Reality is always fragile

Fri, 6 May 1986 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
The Path of the Mystic
Chapter #:
am in Punta Del Este, Uruguay
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Question 1:






Times of disaster make you aware of the reality as it is. It is always fragile; everybody is always in danger. Just in ordinary times you are fast asleep, so you don't see it: you go on dreaming, imagining beautiful things for the coming days, for the future. But in moments when danger is imminent then suddenly you become aware that there may be no future, no tomorrow, that this is the only moment you have got.

So times of disaster are very revealing. They don't bring anything new into the world; they simply make you aware of the world as it is - they wake you up. If you don't understand this, you can go mad; if you understand this, you can become awakened.

I am reminded of a story. One great warrior, one of the best swordsmen of his country, had a very obedient servant. He loved the servant, trusted him. He was away, and the servant committed some mistake... which is just human. When the warrior came back he was so angry that he challenged the servant to have a fight with him, a duel with swords - because he does not want to kill him. The mistake that he has committed is big enough, although he may not understand that. He has spoiled one of the great paintings while cleaning it.

The warrior said, "Because I have loved you, I will not kill you. I will give you a chance: you have to fight with me. Take this sword and come to the dueling ground."

The servant said, "You know, lord, that I don't even know how to hold a sword. It is better you kill me; you will kill me anyway - you are a famous swordsman. I cannot in any way be victorious in the fight."

But the master was stubborn. He said, "You will have to fight."

Then the servant said, "You will have to wait at least one hour. I will have to go to my master with whom I have been learning meditation - just to pay him respects, last respects, because I don't think I can survive fighting you." He was allowed the time. He went to the master.

The master laughed. He said, "Don't be worried. This is a good opportunity for you because it is absolutely certain that he is a great warrior and he is going to kill you. You don't know anything about swordsmanship, so you will be killed. You don't have any future, you don't have any possibility of victory, you have only this moment. Why not be total at least once in your life?

"I know your man, the warrior: he will not leave you alone if he has said he will do it. But he has given you a chance, and I think it is a great opportunity."

The servant could not understand. He said, "What opportunity is there? He will simply kill me! I don't know even how to hold the sword, and he is one of the champions. It will be just a game to him."

The master said, "That is the point. He will think you are just a servant; what can you do? He will not be afraid of death; he will not be thinking that there is no tomorrow. He will still have tomorrow and the future. He will be in the ordinary sleepiness.

"You will not be. You don't have any tomorrow, you don't have any future: this is the moment. And you have nothing to lose. You are going to die, so why not be total and give him a good fight?

And don't be worried about whether you know swordsmanship or not. Use this moment with total intensity."

Meanwhile, the whole neighborhood had gathered. The servant came. The warrior of course was totally on the ordinary level of sleepiness - it was just a joke for him to kill that man.

But it was not a joke for the servant; it was a question of life and death. He fought so furiously, so totally, that the master started retreating. He had never seen... he had been fighting his whole life, but he had never seen such a fighter! All those warriors whom he had faced were all living in the ordinary reality, as asleep as he was; there was no fear that the future is finished or tomorrow is not going to come.

But for the servant everything has come to an end, so why not do your best? He knew nothing of the art - but when the end is there who cares whether you are doing right attacks or wrong attacks? And that made the warrior even more afraid. He knew how to fight with people who knew the art - but this man knew nothing. He was simply hitting him on this side, on that side, without understanding anything about what he was doing! He was total and intense, because this moment is the last moment and he does not want to hold on to anything. For what? - because the next moment is death.

So he was fully awake - his whole being was total and integrated - and he defeated the master. He did not kill him, but the master fell. And as the servant was putting his sword on the master's chest he asked, "Now what do you want? I have always loved you, I cannot kill you. But do you accept defeat or not?" And for the first time in his whole life the warrior accepted defeat.

Thousands of people witnessed the scene. They could not believe that an ordinary servant has managed it. And not only that he was victorious... in that very moment he dropped the sword and told his master, "Now I am no longer your servant; I have found my way. I am grateful to you, I will always remain grateful to you; it was because of you that I became awake."

He became an enlightened man. In that moment he tasted the fullness of being, the very peak of being.

It depends on you how you use the moment: you can panic, you can go mad, you can break down in fear, in tears. But that is not going to help your family or your friends or your beloved. It is not going to help you either.

This disaster in Russia has simply created a situation in which those who have a little intelligence can start devoting more and more of their time to meditation, because tomorrow is really uncertain.

It has always been uncertain, but now it is more uncertain than ever. This disaster may be just the beginning of a chain of disasters, because all these nuclear plants don't have any intrinsic safety. If anything goes wrong - and now we know that one plant has gone wrong - then they don't have any power, they are simply helpless. They cannot control the energy that they are creating.

The same disaster can happen in America, can happen in Germany. Just next to this plant which has burned down there are two other plants of the same age; they were made at the same time and had the same architect. They must have the same faults. There is every possibility that the second plant will blow up soon, and the third will not be far behind. And these disasters can trigger panic in thousands of people who are working in other plants; they can lose their so-called controlled behavior. They can start committing mistakes that they have never committed, just out of a feverish, frenzied state. And it is only a question of pushing a wrong button. But you can use this as a great moment.

We are all always in danger.

You know the old saying: "Never send to ask for whom the bell tolls. It always tolls for thee." When somebody dies, the church bell informs the whole village. But never send anybody to ask for whom the bell tolls; it always tolls for thee. Whoever may have died right now... each death is your death, because each death is a reminder that you are not going to be here forever. Each death is an opportunity to be awake. Before death comes use the opportunity of life to attain something which is beyond death.

It is pointless to be worried because you will be simply missing this moment and you won't help anybody. And it is not that only your parents and your friends, your beloved, are in danger: the whole world is in danger. It is only a question... Somebody is in danger today, somebody else will be in danger tomorrow - but the danger is there. So learn the secret of how to transcend the danger.

The secret is, start living more fully, more totally. Be more alert so that you can find within yourself something that is unreachable by death. That is the only shelter, the only security, the only safety.

And if you want to help your friends and family, let them become aware of this secret.

What has happened is going to happen again and again, because there are so many nuclear plants, even in undeveloped countries which don't have the technical know-how, which are technologically still in the bullock-cart age, almost two or three thousand years back. They are not contemporaries, so these latest technical developments are very strange for them. But they have to develop them because others are developing, and the competition and the fear...

And this has happened in the Soviet Union, where they are technologically contemporary. What will happen if it happens in Pakistan or in India? They don't have any technological sensibility. There is such a distance between them and nuclear technology that it cannot be bridged. American and Soviet technologists can go and make a plant and hand it over to them, but for them it is going to be difficult.

In India I know there are people who have not seen a railway train - and I think India must have more railway trains than any other country in the world. But about faraway places they have only heard. Airplanes they have seen because they move in the sky. They have not seen or heard of thousands of technological devices that we use without any consciousness that man has not always used them. They are the very latest devices, but for us there is a connecting link. For them there is no link with their past, with their mind, with their habits.

All the technology in India has been introduced by the British people in these last three hundred years; otherwise there was no technology at all. There was no need.

I have heard... they were making a railway line, the first railway line - from Calcutta to Bombay, joining the two biggest cities - and a man was resting under a tree, looking at all the work that was going on... an Indian. A British officer came close to him and said, "You can earn much if you join the work. I have been watching you the whole day for many days: you come, you enjoy seeing what is happening, but you simply lie down under the shade of the tree."

The man asked, "But what will I get by earning the money?"

And the British officer said, "After earning the money you can relax and rest."

He said, "This is strange - I am already relaxing and resting. That's why I said why bother about earning money? What will money add to my relaxation and rest?" And you don't have an answer for him.

This was the situation in India before the British Raj started. All the people in a family were not working; just a few people who wanted to work, who loved to work, were working. The remaining people were just enjoying - playing on the flute, going for a swim, resting under trees, climbing trees, eating fruits - because the earth was so fertile and the population was so small that there was no need for everybody to work; it was unnecessary. One man working was enough for a five-man family; the other four can simply enjoy.

They still have the same attitude. They are living in the past... and you have given them new technologies which are dangerous, and in their hands very dangerous. It is like giving a beautiful car to a man who knows how to drive a bullock cart: there is certainly going to be an accident.

I have heard about one Indian raja. He was rich and because the British governor-general and governors had beautiful cars, he also got a beautiful car. He went for a drive, but he forgot about the brake, and finally he could only think of crashing the car into a tree to stop it. Otherwise how was he going to stop it? The car stopped and he was very happy. He came back home and did the same thing with the house! People gathered and they said, "What are you doing!"

He said, "It is a beautiful car - just when you want to stop it, it is a little difficult. You have to have a tree or a house - something to stop it with; otherwise it goes on and on. But no harm... we have enough trees around, enough houses."

There are going to be disasters. This is just the beginning. Use the opportunity to be awake - that's all you can do. There is nothing else that you can do.

And tell your friends to use the moment for meditation, because the disaster that has happened in the nuclear plant in Chernobyl near Kiev is not something that happens and is finished. Its effects will linger for decades, at least for thirty years. So it is not a question of some house being burned, and finished...

Around Kiev, particularly in the Ukraine where Kiev is... the Ukraine is the most productive part of the Soviet Union for wheat, for other foodstuff. But now for thirty years you will not be able to grow anything in the Ukraine.

For thirty years the radiation will affect fruits, vegetables, wheat, milk... because cows will be eating the grass. And any living things - grass, wheat, fruits - catch the radiation immediately; it becomes part of them. And when you eat, it becomes part of your system.

There may be thousands of women who are pregnant. If the radiation has entered them, their children will be born distorted, blind, crippled, with no brain - anything is possible. The best will be that they are born dead; anything else is going to be a lifelong tragedy. So it is a danger not only for the living but even for those who are going to be born. And the same is true about animals. If they are pregnant their children will be crippled.

And governments go on lying. You can see how much politicians can lie. Two thousand people died in Chernobyl where the disaster happened, and the Soviet Union declared that only two persons died. Can you imagine the scale...? Two thousand people had died - there were eyewitnesses who had seen two thousand corpses taken out of the burning plant - and the Soviet Union declares on the radio that only two persons have died and everything is under control. And nothing was under control.

The next day it became clear: the radiation cloud started moving over other countries and the amount of radiation went up.

Man can tolerate only a certain amount - it went to twenty times, one hundred times, two hundred times that amount in a few places. In Vienna it was two hundred times more, in London it was one hundred times more, and in all these places pregnant women were in danger - not only them but their children. And it will continue: if those children are allowed to live they will create children, and the radiation will go on continuously affecting...

So it is not a small tragedy; its scale is tremendous. And many things are not known which will be known as time passes. The fish in the ocean will get the radiation: you eat the fish and you get the radiation. The water becomes undrinkable, because radiation ashes settle easily on the water.

The atom bomb that was used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the second world war was a small toy compared to these nuclear plants and nuclear missiles. But even now the effects continue because they go from generation to generation. And you cannot control fish; they will move to any place, and you don't know where they have moved.

So the Soviet Union has declared that there will be no crops in the Ukraine for thirty years, but that means that for thirty years the Soviet Union, one of the biggest powers, will be the most starving country. It will have to depend on poor nations. And things are so complicated that from poor nations, which produce only food, you can purchase their food only in exchange for war material.

They want war material.

They are ready to give their wheat, they are ready to give their food, but they want war material because they are continuously afraid of their surrounding neighbors who are collecting war material.

So the Soviet Union is going to sell old war material, which is not of any use if a new war is going to happen any day, to get food for itself.

Another accident like that... And it all depends on the winds. You cannot control it; the winds can take the clouds, the fumes, the radiation in any direction, to any country, to anywhere. So it is not only a question of one place and its surroundings being affected. The place may be anywhere and you may be thousands of miles away but you can be affected because the winds can carry radiation.

And you will be more vulnerable because you will not be so alert about it and you will not take any precautions.

There is one medicine - and this is the first time it is being used - which people think can prevent your being affected by radiation, but all stocks are finished everywhere in every country. People are dying to get the medicine, particularly in Europe, but there is no stock because nobody thought that suddenly there would be so much demand. And no other country is willing to give it because who knows? - the cloud may move towards them and they will be in the same position.

The danger is more, but as life is itself always in the grip of death, it is a good opportunity to be aware. Otherwise your death comes without any pre-information: suddenly it comes and you don't have even a single moment. And even in cases where death is certain - in cancer or in AIDS - the doctors, the family, the friends, everybody tries to hide the fact that it is so close... with good intentions, but good intentions won't do. They are harming the person.

The person should be made aware: "Your death is going to come within one month. You don't have any more life, so this month do the best thing that can give you a taste of immortality." Then when you die there is no sadness, no misery - you simply move from this body into another body, or if you become enlightened... A sudden awareness of death can make you enlightened.

I will tell you a story. Eknath, a very beautiful master and poet, lived in a Shiva temple. He was a very independent individual. The king was an atheist, and he was really rational and argumentative.

All his scholars and wise people have become tired trying to convince him that God exists. There seemed to be no way... So finally they said. "You go to Eknath. That is the only man... perhaps he can manage."

The king went there in disguise. He went in the morning; it was nine o'clock and Eknath was fast asleep. The king said, "My God! Is he going to be my teacher?" - because the theists and particularly the saints wake up before sunrise, and he is fast asleep at nine o'clock! Not only that, his legs are resting on Shivalinga, the phallic statue of Shiva. The king thought in his mind, "Even I cannot touch Shivalinga with my feet. Although rationally I think there is no God, deep down I am afraid: who knows? - he may be. This man seems to be far gone, and those idiots of my court have sent me to this man!"

He waited. Eknath woke up. He asked, "So for what have you come here?"

The king said, "I have come here to understand whether God exists or not, because to all my reasoning it seems he does not exist. But my people, friends, family, all believe in God and they wanted me to see you."

Eknath said, "Just show me your hand."

The king thought: This man seems to be really mad! - because what has my hand to do with God?

Eknath looked at the hand and he said, "About God we can discuss later on... but within seven days you are going to die. I have to tell you that first because my memory is not very good, I may forget.

Your lifeline is finished - just at the most seven days. Now we can discuss."

But now the king was not ready to discuss; he was afraid of his death. He was already going down the steps of the temple. Eknath asked, "Where are you going?"

The king said, "Now there is no need of any discussion; I don't have time. Just seven days! I cannot waste them in discussion." Just a few moments before he had looked so strong, and now he was trembling as he was going down the steps - just seven days!

He reached his home and he said, "I don't know what kind of man that is but he is a great palmist, that much is certain. He has declared that in seven days I will die. He has shown me that my lifeline is finishing - just a small fragment is there."

And because he was going to die, he started preparing for death. He wouldn't work. He lay down, and he became weak and pale. All his relatives came. Many royal families were connected so it was a big gathering. He was becoming weaker and weaker every day: his voice was sinking, his eyes were sinking. And Eknath had said, "On the seventh day as the sun sets - finished! That is your end." And before sunset the whole family was crying, the relatives were crying.

Eknath came. He asked, "What is the matter? Why is so much crying going on?"

They said, "Our king is dying."

Eknath said, "I would like to see him." He went to the king and shook him and said, "Just wake up and look at me. That was just a joke - I don't know anything about palmistry! Even the line that I showed you is not the lifeline. I enquired of palmists and they said, ?You should at least know the exact lines!' You are not going to die. Now wake up, sit with me, and we can discuss the question that you had come to see me about."

The king said, "Now there is no need to discuss. God does not matter. But in these seven days I have realized that what matters - death being so near I could not remain asleep - is that I had to be awake. I could not waste my time in unnecessary thoughts. I had to watch my thoughts so they could disappear, and they have disappeared.

"You were right: with the sunset - the sun was just setting - the man who had come to ask you is really dead; I am a totally new man. God or no God... that is no longer my concern. Now I have a totally new dimension to my being. I know my immortality, I know my godliness; now what do I care about any God? The whole existence is divine.

"Your joke really worked, but you have strange ways of working. You might have really killed me. If I had not been alert enough, exactly at sunset I would have been dead. It was so certain to me that it could not have been otherwise. But in a metaphorical way it is true: the old man is dead and I am a new man. And I have no concern with God this way or that."

Eknath said, "That's right, that is true religiousness."

And the king said, "Now I can understand a man like you sleeping late, up to nine, and resting his feet on the head of Shiva. Now there is no problem; I can understand. If you feel your own divineness then that statue is only a stone. Then the question of waking up before sunrise does not arise. Whenever you wake up, that is sunrise. One becomes spontaneous."

So it is only a question of how to use everything - whatever it is. Use it rightly. The disaster is great, the danger is great, but great is the opportunity too.

Question 2:



In my presence it can happen, a mixture of both... a silence that feels almost as if you are absent, and still you are alert about every small thing that is happening around. My presence is a totally different way of hypnosis and meditation together.

It has never been tried. If you try only hypnosis then you cannot be aware of other things around you: you will fall asleep, deep asleep. You will hear the voice of the hypnotist, but you will not hear anything else. If you meditate you will become alert and you will hear everything around you in clear alertness, but you will not find the soothing softness, as if you are asleep and yet awake. And that's what I want to happen in my presence - both together.

I don't want you to be hypnotized; that's an old and crude method. I want you to be in a very soft hypnosis. There is no effort to hypnotize you, but just because you are so attentive to listening to me it happens as a by-product - so you are fully aware and you are gaining the effects of both, the gains of both. The hypnosis will give you a soothingness, a pleasant feeling of relaxation, and the alertness will make you a witness to everything that is happening around you. And they will not be contradictory to each other. To create this synchronicity is my effort.

That's why I want not to create a commune again, but only to have a school where I can talk to small groups of people. Then they are all close and they can all fall into the hypnosis and into meditativeness together.

Your understanding is right: that is what is happening. It has never been tried. Meditation has been tried, hypnotism has been tried - but always separately. So meditation has a certain juicelessness, and hypnotism is unconsciousness, but with this new combination, new qualities come in.

Meditation is there, but it is not dry and juiceless because the hypnosis is making you feel relaxed, peaceful, juicy. Hypnosis is there, but there is no unconsciousness because your meditation is keeping you alert. Nobody has tried the combination for the simple reason that they think they are contradictory - how can they be combined? But as you know, I am a man of contradictions:

I don't believe that anything is contradictory; my understanding is that everything can become complementary. And meditation and hypnosis together is a far richer experience than either of them can give you separately.

Question 3:




It is true. I can be your master only if I am not. If I am, then I cannot be a real master; then I can only be an egoist exploiting people.

I am only a guest. That means you cannot take me for granted. Today I am here, tomorrow I may not be here. Today I am available, tomorrow I may not be available. Today I am speaking, tomorrow I may stop speaking. I am not predictable. In that sense I am only a guest.

The Indian word for "guest" is very beautiful; the Indian word is atithi. Tithi means "date" and atithi means one who comes without giving a date, and who leaves without giving a date. He comes suddenly and he leaves suddenly. His coming and going is not controllable. His coming and going is just like a breeze: it comes, and you feel the coolness of it, and then it goes. You cannot prevent it. If you close all the doors and the windows so that it cannot go out, there will not be any breeze; there will be only stale air.

The master is as free as the breeze.

And the master is absent as far as his personality is concerned. He is just a vehicle - a flute, a hollow bamboo - to allow existence to reach to you. His function is not to do anything; his function is not to obstruct existence reaching to you. So he is a non-doer: he cannot take the credit for anything. He is just an instrument in the hands of existence. Whatever song, whatever music existence wants to play on it, it plays. The master has no objection, no obstruction.

So you are right: you can say your master lives upstairs. And the master always lives upstairs. But I cannot say I am a master; I can only say I am a hollow bamboo. You can make a flute of me; existence can sing a song through me. My quality is only that I will not be in the way. I will allow existence in its purity to touch your heart.

Everything that I will do or say will not be mine.

You have seen my signature. Thousands of times people have asked me, "What does this signature mean? Which is the language you are signing in?" It means nothing! It is no language. I have replied in different ways, but in fact I cannot sign - I am not here. So I have simply created a symbol.

My signature says nothing; it is just symbolic. It indicates something but it says nothing, it means nothing. It is not my name.

It is the greatest benediction in the world to be in this state where you can say "I am not, only existence is."

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"Only recently our race has given the world a new prophet,
but he has two faces and bears two names; on the one side his name
is Rothschild, leader of all capitalists,
and on the other Karl Marx, the apostle of those who want to destroy
the other."

(Blumenthal, Judisk Tidskrift, No. 57, Sweeden, 1929)