THE SIXTH SAYING
JESUS SAID: THE KINGDOM IS LIKE A SHEPHERD WHO HAD ONE HUNDRED SHEEP.
ONE OF THEM WENT ASTRAY WHICH WAS THE LARGEST.
HE LEFT BEHIND THE NINETY-NINE, HE SOUGHT FOR THE ONE UNTIL HE FOUND IT.
HAVING TIRED HIMSELF OUT, HE SAID TO THE SHEEP: I LOVE THEE MORE THAN THE NINETY-NINE.
One of the most puzzling problems has been: what will happen to the sinners, those who have gone astray? What is the relationship between the divine and the sinner? Is the sinner going to be punished? Is there going to be a hell? ... Because all the priests have been insisting that the sinner is going to be thrown into hell, he is to be punished. But can God punish anybody? Is there not compassion enough? And if God cannot forgive, then who will be able to forgive?
Many answers have been given, but Jesus' answer is the most beautiful. Before we enter into this saying many other things have to be understood; they will give you the background.
Whenever we punish a person, whatsoever rationalizations we may like to make, our reasons are different; and remember the distinction between reason and rationalization. You may be a father or a mother, and your child has done something of which you don't approve. It doesn't matter whether he has done something right or wrong, because who knows what is right and what is wrong? But
you disapprove and whatsoever you disapprove of becomes wrong. It may be, it may not be, that is not the point - whatsoever you approve of is right. So it depends on your approval and disapproval.
And when a child goes astray, is doing something wrong in your view, you punish him. The deep reason is that he has disobeyed, not that he has done something wrong; the deep reason is that your ego feels hurt. The child has been in conflict with you, he has asserted himself. He has said no to you, the father, the authority, the powerful one, so you punish the child. The reason is that your ego is hurt and punishment is a sort of revenge.
But the rationalization is different: you say that it is because he has done wrong and he has to be put right - unless he is punished how is he going to be put right? So he should be punished when he moves in a wrong way, and he should be rewarded when he follows you. That's how he is to be conditioned for a right life. This is the rationalization, this is how you talk about it in your mind, but this is not the basic unconscious reason.
The unconscious reason is totally different: it is to put the child in his place, to remind him that you are the boss and he is not the boss, that you will decide what is wrong and what is right, that it is you who are going to give him direction; that he is not free, that you possess him, that you are the owner - and if he disobeys then he will suffer.
If you ask the Depth Psychologists they will say that in all behavior this distinction between reason and the rationalization has to be understood well. Rationalization is a very cunning device - it hides the real reason and gives a false thing to you, but looks absolutely okay on the surface. And this is happening not only between a father and a child, a mother and a child, it is also happening between society and those children who have gone astray. That's why prison exists, the law exists - it is a revenge, a revenge taken by society.
Society cannot tolerate somebody who is rebellious, because he will destroy the whole structure. He may be right: Athens could not tolerate Socrates, not because he was wrong - he was absolutely right - but Athens could not tolerate him because if he had been tolerated then the whole structure of the society would have gone, been thrown to the dogs; then the society could not have existed.
So Socrates had to be sacrificed to society.
And Jesus was crucified, not because whatsoever he was saying was wrong - never have such true words been asserted on this earth - but he was sacrificed to the society because the way he was talking, the way he was behaving, was dangerous to the structure.
Society cannot tolerate this so it will punish you. But it also rationalizes: it says this is just to put you right, it punishes you for your own good. And nobody ever bothers whether that good is ever achieved or not. We have been punishing criminals for thousands of years, but nobody bothers whether those criminals are ever transformed through our punishment or not. Criminals go on increasing: as prisons increase, prisoners increase; the more laws, the more criminals; the more courts, the more punishments. The result is absolutely absurd - more criminality.
What is the problem? The criminal can also feel that it is a rationalization, that he is punished for doing wrong - really he is punished because he has been caught. So he also has his rationalization:
next time he has to be more cunning and more clever, that's all. This time he has been caught
because he was not alert, not because he has done wrong. Society proved more clever than him, so next time he will see - he is going to prove himself more cunning, clever, intelligent, and then he will not be caught. A prisoner, a criminal who is punished always thinks that he is punished, not for the thing he has committed, but because he has been caught. So the only thing he is going to learn from the punishment is not to be caught again.
So whenever a prisoner comes out of prison he is a better criminal than ever: he has lived with experienced people inside the prison, with more advanced adepts who know much, who have been punished much and who have suffered long - who have been caught - and who have been deceiving in many, many ways; who are very advanced on the path of crime. Living with them, serving them, becoming a disciple to them, he learns; he learns through experience that next time he is not to be caught. Then he is a better criminal.
Nobody is stopped by punishment, but society goes on thinking that it is because the wrong has to be stopped that we punish. Both are wrong: society has some other reason - it takes revenge. And the criminal, he also understands - because egos understand each other's language very easily, howsoever unconscious - the criminal also thinks, "Okay, I will take revenge when my time comes, I will see." Then a conflict exists between the criminal's ego and society's ego.
Is God the same? - just like a justice, a magistrate, just like a father or a boss? Is God also cruel in the same way as society is? Is God also the same deep down, an egoist as we are? Will he take revenge if you disobey? Will he punish you? Then he is no longer divine, then he is just an ordinary man like us.
This is one of the profoundest problems: how will God behave with a sinner who has gone astray?
Will he be kind? Then there are other things implied. And if he wants to be just, he cannot have compassion, because justice and compassion cannot exist together. Compassion means unconditional forgiveness, but it is not just, because it is possible.... A saint prayed continuously his whole life, never did anything wrong; was always afraid of moving beyond the boundary, lived in his own confinement, created an imprisonment for himself; never did anything wrong, remained virtuous his whole life; never allowed himself any enjoyment of the senses, was very austere. And then there was another man who lived, indulged, did whatsoever came to his mind; went wherever his senses led him, enjoyed whatsoever the world gave; did all types of things, all types of sins - and then both reached the divine, both reached God's world.
What will happen? If the saint is not rewarded and the sinner is not punished, it will be very unjust.
If both are rewarded, that too will be unjust, because the saint will think: "I have lived a good life, but nothing special is given to me for it." If the sinner is also rewarded in the same way, then what is the use of being a saint? The whole thing becomes futile. Then God may be compassionate, but he is not just.
If he is just, then the arithmetic will be clear in our minds: the sinner has to be punished, the saint has to be rewarded. But then he cannot have compassion - a just man has to be cruel because otherwise justice cannot be done. A just man has to live in the head, not in the heart.
A magistrate should not have a heart, otherwise his justice will waver. He should not have any kindness in him, because kindness will become a barrier to doing justice. A man who is just must
become like a computer, just a head: laws, rewards, punishments - no heart enters into it, no feeling should be allowed. He should remain a spectator, unfeeling, as if there is no heart in him. But then a difficult problem arises, because for centuries we have been saying that God is both just and compassionate; kind, loving, and yet just. Then it is a contradiction, a paradox - how to solve it?
Jesus has one answer, and the most beautiful. Now try to understand his answer. It will be difficult because it will go against all your preconceptions, against all your prejudices, because Jesus is not a believer in punishment. Nobody like Jesus can be a believer in punishment, because deep down punishment is revenge. A Buddha, a Krishna, a Jesus, they cannot believe in punishment. Rather, on the contrary, they can drop the very quality of justice from God. But compassion cannot be dropped, because justice is a human ideal, compassion is divine. Justice has conditions attached to it: "Do this and you will achieve this. Don't do that, otherwise you will miss this." Compassion has no conditions.
God is compassionate. And to understand his compassion we have to start from the sinner.
JESUS SAID: THE KINGDOM IS LIKE A SHEPHERD WHO HAD ONE HUNDRED SHEEP. ONE OF THEM WENT ASTRAY, WHICH WAS THE LARGEST. HE LEFT BEHIND THE NINETY-NINE, HE SOUGHT FOR THE ONE UNTIL HE FOUND IT. HAVING TIRED HIMSELF OUT, HE SAID TO THE SHEEP: I LOVE THEE MORE THAN THE NINETY-NINE.
Absurd, illogical - but true. Try to understand: THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS LIKE A SHEPHERD WHO HAD ONE HUNDRED SHEEP. ONE OF THEM WENT ASTRAY, WHICH WAS THE LARGEST. It is always so - the one who goes astray is always the best. If you are a father and you have five children, only the best child will try to resist and deny you, only the best child will assert himself. The mediocre ones will always yield to you, but the one who is not mediocre will rebel, because the very quality of his mind is rebellious. Intelligence is rebellious: the more intelligent, the more rebellious. And those who are not rebellious, who are yea-sayers, are almost dead; you may like them, but they have no life in them. They follow you not because they love you, they follow you because they are weak, they are afraid, they cannot stand alone, they cannot stand against - they are weaklings, impotent.
Look around: people whom you think are good are almost always those who are weak. Their goodness does not come out of their strength, it comes out of their weakness. They are good because they cannot dare to be bad. But what type of goodness is this which comes out of weakness? Goodness must come out of overflowing strength, only then is it good, because then it has life, a floodlike life.
So whenever a sinner becomes a saint, the saintliness has its own glory. But whenever an ordinary man becomes a saint because of his weakness, the saintliness is pale and dead, there is no life in it. You can become a saint out of weakness - but remember, then you will miss. Only if you become a saint out of your strength will you reach. A man who is good because he cannot be bad is not really good. The moment he becomes stronger he will become bad; give him power and power will corrupt him immediately.
This happened in this country: Gandhi had a great following, but it seems that the goodness of his followers came out of weakness. They were good when they were not in power, but when they came to power, when they became the rulers of this country, then the power corrupted them immediately.
Can power corrupt a powerful man? Never, because he is already powerful. If power could corrupt him, power would have corrupted him already! Power corrupts only if you are weak and your goodness comes out of weakness. Lord Acton has said, "Power corrupts and corrupts absolutely!"
But I would like to make it conditional; this statement is not unconditional, not categorical, it cannot be. Power corrupts if goodness comes out of weakness; if goodness comes out of strength, no power can corrupt. How can power corrupt if you know it already, when it is there already? But it is very difficult to find from where your goodness comes. If you are not a thief because you are afraid of being caught, the day you become certain that now nobody can catch you, you will become a thief - because then who will prevent you? Only your fear was preventing you; you were not going to murder your enemy because you knew you would be caught. But if a situation arises where you can murder the man and you cannot be caught, you cannot be punished for it, you will murder him immediately. So it is only through weakness that you are good.
But how can goodness arise out of weakness? Goodness needs overflowing energy. Goodness is a luxury, remember, saintliness is a luxury - it comes out of affluence. When there is too much energy, so much that you are flooded with it, then you start sharing it. Then you cannot exploit because there is no need. Then you can give out of your heart because you have so much that really you are burdened. You would like to share and renounce, you would like to throw everything and give all your life as a gift.
When you have something you would like to give it - remember this law: you cling to something only when you don't really own it; if you own it you can give it. Only when you can give something happily are you the owner. If you are still clinging to it, then deep down you are afraid and you are not the master of it. You know deep down that it does not belong to you, and sooner or later it will be taken away from you. That is why you cannot give. So only when a person gives his love does he show that he has love; only when a person gives his whole life does he show that he is alive. There is no other way to know it.
Out of weakness much goodness appears. It is an appearance, it is a false coin, and a false coin is just like a paper flower or a plastic flower. Whenever a tree flowers it flowers only because it is flooded with too much energy. Flowers are luxuries - a tree flowers only when it can afford to. If water is not given in the right proportion, if fertilizers are not given in the right proportion, if the soil is not rich, then the tree may have leaves but it cannot have flowers.
There is a hierarchy: the highest can exist only when there is energy to move to the highest. If you are not fed well, intelligence will disappear first because that is a flowering. In a poor country the real poverty is not of the body, the real poverty is of intelligence, because if the country is very poor intelligence cannot exist - it is a flowering. Only when all the bodily needs are fulfilled does energy move higher; when the bodily needs are not fulfilled, the energy moves to fulfill the bodily needs first, because the base has to be protected first, the root has to be protected first. If there is no root there cannot be any flowering; if there is no body then where will the intelligence exist? And compassion is even higher than intelligence, and meditation still higher.
In India, Buddha and Mahavira were produced when the country was very rich. Since then so-called saints have existed, but not a man like Buddha. Difficult, very difficult - because such a flowering is possible only when there is useless energy, energy which cannot be used; only then does the energy start enjoying itself. And when energy starts enjoying itself it begins to turn inwards, it becomes an inner turning. Then it becomes meditation, then a Buddha is born, then ecstasy exists.
Don't give water to the tree and first the flowers will disappear, then the leaves will disappear; then the branches will die and only at the last moment will the roots die - because with roots things can come up again, so the tree will protect its roots. The root is the lowest, but the lowest has to be protected because it is the foundation. When good days come, when the rains come and there is water, then again the root can sprout, again the leaves will come, and again there will be a flowering.
This same hierarchy exists in you.
Be good out of your energy, never be good out of your weakness. I am not saying be bad... because out of weakness, how can you be either? Badness needs energy as much as goodness. You cannot be bad, you cannot be evil without energy, and you cannot be good without energy - because both are real. Then what can you be without energy? You can just have a false face: you will not be anything, you will just be a facade, a deception, a ghost, not a real person - whatsoever you do will be ghostlike. And this is what is happening. Then you will create a false goodness, a false saintliness. You will think you are a saint because you have not committed any sin, not because you have attained the divine.
When you attain the divine it is an achievement, a positive energy achievement. Then you become godlike, and then there is no effort to be godlike - it flows spontaneously. You can resist being bad, but that is negative. When you resist, the desire is there; and if the desire is there to do evil, you have committed it - it makes no difference. That is the difference between sin and crime.
Crime has to be an act. You can go on thinking about committing crime, but no court can punish you because no court has authority over the mind, only over the body - a crime has to be an act. I can go on thinking of murdering the whole world, but no court can punish me just because I go on thinking about it. I can say I enjoy it, but I have not murdered anybody, it has not become an act.
Action comes under the law, not thought, and this is the difference between crime and sin.
Sin doesn't make any distinction between your acts and your thoughts: if you think, the seed is there; whether it sprouts in the act or not is not the problem. If it becomes an act then it will be a crime.
But if you have thought it you have already committed the sin - for the divine you have become a criminal, you have gone astray. But this is the point to be understood, a very difficult one: that those who go astray are always more powerful than those who remain on the path.
Those who go astray are always the best. Go to a madhouse and see: you will find the most intelligent people have gone mad. Look at the past seventy years of this century: the most intelligent people have gone mad, not the mediocre ones. Nietzsche, one of the best intelligences ever born, went mad, had to go mad - he had so much energy; so much energy that it could not be confined, so much energy that it had to become a flood; it could not be a gentle stream, he could not channel it - it was like an ocean, wild. Nietzsche went mad, Nijinsky went mad. Look at the seventy years of this century and you will find the best, the cream, the very best went mad, and the mediocrities were sane.
This looks very absurd: mediocrities are sane and genius goes mad. Why does a mediocre person remain sane? No energy to move astray. A child becomes a problem child when he has overflowing energy, he has to do something or other. Only a bloodless child remains in the corner; if you say to him, "Repeat Ram, Ram, Ram," he will repeat it, if you give him a rosary he will do it. But if the child is really alive then he will throw away the rosary and he will say, "This is stupid! I'm going to play and I'm going to climb in the trees, I'm going to do something!"
Life is energy. Only a bloodless, anemic mind will not go astray, cannot, because it is difficult to afford that much energy, it is difficult to move to that extreme, to that abyss. But those who go astray - if they are ever found - they become buddhas. If Nietzsche had ever gone into meditation he would have become a buddha. He had the energy to become mad, so he had the energy to become enlightened - it is the same energy, only the direction changes. A potential buddha will become mad if he is not going to become a buddha - where will the energy go? If you cannot be creative, energy becomes destructive. Go to the madhouses: you will find the most intelligent men there; they are mad only because they are not mediocre; they are mad because they can see further than you, deeper than you. And when they see deeper than you, illusions disappear.
The whole of life is such a puzzling thing that if you can see deeper it will be very difficult to remain sane, very difficult. One remains sane because one cannot see: you see only two percent of life, and ninety-eight percent, psychologists say, has been closed, because if you come to see it, it will be such a flood that you will not be able to tolerate it - you will go insane, berserk.
Now a few psychologists, those who have been studying madness very deeply, like R.D.Laing and others, are stumbling on certain facts. One of the facts is this: that people who go mad are the best, people who go into crime are the most rebellious. They can become great saints and it is not a surprise if a Valmiki becomes a saint. Valmiki was a dacoit, a murderer, he lived by murder and loot.
A sudden happening - and he became enlightened.
One enlightened person was passing, and Valmiki, a murderer, a man who lived by theft, caught hold of this enlightened man. The enlightened man said, "What are you going to do?"
Valmiki said, "I am going to rob you of all that you have!"
The enlightened man said, "If you could do that I would be happy, because I have something very inner - steal it, you are welcome!"
Valmiki could not understand it, but he said, "I am concerned only with outward things."
The enlightened man said, "But they won't help much. And why are you doing this?"
Valmiki replied, "Because of my family, for my family - my mother, my wife, my children - they will starve if I don't do this; and I only know this art."
So the enlightened man said, "Bind me to a tree so I cannot escape, and go back and tell your mother and your wife and your children that you are committing sin for them. Ask them if they are ready to share the punishment. When you are before God, when the last judgment comes, will they be ready to share the punishment?"
For the first time Valmiki started thinking. He said, "You may be right. I should go and ask."
He went back, asked his wife, and she said, "Why should I share the punishment? I have not done anything. If you do anything it's your responsibility."
And his mother said, "Why should I share it? I am your mother, it is your duty to feed me. I don't know how you bring the bread, that's your responsibility."
Nobody was ready to share the punishment - and Valmiki became converted. He came back, fell at the feet of the enlightened man and said, "Now give me the inner, I'm not interested in the outer. Now let me be the robber of the inner, because I have understood that I am alone and whatsoever I do, it is my responsibility, nobody is going to share it. I am born alone, I will die alone, and whatsoever I do is my individual personal responsibility; nobody is going to share it. So now I must look inwards and find who I am. Finished! I am finished with this whole business!" This man was converted in a second.
The same story happened with Buddha. There was one man who was almost mad, a mad murderer.
He had taken a vow that he would kill one thousand people, not less than that, because the society had not treated him well. He would take his revenge by killing one thousand people. And from every person killed he would take one finger and make a rosary around his neck - one thousand fingers.
Because of this his name became Angulimala: the man with a rosary of fingers.
He killed nine hundred and ninety-nine people. Nobody would move in those parts; wherever people came to know that Angulimala was, the traffic would stop. And then it became very difficult for him to find one man, and only one more man was needed.
Buddha was passing a forest; people came to him from the villages and they said, "Don't go!
Angulimala is there, that mad murderer! He doesn't think twice, he simply murders; and he will not think that you are a buddha. Don't go that way; there is another way, you can move by that one, but don't go through this forest!"
Buddha said, "If I don't go, then who will go? And he is waiting for one more, so I have to go."
Angulimala had almost completed his vow. And he was a man of energy because he was fighting the whole society: only one man - and he had killed a thousand people. And kings were afraid of him, generals were afraid, and the government and the law and the police - nobody could do anything. But Buddha said, "He is a man, he needs me. I must take the risk. Either he will kill me or I will kill him." This is what buddhas do: they stake, they risk their lives. Buddha went. Even the closest disciples who had said that they would remain with him up to the very end, they started lagging behind - because this was dangerous!
So when Buddha reached the hill where Angulimala was sitting on a rock, there was no one behind him, he was alone. All the disciples had disappeared. Angulimala looked at this innocent man; childlike, so beautiful, he thought, that even a murderer felt compassion for him. He thought, "This man seems to be absolutely unaware that I am here, otherwise nobody goes along this path." And the man looked so innocent, so beautiful, that even Angulimala thought, "It is not good to kill this man. I'll leave him, I can find somebody else."
Then he said to Buddha, "Go back! Stop there now and go back! Don't move a step forward! I am Angulimala, and these are nine hundred and ninety-nine fingers here, and I need one finger more - even if my mother comes I will kill her and fulfill my vow! So don't come near, I'm dangerous! And I am not a believer in religion, I'm not bothered who you are. You may be a very good monk, a great saint maybe, but I don't care! I only care about the finger, and your finger is as good as anybody else's so don't come a single step further, otherwise I will kill you. Stop!" But Buddha continued moving.
Then Angulimala thought, "Either this man is deaf or mad!" He again shouted, "Stop! Don't move!"
Buddha said, "I stopped long ago; I am not moving, Angulimala, you are moving. I stopped long ago.
All movement has stopped because all motivation has stopped. When there is no motivation, how can movement happen? There is no goal for me, I have achieved the goal so why should I move?
You are moving - and I say to you: you stop!"
Angulimala was sitting on the rock and he started laughing. He said, "You are really mad! I am sitting and you say to me that I am moving, and you are moving and you say that you have stopped.
You are really a fool or mad - or I don't know what type, what manner of man you are!"
Buddha came near and he said, "I have heard that you need one more finger. As far as this body is concerned, my goal is achieved, this body is useless. When I die people will burn it, it will be of no use to anyone. You can use it, your vow can be fulfilled: cut off my finger and cut off my head. I have come on purpose because this is the last chance for my body to be used in some way; otherwise people will burn it."
Angulimala said, "What are you saying? I thought that I was the only madman around here. And don't try to be clever because I am dangerous, I can still kill you!"
Buddha said, "Before you kill me, do one thing, just the wish of a dying man: cut off a branch of this tree." Angulimala hit his sword against the tree and a big branch fell down. Buddha said, "Just one thing more: join it again to the tree!"
Angulimala said, "Now I know perfectly that you are mad - I can cut but I cannot join."
Then Buddha started laughing and he said, "When you can only destroy and cannot create, you should not destroy because destruction can be done by children, there is no bravery in it. This branch can be cut by a child, but to join it a master is needed. And if you cannot even join back a branch to the tree, how can you cut off human heads? Have you ever thought about it?"
Angulimala closed his eyes, fell down at Buddha's feet, and he said, "You lead me on that path!" And it is said that in a single moment he became enlightened.
Next day he was a bhikkhu, a beggar, Buddha's beggar, and begging in the city. The whole city was closed. People were so afraid, they said, "Even if he has become a beggar he cannot be believed.
That man is so dangerous!" People were not out on the roads. When Angulimala came to beg nobody was there to give him food, because who would take the risk? People were standing on their terraces looking down. And then they started throwing stones at him because he had killed nine hundred and ninety-nine men of that town. Almost every family had been a victim, so they started throwing stones.
Angulimala fell down on the street, blood was flowing from all over his body, he had many wounds.
And Buddha came with his disciples and he said, "Look! Angulimala, how are you feeling?"
Angulimala opened his eyes and said, "I am so grateful to you. They can kill the body but they cannot touch me, and that is what I was doing my whole life and never realized the fact."
Buddha said, "Angulimala has become enlightened, he has become a brahmin, a knower of Brahma."
It can happen in a single moment if the energy is there. If the energy is not there, then it is difficult.
The whole system of yoga is how to create energy, more energy. The whole dynamics of tantra is how to create more energy in you, so you become a floodlike phenomenon. Then you can become good or bad.
JESUS SAYS: ONE OF THEM WENT ASTRAY, WHICH WAS THE LARGEST.
Only those who are great, who are the best, go astray. The sinners are the most beautiful people in the world - gone wrong, of course. They can become saints any moment. Saints are beautiful, sinners are beautiful, but the people who are just in between, they are ugly... because impotence is the only ugliness: when you don't have any energy, when you are already a dead thing, a corpse, somehow carrying yourself, or having others carry you.
Why do the best, why do the great go astray? There is a secret to be understood: the process of growth is that first you have to attain the ego. If you don't attain to a crystallized ego surrender is never possible. Looks paradoxical, but this is how it is. First, you have to attain a very crystallized ego, and then you have to drop it. If you don't attain to a crystallized ego, surrender can never happen to you. How can you surrender something which you have not got?
A rich man can renounce his riches, but what should a beggar do? He has no riches to renounce. A great scholar can throw his intellect, but what will a mediocre person do? How can he throw it when he has not got it? If you have knowledge you can renounce it and become ignorant, humble; but if you don't have any knowledge, how can you renounce it?
Socrates could say, "I don't know anything." This is the second part: he knew much, then he realized that all knowledge is useless. But this cannot be attained by a person who has not moved like Socrates. The intellect has to be trained, knowledge has to be gained, the ego has to be crystallized; this is the first part of life. When you have the riches, then you can renounce them - the difference is great.
A beggar on the street and Buddha on the street are both beggars, but the quality differs absolutely:
Buddha is a beggar by his own will. He is not forced to be a beggar, it is his freedom. Buddha is a beggar because he has tasted riches and found them futile; Buddha is a beggar because he has lived through desire and found it futile, useless. Buddha is a beggar because the kingdom of this world has failed. So Buddha's beggary has a richness about it - no king can be so rich, because he is still half way round and Buddha has completed the circle.
But a beggar who has never been rich also standing on the road... his begging is simply begging, because he does not know the taste of riches. How can he renounce a desire which he has not fulfilled? How can he say that palaces are useless? He has no experience of them. How can he say that beautiful women are worthless? He cannot say that because he has not known beautiful women. Only experience can give you the key to renounce. Without experience you can console yourself, and many poor people, poor in many ways, do that.
If you don't have a beautiful wife you go on saying, "What is there? The body is just the body, and the body is mortal and it is the abode of death." But deep down, deep down the desire remains, and desire can go only when experience has happened, when you have come to know - this is a consolation. A poor man can console himself that there is nothing in palaces, but he knows there is; otherwise, why is everybody mad for riches? And he himself is obsessed and mad: in his dreams he lives in palaces, in his dreams he becomes the emperor. But in the daytime, when he is a beggar on the street, he goes on saying, "I don't bother, I don't care, I have renounced!" This consolation is of no use; it is dangerous, it is false.
The first part of life for a rightly maturing person is to attain the ego; and the second part, then the circle becomes complete, is to renounce it.
A child grows only when he resists his parents, when he fights with the parents; when he moves away from them, against them, he attains his own individual ego. If he goes on clinging to his parents, following them, he will never be an individual in his own right. He has to go astray - this is how life is meant to be. He has to become independent, and there is pain in becoming independent.
There is a fight; and you can fight only if you feel you are. And this is a circle: if you feel you are, you can fight more; if you fight more, you become more, you are more - you feel, "I am." The child attains maturity when he becomes totally independent. Because of this independence he has to go astray.
The sinner may be seeking independence from the society, from the mother, from the father - but the sinner is seeking independence and ego in a wrong way. The saint is also seeking independence, but in a right way. The ways are different, but wrong ways are always easier. To become a saint is difficult, because to become a saint you must have been a sinner first. Try to understand this: to be a sinner you need not be a saint first, but to be a saint you need to be a sinner first. Otherwise, your saintliness will be poor, it will not be rich; it will be flat, pale, it will not be alive; it will be a summer stream, not a flooded river.
ONE OF THEM WENT ASTRAY, WHICH WAS THE LARGEST.
As far as I know, the word 'largest', in the world of sheep, carries the meaning of 'the best'. Because the largest sheep is the best sheep - it carries more wool, it carries more fat, so it costs more to purchase - if you sell it you will gain more. The larger the sheep the better, the smaller the sheep the poorer. 'Largest' means the best - and the best went astray. It is symbolic.
The shepherd left behind the ninety-nine - they were not worthwhile.
Why does Jesus always choose the shepherd and the sheep? It is very meaningful, his symbology is meaningful: the whole crowd of mediocre minds is just like sheep, they live in a crowd. Look at sheep moving on the road: they move as if they have a collective mind, not like independent beings - hugging to each other, huddled, afraid to move alone. They move in a crowd.
I have heard: one schoolteacher was asking a small boy whose father was a shepherd, "If there are ten sheep and one jumps over the fence around your house, how many will remain behind?"
The boy said, "None!" The teacher said, "What are you saying? I am giving you an arithmetical problem to solve - what are you saying? Ten sheep were there, one has jumped out; how many are left behind?"
The boy said, "You may know arithmetic, but I know sheep - none!" ... Because sheep have a collective mind, they move as a crowd: if one jumps, they will all jump.
The shepherd left the ninety-nine sheep behind and went in search of the one sheep who had gone astray.
Jesus always says that God will go in search of the sinner, not in search of the mediocre, the middle class - because the mediocre one is not worthwhile, he has not earned that much worth. And, moreover, he is always on the path, so there is no need to seek him, no need to search for him - and he cannot go astray. That's why the shepherd left ninety-nine sheep in the forest, in the dark night, and went in search of the one who had gone astray: because this one had become individual, this one had attained the ego; the other ninety-nine were without egos, they were a crowd.
Look at your whole being: is it still a crowd, or have you become an ego? If you have become an ego, then God will be in search of you because it is worthwhile - you have to be sought, you have to be found. You have gained half the circle, and now the other half is surrender; now the other half can be attained through God. Only you can do the first half, the other half will be completed by the divine. When you have an ego, then somewhere, in some form, God is in search of you because you have done your part, you have become an individual. Now, if you lose individuality you will become universal.
This is the difference: before individuality you are just a crowd - not universal, just a crowd, the local crowd. Then you attain individuality, you go astray; you become independent, you become an ego - and then when you lose this ego you become the ocean, you become the whole.
Right now you are not, so you cannot become the whole. Right now the crowd exists, you are just numbers in the crowd. They do it well in the military, they give numbers to the soldiers: one, two, three, four - no names, because really you don't have any name, you have not earned it. You are just a number, a digit: one, two, three, four... so when somebody dies, they can write on the board that such and such numbers have fallen. They are numbers and numbers can be replaced. When 'number one' has fallen he can be replaced by another person, and he becomes 'number one'. In the military there are sheep, and the military is the perfect society, the perfect antlike society, the crowd.
If you want to know the crowd mind look at the military: they have to discipline you completely, in such a way that you lose all independence. An order is an order, you are not to think about it. They order, "Right turn!" and you right turn! And this becomes so deep.
I have heard that the wife of one colonel was very much disturbed, because whenever the colonel slept on his left side he would snore. And it was difficult for her because it was not an ordinary snore - a colonel's snore. It was like a roar, so it was impossible for her to sleep. But whenever he lay on his right side, then he would not snore. So she went to a psychoanalyst and asked about it. He said, "It is simple: whenever he snores, turn him to the right."
She said, "That's difficult! He's a heavy man and then he gets angry. If I shake him and wake him up he gets angry; and it happens so many times in the night that my whole night would be lost doing this."
The psychoanalyst said, "Don't worry - simply whisper in the colonel's ear, 'Right turn!' and it will do." And it did! An order is an order - it goes so deep in the unconscious.
A society exists as a crowd. You can turn it into an army immediately, with no trouble. That's why Hitler could succeed in turning his whole country into an army camp. Mao has succeeded in turning his whole country into an army camp. The society lives just on the boundary, you can switch it immediately: a little discipline and the society can be turned into a military camp. There is no individuality because individuality is not allowed, you should not assert yourself. This is the sheeplike crowd, the sheeplike mind.
Have you got any consciousness of your own? Or do you simply live as a part of the society you were born in? You are a Hindu, a Mohammedan, a Christian, a Sikh, a Jaina - but are you a man?
You cannot say that you are a man, because a man has no society. A Socrates is a man, a Jesus is a man, a Nanak is a man - but not you! You belong, but a man belongs to no one, he stands on his own feet. That is what Jesus says: The best goes astray. And once the best goes astray, the shepherd... left behind the ninety-nine, and he sought for the one until he found it.
You go on praying for God but he is not in search of you, that's why you miss him. First become yourself, then he will be in search of you. There is no need to seek God - and how can you seek him? You don't know the address, you don't know his abode. You only know meaningless words and theories; they will not help.
I have heard that one priest arrived in a new town. The taxis were on strike and he had to reach the church, because he had to deliver the sermon that evening. So he asked a small boy where the church was and the boy led him there. When he reached the church he thanked the boy and said to him, "I am very grateful that you helped me - not only did you show me, you came with me. If you are at all interested in knowing where God is, come this evening to my sermon, my talk. I am going to talk about the way to the abode of the divine."
The boy laughed and he said, "You don't know the way to the church; how will you know the way to the divine? I'm not coming!"
But I tell you, even if you know the way to the church it makes no difference. Everybody knows the way to the church, but that makes no difference because the church is not his abode, it has never been! You cannot seek him because you don't know him. He can seek you because he knows you - and this is one of the basic teachings of Jesus: that man cannot reach the divine, but the divine can reach man. And he always reaches whenever you are ready.
So the question is not to seek him, the question is just to be ready and wait. And the first readiness is to become individual, 'to go astray'. The first thing is to be rebellious, because only then do you gain the ego. The first thing is to go beyond the crowd - that is what going astray means: to go beyond the clearcut, formulated, limited scope of the society, because beyond it is the wilderness, beyond it exists the vastness of God.
The society is just a clearing in the forest. It is not real, it is man-created. All your laws are man- created; whatsoever you call virtue, whatsoever you call sin, is just man-created. You don't really know what virtue is. This word 'virtue' from the Latin origin is very beautiful: the word from the Latin means 'powerful'; it doesn't mean 'good', it means 'virile', it means 'powerful'.
Be powerful, assert yourself, stand on your own. Don't fall a victim to the crowd. Start thinking, start being yourself. And follow your lonely path - don't be a sheep!
Ninety-nine sheep can be left in the forest - there is no fear about them. They will not be lost because they will huddle together, so they can be found any moment. The problem is not with them but with the one, the best, who has left the fold. Whenever a sheep can leave the fold it means power exists there, and the sheep is not afraid of the forest, not afraid of the wild animals, not afraid at all; the sheep has become fearless - only then can she leave the fold. And fearlessness is the first step of being ready.
Ego is the first step to surrender. It looks absolutely paradoxical. You will think that I am mad, because you think that humbleness is needed. I say, no! - first ego is needed, otherwise your humbleness will be false. First ego is needed - sharp, sharp like a sword. That will give you a clarity of being, a distinctness, and then you can drop it; when you have it you can drop it. Then a humbleness comes and that humbleness is totally different: it is not the humbleness of the poor, it is not the humbleness of the weak - it is the humbleness of the strong, it is the humbleness of the powerful. Then you can yield, but not before that.
HE LEFT BEHIND THE NINETY-NINE, HE SOUGHT FOR THE ONE UNTIL HE FOUND IT.
And remember you need not go to seek God, he will come to you. Just become worthy and he will find you, he has to make a path towards you. The moment someone somewhere becomes crystallized, the whole divine energy moves towards him. He may reach you as an enlightened man, he may reach you as a master, as a guru - in millions of ways he can reach you. But how he reaches you is not the point - that is for him to worry about, it is not for you to worry about. First attain the ego, be ready, become individual, and then the universal can happen to you.
HAVING TIRED HIMSELF OUT, HE SAID TO THE SHEEP: I LOVE YOU MORE.
The one who has become rebellious, God loves him more. Priests will say, "What nonsense! One who has gone astray, God loves him more?" The priests cannot believe it, but this is how it happens.
Jesus is the lost sheep, Buddha is the lost sheep, Mahavira is the lost sheep. The crowd goes on moving in its mediocrity, while a Mahavira, a Buddha and a Jesus are sought out - God rushes towards them.
This happened under the bodhi tree where Buddha was sitting, perfectly individual, with all the chains of society, culture, religion broken - all the chains broken, perfectly alone. Then God rushed from everywhere, from all directions - because he is in all directions - and Buddha became a god.
And he had denied that there is a God, because that was one of the ways to go astray. He had said, "There is no God, I don't believe in any God." He had said that there is no society, no religion.
He denied the Vedas, he denied the caste system - brahmins, sudras. He denied the whole Hindu structure of thinking. He said, "I am not a Hindu, and I don't belong to any society, and I don't believe in any theories. Unless I know the truth I am not going to believe in anything!"
He went on denying. A moment came when he was alone and there was no link with anything, absolutely broken. He became an island, absolutely alone. Under that bodhi tree, twenty-five centuries ago, God rushed from everywhere to this man, to this sheep who had gone astray, and told Buddha.... Having tired himself out, he said to the sheep: I love thee more than the ninety-nine.
This was also said to Jesus, this has always been so, this is the foundational law. God seeks the man, not the man God - man just has to be ready.
And how to be ready? Become individual, be a revolutionary. Go beyond the society, be fearless, break all chains, all relationships. Be alone and exist as if you are the center of the world. Then God rushes towards you, and in his rush your ego is lost, the island disappears into the ocean - suddenly you are no more.
First the society has to be dropped - and that is the inner mechanics - because your ego can exist only with the society. If you go on dropping the society, there will come a moment when the ego will be alone because the society has been dropped. But then without the society the ego cannot exist, because society helps you to exist as an ego. If you go on dropping the society, by and by the base is dropped. When there is no 'thou' the 'I' cannot exist. At the final stage 'I' disappears because 'thou' has been dropped. When there is no 'you', 'I' am not. The 'you' has to be dropped, then the 'I' drops. But by dropping 'you' first, the 'I' becomes sharper, crystallized, centered, beautiful, powerful.
Then it is consumed - this is the rush of the divine.
Jesus was crucified because of these sayings. He was making people rebellious, he was teaching them to go astray. He was saying that God loves the one who has gone astray - the sinner, the rebel, the egoist. The Jews could not tolerate it, it was too much. This man had to be silenced: "This man has to be stopped - he is going too far, he will destroy the whole society!" He was creating a situation in which the priests would not be able to stand, the church would dissolve.
He was against the crowd - and the crowd is all that is around you - and the crowd became panic- stricken. They thought, "This man is the enemy, he is destroying the very base. Without the crowd how can we live?" By going and teaching the ninety-nine sheep to go astray, they will huddle together more. And if you go on teaching them they will take revenge, they will kill you, they will say, "Enough is enough!"
We live in the crowd, we are part of the crowd. Alone we cannot exist. We don't know how to be alone, we always exist with the other. The other is needed, it is a must. Without the other who are you? Your identity is lost.
This is the problem: ninety-nine sheep create all religions, and the real religion happens only to the one sheep who has gone astray.
Be courageous! Move beyond the clearing, go to the wild. Life is there, and only then will you grow. There may be suffering, because there is no growth without suffering. There may be a cross, crucifixion, because without it there is no maturity. Society may take revenge through crucifixion - accept it. That is bound to happen, because when the one sheep comes back the ninety-nine will say, "This is the sinner! This sheep went astray, this one is no part of us, this sheep doesn't belong to us!"
And those ninety-nine sheep will be absolutely unable to conceive that the shepherd is carrying that sheep on his shoulders - because this is the lost sheep and it has been found.
Jesus says the shepherd will go back to his home, he will call his friends, and he will have a feast because a sheep was lost and a sheep has been found. Jesus says whenever a sinner enters into heaven there is rejoicing, because a sheep has been lost and a sheep has been found.
Enough for today.