Kahlil Gibran speaks in metaphors; perhaps that is the only way to speak about the truth. Through metaphor, through parables, it is possible to give you an indirect glimpse, but there is no direct way to say what the truth is. So while you listen to these words, remember - every word is a metaphor.
AND NOW IT WAS EVENING.... The sun was setting, and the time for the departure of Almustafa had arisen. It was not just evening outside, it was also an evening that had descended into the hearts of those who had gathered to hear him. A darkness started descending over them.
The presence of Almustafa amongst them had been just like a sun, a light to which they had become so accustomed that they had almost forgotten it. It is one of the miseries of life that the obvious becomes the most difficult, and that which is available becomes almost absent to your eyes; only departure wakes you up from your dreams and your sleep.
AND NOW IT WAS EVENING.
AND ALMITRA THE SEERESS SAID....
She was the one who had first recognized Almustafa twelve years before, when he had come to the city of Orphalese, and she was also the first to ask significant questions about life, love, children.
Naturally she is the last to show her gratitude to him. These words are of thankfulness. She said:
BLESSED BE THIS DAY, AND THIS PLACE AND YOUR SPIRIT THAT HAS SPOKEN.
It is an ancient saying in most of the lands that wherever a man of blissfulness stands, that place becomes holy and sacred. And wherever and whenever a blessed man speaks, those words are no longer ordinary language - they have wings, they are sacred. If you are available, receptive, those words will take you to the faraway stars, to unknown spaces within you, which you have carried all along for many lives, but you have never visited.
George Gurdjieff used to say that most people are born emperors, with huge palaces, with immense treasures, but their whole lives they have lived on the porch - absolutely unaware that the porch is not a place to live, and that they are born to live in the palace. But they never demand their right.
They never ask the existence, "What is my destiny? Why am I here? What is this life all about?"
They are not seekers, they simply accept whatever accidentally becomes available to them, and they think this is all life has to offer.
A man becomes a seeker the moment he becomes aware that this mundane existence cannot be all there is. Life must contain much more. There must be treasures which we are not aware of; otherwise, just to get up every morning, eat your food, go to your job, come back home, and move like a circle from cradle to the grave... do you think this routine is life? Do you think this routine can give you a singing and dancing heart? If you have a little intelligence, you will refuse to live this routine. This routine is not life, it is simply vegetation. Don't vegetate! Strive to live, and to live as fully as possible. Claim your right.
In India they have a proverb, "Even the mother will not give the child milk, unless the child cries."
The child has to demand. Even to the mother... unless the child demands, the desire of the child, the hunger of the child, does not mean anything. This existence is our mother, and you have to ask, you have to demand, you have to insist for the meaning, for the significance of why you are given birth, and why you are asked to go on living - what is the purpose?
The moment the idea of purpose, meaning and significance arises in you, you have become a sannyasin, a seeker of truth. And the day you have found your own treasure, it brings such contentment, such blissfulness, that wherever you are, you create an atmosphere, a fragrance which is not of this earth, which belongs to the beyond.
The Blessed One is one who has become a door to the beyond, to the unknown secrets and mysteries. And unless you become a seeker, you will go on breathing, vegetating, and you will die without even becoming aware of what this life was all about.
One great woman of this century, a poet of the highest rank, Gertrude Stein, was dying. And her friends had gathered because the doctors had said it was only a question of a few hours. Around her bed they were sitting in deep silence, tears in their eyes. A woman was leaving them - not an ordinary woman. She spoke in words of gold; she wrote things which are almost impossible to put into words. Suddenly Stein opened her eyes, looked all around and said, "What is the answer?"
This was so strange. People ask the question first: the question had not been asked and she is asking for the answer. Perhaps she is perfectly aware that there is not much time to ask the question - her whole life has gone by and she has not asked the question. At least before she leaves, in this evening of life, she can listen to the answer. What is the answer? And all those who were present were puzzled, because they didn't know what her question was, so how to give the answer? To argue with a dying woman, whom they all loved and respected, would be very disrespectful, but still, she was waiting for something else to be said. So one friend said, "Stein, you have forgotten to ask the question - how can we answer?"
She smiled, and said,"Okay, then what is the question?" And that was her last word. She died with these words on her lips, "Okay, then what is the question?"
This small incident has profound meaning. Neither do we know the question, nor do we know the answer, and yet we go on dragging ourselves - not knowing from where we come, not knowing where we are going, not knowing what we are doing here. It is a very strange situation, almost insane.
Almitra is right when she says: blessed be this day... because we have heard authentic questions, and even more authentic answers - answers that were not only words, answers that were alive, answers that were not simply thoughts, but were coming from the very innermost source of Almustafa's being.
BLESSED BE THIS DAY AND THIS PLACE AND YOUR SPIRIT THAT HAS SPOKEN....
And what Almustafa says is immensely significant to remember. After answering so many questions, almost covering the whole life of man, nothing is left, yet Almustafa said:
WAS IT I WHO SPOKE?
WAS I NOT ALSO A LISTENER?
He is saying, "I have not spoken a single word, the spirit of existence itself has spoken.
I was also a listener amongst you, so don't say, ???You have spoken.' I had given way to existence itself to be in direct contact with you. Although my lips were used, my hands were used, my eyes were used, these were only instruments. I have surrendered myself totally to the spirit of the whole:
???Make any song out of me, any music; I am at your disposal, totally without any conditions.'"
That's why he says: was it i who spoke? was i not also a listener?
People like Gautam Buddha, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Kabir, Nanak, Al-Hillaj Mansoor, or thousands of other mystics, will agree with Almustafa, that whatever they have said, they have not said it - they were also a listener, not a speaker. And whenever some speaker is also a listener, then only the universal spirit can sing a song. It is not a question of speaking. Almustafa is not an orator.
I was visiting a Christian college where they prepare missionaries. It is the biggest theological Christian college in the east - six years to prepare a missionary. The principal was taking me around the campus. I asked him, "Can you tell me in which theological college Jesus was trained?"
He looked at me a little puzzled, because Jesus was not even educated - he could not even read or write.
He said, "Nobody has ever asked this question of me, and we have trained thousands of missionaries."
I said, "The trained missionary is a hypocrite; he does not know how to surrender himself and let existence speak through him. I have seen through your classes, and I have been laughing inside myself; this is such an absurdity, that you are even teaching your so-called future missionaries. They are well-educated - somebody has a postgraduate degree in philosophy or religion or psychology, somebody has a Ph.D in psychology or philosophy or religion. They are well-educated people, and they are being trained. And when I saw the training, I could not figure out whether it is time to weep or time to laugh."
I asked the principal, "In the last class we saw, these poor missionaries were being told when you should speak loudly, when you should raise your hand, when you should simply whisper, what gesture should be followed when you make this statement.
"Are you training actors? Do you think Christianity is a school of drama?"
He said, "I am very embarrassed; I cannot answer your question."
I said, "Your embarrassment has answered it. You know perfectly well now that these missionaries are simply puppets. They will speak words which had been spoken by Jesus; the words will be the same, and you are making every effort that even the gestures must be the same. It is possible that the gestures may be the same, the words may be the same; it is also possible that they may be even better, because Jesus was a poor carpenter's son, uneducated, uncultured. But they will not be authentic. They can be better, as far as the science of dramatics is concerned, but they cannot be authentic. I would like to see the last class also."
He said, "What do you mean by last class? We have gone around the whole campus."
"I mean where you are teaching them to be crucified - because unless you teach them to be crucified, the training is incomplete."
He said, "You are a strange fellow. You mean all these people should be crucified? They have come here to learn, and to go around the world to preach to people."
I said, "What can they preach? You would have never heard the name of Jesus if he had not been crucified. It is crucifixion which is the central and the most essential fact in the life of Jesus. In fact, without crucifixion, there would have been no Christianity."
I saw the principal was wearing a golden chain, with a golden cross hanging on it. I said, "Do you think this is what has been done to Jesus? - that a golden cross, a small cross, with a golden chain was put around his neck. Is this crucifixion? You should be on the cross, not the cross hanging on your neck - and a golden one."
Jesus was carrying a heavy wooden cross, so heavy that he fell three times before he reached the place where the cross had to be placed in the earth. He was not an old man - he was only thirty- three, a young man - and he was not unaccustomed to carrying wood - that's what he was doing; his father was a carpenter. His whole life he was carrying wood but the cross was so heavy that a young man, who was well accustomed to carrying heavy wood, fell three times on the road.
"How many times," I asked the principal, "have you fallen on the road? - because your cross is far more valuable."
Nobody can become Jesus by pretending to act like Jesus. It was said about him, that nobody ever spoke the way he spoke. There was some deep authority in his every gesture; he was not talking philosophy or theology, he was pouring his own heart, his very life. His words were not dead words of professors, scholars; his words were alive, breathing.
Remember it, you can learn beautiful words, and you can deceive yourself. It is not a question of learning words; it is a question of surrendering to existence, and allowing existence: if it wants to speak, it can; if it wants to remain silent, that's perfectly okay. If it wants to sing, you are available; if it wants to dance, you provide your body, your heart, your whole being. Only then, the place where such a man sits, speaks, or remains silent, becomes a holy place, becomes sacred.
THEN HE DESCENDED THE STEPS OF THE TEMPLE AND ALL THE PEOPLE FOLLOWED HIM.
AND HE REACHED HIS SHIP AND STOOD UPON THE DECK.
A man like Almustafa... although he is going to his home, to the place where he belongs, although he is going to the goal he has been searching for all his life, although he is going in the ship he has been awaiting for twelve years, still, standing on the deck, he looks all around, at the place where he dwelled for twelve years, the people who never recognized him - the people who, on the contrary, always misunderstood him. They thought, "He is an outsider, he does not belong to us; he is a stranger. He is a dreamer of dreams."
Nobody believed in him, nobody trusted him; but that does not make any difference to his attitude towards the people. He is not offended. On the contrary, he is leaving the place with a deep sadness, because he is leaving all these people in darkness. He has not been successful in making them aware, so that they can open their eyes and the darkness will disappear.
And only on the last day when he is departing, a still understanding, a silent understanding has arisen in many people, that perhaps they have missed a messenger of God, a prophet, a messiah.
But it is too late, he has to go.
AND FACING THE PEOPLE AGAIN, HE RAISED HIS VOICE AND SAID:
PEOPLE OF ORPHALESE, THE WIND BIDS ME LEAVE YOU.
The ship is ready and the wind is blowing towards my land.
LESS HASTY AM I THAN THE WIND....
I am not so hasty to go; although I waited for twelve years, I still want to linger a little more. Perhaps somebody may be able to hear me, to see me, to understand me; perhaps somebody may become a seeker, a searcher, a wanderer for truth.
LESS HASTY AM I THAN THE WIND, YET I MUST GO.
Nobody can remain here forever. Even the greatest has to go one day.
Hence, remember it: if you want to feel me, don't postpone it. If you want to understand me, don't say, "Tomorrow, because today I am very busy" - because tomorrow is not certain. One never knows, it may come, it may not come.
WE WANDERERS, EVER SEEKING THE LONELIER WAY, BEGIN NO DAY WHERE WE HAVE ENDED ANOTHER DAY; AND NO SUNRISE FINDS US WHERE SUNSET LEFT US.
EVEN WHILE THE EARTH SLEEPS WE TRAVEL.
He is talking about a spiritual wandering. We don't know where our home is, and not even a single moment can be wasted. So even in sleep, the seeker is searching. While he is awake, he is searching - searching in all directions, in all dimensions, without any prejudice; he is knocking on all the doors. One never knows which one is the right door.
WE ARE THE SEEDS OF THE TENACIOUS PLANT, AND IT IS IN OUR RIPENESS AND OUR FULLNESS OF HEART THAT WE ARE GIVEN TO THE WIND AND ARE SCATTERED.
I am speaking to you, but it will be far better to say that I am simply scattering seeds. Let my words be seeds in you, so when the spring comes in your life, those seeds will start sprouting.
But man has been trained to remain closed, not to allow anything in. And that is the reason why the spring comes and goes, and you remain as dead as ever - because you don't have the seeds.
Spring cannot create seeds; if you have the seeds, spring is a tremendous help. The clouds will come, and the rain will fall, but you will remain barren, unless you have seeds.
To be with a Master is nothing but to allow your heart, so that he can sow seeds.
You may not be able, just now, to recognize them, because a seed is not a flower, but only a potentiality; it is not a fruit, but only a potentiality. In its own time, it will bring a great harvest.
But to allow one's heart, one needs trust; and we have been brought up with fear - not with trust, not with love. So our hearts are so closed, no seed can enter there.
It is not for the first time that you have come to a man like me; you are ancient wanderers. Perhaps a few of you have been with Gautam Buddha, a few of you have been with Lao Tzu, a few may have been with Jesus. But you went on missing, because you never allowed your heart to be receptive.
They were showering seeds on you, but unless you receive them, their showering is not of much use.
Jesus used to say again and again, "When a gardener sows seeds, some seeds fall on rocks - they will never grow. Some seeds fall on the path where people walk; they will grow, but they will die, because people are continually passing by; the traffic is going to kill them."
Blessed are those few seeds which find the right soil - which is neither rock, nor a path where people pass. In the right time, when the spring will call them forth, they will start growing into beautiful plants, and when the rains will come, they will dance with joy, because the rains are bringing more juice, more life to them. Soon they will become big trees, standing against a sky full of flowers and foliage and fruits: they have attained their destiny.
Very few men have been able to attain their destiny, they have remained barren - because of their fear. And you have nothing to lose, but still you go on fearing.
Those who have something don't fear, because that which belongs to you cannot be taken away.
That which does not belong to you is bound to be taken away; today, or tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow; death will come, and all that you have will be taken away. Only that which is yours - which you had brought with you, with your birth - will be left with you in your death. But the whole life of seventy or eighty years has been futile. You could have grown, matured, become centered, become what you are in your potentiality, but not in your actuality.
Your actualization is all that religion means. There is no other religion than actuality - actualization of all that is lying dormant in you.
And the beginning is a fearlessness, a trust in existence. You are born of existence, and you cannot trust it. You are breathing existence every moment, and you cannot trust it. You are eating existence, drinking existence, and you cannot trust it. Whom can you trust? People are ready to believe in God - whom they have never seen, nobody has ever seen, and nobody is going to see ever.
I teach you not to trust in God, because that is going to be only a belief, phony.
I want you to trust in existence.
I want you to be pagans, trusting in the trees, in the oceans, in the mountains, in the stars, in people, in yourself - these are realities. There is no need of any belief; you just have to understand what is real and what is unreal - just a little discrimination. Trust the real, the authentic, and nobody can prevent your growth. And only in your growth will you discover more and more treasures of consciousness, of being, of godliness.
You will never find God; you will only find godliness.
It is a quality.
It is another name of love.
BRIEF WERE MY DAYS AMONG YOU, AND BRIEFER STILL THE WORDS I HAVE SPOKEN.
It is something to be understood about time: when you are miserable, time seems to pass very slowly. If you are sitting by the side of a dying man in the night, it may seem that the night is never going to end. Perhaps this is the last night and there is not going to be any sunrise again, because each moment is so painful that it becomes, in your understanding, longer and longer.
The miserable person lives in one time scale; and the blissful person lives in a different time scale.
And you are aware of it - when you are happy, time passes fast. The clock moves the same way - it does not bother whether you are miserable or happy. It may be the same clock, and one person is miserable sitting underneath it, and another person is happy sitting underneath it. What can the poor clock do? The clock goes on moving according to its own mechanism. But the miserable person will feel time passing very slowly, and the happy person will feel time passing so fast.
When you are with your friend, whom you have met after many years, hours pass like minutes, days pass like hours. What to say about a man who is not only happy or in a pleasant mood, but who is blissful? For him there is a different time scale. To the miserable it becomes long, to the happy it becomes short, to the blissful it stops... it does not move.
So when Almustafa says:
BRIEF WERE MY DAYS AMONG YOU, AND BRIEFER STILL THE WORDS I HAVE SPOKEN.
BUT SHOULD MY VOICE FADE IN YOUR EARS, AND MY LOVE VANISH IN YOUR MEMORY, THEN I WILL COME AGAIN....
Almustafa almost represents all the mystics of the world, it seems, because they have all promised, "If you don't listen this time, if you go on forgetting what has been said to you, if it fades and becomes just a memory, or perhaps a dream that you have seen, then I will come again."
It has to be understood as a metaphor. Neither can Buddha come again, nor can Jesus come again - although both have said that; nor can Krishna come again - he also said that. In fact this is the time all the three should be here.
But it is not a question of Jesus coming again - that's what Christians are waiting for. The Jews are also waiting for the prophet promised in the last testament. That was the crime of Jesus, because he claimed that he was the prophet for whom they had been waiting. The Jews could not believe that their prophet would be born in a poor carpenter's house, uneducated, uncultured. Jesus had not committed any crime, except that he claimed, "I am the prophet you have been waiting for: I have come."
He was innocent. He should not have said that, because it destroys the hope of the people, and they can never forgive you if you destroy their hope. They have been suffering for centuries, but there was always a hope far away, a star, that the messiah will come and will deliver them from all their misery.
And now this poor carpenter's son arrives and he says, "I am the star for whom you have been waiting, and I will redeem you from all your misery." His crime is that he has destroyed their hope.
He has not been able to redeem their misery - they are still miserable two thousand years after Jesus. But he had to be crucified for the simple reason that they wanted to save their hope. It was the hope that was functioning like an opium. They were able to suffer, because there was a hope that it is only a question of a few more days, and the messiah will come.
And the same is the heritage of the Christians. Now they are waiting for Christ to come back; he has promised, "I will be coming back." Now if anybody says, "I am Jesus Christ," Christians will do the same with that man as the Jews have done with Jesus. They will assassinate him, crucify him, because again he is doing the same thing; he is destroying their hope.
People are living in such misery that they need hope constantly, they are hope-addicts. Nobody can redeem anybody else from misery. One can tell you how you can get out of your misery, but one cannot pull you out of your misery; except you, nobody can be your savior.
But Gautam Buddha says the same, Krishna says the same - it has to be understood as a metaphor.
Nobody comes again. Once a man has become enlightened he cannot come again; there is no way backwards. Just as you cannot become, from being a young man, again a child... or can you?
However hard you may wish, it is not going to happen; otherwise nobody will be old; everyone will become young again and again - who wants to die? And to avoid death, the best way is to remain young. So whenever you feel that you are becoming old, just go backwards, just a few miles back, and be young again.
But in time, there is no possibility of going back; you always go ahead. Once you have become enlightened you cannot be born again, because that is a lower stage, you have passed it.
Then what can be the meaning of it? The meaning is that the bodies of the mystics may be different, but they surrender their bodies to the same universal state. So Krishna may not be back, Christ may not be back, Buddha may not be back; but there may always be somebody who has surrendered himself and is available to the universal spirit. And that spirit is the same.
So the mystic may not come back again, the same body may not be born again, but the same universal spirit may again find someone who is available and open.
That exactly is the meaning. If you understand it, then there is no question for Christians to wait for Christ, because he will never come. There may happen people who are speaking the same language, who are speaking from the same universal source of life, but Christians will be blind, because the body will be different, the language will be different. The Hindus will not believe it, the Mohammedans will not believe it, the Buddhists will not believe it; in fact they will be the first to deny it.
Just the other day, I saw Keiko and her mother. Her mother was very angry with me, because she wanted me to tell her daughter to go with her. And I said, "How can I tell anybody what to do? I can only say that, if she wants to go with you, she should go, and if she wants to remain here, she should remain. Who am I to order her either to remain here or to go with you?"
And immediately her Buddhist mind came in, and she said, "Then you are not a Buddha."
I enjoyed her conversation very much. I said, "Buddha certainly I am not. I have left Buddha twenty- five centuries behind. I am a contemporary man; why should I be a bullock cart?"
She said, "You are horrible. A Buddha cannot separate a mother from her daughter."
I said to her, "Then you don't understand anything about Buddha. What about his ten thousand monks and nuns? He had separated them from their parents, their husbands, their wives, their mothers, their fathers. Do you think all those ten thousand monks that Buddha had were born from the sky? And he not only did it at that time, but for twenty-five centuries continuously; now there are millions of Buddhist monks all around the world, and Buddhist nuns - particularly in the East. He is still destroying families. And you are claiming that if I were really a Buddha I would not destroy a family, when Buddha destroyed more families than anybody else in the whole world."
Then she became even more angry - people become angry when they cannot find argument. She said, "You are a devil."
I said, "That's true."
"And my daughter loves you like a father."
I said, "That I can accept. But I cannot be your husband, because even the devil would be afraid of you. What happened to your husband? You must have destroyed the poor fellow."
He is living separately; he is not living with her. She has the only child, and she has almost killed this beautiful girl - she has taken all life out of her.
For the first time.... I have seen her coming to the commune in America - she remained one month there, and she has been here for two or three days. She cannot clap; she cannot join with you when you are almost in an ecstatic state. She remains like a stone Buddha - that is her mother's training.
For the first time, when I said, "You can remain here if you want," she smiled. For the first time, I saw some kind of movement. I have told Geeta to help her to become alive again, and now that the mother is gone - she was really a dragon... Keiko, you can start laughing with all these people. Mix with them and dance with them, and forget the past - your past has been a nightmare. And invite your father, because I am feeling sorry for him, too. Seeing your mother, I have continuously been thinking of your father - what must this woman have done to the father...? Once you start dancing and enjoying and living, your life will come back to you.
It was beautiful to see Keiko say good-bye to her mother. In a Japanese way the mother turned towards her, faced her, her last effort, eye-to-eye contact - and a girl who has been tortured for thirty years, is bound to be afraid, and may say "I am coming with you." But she saw the joy and the freedom and the love of you all, and she said good-bye in the Japanese way, folding her hands, bowing down to her mother - that is their way of saying goodbye. The mother did the same, but with a great anger. She followed the ritual, but she was boiling; she could not believe that an unknown man would take her daughter away so easily - something which even her father had not been able to do.
It is not only with Keiko, it is with almost everybody, more or less. To her it has happened too much.
Parents kill, because then only can they force you to obey. They don't want you to laugh, they don't want you to dance, they don't want you to sing. They don't want you in any way to show life - and life is the only God there is.
AND WITH A RICHER HEART AND LIPS MORE YIELDING TO THE SPIRIT WILL I SPEAK.
YEA, I SHALL RETURN WITH THE TIDE....
These people always return - the way I have explained, not the way people have been expecting - so one never knows from whom the universal spirit will speak. It is one of the reasons I want all religions to be dispersed, so that everybody is free of prejudice, and everybody is able to find, wherever he can, the universal spirit speaking again. The words may be different, the gestures may be different, but the essential message will be the same.
AND THOUGH DEATH MAY HIDE ME, AND THE GREATER SILENCE ENFOLD ME, YET AGAIN WILL I SEEK YOUR UNDERSTANDING.
AND NOT IN VAIN WILL I SEEK.
IF AUGHT I HAVE SAID IS TRUTH, THAT TRUTH SHALL REVEAL ITSELF IN A CLEARER VOICE, AND IN WORDS MORE KIN TO YOUR THOUGHTS.
Times change. Now one cannot speak the way Buddha spoke - he would be out-of-date. Neither can one speak like Jesus - that would be out-of-date.
Whenever the universal spirit speaks, it is always fresh, it is always new, it is always of this moment.
But the message, in essence, is the same. It is a new flower, but the fragrance is the same. Don't look at the flower: try to understand the fragrance.
I GO WITH THE WIND, PEOPLE OF ORPHALESE, BUT NOW DOWN INTO EMPTINESS; AND IF THIS DAY IS NOT A FULFILLMENT OF YOUR NEEDS AND MY LOVE, THEN LET IT BE A PROMISE TILL ANOTHER DAY.
I promise you I will come if this day has not been enough, if your needs are not fulfilled. Nor my love... I could not give you enough, in abundance, because you were not available to receive it.
... THEN LET IT BE A PROMISE TILL ANOTHER DAY....
Man's needs change, but not his love, nor his desire that his love should satisfy his needs.
KNOW, THEREFORE, THAT FROM THE GREATER SILENCE I SHALL RETURN.
All these mystics who have promised seemed to have failed in fulfilling their promise because you are still looking for the outer frame. The outer frame cannot be the same. You will have to look to the essentials, then you will find no promise has remained unfulfilled.
All these people have come again and again. Untiring is their effort to make you understand, to help you grow into more light, into more love, to help you dance - because you are not crippled, to help you see - because you are not blind, to help you feel - because within every one of you a heart is beating, and is waiting for love to shower upon it.