It is one of the misfortunes that the true religion has been destroyed - not by the irreligious, but by the so-called religious people of the world... not by those who do not believe in God, but by those who believe in God, heaven and hell, and all that nonsense. The true religion has nothing to do with God. Neither is it a lust for rewards after life, nor is it a fear of punishment in hell.
The true religion knows no past, no future, but this very moment, only the present. True religion is not in the temples and the mosques and the synagogues and the churches. Those who try to find it there are making their efforts in vain. It has to be found, not by anything that is made by man, but by something which has made the whole existence, man himself included. You cannot sculpt God in a statue, because God is the very source of life, and nothing else.
God has no face of its own, it has no hands of its own, it has no eyes of its own; but if you are silent, peaceful, loving, suddenly your hands start quivering with a new source of energy. Your hands become God's hands; your eyes start seeing in a totally different way - they become the eyes of God. Everything remains the same, and yet everything changes because you have changed.
God is a way of life, a style of life, living in tune with existence.
God is not a person, but simply a certain way of falling in tune with existence, of falling in love with all that surrounds you. The true religion is nothing but love, unbounded, unfettered.
Kahlil Gibran says, your daily life is your temple.... In fact, to avoid it, we have created temples.
The temples are not the places where God lives; those are the places which we have created to deceive ourselves. God is all over the space, everywhere, but to be so overwhelmed, so possessed and enchanted by God that each single moment becomes flooded with Him, needs courage, needs guts, needs a heart uncluttered - open, available, receptive. To avoid this, we have created small temples. These temples are not to find God, but to avoid God.
Your religions are not religion, but an escape from religion.
They are like toys, poor substitutes, dead, with no life, with no song, with no dance. But it is strange that the whole of humanity has been deceiving itself. There must be some deep psychological reason.
I am reminded of a beautiful story by Rabindranath Tagore. He says, "I have been searching for God, for many, many lives. Once in a while I saw a glimpse of Him near a far, faraway star, and I rushed towards that star. But by the time I reached there, He was gone.
"Again I saw Him somewhere else, far away, but it was always far away, and to travel that distance takes time. And God is not something dead - it is something flowing, constantly moving. By the time I reached the spot where I had seen Him, He was dancing somewhere else. I heard the dance, I heard the music; He was playing a flute, I heard the flute. I saw Him, but always so far away.
"But I have continued.... It was a challenge... one day I was going to find Him. How long could He go on escaping from me? And certainly one day I reached a beautiful house, and a plate on the house said, THE HOUSE OF GOD. And I was so full of joy that my journey had not been in vain, I had found Him; it was simply a question of going just a few steps and knocking on the door.
Dancing with delight, I stepped on those marble steps. I was just going to knock at the door, but my hand remained as if paralyzed, because a thought suddenly came to me: If He opens the door, and I meet Him, then what? All my life has been a search, all my life has been a constant seeking - I know only how to search and how to seek. The meeting of God is going to be a death to me, because I am nothing but a search, a seeking. It is going to be a death to the challenge - and what is life without a challenge?
"I moved my hand back and took my shoes off from my feet, because who knows? - He might hear the noise on the steps and open the door and say, ???Where are you going? Here I am.' Taking the shoes in my hands, I ran away. I never looked back - perhaps He might be standing in the doorway and watching, and then escape would become a little more difficult and painful.
"Since then I have been searching for Him again, and I see a glimpse here and there. I know where He lives, so only that place I have to avoid, and everywhere else I go on searching, seeking, asking, inquiring, ???Where is God? What is God?'"
It is a tremendously profound story. Have you ever thought about it - if you meet God, what you are going to say to Him? what are you going to do with Him? He will be the dead-end street, He will be your grave, because beyond Him there is nothing. You have been searching with great intensity, with great passion and longing; all passion and all longing will disappear.
Perhaps this is the reason why everybody goes on seeking God, and yet never meets Him. Perhaps everybody knows the house where He is, so they only avoid that house - and the whole universe is there to seek and search. Or perhaps God understands that He has to remain a search, an inquiry, a quest, and is never to become an experience.
Just as on your side you are avoiding the house.... Perhaps He does not live in that house either, afraid that someday some idiot may knock, some police commissioner may issue a warrant of inquiry; and the police officers with their guns will make their way, forcibly, into the house of God. But I say unto you, they will not find Him there. Not only are you escaping from Him, He is also escaping from you because He is also afraid. The meeting is going to be a great embarrassment. Neither have you anything to say, nor has he anything to say. Are you going to talk about the weather?
Have you ever given it a single thought? - that the very idea of God as a person is nonsense. There is no God as a person anywhere, and all these temples, and all these mosques and synagogues and churches, are empty. Manufactured by crafty priests, they don't have anything to do with religion.
Kahlil Gibran is right when he says; your daily life is your temple.
To accept this simple fact that your daily life is your temple and your religion - just the understanding of this simple fact is going to become a great transformation. Then you cannot do many things you have always been doing, because it is everywhere - the sacred land - and every moment you are dealing with God.
You cannot cheat your customers; you cannot be possessive of your children, because they are closer to God than you are. Their innocence is a bridge, your knowledge is a wall, a China wall; you can only be respectful to the children. You cannot act in the old way because you are always acting inside the temple, and each of your acts is a prayer. In each moment you are surrounded by God.
His presence will be felt even in your wife, in your husband, in your friend, in your enemy, because except Him, nobody else exists.
To make the whole of life a temple, and the whole of life a religion, is the only way of the real seeker.
He does not go to look into the holy books. Books are books; no book is holy and no book is unholy.
Read them if you enjoy the poetry; read them if you enjoy their prose; read them if you enjoy their mythologies - but remember, no book can deliver you a taste of religion.
Yes, a flower may be able to do it; a bird on the wing may be able to do it; a tree rising high and dancing in the sun may be able to do it. The whole existence becomes your holy book: read it, listen to it, and slowly, slowly, you will become aware that you are surrounded by an energy of which you have been completely unconscious.
It is almost like the fish who does not know anything about the ocean, because it is born in the ocean, it has lived in the ocean, and one day it will die in the ocean. It was part of the ocean, just a wave; it knows nothing of the ocean. The fish comes to know the ocean only when a fisherman pulls her out of the ocean and throws her on the beach in the hot sand. Then she knows that she has missed her real home, of which she has never been aware. Now she is thirsty, trying in every possible way to reach back and jump into the ocean. Out of the ocean she becomes aware of what she has missed.
People become aware only at the time of death of what they have missed, because death comes like a fisherman, pulling you out of the ocean of life. As you are pulled out of life, suddenly you realize, "My God! I have been alive, and I never became aware of it. I could have danced, I could have loved, I could have sung - but now it is too late."
People become aware only at the time when they are dying, that they have been continuously surrounded by the eternal energy of life, but they never participated in it. Your daily life is your temple, and your religion. Act in awareness, act consciously, and naturally many things will start changing.
A man who understands that the whole life is the temple, is the religion, cannot go on killing animals for eating, because if you are divine, then they are also divine. If God beats in your heart, He also beats in the heart of a deer. How can you kill a deer? - so beautiful, and so dignified... so swift, he goes like an arrow. Have you ever seen a deer who is ugly? That's why deer don't have any competition for beauty, because what is the point? - they are all beautiful. Have you ever seen a lion who is not beautiful?
But man becomes ugly. Every child is born beautiful, but as he grows he starts learning ways how to become ugly, how to be competitive, how to be jealous, how to be violent, how to be destructive, how to be aggressive. Slowly, slowly, he loses all contact with life because he has lost reverence for life.
If you ask me, I will say religion is reverence for life. And if you don't have reverence for life, you cannot conceive the whole of existence - the trees, and the birds and the animals - as different expressions of the same energy. In the source we are brothers and sisters with the animals and the birds and the trees; and if you start feeling this brotherhood, this sisterhood, you will find the first taste of what religion is.
WHENEVER YOU ENTER INTO IT, TAKE WITH YOU YOUR ALL.
TAKE THE PLOUGH AND THE FORGE AND THE MALLET AND THE LUTE, THE THINGS YOU HAVE FASHIONED IN NECESSITY OR FOR DELIGHT.
FOR IN REVERIE YOU CANNOT RISE ABOVE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS NOR FALL LOWER THAN YOUR FAILURES.
Do not discard anything as profane. The plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute - whatever you are working with, have a respect for it. People don't even respect other people; people treat other people as if they are things.
Have you ever thought that your servant is also your brother, has the same dignity as you, needs to have his pride, just as you need it? No, a servant passes from your room, and you don't even pay attention - as if nobody has passed. A servant seems to have no soul. Have you purchased the soul of the servant?
How long has it been that you have not seen the face of your wife, although you are living together twenty four hours a day. How long has it been that you have not seen the face of your husband, or your wife? It may have been years.
Now you take each other for granted: she has become a thing to you, you have become a thing to her. She uses you, just as you use her. You both are destroying each other; you are taking away the other's humanity, their very soul.
True religion consists of giving life and soul even to things. You can touch this chair with love and respect: it won't cost you anything, but it will give you immense insight into life. The religious man is the only magician in the world: whatever he touches becomes alive. It is not a question of what he touches; it is a question of what he pours into it. He pours his own life.
To live a religious life does not mean renouncing existence and escaping to the mountains. That is the way of the coward and the impotent; that is the way of the crippled and incompetent; that is the way of those who don't have the intelligence to see God surrounding them everywhere. When you renounce life, you are renouncing God - whom else can you renounce? When you are renouncing your wife or your husband, whom do you think you are renouncing? And where are you going to find God?
In Gautam Buddha's life there is one incident which Buddhists try to avoid; they don't discuss it.
When Gautam Buddha became enlightened.... And what is enlightenment? - this very experience that the whole existence is divine, that it is the temple of God, and that everybody is either God- awake or God-asleep - but it makes no difference. One who is asleep can be awake within a minute, just a little cold water has to be thrown into his eyes. He may be annoyed in the beginning, he may shout at you - people even throw their alarm clocks.
I have been asked again and again, "Why are people so angry with you?" I say, "It is understandable.
When people are asleep, they don't want any alarm clock around them; and I am no ordinary alarm clock. I try in every way - even if I have to wrestle with the person, I will bring him out of the bed. Even if he becomes angry, it is nothing to be worried about. The moment he is awake he will understand that his anger was not right.
The moment Gautam Buddha became enlightened, the first thing he told Ananda was "I would like to go to my kingdom. Twelve years have passed since I left my palace. I have left a small child, just one day old - my first child; now he must have become twelve years old. And all these twelve years, my wife, Yashodhara, must have been very angry. She is a woman of culture, beauty, and refinement - she may not even have expressed her anger to anybody, but in her heart she must be carrying the wound.
"The first thing I want is to go back, and to see my wife and my child and my father. He must be old, if he is still alive. He must have destroyed his eyes by crying, because I am his only son."
They reached the palace, and entered it. Ananda had a privilege, which he had asked before his initiation. He was Gautam Buddha's elder cousin-brother, so before he was initiated, he had asked, "After initiation I will be a disciple, and you will be the master, and whatever you will say, I will have to say yes to it. There is no question of any no.
"Therefore before I become a disciple, I want three things to be cleared: first, you will never send me away from you the way you send other people to spread the message. Even if I become enlightened, you cannot send me away to spread the message. Second, even if in the middle of the night I bring somebody to you because he wants to ask a question, you cannot say ???I am tired of walking the whole day from one village to another village; and do you think the middle of the night is the right time?
Can't you wait till tomorrow morning?' You cannot say that - because tomorrow is uncertain.
"And third, I will be present in every private conversation, with whomsoever you may be talking. A great emperor - it doesn't matter, I will be present there because I want to know everything - not only that which you say to the masses, but also that which you say in your privacy, because in your privacy you must say greater secrets, more intimate truths. So promise me these three things."
Gautam Buddha said, "You are my elder brother, so I cannot say no to you. I promise; but remember, only three things."
As they entered the palace, Buddha stopped and said to Ananda, "Although you have the privilege of being present in every conversation, I pray to you that you don't come with me when I go to see my wife, for the simple reason that she is such a cultured woman, and in your presence she will not show her anger, she will not show her tears. And she will become even more irritated that I have come after twelve years, and I have brought somebody with me, so that she cannot express her heart. I would like her to scream at me, to shout at me, to abuse me, so that she can be unburdened. I feel responsible."
Ananda understood; he said, "I can make this exception. You can go ahead - I will wait outside the door."
And of course, Yashodhara was very angry. She was not angry that Gautam Buddha left the palace, renounced the kingdom, and went to the mountains to meditate and to find the truth. She was not angry about that; she was angry that: "You did not trust me! You could have told me that you were going. Do you think I would have prevented you? In my body also is the blood of a warrior's daughter. If I can send you to the battlefield without showing a single tear in my eyes, knowing that perhaps I will never see you again....
"If you had just told me that you were going in search of truth, I would never have been angry. My anger is not about your going, my anger is that you did not trust me enough, you did not love me enough."
In fact, before he had left the palace Gautam Buddha had gone into his wife's chamber just to see the face of his child, who was only one day old. But the child and the mother were both under the blanket - it was a cold night - and he could not see the child. He was afraid to remove the blanket to see the face of the child - afraid because removing the blanket was dangerous: if his wife woke up, she might create an unnecessary fuss about it, and the whole house would wake up.
Then too the father who was hoping.... Gautam was his only son, and he himself was getting old. He was saying to his son, "You take the responsibilities... but now, instead of taking the responsibilities and becoming the king, you are going to leave the family; you are going to renounce the kingdom."
Buddha said, "I have come with a heavy heart. I know I have hurt you, but I also know that you have so much love for me that you can forgive me. I have just come to apologize."
And this is the point that I wanted to emphasize, the point for which I related the incident of Buddha.
His wife said, "There is no question of me forgiving you. You have asked - that is enough. Just one question I want to be answered, and that is: You have found the truth; could you not have found it here in the palace? Was it absolutely necessary to go to the caves in the mountain? Is the truth available only in the caves of the mountain? Is the truth not available here?"
And Buddha had to concede: "When I left I was not aware of it, but now I know truth is available everywhere; one need not go to a certain place to find it. But this I can say only now. At the time I renounced, I was ignorant."
Do you see the implications of it? Buddhists have been avoiding the story, because they don't want to see the implications. The implication is that all renunciation is in ignorance, and those who have become enlightened, for them there is no renunciation but only rejoicing.
All renunciation is unconscious; it is as if you are walking in sleep. But the moment you wake up, God is everywhere. Buddhists have been ignoring the story for the simple reason that if the story becomes known to the whole world, who is going to renounce the world?
In twenty-five centuries, millions of people have renounced the world. Alas, they had no idea of Buddha's own statement. It does not matter, you may not be aware that you are surrounded by a certain energy that is experienced as God when you become awake; but even when you are not aware, the energy is there, so there is no need to go anywhere.
What is needed is: Move from sleep to awakening. The journey is inward; not from this place to that place, not from here to the Himalayas - but from unconsciousness to consciousness, from unawareness to awareness.
Whenever you enter into it, in the temple of life... and if the whole of life is the temple, you have to carry your tools, whatever you are doing. If you are a musician, you will have your instruments; if you are a doctor, you will have your instruments; if you are a woodcutter, you will have your instruments.
Whenever you enter into it, take with you your all, whatever you have.
TAKE THE PLOUGH AND THE FORGE AND THE MALLET AND THE LUTE, THE THINGS YOU HAVE FASHIONED IN NECESSITY OR FOR DELIGHT.
FOR IN REVERIE....
When you taste something of the beyond... what in Japan the Zen people call "satori," Kahlil Gibran is calling "reverie."
When you become a little aware, not fully conscious - just as in the morning you become aware that the birds have started singing, and the sun has entered through the window, and you take another turn, and you pull the blanket over you - that is "reverie." You are awake but you will take a little more time; you would like to enjoy this restful moment - the birds singing, and the warmth of the sunrays, and the fresh air entering in your room. You are awake, but not fully awake; just half awake, half asleep.
People have been asking me again and again - "What the difference is between satori and samadhi?" This is the difference:
Satori is half awake, half asleep.
Samadhi is full awareness.
But if you are half awake, it won't take long for you to be fully awake. Just a little hit of the master's staff on your head, and you will jump out of the bed.
Even in your...reverie, you cannot rise above your achievements....
Whatever you have achieved in life, you cannot rise above it...nor fall lower than your failures.
So don't be worried: by exposing yourself totally to life you cannot rise higher than your achievements, and you cannot fall lower than your failures. And if you understand the fact that God is everywhere - that God is in the heights and God is also in the depths, God is in your achievements, and God is in your failures....
In fact, it is God who achieves, and it is God who fails. Why should you worry? You just leave everything to Him. You leave everything to existence; then you will be light-hearted - no tension, no responsibility, no burden, no anxiety. If existence can take care of the stars and the mountains and the rivers and the oceans, can't existence take care of you?
In fact you are unnecessarily living in the anguish and fear that nobody should know your failures, that only the best part of you should be shown to the world. But it is a great tension continuously to keep the best part showing. It is possible if you are acting in a drama - for a moment you can rise to your heights, but you cannot remain there forever. That's why your love affairs fail, because in your love affairs, you show only your heights.
Meeting with your beloved on the beach, you are keeping your heights, she is keeping her heights, and both think about each other that they have found the person who is really made for them; they are made for each other. But these heights can be kept only on the sea-beach. When the woman is in the kitchen, tired... the man is continuously harassed in the office by the bosses, and he comes home crushed, and the wife has been alone the whole day struggling with loneliness, they cannot keep their heights. They will both explode; they both bring their depths. And once you are living with somebody for twenty-four hours a day, it is very difficult to go on acting. A small thing may disturb your acting, and the reality may come out.
It happened, in a village.... In India every year the story of Rama is being dramatized all over the country. In the story, Rama's brother, Lakshmana, was shot by an arrow from the enemy side. It was a poisonous arrow, and the best physician of those days was asked about the cure. Lakshmana was lying down on the stage, dead, almost dead, in a coma.
The physician said, "It is very difficult to save him. There is a cure, a certain herb that grows on a certain mountain; but the distance is too much, and if within twenty-four hours the herb is not brought, there is no possibility of saving him."
One of the followers of Rama - you must have seen his statue everywhere, the monkey-god, Hanuman - said, "Don't be worried." He was the king of monkeys, a great monkey; he said, "I can reach to the mountain, but the only trouble is, I am an uneducated monkey and I don't know what herb you are talking about. You have to give me clear-cut indications so that I can bring the right herb; otherwise I may bring something and it may not be the right herb. I am not a physician."
The physician said, "That is no problem. That herb is so important that in the night it glows like fireflies. So you will be able to see in the night, any herb that is aflame with light - that can save Lakshmana."
Hanuman went there, but he was surprised because it was not one herb that was lighted, there were many herbs in the mountain.
He said, "My God! - How am I to choose? That old idiot gave me just one indication, but that indication is applicable to many other herbs."
He saw: "They are different herbs, but they are all aflame," and there was not time enough for him to go back and inquire again. A monkey is a monkey: he thought it was better to take the whole mountain - "So let that old fool choose which herb he wants."
So he brings the whole mountain. Now, in a drama in a small village, it is a very difficult process.
The mountain is made of cardboard: there are candles, small herbs, and a rope which winds and unwinds on a wheel; and just on the top there is a man who goes on unwheeling it or wheeling it, and Hanuman goes flying on the rope.
By the time he comes back with the mountain, something goes wrong: the wheel does not move. It is India - it is not Germany. It is not a surprise that it does not move, it is a surprise that it moves so fast! Now Hanuman is hanging there, and the whole audience is laughing: "This is strange!"
And Rama is continuously repeating what he is supposed to say only once, "Hanuman, come soon!"
Hanuman is just hanging there and the people are laughing: they cannot understand what has gone wrong. He has come, the mountain is there, the herbs are there, lights are there - and except Rama, everybody is looking at Hanuman. Only Rama looks down, and goes on saying, "Hanuman..."
because he cannot find what to say, he knows Hanuman is hanging there.
Finally the manager went up the roof. He tried, but nothing happened - the wheel wouldn't move - so in such a hurry and tension, he cut the rope. Hanuman fell down, the whole mountain scattered.
Naturally he is very angry; he has forgotten completely that he is acting the part of Hanuman. Rama goes on repeating... he says, "Hanuman, you have saved the life of my brother!"
Hanuman says, "Your brother... and what about my feet!"
Even Lakshmana opens his eyes to see what is happening, and Hanuman says to him, "Close your eyes! You are not supposed to open your eyes - you are unconscious. Just tell me who cut the rope. Unless I give him a good beating, this drama cannot go on."
The curtain has to be dropped. Somehow he is to be taken out; sweets are offered, but he says, "I don't want anything. First, I want to know who cut the rope!" The manager had escaped. That man was a wrestler in the village; he was a dangerous man - he might really beat him!
Everybody consoled him, saying "We will see - it is the manager, but he has escaped. In the morning we are going to give him good treatment."
But for the time being, the actor who played Hanuman said, "No, now I cannot manage... I am too disturbed." He picked up his tail, which was hanging behind him, and threw it away and he said, "You can find another Hanuman - I am going after the manager. I will see where he is hiding. Unless I give him fractures, I am not going to play this part."
Acting is possible only if everything goes smoothly, but how for twenty-four hours a day can things go smoothly between husband and wife? Somewhere or other the wheel is going to get stuck - and then fractures are bound to happen.
If you make your whole life just an acting - showing only the heights and not showing the depths - you are going soon to be in trouble because you cannot hide your darker side. Even existence cannot hide it. When the fall comes, the leaves have to fall; you cannot hide them. And when the spring comes, new leaves will grow; flowers will blossom. When the night comes, it is going to be dark. Even if you close your eyes, it will not make any difference.
Life consists of both - the valleys and the peaks.
Religions destroyed man, because they insisted that you should always be on the peaks. The valleys are not for the virtuous, they are for the sinners; for the virtuous are only peaks.
In existence there is no division.
Every peak has its own valleys; they always exist together. Neither valleys can exist without peaks, nor peaks can exist without valleys.
The man of understanding accepts both.
In that acceptance he becomes integrated, he becomes one.
AND TAKE WITH YOU ALL MEN:
FOR IN ADORATION YOU CANNOT FLY HIGHER THAN THEIR HOPES NOR HUMBLE YOURSELF LOWER THAN THEIR DESPAIR.
No man is an island, so never think of yourself as a phenomenon separate from existence. In you are hidden all men - all men that are dead, all men that are alive, all men that may be coming in the future.
You are carrying the whole past with you, and you are carrying the whole future within you.
You are not alone - you are a universe.
The sinner is in you, and the saint is in you. And don't make yourself a battlefield; otherwise your life will become hell. And that's what religions have done: they have made you a battlefield, so you are fighting with the sinners, who are part of you, and you are praising the saints, who are part of you, and you are putting them in opposition to each other. In their conflict, you are destroyed; your whole life becomes miserable.
Kahlil Gibran is right when he says: and take with you all men.... Remember that the highest a man has risen is also your possibility, and the lowest a man has fallen is also your possibility... that all the heights of a Gautam Buddha, a Mahavira, a Jesus, a Zarathustra - they are also within you. And all the great criminals - Genghis Khan, Tamurlane, Nadir Shah, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Ronald Reagan - they are also within you.
Accepting them both, you never become a battlefield; accepting both, a strange harmony arises in you. It is just as in every school you have a blackboard, and for writing, you have white chalk.
The white chalk on the blackboard shows a itself clearly; the blackness of the board becomes the background. You can also write on a white board, but then you cannot read. You can also write with a black chalk, but then you cannot read.
Man is a dialectic. The height and the depth, the black and the white - all are together. Rather than creating a conflict, create a harmony, a music.
Use both in such a way that they are not fighting, but become part of an orchestra.
To make man an orchestra is the very aim of religion. To create music out of your duality is the very essence of religion.
AND IF YOU WOULD KNOW GOD, BE NOT THEREFORE A SOLVER OF RIDDLES.
Don't meet God with philosophical questions, with riddles. If I ask you, "What are you going to do when you meet God?" Naturally you will start thinking what questions to ask... questions that you have not been able to find the answer to, God must know.
But Kahlil Gibran says...and if you would know god, be not therefore a solver of riddles... because God is silence, and if you bring problems and questions they will not be answered. No prayer is ever answered, because God does not understand any language. Silence is the only language that is understood.
So come to God, to the trees, to the streams, to the ocean, with silence in your heart, and you will find a communion; you will find your riddles and your questions disappearing.
God does not solve your questions.
But in silence they dissolve, they melt away.
RATHER LOOK ABOUT YOU AND YOU SHALL SEE HIM PLAYING WITH YOUR CHILDREN.
Very strange statements, but very true. But who cares about children? Who looks at children? I have been a child, just as you have been a child. And whenever there was a guest coming to my house, my father would say to me, "You disappear."
This is strange: a guest is coming to the house - I should welcome him. I cannot disappear; that will be very insulting to the guest. My father said, "No argument - he is just arriving within minutes.
You disappear to wherever you want. To the river, to the forest - wherever you want, you go."
I said, "I would have gone if I had known that no guest is coming. I am going to remain here... and I am calling my friends also."
My father said, "This is very strange of you! When there is nobody coming, you don't create disturbance; when anybody is coming, you create disturbance. You bring all kinds of friends, and you make so much noise that we cannot even talk with each other."
I said, "That is your problem. We never say to you ???You are disturbing our play; because of you, we cannot play.' It is always you who are disturbed by us - but you never think of us, that we are being constantly disturbed by you. There has to be a contract about it."
My father said, "Stop talking about this contract business! You have so many contracts with me that even if I go on forgetting, you never forget your contracts."
I said, "This is simple: either contracts or freedom. You talk as loudly as you can talk, and we will play as loudly as we can; otherwise a contract is needed."
He said, "Okay, what is your contract?"
I said, "My contract is simple: for half the time we will play, and you have to join us; and for half the time you can discuss, we will join you. It is absolutely fair."
He said, "It is better that I go out of the house. You manage the guests."
I said, "That's okay, you can go out - disappear!" But he could not because he had some business to do with the guest. And I knew that perfectly well, that he could not disappear; it was just a threat.
I said to him, "Threats won't work with me. I want simple business contracts. You are a businessman; you can understand. Half the time you give to us; half the time we will give to you."
He said, "I understand your contract: it means you will destroy the whole time. Half the time we have to play with you, and half the time you will not allow us to talk; you will interfere, argue - and I say to you it is important business."
But eyes full of business cannot see that when children are playing, God is present.
In their innocence, when trees are standing in silence, God is present. When the stream is going, singing its song towards the ocean, God is present - but the eyes are full of business. The ears are deaf; that's why you go on missing that which is, every moment, available, in thousands of ways.
AND IF YOU WOULD KNOW GOD... RATHER LOOK ABOUT YOU, AND YOU SHALL SEE HIM PLAYING WITH YOUR CHILDREN.
Have you looked in the eyes of a child? Perhaps it will be difficult for you to find an authentic sage; but if you can look into a small child's eyes, you will have some taste of the eyes of a sage. The sage's eyes are, of course, deeper, more profound, more significant - but the child also has something of it... if not all, just a part of it.
AND LOOK INTO SPACE; YOU SHALL SEE HIM WALKING IN THE CLOUD....
God is not a person. The whole effort of Kahlil Gibran is to destroy the idea that God is a person.
He wants you to understand that God is a presence. When the children are laughing, He is present.
In their laughter is such innocence; it is impossible that God would not be present there. That's why all the sages have said that when you have become awakened, you will be surprised that this is your second birth. You have again become a child; again the same wonder in your eyes... again the same desire to run after butterflies, to collect seashells on the beach....
In Japan, one great sage, Hotei, used to carry on both his shoulders, big bags, full of toys, sweets - things that children like. Whenever he would enter a town, people would ask, "Give us some sermon on religion."
Hotei would say, "Wait, and you will see it!"
And from all sides children would start coming as the rumor would spread like wildfire that Hotei had come - because he always came with strange toys, beautiful sweets, and he would start distributing them. There would be laughter, they would dance, and Hotei would dance with the children.
And the whole crowd would stand there, shocked, "This man seems to be mad - and we have heard that he is a great sage!" His whole life he was just doing that, and when people would say,"You have not spoken," he said, "It cannot be spoken. But I have done everything - I have provoked Him. He was here, taking sweets from my hands. He was here, playing with the toys. He was here laughing, he was here dancing. But you are blind; what can I do? You are deaf - you cannot hear."
Children of Japan still carry the statue of only one buddha, and that is Hotei. He never spoke, but he always created a situation where you could see innocence in action.
When innocence is in action, it is God in presence.
AND LOOK INTO SPACE; YOU SHALL SEE HIM WALKING IN THE CLOUD, OUTSTRETCHING HIS ARMS IN THE LIGHTNING AND DESCENDING IN RAIN.
It is only a question of changing your attitude. When it is raining, just go dancing in the rain. You are not made of mud - you will not disappear into the rain, into a muddy pool; and your clothes are not as valuable as the joy that you will find when the cloud is showering on you. But you are protecting yourself everywhere, carrying all kinds of umbrellas.
YOU SHALL SEE HIM SMILING IN FLOWERS, THEN RISING AND WAVING HIS HANDS IN TREES.
It is just a question of changing your attitude. You have lived with the idea that these are only trees, this is only a cloud, this is only rain.
No... it is a cloud and much more, it is rain and much more, these are trees - and plus. And that "plus" - if you can catch hold of it - will transform your whole life into a rejoicing, into blissfulness, into benediction.