The thought of silence excites nobody
FOR YEARS I HAVE BEEN A "GROUPIE" SEARCHING FOR WAYS TO UNDERSTAND MYSELF.
I HAVE BEEN IN SUCH MISERY THAT ALMOST NOTHING ASKED OF ME WAS TOO MUCH IF IT HELD A CHANCE OF ALLEVIATING MY DISTRESS.
NOW YOU OFFER MEDITATION AS A MEANS FOR LEAVING MY MISERY BEHIND, AND ALL I DO IS RESIST. THE THOUGHT OF BEING STILL AND QUIET DOESN'T EXCITE ME. IN FACT IT SCARES ME, AND I END UP EVEN MORE ANXIOUS. I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS.
COULD YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS RESISTANCE TO MEDITATION?
The thought of stillness and silence excites nobody. It is not your personal problem. It is the problem of human mind as such, because to be still, to be silent, means to be in a state of no-mind.
Mind cannot be still. It needs continuous thinking, worrying. The mind functions like a bicycle; if you go on pedaling it, it continues. The moment you stop the pedaling, you are going to fall down. Mind is a two-wheeled vehicle just like a bicycle, and your thinking is a constant pedaling.
Even sometimes if you are a little bit silent you immediately start worrying, "Why am I silent?"
Anything will do to create worrying, thinking, because mind can exist only in one way - in running, always running after something or running from something, but always running. In the running is the mind. The moment you stop, the mind disappears.
Right now you are identified with the mind. You think you are it. From there comes the fear. If you are identified with the mind, naturally if mind stops you are finished, you are no more. And you don't know anything beyond mind.
The reality is you are not mind, you are something beyond mind; hence it is absolutely necessary that the mind stops so that for the first time you can know that you are not mind - because you are still there. Mind is gone, you are still there - and with greater joy, greater glory, greater light, greater consciousness, greater being. Mind was pretending, and you had fallen into the trap.
What you have to understand is the process of identification - how one can get identified with something which he is not.
The ancient parable in the East is that a lioness was jumping from one hillock to another hillock and just in the middle she gave birth to a kid. The kid fell down on the road where a big crowd of sheep was passing. Naturally he mixed with the sheep, lived with the sheep, behaved like a sheep. He had no idea, not even in his dreams, that he is a lion. How could he have? All around him were sheep and more sheep. He had never roared like a lion; a sheep does not roar. He had never been alone like a lion; a sheep is never alone. She is always in the crowd - the crowd is cozy, secure, safe. If you see sheep walking, they walk so close together that they are almost stumbling on each other.
They are so afraid to be alone.
But the lion started growing up. It was a strange phenomenon. He was identified mentally with being a sheep, but biology does not go according to your identification; nature is not going to follow you.
He became a beautiful young lion, but because things happened so slowly the sheep also became accustomed to the lion while the lion was becoming accustomed to the sheep. The sheep thought he is a little crazy, naturally. He's not behaving - a little cuckoo - and he goes on growing. It is not supposed to be so. And pretending to be a lion... but he is not a lion. They have seen him from his very birth, they have brought him up, they have given their milk to him. And he was a nonvegetarian by nature - no lion is vegetarian, but this lion was vegetarian because sheep are vegetarian. He used to eat grass with great joy.
They accepted this little difference, that he is a little big and looks like a lion. A very wise sheep said, "It is just a freak of nature. Once in a while it happens." And he himself also accepted that it is true.
His color is different, his body is different - he must be a freak, abnormal. But the idea that he is a lion was impossible! He was surrounded by all those sheep, and sheep psychoanalysts gave him explanations: "You are just a freak of nature. Don't be worried. We are here to take care of you."
But one day an old lion passed and saw this young lion far above the crowd of sheep. He could not believe his eyes! He had never seen such a thing nor had he ever heard in the history of the whole past that a lion was in the middle of a crowd of sheep and no sheep was afraid. And the lion was walking exactly like the sheep, grazing on grass.
The old lion could not believe his eyes. He forgot he was going to catch a sheep for his breakfast.
He completely forgot the breakfast. It was something so strange that he tried to catch the young lion. But he was old, and the young lion was young - he ran away. Although he believed that he was a sheep, when there was danger the identification was forgotten. He ran like a lion, and the old lion had great difficulty in catching him. But finally the old lion got hold of him and he was crying and weeping and saying, "Just forgive me, I am a poor sheep." The old lion said, "You idiot! You simply stop and come with me to the pond."
Just nearby there was a pond. He took the young lion there. The young lion was not going willingly.
He went reluctantly - but what can you do against a lion if you are only a sheep? He may kill you if you don't follow him, so he went with him. The pond was silent, with no ripples, almost like a mirror.
And the old lion said to the young, "Just look. Look at my face and look at your face. Look at my body and look at your body in the water."
In a second there came a great roar! All the hills echoed it. The sheep disappeared; he was a totally different being - he recognized himself. The identification with sheep was not a reality, it was just a mental concept. Now he had seen the reality. And the old lion said, "Now I don't have to say anything. You have understood."
The young lion could feel strange energy he had never felt... as if it had been dormant. He could feel tremendous power, and he had always been a weak, humble sheep. All that humbleness, all that weakness, simply evaporated.
This is an ancient parable about the master and the disciple. The function of the master is only to bring the disciple to see who he is and that what he goes on believing is not true.
Your mind is not created by nature. Try to keep the distinction always: your brain is created by nature. Your brain is the mechanism that belongs to the body, but your mind is created by the society in which you live - by the religion, by the church, by the ideology that your parents followed, by the educational system that you were taught in, by all kinds of things. That's why there is a Christian mind and a Hindu mind, a Mohammedan mind and a communist mind. Brains are natural, but minds are a created phenomenon. It depends on which flock of sheep you belong to. Was the flock of the sheep Hindu? Then naturally you will behave like a Hindu.
One of my friends, a professor of the Pali language and of Buddhism - he himself was a Hindu brahmin and a very orthodox brahmin - went to Tibet to study for his doctoral thesis on Tibetan Buddhism and the differences that have arisen between Indian Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism.
But he could not stay there more than two days for the simple reason that from his very birth he had been taught to take a cold bath before sunrise. Now to take a cold bath in Tibet before sunrise is just to get frozen! You can kill yourself. But without taking that bath he could not do his worship and he could not eat his food. That bath was absolutely necessary.
It is perfectly good in a hot country like India, but in Tibet? - where the snow is eternal, it has never melted.
In Tibetan scriptures it is said that at least once a year everybody should take a bath. That is a religious duty... at least once a year. Now the Dalai Lama has escaped from Tibet to India, and thousands of lamas have come to India, but it is very difficult to talk to them. They used to come to me, but they stink - because in India too they are following their religion... a bath once a year.
In India if you take a bath once a year you alone will be enough to stink up the whole neighborhood - so much perspiration, so much dust. And those lamas are still using many clothes, layer upon layer, I think seven layers at least. And they suffer from the heat, but the mind... they feel something is wrong, but the mind has gone so deep. For centuries they have lived that way.
I told them, "If you want to talk to me you have to be at least ten feet away. Don't come near me because I am allergic to any kind of smell - it may be Buddhist, it does not matter."
In India it is very usual to take two baths, one in the morning, one in the evening. And those who have time, people like me... I used to take three - one in the morning, one in the evening, one in the night before going to sleep. Only then can you keep fresh.
A Mohammedan can marry four women without any difficulty; his conscience does not prick. He does not think even twice that what he is doing is inhuman - because men and women in the world are of equal numbers, and if a man marries four women then three men are going to be without women. And Mohammedanism is the second biggest religion in the world. If every Mohammedan is going to marry... and there is no limit: four is the minimum. Mohammed himself had nine wives.
One Mohammedan king, the Nizam of Hyderabad, had five hundred wives - just in this century, before India became free. It is as if women are cattle - you can keep as many as you want. It hurts anybody who is not identified with such an idea from the very beginning.
In China people eat snakes, and it is thought to be a delicacy. Just their head is cut off, which has the poison gland, and then the whole body is prepared as a vegetable. Nobody else in the world can think of eating a snake, but you do other things on your part. You can eat other animals without ever thinking that they are also participating in the same life. Just as you want to live, they also want to live. And to kill them just for your taste which is such a small thing... just at the back of your tongue there are a few buds that taste.
You can have plastic surgery, and then you won't taste anything; you can eat anything you want - it will all be the same. Just for those few taste buds, people are killing all kinds of animals... and they laugh at each other!
I don't think there is any animal which is not being eaten some way or other. Even the dirtiest animals who live on man's defecation are also eaten. All that is needed for the mind is a continuous conditioning so it becomes thicker and thicker, and you slowly forget that you are separate from it; you become it. That's exactly the problem.
Avirbhava has asked the question.
Meditation is the only method that can make you aware that you are not the mind; and that gives you a tremendous mastery. Then you can choose what is right with your mind and what is not right with your mind, because you are distant, an observer, a watcher. Then you are not so much attached to the mind, and that is your fear.
You have completely forgotten yourself; you have become the mind. The identification is complete.
So when I say, "Be silent. Be still. Be alert and watchful of your thought processes," you freak out, you become afraid. It looks like death. In a way you are right but it is not your death, it is the death of your conditionings. Combined they are called your mind.
And once you are capable of seeing the distinction clearly - that you are separate from the mind and the mind is separate from the brain - it immediately happens... simultaneously: as you withdraw from the mind you suddenly see that the mind is in the middle; on both sides there is brain and consciousness.
The brain is simply a mechanism. Whatever you want to do with it, you can do. Mind is the problem, because others make it for you. It is not you, it is not even your own; it is all borrowed.
The priests, the politicians, the people who are in power, the people who have vested interests, don't want you to know that you are above mind, beyond mind. Their whole effort has been to keep you identified with the mind, because mind is managed by them, not by you. You are being deceived in such a subtle way. The managers of your mind are outside.
Ask a Hindu, "If you believe that the cow is your mother, we have no objection - but why is the bull not your father?" and immediately he is ready to fight.
One of India's richest men was Jugal Kishore Birla. Hearing about me, reading my books, he wanted to see me. I said, "What business could he have with me? But there is no harm."
I was passing through Delhi and I met him. He said, "I am ready to give as much money as you want. I can give you everything that is needed if you go around the world to spread Hinduism and particularly the idea that cow slaughter should be stopped."
I said, "You have called the wrong man. Why should cow slaughter be stopped? All slaughter should be stopped... that can be understood."
He said, "Because the cow is our mother." He was an old man.
And I asked, "Then what about the bull? Is he your father too?"
He was so angry that he said if he had not called me as a guest he would have thrown me out.
I said, "You can throw me out right now. There is no problem. That will show how much love you have for life and how much respect you have towards living beings - even human beings, even those you have asked to be your guest. And you want the cow to be saved from slaughter!
"It is not you that is wanting it, it is just a conditioning. You are a Hindu and you have a Hindu mind, and you have never been able to go a little behind the mind and see its strategy."
When the consciousness becomes identified with the mind, then the brain is helpless. The brain is simply mechanical. Whatever mind wants, the brain does. But if you are separate, then the mind loses its power; otherwise it is sovereign. And you are afraid of meditation because of that.
But I am alive - by meditation nobody dies! In fact the master cannot do anything but take you to the pond and show you those two faces in the mirror. I am alive, and I don't have any conditioning:
I don't belong to any religion, I don't belong to any political ideology, I don't belong to any nation. I don't have myself filled up with all kinds of nonsense called "holy scriptures." I have simply pushed the mind aside. I use the brain directly; there is no need of any conditioning, there is no need of any mediator.
But your fear is understandable. You have been brought up with certain concepts, and perhaps you are afraid to lose them.
For example, for a Christian alcohol is not a sin, but for Mahatma Gandhi even tea was a sin. In his ashram it was not possible to drink tea - alcohol was just out of the question!
Christians go on saying to the world that Jesus did many miracles; one was that he turned water into alcohol, water into wine. But if you ask the Jainas or the Buddhists they will say, "This is not a miracle, this is a crime! If he had changed wine into water, that would have been a miracle, but this is simply a crime - making wine out of water. He should be behind bars; he should not be respected for that." Jainism and Buddhism cannot conceive that any man who has a little meditativeness can drink wine or alcohol or take any other drugs.
All drugs are used to forget your misery. But if the misery itself disappears, there is nothing to forget.
If the disease is gone you throw the bottle of medicine out of the window. You don't go on carrying it: "This is a great medicine and I am going to worship it all my life, and once in a while I am going to taste it because it cured my disease."
A man of meditation is simply no longer miserable. He has forgotten the language of suffering, anguish, anxiety. He knows only joy. He knows love, he knows peace. He has nothing to forget. In fact, if you force him to drink wine he will refuse, because that will be forgetting peace, forgetting joy, forgetting blissfulness, forgetting silence.
If you are miserable and suffering and continuously tense and in anxiety, then certainly alcohol can give you relief, just a temporary relief, and perhaps at a very big cost because tomorrow you will wake up again with all those miseries and the desire to drink again the same drug to forget them.
And each time the drug will need to be increased, because each time you will become more immune to it.
I know a few persons... one used to live just by the side of my house. He was a friend of my father and a very colorful man. You rarely come across such colorful men, particularly in India where people live simply; he was really colorful.
He had a different set of clothes for every day in the whole year - all Western clothes. In that whole small town nobody else was wearing Western clothes - he was the only one. He had beautiful hats and a beautiful walking stick... and he was always drunk. He had never married. He had inherited much. He had calculated that it is enough - "Even if I live two lives, it will do." All that he did was drink and drinking so much continuously... the morning started with drinking, and the night he fell into sleep still drinking. But you would never find him drunk. He was always perfectly normal.
People used to offer him - just to check - as much drink as possible, and he would go on drinking.
They would run out of their alcohol, but he would not run out of his common sense. He was perfectly okay. You could not imagine that he has become so immune. But every drug brings immunity.
Sooner or later it has no effect.
His name was Manmohan Rai. He loved me very much. He used to take me into his house and he used to tell me, "Listen" - showing me his bar - "never drink."
I said, "That's good... that's good advice from you."
He said, "Yes, because it spoiled me. Now it is too late. I cannot go back. In fact my father spoiled me by giving me all that money. I didn't have to work. But a man has to do something: otherwise one becomes fidgety, tense. So just to calm me down I started drinking and I found it a great relief, and soon I was going on and on."
He told me, "Now I am even suspicious about whether there is blood or alcohol in my body, because I have drunk so much alcohol. And the trouble is that my worries are still there. In fact I am now more worried that I have wasted my whole life. I don't know even the meaning of life. I am just like an animal.
"I pretend to the whole town, and everybody thinks I am living a great life; but I weep and cry in my bed because what kind of life is this - from the morning drinking, the whole day drinking. The doctors are saying, ?You are spoiling your chances to live. You can have heart failure.' But I cannot stop. I cannot stop simply because alcohol at least helps me for the time being to forget all these things. But they all come back with revenge, with great vengeance."
Avirbhava, if you really want to live a meaningful, a significant life, a life that has a song to it, a music to it, a dance to it, a life that knows the immortality of your innermost being, you will have to drop your fear of meditation.
And what are you going to lose? A man has fear when he has something to lose. I don't see anything that you can lose; you don't have anything.
Karl Marx, in his book, THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO, has beautiful lines at the end - in a different context, but they have significance. He says, "Proletariat of the world, unite." Poor people of the world unite, because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So why wait?
I will not say that to the poor people. But I will say to the spiritually poor people, "You have nothing to lose and everything to gain."
The ordinary poor person has much to lose - Karl Marx is wrong on that point. He has his freedom, his individuality. Karl Marx had never thought about these things. He thought only about money - that the poor man has no money. But the poor man has an individuality of his own. He has freedom and freedom of expression. At least he is not a slave. He may be a beggar, but he has something to lose. And in the Soviet Union he has lost it. He has lost his freedom, he has lost his individuality.
And what has he gained? In seventy years, he is just as poor as ever.
But to the spiritually poor... the spiritual proletariat have nothing to lose. And there is no question of being united. I say, "Spiritual proletariat, meditate. You have nothing to lose but everything to gain."
And it is not a question of being united because we are not going to fight with anyone. Unity is needed for fighting. Spirituality is not a fight; it needs no unity. That's why I say there is no need for organized religions.
What is the need for organization? Each individual has to inquire into himself - the truth, the reality.
Organization cannot help. It can hinder certainly, it does hinder. Its interest is not in people becoming spiritual giants. Its effort is that people should remain retarded so they can be sent into religious wars, crusades, jihads, killing each other... and they are all killing each other for religious reasons.
Religion has nothing to do with killing, nothing to do with fighting, nothing to do with conquering lands. It has something to do with enquiring into your own inner space. It is an individual phenomenon - with no organizations, no unity.
You have nothing to lose. You don't have individuality - you can get it through meditation. You don't have freedom - because your mind is your slavery. You can get freedom if you can put your mind aside.
You are full of fear.
Fear is basically connected with death.
If you meditate and know yourself, you know there is no death.
Death has never happened. It is one of the most illusory things. It only appears to others, from the outside, that somebody has died - but from the inside nobody ever dies. And meditation takes you to your innermost core. Knowing it, all fear disappears.
Knowing it, all greed disappears - because you cannot have a bigger treasure than you have found within yourself. The whole world and its empire is not worth comparing with it. But in the beginning it is just like when you start to learn swimming - there is fear. The person who does not know swimming is afraid.
The Sufi story is, Mulla Nasruddin wanted to learn swimming. He found a teacher who had taught many people swimming and went with him to the river, but he slipped on the steps and fell into deep water. The teacher had a lot of trouble pulling him out. He went under water two or three times, and he was shouting, "Help! Help!" And as he came out he took his shoes in his hands and ran fast.
The teacher asked, "Where are you going?"
He said, "I am not going close to water until I learn swimming!"
But how are you going to learn swimming if you are not going to come close to water? You cannot learn it on your mattress: you can lie down and throw your hands and legs here and there, maybe get one fracture or two - but you cannot learn. You will have to go to water - one just has to go methodically.
And meditation is a method which does not simply throw you into depths of which you are not capable; it takes you step by step.
So any teacher of swimming takes you first to the shallow water where you can stand up with your head not underwater, but over the water. He creates confidence in you, and once you start swimming in shallow water then it does not matter whether the water is shallow or deep, because swimming is always on the surface. Then slowly he takes you towards deeper waters, and as you become aware that swimming is so simple, all fear disappears. On the contrary a great joy and excitement comes - you have learned a new art.
Meditation begins very slowly and goes deeper as you become more and more accustomed to it.
So don't be worried. Fear is natural, but it disappears. And I am here.
All these people are here meditating. If you cannot meditate with these meditators, it will be very difficult for you to do it alone. When you see so many people swimming, suddenly you start feeling that if all these people can manage, why can't I manage? I have the hands, I have the legs, I have the same body. It is just natural to be afraid in the beginning, but don't make a great problem out of it. It is not.
YOU SPOKE RECENTLY ABOUT THE TOTALITY OF LAUGHTER, AND OF HOW ALL THE ACTIONS OF AN ENLIGHTENED BEING ARE TOTAL.
A QUESTION THAT STILL REMAINS FOR ME IS IN CONNECTION WITH WITNESSING AND BEING TOTAL IN AN ACT - AND LAUGHTER SEEMS A GOOD EXAMPLE. I FIND I CAN OCCASIONALLY WATCH ANGER, HURT, FRUSTRATION; BUT LAUGHTER HAS ALWAYS COME UPON ME BEFORE I REALIZE IT AND CAN WATCH IT.
WOULD YOU PLEASE TALK TO US ABOUT WITNESSING IN THIS RESPECT?
Laughter is in a way unique. Anger, frustration, worrying, sadness - they are all negative and they are never total. You cannot be totally sad, there is no way. Any negative emotion cannot be total because it is negative. Totality needs positivity. Laughter is a positive phenomenon - that's why it is unique - and that makes it a little difficult to be aware of laughter, for two reasons. One, it comes suddenly. In fact, you become aware only when it has come. Unless you are born in England...
there it never comes suddenly.
It is said that if you tell a joke to an Englishman, he laughs twice - first, just to be nice to you. He does not understand why he is laughing but because you have told a joke it is expected to laugh, and he does not want to hurt you, so he laughs. But there is no laughter in him. And then in the middle of the night when he gets it... then he laughs.
Different races behave differently. Germans laugh only once - when they see that all others are laughing. They join, not to be left alone, because otherwise people will think that they have not understood. And they never ask anybody either: "What is the meaning?" - because that will make them ignorant.
One of my sannyasins, Haridas, has been with me for fifteen years, but every day he would ask somebody or other, "What was the matter? Why were people laughing?" - and he was laughing also. He could never manage to understand a joke. Germans are too serious and because of their seriousness...
If you tell a joke to a Jew he won't laugh - not only that, he will say, "It is an old joke, and moreover you are telling it all wrong." They are the most proficient people about jokes. I don't know any joke which doesn't have a Jewish origin.
Never tell a joke to a Jew, because he is certainly going to tell you, "It is very ancient - don't bother me. Secondly, you are telling it all wrong. First learn to tell a joke; it is an art." But he will not laugh.
Laughter naturally comes as thunder comes - suddenly. That is the very mechanism of a joke, any simple joke. Why does it make people laugh? What is the psychology of it? It builds up a certain energy in you; your mind starts thinking in a certain way as you are listening to the joke, and you are excited to know the punch line - how it ends. You start expecting some logical end - because mind cannot do anything else but logic - and a joke is not logic. So when the end comes it is so illogical and so ridiculous, but so fitting, that the energy you were holding in, waiting for the end, suddenly bursts forth into laughter. Whether the joke is great or small does not matter, the psychology is the same.
In a small school the woman teacher has a beautiful doll. She is going to give it as a reward to the boy or the girl who answers right. After one hour of teaching she is going to ask a single question, and anybody who gives the right answer will have the beautiful doll.
And for one hour she persistently tells the boys and the girls about Jesus Christ in this way and that way - stories about him, his philosophy, his crucifixion, his religion, that he has the greatest following in the world - everything condensed in one hour. And then in the end she asks, "I would like to know, who is the greatest man in the world?"
A little boy stands up and says, "Abraham Lincoln." The boy is an American.
The woman said, "It is good, but not good enough. Sit down."
For one hour she has been talking about Jesus Christ, and this American fellow comes up with Abraham Lincoln! It is good that the joke is old; otherwise he would have come up with Ronald Reagan.
A little girl puts her hand up when the teacher asks again, "Who is the greatest man in the world?"
The girl answers, "Mahatma Gandhi." She is an Indian.
The teacher was feeling very frustrated. One hour's effort! She said, "It is good, but still not good enough."
And then a very small boy was waving his hand very frantically. The teacher said, "Yes, you tell who is the greatest man in the world."
He said, "There is no question... Jesus Christ."
The woman teacher was puzzled because the boy was a Jew. He won the prize, and when everybody was leaving she took him aside and asked, "Aren't you a Jew?"
He said, "Yes, I am a Jew."
"Then why did you say Jesus Christ?"
He said, "In my heart of hearts I know it is Moses, but business is business!"
Any joke ends with a turn that you were not expecting logically. Then suddenly the whole energy that was building up in you explodes in laughter.
In the beginning it is difficult to be aware, but not impossible. Because it is a positive phenomenon it will take a little more time, but don't try hard; otherwise you will miss the laughter. That is the trouble. If you try hard to remain aware, you will miss the laughter. Just remain relaxed and when the laughter comes, just like a wave coming in the ocean, silently watch it. But don't let your watcher disturb the laughter. Both have to be allowed.
Laughter is a beautiful phenomenon. It has not to be dropped. It has never been thought of this way. You don't have any picture of Jesus Christ laughing, or Gautam Buddha laughing, or Socrates laughing - they are all very serious.
To me, seriousness is a sickness. A sense of humor makes you more human, more humble. The sense of humor - according to me - is one of the most essential parts of religiousness. A religious person who cannot laugh fully is not fully religious. Something is still missing. So you have to walk almost on a razor's edge. Laughter has to be allowed completely.
So first take care of the laughter, that laughter is allowed completely. And watch. Perhaps at first it will be difficult - laughter will come first, and then suddenly you will become aware. No harm. Slowly slowly the gap will be smaller. Just time is needed, and soon you will be able to be perfectly aware and totally in laughter.
But it is a unique phenomenon; you shouldn't forget that no animal laughs, no bird laughs - only man, and then too only intelligent man. So it is part of intelligence to see immediately the ridiculousness of some situation. And there are so many ridiculous situations all around. The whole life is hilarious; you just have to sharpen your sense of humor.
So remember: go slowly, there is no hurry, but laughter should not be disturbed. Awareness with total laughter is a great achievement.
Other things - sadness, frustration, disappointment - they are just worthless. They have to be thrown out. There is no need to be very careful about them. Don't handle them carefully; just be fully aware and let them disappear. But laughter has to be saved.
Remember why Gautam Buddha and Jesus and Socrates are not laughing - they forgot. They treated laughter the same way as negative emotions. They were so insistent on awareness that even laughter disappeared. Laughter is a very fine phenomenon and very valuable. As sadness disappeared, misery disappeared, suffering disappeared with awareness, they became more and more rooted in awareness and forgot completely that there may be something that has to be saved - and that was laughter.
My feeling is that if Jesus had been able to laugh Christianity would not have been such a calamity as it proved to be. If Mohammed had been able to laugh, then Mohammedanism would not have been such a cruel, violent religion. If Gautam Buddha had been able to laugh, then the millions of Buddhist monks after him would not have been so sad, so dull, so without juice, so lifeless.
Buddhism spread all over Asia, and it turned the whole Asia pale.
It is not incidental that Buddhism has chosen a pale color as the color of the clothes of their monks, because pale is the color of death. When fall comes and trees become nude, their leaves become pale and they start falling and there are only branches. That paleness is like when a man is dying and his face becomes pale. He is dying - already the process of death has set in, and within minutes he will be dead. Then if you cut his skin you will not find blood, but only water. The blood has separated, it is no longer red. It started separating while he was dying; that's why he was looking pale. In fact, we and the trees are not different. We behave the same way.
And Buddhism made the whole of Asia sad.
I have been searching for jokes which have their origin in India. I have not found a single one. Serious people... always talking about God and heaven and hell and reincarnation and the philosophy of karma. The joke does not fit in anywhere.
When I started talking - and I was talking about meditation - I might tell a joke. Once in a while some Jaina monk or a Buddhist monk or a Hindu preacher would come to me and say, "You were talking so beautifully about meditation, but why did you bring in that joke? It destroyed everything.
People started laughing. They were getting serious. You destroyed all your effort. You did something for half an hour to make them serious, and then you told a joke and you destroyed the whole thing.
Why in the world should you tell a joke? Buddha never told a joke. Krishna never told a joke."
I would say, "I am neither Buddha nor Krishna, and I am not interested in seriousness."
In fact, because they were becoming serious, I had to bring in that joke. I don't want anybody to become serious. I want everybody to be playful. And life has to become, more and more, closer to laughter than seriousness.