Unnecessarily barking at each other

Fri, 25 May 1986 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
The Path of the Mystic
Chapter #:
pm in Punta Del Este, Uruguay
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Question 1:



I have come across a few very remarkable individuals but they were not enlightened: they were just on the verge. You can say "almost enlightened." But even from that point one can fall back.

They were remarkable in many ways. A few of them were musicians. It is strange that a majority of the people whom I met and can describe as remarkable were musicians. It cannot be accidental.

Music has some similarity with meditation.

While playing any instrument there are two possibilities. One can be lost completely - only the music remains - then the person will be a great musician, unique but not enlightened. The other possibility is - which is a little difficult as far as music is concerned and perhaps was the reason they were lingering just on the borderline - the other possibility is to be total in music and yet remain aware.

In any other activity you can be total and aware. In music, dance, it is different. When you are total in it the experience is so beautiful, so exhilarating, you forget completely to be aware. The experience is so valuable that you would like it to remain forever, enveloping you. But the need for enlightenment is that even in this tremendously beautiful experience you can stand aloof.

It is easy when you are suffering to stand aloof, to be aware. It is easy when you are miserable to be aware, because who wants to be miserable? Who wants to be in suffering? The experience of suffering, anguish, misery, itself helps you to get out of it. But the experience of music, the experience of dance, the experience of a great painter, sculptor - any creative activity that absorbs you and needs you to be total in it, does not leave even a small part out of it, is the most difficult.

Those people were remarkable. They had tremendous beauty - of individuality, freedom, creativity - but something was missing. They also felt that something was missing, but they could not figure out what it was that was missing.

The experience is so fulfilling that it is impossible to conceive what is missing. One of the musicians asked me, "Can you help me to figure out what can be the missing thing? - because I don't see that anything is missing: I am totally in it."

And he was surprised when I said to him, "That's what the problem is: you have to do a very contradictory act simultaneously - be total in your music and yet a watcher too."

He said, "It is difficult."

"I know it is difficult," I said, "but there is no other way. It is not impossible. Just because your experience is so juicy, you don't want to get away from it. Your whole being is drowned in it and you don't want to get out of it. But you don't know that if you can get out of it, you are not going to be a loser. Far more blissfulness, far greater benediction, is waiting for you.

"You just give it a try. You have nothing to lose. If you feel that you are losing something, come back to your old involvement with the music and live your life joyfully. There is no hurry, either. You have come very close; some day in some life you may take the step."

He asked, "How in this life, or in another life, can I take the step? I cannot conceive the possibility."

I said, "You do not understand one thing: howsoever beautiful is the experience, howsoever wonderful, you will get bored with it one day. Maybe it takes a few lives for you to get bored, but because it is the same experience, sooner or later boredom is going to come in, and that will be the time that you will become aware. But that is for the unintelligent man - to wait for boredom. The intelligent man can do it now."

And he managed... He was the teacher of Ravi Shankar and also Ravi Shankar's father-in-law. He was an old man; he lived beyond one hundred and ten. But the day he managed it, he died. He died with his sitar in his hands. But you could see on his face the marks, the footprints: the Buddha had just walked on the wet sand. At the age of one hundred and ten he was looking so silent, so peaceful, so young.

He was a remarkable man in many other ways too. I was afraid that this was going to happen: if he tries, he is so old, so fragile, that he may not be able to keep his body and his soul together. The sudden lightning experience will become the death of the body, the separation from the body. And that's what happened.

I have seen many musicians but none was of his quality. He could use anything as an instrument - just iron rods and he would start playing with those rods. And you would be amazed that he could create such beauty out of those iron rods which can only create noise and nothing else.

He was a Mohammedan. Because of him I was acquainted with his daughter, who is married to Ravi Shankar. Ravi Shankar has betrayed her. He has not proved a real man of heart and grace.

Just to be the topmost disciple he married the daughter of the master, because that made him the most famous disciple. But once he came to the West he has not bothered about his wife. She is living in poverty.

She herself is a great musician, but Mohammedan women are prohibited by their religion from any public performance - unless they declare themselves as prostitutes. And because she cannot do that, she cannot perform publicly. But I have heard her playing and I have heard Ravi Shankar's records: Ravi Shankar is far behind her. He has become world famous because he is playing sitar in the West where nobody understands it and nobody understands its nuances. He rarely comes to India because in India there are many who are far superior to him. His own wife is far superior.

This old man could not live as an enlightened man, but he could die as an enlightened man. The other musicians I have known have not dared to be aware while they are completely absorbed in music. I can understand their problem: it is really so absorbing that they forget that they have to keep watchfulness.

Secondly, when they became aware that one man has tried my method and has died, a great fear arose in their minds because they cannot understand that death coming through enlightenment is not a death: it is a door to the divine. But to everybody looking from the outside it is a death.

I have known a few dancers who have the same problem. Ravi Shankar's brother, Udai Shankar, was perhaps the greatest dancer of this century, but the same problem... he would get completely lost. There was nobody to be aware. He died an ordinary death.

I had told him, "Your choice is either an ordinary death or an enlightened death. Now your days are over. You are getting older: it is time, you can risk. Death is going to come anyway; now there is no need to be afraid." But he remained afraid and died, very close to enlightenment.

To me, the so-called religious people are not very close to enlightenment; on the contrary they are far away. The artists are far closer than anybody else. But even though they are closer, most of them are going to miss. It is a strange fate that being miserable, in suffering, in anguish, is far better as far as enlightenment is concerned. Perhaps this is an existential device - that so many people are in suffering.

You may have remembered a nightmare in which the suffering goes on becoming more and more and more. But there comes a climax - just the suffering is so much that you wake up. Nobody goes through the whole nightmare. If you go through the whole nightmare, it was a very soft kind; it was not really a nightmare, it was just a dream.

A real nightmare... that you are falling from the mountain and you see the abysmal depth and you know there is no way now: soon you will be scattered in pieces... Just before you hit the ground you will wake up. It is too much: the sleep cannot continue. The same is true about suffering in life.

You suffer, but your suffering is also bourgeois, middle class. That too is not very sharp, just so-so, lukewarm. A lukewarm suffering is not of much help because you can tolerate it your whole life.

In fact you may become so accustomed that you cannot live without it; you need it. It defines you.

Without it you start feeling you are losing your identity.

When suffering is acute, not just a tantrum, not just an act that you are putting on, not just a habit but a real suffering, a despair; when you see that life has no meaning, that each breath seems to be simply unnecessary... Why do you go on living, for what? - nothing is going to happen, and there is no exit either. When the pain of it becomes so intense that it goes beyond the limit of human toleration, suddenly you may come out of a nightmare. Then this so-called waking state will prove to be only a different kind of sleep, with open eyes.

You can be awakened. In existence there is nothing which is not ready to help you; just you have to be available to take the help.

People talk about misery - I have listened to many people about their misery - but the way they talk about their misery it seems they are feeling very happy. Their misery is something like a piece of art. They exaggerate it; they go on making it bigger and bigger - and they enjoy it.

I have heard about a woman who was confessing to the Catholic priest, "I have been raped and I am dying with shame. You cannot understand how miserable I am."

"But," the priest said, "this is strange! For three weeks you have been coming every Sunday - how do you manage to be raped every week?"

She said, "Who told you that I am raped every week? It is just the first rape."

The priest said, "Then for that you have already confessed. Why do you bother me - every Sunday the same rape, the same misery, the same suffering?"

The woman said, "To tell you the truth, I enjoy it. And I cannot tell it to anybody else, so I have to wait for Sunday to confess. But it was really a great experience!"

People are talking about misery, and you must think that they want to get rid of that misery - you are wrong. Never try to belittle their misery: they will be very angry and they will never forgive you.

They are rejoicing that they have the greatest misery in the world - and you are trying to belittle it or ignore it!

The human mind is a very strange creature. Rather than trying to understand your misery, you start glorifying it. You start feeling a kind of martyrdom - and martyrdom is a disease, a sickness of the soul.

But the whole tradition of humanity has praised the martyrs as great human beings. They were simply masochists who wanted an opportunity to be tortured! Nobody says so because that means your whole history has to be written again: it is not about the sincere and the real people, it is about the sick psychopaths.

So if you start enjoying your misery, then there is trouble. It is again the same thing: somebody is enjoying his music, you are enjoying your misery. It has become your music. The moment you enjoy something it becomes difficult for you to watch it. Anything that you have no relationship with can be used as an object of watchfulness - that will be easier.

Once your watchfulness becomes grounded... For example, watch a tree, watch the ocean, watch things with which you don't have any emotional attachment. Watch the people walking on the street, cars moving. Just watch. Just a training in watchfulness: watch things with which you don't have any emotional attachment, investment.

So first get grounded in your watchfulness and then try it on small things. Eating, be watchful. Taking a shower, be watchful. Small things which don't mean anything... putting your dress on, be watchful.

It is simply to consolidate more and more your watchfulness, so that when you watch something with which you are emotionally concerned your watchfulness is strong enough to cut through all emotional investment.

And if your watchfulness becomes really strong, then it may be music, it may be dance, it may be love - it makes no difference: it simply cuts like a sharp sword between you and the object, whatever it is.

Religious people are, perhaps, the farthest from watchfulness because they are trying prayer, they are trying devotion to God, they are trying to believe in God. They will be afraid of watching because watching will mean that God will simply disappear - because it was only a belief, not a fact. The prayer will disappear because it was devoted to, addressed to a God who does not exist. The devotion will disappear because there is no one high above in the sky to be devoted to.

Religious people are the most afraid of watchfulness. That's my experience. They do not want to meditate, they do not want to be alert, they do not want to be aware, because their whole religion will be at stake. And if they call me dangerous, they are right, because I am telling them something that will destroy their whole edifice, the whole system according to which they were living, believing, hoping. They will be left in a desert.

It is very difficult to convince those people that right now you are in a desert of false beliefs, that watchfulness will bring you out of the desert into the garden of existence with all its greenery, with all its flowers.

I have found it most difficult to teach a saint - whether Hindu, Mohammedan, Jaina, Christian - meditation. That simply makes his whole being tremble, because he has lived according to a certain belief system for fifty or sixty years, and it has paid well: people respect him, worship him.

It happened in Hyderabad that one Jaina monk who was very much respected in South India became interested in me. Listening to me, reading my books, he finally gathered courage and dropped the monkhood.

I told him, "You are taking a very risky step. Don't blame me for it later on because there is no need to drop it; you can keep this show. What I am saying is, remain alert. I don't even say to an actor to stop acting, so what is the problem? You act the saint; let this whole life be a drama. Remain alert.

So my teaching is to be alert - I am not telling you to drop all this nonsense."

"But," he said, "it seems insincere. I did believe in it; then it was one thing. Now it will be sheer hypocrisy. And I cannot speak with the same authority. You have taken away my authority. I know it is all bogus; I cannot play-act."

I said, "Then remember there will be risk."

He said, "I understand." He dropped the monkhood.

I was staying with a friend and he came there. My friend was a Jaina - he could not believe his eyes! He asked, "What happened to your special dress of the monk?"

He said, "I have dropped it."

My friend said, "Then you cannot enter my house." My friend was one of the monk's very devoted disciples - that's why he had come there. I was staying there, that was one reason, and second, my friend had been very devoted to the monk. But he simply would not allow him to enter the house:

"Just get lost! I don't want to get involved."

On that very same day I was going to speak in a Jaina conference and that ex-Jaina monk went with me to the conference. Jaina monks always sit on a high platform, so just out of old habit he followed me on to the platform from where I was to speak. He sat just behind me, afraid, because there were at least five thousand Jainas, utterly angry - you could see it. These are "nonviolent" people, and that man had done nothing much - simply changed his dress.

There was great turmoil. Somebody stood up and said, "That fellow should be dragged down from the stage. He cannot sit on the stage."

I said, "What is the problem? I am not a Jaina monk, and I can sit on the stage. Then what is the problem? He is no more a Jaina monk."

They said, "Your situation is different. You have never been a Jaina monk. But he has insulted our whole tradition." And they were already coming on the stage to pull the man down.

Seeing the situation I told the fellow, "You'd better get down yourself; otherwise they will pull you down and that will look more ugly."

But you see the human mind! He would not move. He could not sit with the ordinary people; he had never sat with them.

I said, "You used to be their saint, but now you are no more their saint."

I had to stand in between the crowd and the man, and I said, "Just out of old habit he has come up on the platform. If you want to listen to me you will have to tolerate him on the platform; if you don't want to listen to me I will leave - only then will he leave behind me. You can decide."

They wanted to listen to me so they had to tolerate it, but they were making gestures to the man that "we will show you, once the speech is finished." And that's what happened: as I concluded and stepped down, the whole crowd got hold of the poor man and they started beating him.

I tried hard. I said, "You are nonviolent and you are beating someone! Yesterday you were touching his feet. He is the same man; nothing has changed."

It was so difficult - they would have killed him - to drag him out of it and force him into the car. And people were still trying to get him out of the car from the other side.

When I reached home I told him, "It was absolutely stupid of you. You don't understand: the religious mind is the most hypocritical mind. It says one thing, it does just the opposite. And now you have seen your worshippers. You would never have understood them. They were touching your feet; now they are ready to kill you. You should leave this place, you should move to some other place. Here they won't let you live peacefully. You move to the mountains, find a silent place and meditate."

What he said was very surprising. He said, "I can do everything - fasting, yoga asanas... I can chant mantras for hours on end. I can recite the scriptures because I have memorized them - but meditation? That I have never done. And what you are describing - that I have to be aware - is so new to me that I don't think, without you, I will ever be able to get into the experience."

I said, "So you have become my responsibility!" I had to take him with me... for three months he was with me. And it was the most difficult thing for that person to learn meditation - for the simple reason that he had dropped the clothes but he could not drop the beliefs, he could not drop his mythology, he could not drop his religion. That is not so easy. To change the clothes is very easy.

The artists are the closest to enlightenment - the aesthetic experience is just on the border - and the so-called religious people are the farthest away from enlightenment. I have never heard of any religious person becoming enlightened. It looks strange because it should not be so: religious people should be more close to enlightenment. But they are full of so much rubbish - and they think it is a treasure. They cannot watch it disappear.

And watchfulness is the magic: it makes everything from your mind disappear and leaves you in utter silence, stillness. From that stillness arises the feel of your being and the being of the whole universe.

Question 2:



It is true. The people who speak just from the mind will not have any gestures because the hand is not needed. The mind feels that words are complete, that words carry the meaning and there is no other addition needed.

But if you speak from the heart then there is a problem. The heart continuously feels that what you are saying is not enough: something has to be added to it to make it complete and entire. And hands are immensely powerful as expressions. They complement the feelings of the heart.

I certainly cannot speak if you tie my hands to the chair and I cannot move them. I will not be able to speak.

It became very clear for the first time in America... because my hands had never been tied. Only in America they handcuffed me and I suddenly felt that it is not just that my hands are cuffed, my heart is also imprisoned. And when there was a press conference...

The superintendent of the jail had fallen in love with me from the very first moment. I told him, "I will not be able to speak or answer if my hands remain cuffed. For the press conference at least you take your handcuffs away."

I would have liked the whole world to see my hands in handcuffs: that this is democracy - that without any arrest warrant, without any cause showing why, without allowing the person to contact his attorneys, you can handcuff a person, you can put chains on his feet... and you are not even satisfied with that. They had put a chain around my waist - even that was not enough. They had put another chain to keep my hands tied to the chain that was around my waist so I could not even wave my hands to people.

He could understand. He said, "It is not legal, but for you I am ready to do anything. In the first place this is the first press conference which is being held inside the jail. It has never happened before.

So now anything else is possible! I will take off the handcuffs."

Until that moment I felt that it was impossible to speak. The heart needs some support. Words are not enough for it; they are incomplete, inadequate, and they don't carry the right meaning.

But to understand the gestures of the hands you also need a certain group of people who are listening from the heart; otherwise those gestures are futile: the mind cannot make any sense out of them. It is from heart to heart that hands are allowing something to transpire which cannot be said but can be understood.

Question 3:



Just wait and see! They cannot defeat me.

Question 4:




Chetana, you are getting crazy! The outside world, even though perceived by you, does not become your inner world. It is just like in a mirror: things are reflected. Do you think they are now inside the mirror? They are still outside. The mirror is simply reflecting them.

Your perceptions about the outside world are just like the mirror, but nothing becomes inner. Your awareness is your inner reality. Your inner reality is not like an island, your inner reality is a whole continent.

So from outside we are separate from each other; from the inside we are one. That's why awareness is universal. That does not mean that it becomes outside you. It simply means that only awareness is, only consciousness is: there is no longer any distinction of inner and outer.

The distinction between inner and outer is created because there is a mind which is dividing things, making things outside and inside. In awareness mind disappears, and with it all distinction of inner and outer are gone. There is a single oneness.

For thousands of years in India people have been working on the same problem and they don't even say, "Oneness remains," because of a logical difficulty - if there is one, that means there must be two, there must be three. One cannot exist without the whole spectrum of numbers. What meaning will "one" have? If there is no two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, then what meaning will "one" have? It will not have any meaning.

So in India they don't say, "Only oneness remains," they say, "What remains is nondual" - just a roundabout way not to get caught in any logical difficulty. What remains is a nondual phenomenon.

It is not two. They won't say it is one; they will say it is no longer divided. And I think they have a certain insight into it.

When you say "nondual" the other numbers are not implied. But when you say "one" the other numbers are implied. But you need not go crazy; just be aware and don't bother what is in and what is out. Your awareness will make you clear that it is a nondual existence: nothing is in, nothing is out.

In Jaipur in India there is a palace made by a mystic king. He was really a great architect; he planned Jaipur. His name was Jai Singh; hence the name of the city. Jaipur is the only planned city in India - and planned so beautifully! His idea was to defeat Paris, and he would have succeeded but he died.

The city remained incomplete, but even the incomplete city gives the sense that he was on the right lines to defeat Paris.

It was one color, the red color of the sannyasin - a whole city of red stones. All the houses, all the shops, made exactly the same, to give you the feeling that all is one: neither is there any possibility of two. And the roads are so beautiful. Just in the middle of the roads are very shadowy trees - the roads are wide enough - and on both sides the pavement is covered so that in the rainy season you need not walk with an umbrella... or in the hot sun with an umbrella. You do not need an umbrella in Jaipur. And everything is exactly the same, made of the same red stone.

This man was trying to make a city which has no differences of any kind. Only one tree was used on all the roadways, miles long. Only one color, only one stone was used, and the same design - a beautiful design.

He made a temple with red stones outside, and inside it is made of small mirrors... millions of mirrors inside. So when you go inside you see yourself reflected in millions of mirrors. You are one, but your reflections are millions.

It is said that once a dog entered and killed himself in the night. Nobody was there: the guard had left the temple, locked it, and the dog remained inside. He would bark at the dogs - millions of dogs.

And he jumped from this side to that side and hit himself against the walls. And all those dogs were barking... You can see what would have happened to the poor dog: the whole night he barked and he fought, and he killed himself by hitting himself against the walls.

In the morning when the door was opened the dog was found dead and his blood was all over the place - on the walls - and the neighbors said, "The whole night we were puzzled about what was the matter. This dog continued barking."

That dog must have been an intellectual. Naturally he thought, "So many dogs, my God! I am alone and it is nighttime and the doors are closed, and surrounded by all these dogs... they are going to kill me!" And he killed himself; there was no other dog at all.

This is one of the basic and essential understandings of mysticism: the people we are seeing all around are only our reflections. We are unnecessarily barking at each other, unnecessarily fighting with each other, unnecessarily afraid of each other. There is so much fear that we are gathering nuclear weapons against each other - and it is just one dog, and all others are just reflections.

The way the dog died, there is every possibility that man will die the same way. And against whom?

- against his own reflections.

So Chetana, don't be intellectual. Don't think about these problems; otherwise you will get more and more puzzled. Rather become aware and you will see the problems disappearing.

I am not here to solve your problems but to dissolve your problems - and the difference is great. To solve your problems means to give you an answer that intellectually satisfies you; and to dissolve your problem is to give you a method that makes you yourself aware that there is no problem at all:

problems are all our own creations and there is no need for any answer.

The enlightened consciousness has no answer.

Its beauty is that it has no questions.

All its questions have been dissolved, have disappeared. People think otherwise: they think that the enlightened man must have the answer for everything. The reality is he has no answer at all. He has no questions. Without questions how can he have any answer?

Gertrude Stein, a great poet, was dying surrounded by her friends when suddenly she opened her eyes and asked, "What is the answer?"

And somebody said, "But we don't know the question, so how can we know the answer?"

She opened her eyes a last time and she said, "Okay, so what is the question?" and she died. A strange last statement.

It is very beautiful to find out the last statements of poets, painters, dancers, singers. They have something tremendously meaningful in them.

First she asked, "What is the answer?"... as if the question cannot be different for different human beings. The question must be the same; there is no need to articulate it. And she was in a hurry, so rather than going through the proper channel - asking the question and then listening to the answer - she simply asked, "What is the answer?"

But people don't understand that every human being is in the same position: the same question is everybody's question. So some stupid person asked, "But how can we answer if we don't know the question?"

It looks logical, it is not: it is simply stupid - and to a dying person... But the poor woman opened her eyes once more. She said, "Okay, what is the question?" And then there was silence.

Nobody knows the question.

Nobody knows the answer.

In fact there is no question and there is no answer; there is only a way of living in confusion, in the mind. Then there are millions of questions and millions of answers, and each answer brings hundreds more questions in, and there is no end to it.

But there is another way of life: living in consciousness - and there is no answer and no question.

If I was present as Gertrude Stein was dying I would have said to her, "This is not the moment to bother about questions and answers. Remember that there is no question and there is no answer:

existence is absolutely silent about questions and answers. It is not a philosophy class. Die without any question and without any answer; simply die silently, consciously, peacefully."

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