two wings. Speech is exactly the middle part. And one who is standing in the middle, fully awake, can see on both sides - he can see inside where thought arises and he can see outside where action is born.
You are good when you are fully awake in your speech... in your thought, in your action. This is the greatest criterion ever given to man by all the mystics of the world: awareness of all that goes on inside the mind, of all that goes on in your words, and of all that becomes action - it is good.
Ordinarily people think they have been forced to think that good or bad are qualities of things - that there are good things and there are bad things. That's not right; good and bad have nothing to do with things.
Awareness is good; absence of awareness is not evil, it is simply not-good. Don't make them synonymous. "Not-good" is only a negative statement; the moment you say, "Evil, bad," you are making a positive statement. The same action - with awareness - may be good, and with unawareness may not be good.
Goodness is not a quality of things or actions.
It has something to do with your meditation.
It has something to do with your awakening, with how alert you are.
One morning, Gautam Buddha is passing through a village with one of his most intimate disciples, Ananda. A fly comes and sits on his forehead. He is answering some question of Ananda, and he is so absorbed in answering that without any awareness, mechanically, he waves his hand. The fly is gone, but then he becomes suddenly aware that the waving of the hand was not done in awareness - it was mechanical. You can do such an act even in your sleep. If you feel something in your sleep creeping on your feet you simply throw it, and your sleep is not disturbed. It is a mechanical process; your body does it without bothering you.
Buddha stopped in the street, and again raised his hand, and with great grace and awareness brought it to his forehead. Ananda said, "What are you doing? The fly has gone away."
Buddha said, "I am not concerned with the fly, I am concerned with myself. I acted in unawareness.
I was too much concerned with your question, and with answering it, and my hand moved mechanically; I am trying to see how it should have moved. It has nothing to do with the fly. My hand should have moved with awareness."
Action with awareness is good, but action without awareness is not evil, it is simply not-good. This distinction has to be remembered, because the not-good can be immediately transformed into good:
it is only a question of awareness. The first act of Gautam Buddha when he waved his hand was not good. The second time he waved his hand, although now there was no fly, the action was good, the movement had grace and beauty and goodness, because behind it there was awareness. Not- good can be changed into good with a little awareness. But if you make it evil, then it becomes a tremendous problem. Then how to get rid of evil?
Religions have been telling people to fast, but what has fasting to do with evil? You can die by starving. Fasting continuously you can survive, you are healthy for at least ninety days; you will become just a skeleton, but you will be still alive. But there is no relationship at all with good, or with evil. Religions have been telling people, "Fast and that will purify you." If that is true, then the starving millions of the world will be the most pure people... then don't help them, don't make them impure; let them starve and die, they are the most virtuous people in the world. But it has no relationship.
To destroy evil, all kinds of idiotic things have been suggested. They have to be idiotic, because there is no evil in the first place, so whatever you suggest is going to be meaningless, irrelevant.
This is a great insight into true religiousness: Don't divide into good and evil. Only divide into good and not-good. Not-good is only absence of awareness, and good is presence of awareness. Life becomes very simple, transformation becomes easy.
You need not torture yourself, because by torturing you cannot transform yourself. You need not stand on your head and do yoga postures, distorting your body this way and that way. If you are preparing for a circus, that is another thing, but if all these yoga practitioners reach heaven, then God must be surrounded by a continuous circus - all over paradise people are doing strange and distorting things.
Yoga cannot purify you... it may give you better health. I am in absolute support of yoga as being part of gymnasiums, but not as part of temples. In the gymnasium it has a contribution to make.
It can give you better health, longer life, it can prevent many possible diseases, it can cure many diseases that are already with you. But it cannot transform that which is not-good into good, because it cannot give you awareness.
YET YOU ARE NOT EVIL WHEN YOU SLEEP WHILE YOUR TONGUE STAGGERS WITHOUT PURPOSE.
A Gautam Buddha speaking is God Himself speaking, existence using Gautam Buddha as a vehicle to give you the message, to wake you up - for what have you come here? It is good because it is coming out of total awareness, absolute silence. It is not Gautam Buddha speaking to you, it is Gautam Buddha only making himself available to existence to speak through him.
Existence cannot speak directly to you; it needs some vehicle, it needs some hollow bamboo to become a flute. Then the lips of existence can create a beautiful song and music. But the hollow bamboo means you are so aware that there is no ego in you.
Ego exists only in the dark corners of your being.
When awareness is total, ego disappears.
The ego has never been found by anyone who has been searching for it inside, with the light of awareness; it does not exist. Again, it is an absence, it is not an evil; ego is not-good, but it is not evil.
Ego means you have never turned towards your being, you have never seen your own inside, you have never brought your awareness to your interiority, to your subjectivity.
Once you turn in, ego disappears.
It will not disappear by fasting, remember; it will not disappear by yoga postures, remember - it may even become more strengthened, it may become even more subtle, more dangerous. It is not a question of discipline; it is simply a question of being alert.
Kahlil Gibran is right, that even in the night when you sometimes stutter, purposelessly, some words, relevant, irrelevant... it is not evil. It is simply not-good, your sleep is disturbed - don't condemn it.
AND EVEN STUMBLING SPEECH MAY STRENGTHEN A WEAK TONGUE.
And remember always that the wise man can use his not-good for some purposes to strengthen his goodness, his virtue. A beautiful example he is giving: And even stumbling speech may strengthen a weak tongue... so when you are awake, your stronger tongue is a contribution of your sleep, of your stuttering in sleep.
It happened... I used to be a roommate in my university with another student. We had lived together for six months, and he had never stuttered. I had never even thought.... And then one day his father came to visit, and he immediately started stuttering. I was amazed. When his father had gone I asked, "What has happened to you?"
He said, "This is my problem. From my very childhood he has been such a hard disciplinarian, such a perfectionist, that he created only fear, never love. And because we used to live in a very small village where there was no school, he was my first teacher too; and that is my undoing - my whole life he spoiled, because of his fear. Under his fear I started learning language, speaking language, and everything was wrong, because everything was imperfect."
A small child is not to be expected to be perfect. He needs all kinds of support. Instead of getting support, he was beaten. The stuttering became a fixed phenomenon in him - not only about the father, but about any father-figure. In the temple - because God is called "Father" - he could not pray without stuttering. He was a Christian, and he could not speak to the bishop without stuttering, because first he had to address the bishop as "Father." The moment the word "father" came into his mind, all the associations of fear, of being beaten....
I said, "You do one thing. You start calling me ???Father.'"
He said, "What?"
I said, "I am trying to help you. I am certainly not your father, neither am I a bishop, nor am I God the father who created the world - I am just your roommate. You start calling me father, and let us see how long the old association continues."
He said, "It looks absurd to call you father - you are younger than me."
I said, "It doesn't matter."
"But," he said, "the idea is appealing."
I said, "You try." And he started trying. In the beginning he stuttered, but slowly, slowly - because he knew that I am not his father, and it became just a game that he would call me father - after three to four months his stuttering disappeared. Now, I was not his father; it was just a device, very arbitrary, it was not in any way true - but it helped.
When next time his father came he looked at me. I gave him the indication, "You start."
His father was amazed, and he said, "What happened to you? You are not stuttering."
He said, "I don't stutter even in the church, I don't stutter even praying to God the Father. Why should I stutter before you? But my real father is sitting here. The whole credit goes to him. He has suffered my stuttering for four months continuously, but he went on encouraging me, ???Don't be worried. It is ninety-nine percent now, it is ninety-eight percent now.' And slowly, slowly it disappeared. And one day he said, ???Now there is no need; you can speak to anybody without stuttering. Your fear has disappeared - by a false device."
Kahlil Gibran is right: Even stumbling speech may strengthen a weak tongue.... Use that which has been called by the religions as "evil." First change that word, just call it not-good, and you have already made the first step of transformation. And remember, even the not-good can be used in such a way that, rather than becoming a stumbling block, it becomes a stepping stone.
The wise man is one who uses everything that nature has given to him for creating something more beautiful. But the religions have not allowed humanity.... Rather than trying to make man one whole, they have made man scattered into pieces: that is your misery, that is your hell.
Just small changes can bring effects of tremendous importance. Drop the idea of evil completely from your minds; replace it by not-good - then the good is not very far away. Just the "not" has to be dropped. Between evil and good there is no bridge; between not-good and good all that you have to do is to drop that "not." The difference between an enlightened being and you is only the difference of that simple "not." He is awake, you are asleep. To be awake is good, to be asleep is not!
YOU ARE GOOD WHEN YOU WALK TO YOUR GOAL FIRMLY AND WITH BOLD STEPS.
YET YOU ARE NOT EVIL WHEN YOU GO THITHER LIMPING.
In different ways he is giving you the same message: You are good when you are going with firm steps, bold, but you are not evil when you are limping. I say to you: your religions have not been compassionate enough. They have called the limping "evil," the sinner, one who is going to suffer in hell. Rather than helping him so that limping can be transformed into strong steps... perhaps those priests are responsible for his limping, because he is afraid of where he is going. Priests have condemned, and his nature is dragging him towards those same things which priests have condemned - that's why he is limping.
Limping simply means he is not whole-heartedly in it. Half of his being is saying, "Don't go," half of his being is saying, "Go." Divided between these two, his boldness disappears, he becomes a limping person. He needs all the help, not condemnation.
And a beautiful statement from Kahlil Gibran: even those who limp go not backward.... That much is certain! They may reach a little late, you may reach a little earlier, so what? One thing is certain, that they are not going backwards.
BUT YOU WHO ARE STRONG AND SWIFT, SEE THAT YOU DO NOT LIMP BEFORE THE LAME, DEEMING IT KINDNESS.
This is a very penetrating insight into human psychology. Somebody is limping; out of compassion - that's what you think, that's what you have been taught to think - you also limp, so that you are not in any way offending the limping one. But this is not help. Instead of one man limping, now there are two men limping, and soon there will be seven hundred million Catholics limping! It is not kindness, it is sheer stupidity. It is not compassion, it is simply foolishness.
Have compassion on the person who is limping, teach him how not to limp, help him, hold his hand, give him encouragement. Tell him, "Don't be worried, you are not going backward. Even if you are slow, there is no harm. You will reach a little late. In this vast eternity, what does it matter whether you reach in the morning, or in the afternoon, or in the evening? The question is that you reach."
Even the limping ones are going to reach. And sometimes perhaps they may reach earlier than those who are going with strong feet, with bold steps, because the people who are going with strong feet and bold steps are too much in a hurry, too much in a rush. They will be tired before the limping ones. The limping ones will not be tired at all - they are going with ease. Soon they will find that the the people with bold steps, the speedy ones, are resting, are snoring under a tree. Life has its mysteries!
Sometimes saints are left behind and sinners reach ahead, because they go so slowly that there is no possibility of being tired. The people who are going with a strong step and fast speed think that they can afford to rest a little - the limping ones are left far behind. But their rest may turn into sleep, and while they are asleep the limping ones may pass them.
Never commit this idiotic idea that with the limping one you have to limp; otherwise he will feel offended, he will feel inferior. Why touch his inferiority complex? Transmitted into actuality... I will give you the example of Mahatma Gandhi. In India railway trains have four classes - the air- conditioned, the first class, the second class and the third class. And the country is so poor that even to afford a third class ticket is difficult for almost half of the people of the land. Gandhi started traveling in third class.
I used to have discussions with his son, Ramdas, and I told him, "This is simply crowding the third class, it is already too crowded. This is not helping the poor." And you will be surprised; because Gandhi was traveling in the third class, the whole compartment was booked for him. In a sixty-foot compartment - where at least eighty to ninety persons would have traveled - he alone is traveling.
And his biographers will write, "He was so kind to the poor."
He used to drink goat's milk because that is the cheapest, and the poorest of people can afford it.
Naturally, everybody who is conditioned with the idea immediately appreciates what a great man he is. But you don't know about his goat! I am a little crazy, because I don't care about Mahatma Gandhi much, but I care certainly about the goat.
I inquired everything about the goat, and I found that his goat was being bathed every day with Lux toilet soap. The food of the goat cost in those days, ten rupees - ten rupees was the salary of a school teacher for one month. But nobody will look into these matters. Only one woman, a very intelligent woman in Mahatma Gandhi's circle, Sarojini Naidu - later on she became the governor of North India - joked once that to keep Mahatma Gandhi poor, we have to destroy treasures. His poverty is very costly.
But it worked. As a politician he became the greatest politician, because the poor people thought "This is the man who is our real representative, because he lives like a poor man in a cottage, he drinks goats' milk, he travels in third class." But they don't know the background - that to maintain his poverty was very costly.
The idea he got was from the Christians. He was born a Hindu, but he was born in Gujarat, which, although it is a majority Hindu state, is mostly influenced by Jainism; the people are not all Jainas, but Jainism has been a subtle spiritual influence all over Gujarat. Then he went to the West to study, and there he came in contact with Christian missionaries, and many times he was on the verge of being converted into Christianity. If you divide his life, he is ninety percent Christian, nine percent Jaina, one percent Hindu.
But this country has a majority of Hindus. To influence these Hindus, he used a totally new kind of strategy, and that was to live like a poor man. His clothes, his house, his food - everything will give you an appearance of a very poor man. But if you look into everything minutely, with an impartial eye, you will be surprised that everything is more costly than even the richest man living in a palace - that will be cheaper. But he succeeded in deceiving people.
This is one of the curses that Christianity has brought to humanity. Other religions have helped, but Christianity is at the top. Kahlil Gibran, himself a Christian, is not befooled by that idea.
BUT YOU WHO ARE STRONG AND SWIFT, SEE THAT YOU DO NOT LIMP BEFORE THE LAME, DEEMING IT KINDNESS.
What are all your saints doing, living like poor people? It does not help the poor people in any way, it simply burdens them.
In India there are millions of monks - Hindus, Buddhists, Jainas. They all live the life of the poor.
The poor cannot manage their own lives, and all these millions of monks, who are not doing anything productive, anything creative, are sitting on the chest of the poor people of India, sucking their blood - and with great authority, because they are living like poor men; you have to worship them, you have to feed them, you have to clothe them.
I once said to Ramdas, Mahatma Gandhi's son, that if it is sympathy and kindness and compassion to live like a poor man amongst the poor, then what about other things? If there are a few blind people, should I live with a blindfold? Or if there are unintelligent people - and there are, the whole world is full of the unintelligent - should I also live like the retarded, the stupid, just out of sympathy?
No, this cannot be the criterion of being good, of being virtuous, of being religious. If somebody is sick, that does not mean that the doctor should come and lie down on another bed, so as to help the sick. Everybody can see the nonsense in it. The doctor has to remain healthy so that he can help those who are sick. If he himself becomes sick out of sympathy, then who is going to help? The same is true in the inner growth of man.
YOU ARE GOOD IN COUNTLESS WAYS, AND YOU ARE NOT EVIL WHEN YOU ARE NOT GOOD, YOU ARE ONLY LOITERING AND SLUGGARD.
Everybody is good, more or less; there is nobody who is evil - it is just an invention of the priests to make you feel guilty, and then confess your guilt, so that even your dignity as a man, your pride as a man, is destroyed and you become vulnerable to be enslaved spiritually.
There are good people; there are a few others who are just a little farther away from the good, but coming close.... It is a vast humanity and we are almost standing in a queue.
In one of the ancient scriptures of Tibet the statement is made that the gates of heaven are very narrow - only one can pass at one time. Naturally, if the gates of heaven are so narrow that only one can pass, you cannot even smuggle your wife with you, or somebody else's wife - that is not the point. You have to go alone, and those who are behind you are also approaching closer and closer and closer.
There are only degrees of goodness - a few are more good, a few are less good, but everybody is good. Let this be one of the fundamental declarations: everybody is basically good, and evil is only an invention of crafty priests to exploit man.
YOU ARE GOOD IN COUNTLESS WAYS AND YOU ARE NOT EVIL WHEN YOU ARE NOT GOOD.
YOU ARE ONLY LOITERING AND SLUGGARD...
but nothing is evil in being lazy, nothing is evil in going slowly at your own pace, nothing is evil if you will be reaching later while your friends will be reaching earlier. You should listen to your nature...
there are strong people - everybody need not be Mohammed Ali and everybody need not be a great boxer. You should listen to your own nature, and keep pace with your own nature, and not be competitive with anyone else.
PITY THAT THE STAGS CANNOT TEACH SWIFTNESS TO THE TURTLES.
What to do? Even if stags want to teach speed to the turtles, they cannot. And as far as I am concerned, the world would be less beautiful if there were no turtles at all - they make variety. If there were only stags and stags and stags, it wouldn't be a rich world. The world is rich because there is variety. All are not saints - a few are still courageous enough not to be saints, a few are still courageous enough not to be bothered by respectability. The world would miss all its color if everybody were just the same.
Pity that the stags cannot teach swiftness to the turtles.... Kahlil Gibran has not looked into his statement deeply enough; otherwise he would not say it is a pity. On the surface the statement seems to be perfectly right, but I say unto you: it is good that stags cannot teach swiftness to the turtles, nor can the turtles teach a lazy way of life to the stags.
The existence accepts everybody and gives opportunity to everybody; from the smallest grass leaf to the biggest star, existence makes no discrimination. They are all needed, they all make existence colorful, with variety; otherwise it would be so monotonous - just imagine everybody turning into Mahatma Gandhis; all rainbows would disappear.
Do you know that in Mahatma Gandhi's ashram he did not allow roses to be grown? Nobody thinks about these small things, which show so much more than great acts, such as the freedom of India, which the whole world will think about, history will write about. But nobody will write about such a small thing: that he did not allow roses to be grown in his garden, only wheat - because the country is poor, and what can you do with roses?
The man had no aesthetic sense at all. He had read Jesus Christ many times, but he seems not to have understood the statement that Jesus made, that man cannot live by bread alone, roses are also needed. That is not Jesus Christ's statement - half is his and half is mine.
IN YOUR LONGING FOR YOUR GIANT SELF LIES YOUR GOODNESS: AND THAT LONGING IS IN ALL OF YOU.
He reduces to the most essential the definition of goodness: In your longing for your giant self, in your longing for the universal self, in your longing to disappear like a dewdrop in the ocean of existence - without any conditions, without any expectations - in this longing is your goodness.
And there is not a single man in the whole world who is not longing - knowingly or unknowingly - to be bigger, to be greater, to be vaster, who is not trying to reach to the moon and to the stars.
Perhaps he is not fully aware, is half asleep, but still his arrow is searching for the target - although he is going to miss because he is half asleep. But you cannot call it evil, you can only say that he is unaware.
There is a beautiful story about Mulla Nasruddin. In the city there was a carnival. Nasruddin used to take his disciples to various places to teach them something; he went with his crowd of disciples to the carnival. The whole city laughed, saying, "This man is crazy, but what to do? - a few other crazy people think that he is a great mystic: now he is taking his disciples to the carnival to teach mysticism."
He went to the place where there was a bull's-eye stall, and the owner was offering one-hundred rupee notes to anyone who could shoot the bull's-eye with an arrow. If he failed, he would have to give one hundred rupees; if he succeeded, he would get one hundred rupees.
A great crowd gathered when they saw Nasruddin reaching the stall, taking the bow and arrow. Even his students thought, "What is he going to do? - we have never seen him practicing archery. He will unnecessarily waste one hundred rupees, and he has nothing in his pocket - we will have to give the money! This is a strange teaching; on our account he is playing the game...." And a great crowd gathered, because they wondered what Nasruddin was up to.
He said, "Silence! My beloved disciples, watch what happens. Be careful!" And he shot the arrow.
It passed the bull's-eye and landed far away. Everybody laughed, but not Nasruddin, and before the shopkeeper was going to ask, "One hundred rupees," he turned to the disciples and said, "Listen:
this is the arrow of the egoist, who always thinks in exaggerated terms. He always misses the target; his arrow passes beyond it." Even the shopkeeper became interested in the explanation.
He pulled another arrow, shot again... the arrow fell just in front of him; the bull's-eye was still far away. But now nobody laughed. He turned to his disciples and said, "Listen, this is the arrow of the person who has imposed upon himself humility. He is always hesitant, half-hearted. Even if he wants to do something, even if he does it, he is never totally in it."
Now more and more of a crowd gathered, and the disciples said, "Certainly what he is saying is true." He pulled the third arrow and shot the bull's-eye, and without turning towards the students, took the one hundred rupee note.
The owner said, "What are you doing?"
He said, "This is my arrow. The first was that of an egoistic person, the second was that of a humble person. This is my arrow."
His disciples said, "He is a great master anyway. Wherever he takes you, never doubt him; there is always going to be some surprise." And the whole crowd agreed with him, "That's true. His explanations were very philosophical; he deserves those one hundred rupees. And as far as he says... he is a very religious man, he cannot deceive you; this third arrow was his arrow."
And all his disciples knew - and he knew - that if he had failed he would have found an explanation!
Until he succeeded, he was not going to declare, "This is MY arrow."
IN YOUR LONGING FOR YOUR GIANT SELF LIES YOUR GOODNESS: AND THAT LONGING IS IN ALL OF YOU.
In some it may be a seed, in some a small sprout, in some a thick bush, in some it may have come to flowering, in some it may have come to give ripe fruits; but the difference is only of degrees.
Between the fruit and the seed there is no basic difference. They belong to the same category - different stages of one longing.
Looking at humanity with these eyes, with this vision, you will never judge anybody as evil, as bad; you will never create the feeling of guilt in anybody, and you will drop all feelings of guilt that have been conditioned in you. Free from all guilt, a man has a beauty with which no tree, no animal, no star can compete. Without guilt, full of awareness, you are the greatest flower in existence, what Gautam Buddha used to call "the lotus paradise." The lotus is the biggest flower in the world.
The moment your being opens up, and you are full of longing for the universal self, you have become a lotus - and you have become a paradise too.
BUT IN SOME OF YOU, THAT LONGING IS A TORRENT RUSHING WITH MIGHT TO THE SEA, CARRYING THE SECRETS OF THE HILLSIDES AND THE SONGS OF THE FOREST.
AND IN OTHERS IT IS A FLAT STREAM THAT LOSES ITSELF IN ANGLES AND BENDS AND LINGERS BEFORE IT REACHES THE SHORE.
Whether you are a river coming from the Himalayas - with all the beauty of those high peaks and the deep valleys and the songs of the silent forests and the joy of moving in virgin lands - or a river who has never known the mountains, who has never known the forest, but knows only the plains...
both are reaching towards the ocean. They will meet the ocean with the same dance, with the same ecstasy, with the same contentment.
Don't say one is good and another is evil. Their paths have just been different, their territories have been different, but they have arrived to the universal, to the oceanic: that's the only thing that counts, ultimately.
BUT LET NOT HIM WHO LONGS MUCH SAY TO HIM WHO LONGS LITTLE, "WHEREFORE ARE YOU SLOW AND HALTING?"
That is ugly. And that's what all your saints have been doing, and all your priests have been doing - condemning you: "Wherefore are you slow and halting?" But who are you to ask anybody? If he enjoys being slow, if he enjoys halting here and there, who are you to condemn? It is everybody's birthright to move according to his own freedom.
BUT LET NOT HIM WHO LONGS MUCH SAY TO HIM WHO LONGS LITTLE, "WHEREFORE ARE YOU SLOW AND HALTING?"
The more I have become acquainted with religious scriptures, the more I see that they are all insulting and humiliating to humanity. They have been written by very egoistic people condemning everybody - "Why are you not moving faster? Why are you enjoying the cool breeze and the shadow under the tree?"
Who are you? No saint, no priest possesses you; you are nobody's monopoly. You are an individual, total in yourself, and if you don't want to reach right now, why should you be condemned? It is your will, it is your longing. But it is the most sad story that man has not been given this basic freedom.
You cannot be yourself. Everybody is pushing, everybody is forcing, everybody is trying to give you a mould, an ideal. This is where I differ from all religions and all philosophers.
My only function to be with you is to take away all your chains, and you have so many chains... to take away all your burdens - you have so many burdens of centuries that you cannot move - and to give you total freedom to be yourself.
And it is up to you: you can turn back even from the ocean - that is your freedom. If you want a little more to sing in the forest, a little more to move in the valleys, to remain a little more just a dewdrop, shining in the early morning sun on a lotus leaf, this is your freedom.
Even the ocean cannot say, "You cannot go back." You can come back even from the house of God when He is standing there to welcome you. You can say, "You will have to wait a little; although I have lived much, much is still left unlived. I am going back. I have to live life in its totality and then I will come. You can wait, there is no hurry." This much freedom I believe to be everybody's birthright.
FOR THE TRULY GOOD ASK NOT THE NAKED, "WHERE IS YOUR GARMENT?" NOR THE HOUSELESS, "WHAT HAS BEFALLEN YOUR HOUSE?"
The truly good, even seeing you naked, will not ask, "Where are your garments?" That is none of his business. If you enjoy being naked under the sun, in the rain, in the wind, it is nobody's business to ask, "Where are your garments?" But we have created a world of prisoners. Don't do it - at least in Poona! Remember the police commissioner. He is bound to ask you, "Where are your garments?"
He is not even a gentleman. A really, truly good man, a religious man, never asks anything that may embarrass you, never asks any question for which you may not have the answer.
I dream for a world where each human being will be so courteous, so religious, that he will not trespass anybody's boundaries, anybody's territories. Then there is no need of searching for any paradise in the clouds. We would have created it just in our being so respectful, so loving, giving so much dignity to people. It is possible.
At least, I hope my people will understand that we are not wasting our time on beautiful words:
We are going through a transformation while listening to these significant statements of a man of tremendous genius.