Our dance is forever

Fri, 1 March 1987 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
The Razor's Edge
Chapter #:
am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Archive Code:
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Question 1:



Anand Parigyan, I am sorry to say that you are missing the point. This life is beautiful, this existence is wonderful, this moment is ecstatic; but there is much more. This is only the beginning, and to stop at the beginning is very unfortunate. And deep down you are also feeling it; otherwise this question would not have arisen.

You are saying, "It is so wonderful to be a river, to sing and dance and celebrate with you, but who wants to reach the ocean?" But why has the question of the ocean arisen at all in you? Apparently it looks like you do not want to reach the ocean - the river is beautiful; its song is beautiful, its dance is beautiful. But melting into the ocean, it melts into a bigger song. Merging into the ocean, it merges into the universal music, into the eternal dance.

Rivers come and go; the ocean remains. And the whole dance of the river, its song, its beauty, is because of the ocean. It is dancing and is joyful because the ocean is coming closer every moment.

If the same river is lost in a desert, all dance will disappear, all song will disappear. That will be a death.

The river is so tremendously blissful because it knows it is going to the ocean. At the ocean it appears on the one hand as if the river has disappeared, but in fact only the banks disappear - the river remains. And the banks are a bondage. The river was dancing, but its feet were chained.

Those banks were its prison. The dance will remain, will become freer - so vast that perhaps you cannot see it, because the river is not going to disappear; it is going to become the ocean.

You have raised a significant question, because it happens to all those who follow the path. Even the beginning is so beautiful that many think they have arrived and there is no need to go any further.

One has to remember that each beginning has to be transformed not into a stopover forever, but into a new beginning. And the journey is infinite, so whenever you feel, "This is the place to stop," you will always be wrong, because existence stops nowhere. It simply goes on evolving. It has no limits, no boundaries.

Looked at from the point of view of the river - and you are not the river, you are just watching the river - it seems to be lost in the ocean. But you can say just the contrary - that the ocean is lost in the river.

Kabir, one of the great mystics of this country, when he was young and for the first time felt the melting and merging with the divine, he wrote a small poem - two lines of which are:


Kabir is no more. Although Kabir had started to search, what he wanted to find has been found; but the searcher has disappeared.

Those lines are beautiful, but before dying, just on his deathbed, he called his son, Kamaal, and said, "You change those two lines. It is true that Kabir has disappeared. The seeker has disappeared; although what he had started out to find has been found. But the second line... I was too young, and the experience was too new.

"I am sorry that I wrote it, that the dewdrop has disappeared into the ocean. Now at my ripe old age, I can see that something just the contrary of what I had written had happened. So change it, write:


Both are true, but the second has deeper implications. It is not only man who is in search of God. It is not only that man disappears in God; God is also in search of man.

And when the meeting happens, it is far more significant to say that the God disappears into the man. And you are aware of it; otherwise the question would not have come to your mind.

You are saying, "Who wants to reach the ocean?"

It is just like an old parable of Aesop. A fox was trying to reach to the fruits which were hanging, ripe, on a tall tree. But her jump always fell short. She tried hard, again and again, but she could not reach the fruits. A small rabbit was watching the whole thing. The fox was not aware that there was somebody watching. Tired, the fox moved away from the tree, and the rabbit asked, "Uncle, what happened?" And the fox said, "The fruits are not yet ripe. And who cares about fruits which are not ripe?"

There have been many sannyasins who used to live on the campus, in other houses, and sometimes they were moved to Lao Tzu. And they wrote a letter to me saying, "We owe an apology to You, because living in other houses, we were always thinking, 'Who cares to live in Lao Tzu.' But now that we have come to live in Lao Tzu, we know perfectly well that we were repressing our desire, our longing, to be in Lao Tzu, and just consoling ourselves, 'Who cares.'"

Parigyan, don't be like the fox in Aesop's parable. Don't say, "Who cares for the ocean." The whole dance of the river is for the ocean. It is moving from the mountain just like a newly married girl, running to meet her lover.

One of India's great emperors, Akbar, in his autobiography, AKBAR NAMMA, has written many significant things. But one story is relevant to your question. It was an actual incident.

He had gone hunting in the forest, and then lost his way. The sun was setting - and that was the time for Mohammedans to do their prayer - so he sat under a tree to do Namaj, the Mohammedan prayer.

While he was in the middle of his prayer a young girl ran by his side, almost hitting him as she went by. He could not speak; he was immediately very angry. In the first place nobody in his prayers should be disturbed. And he was not just anybody; he was the emperor of the country. And this girl had not even said, "I am sorry." She had not even looked back. She went rushing on to wherever she was going.

His prayer finished, Akbar waited for the girl, because she would have to come back to the village.

Where she had gone, there was only deep forest for miles.

Finally she came back. Akbar was still angry, and he said, "You seem to be very rude, uncivilized - couldn't you see that I was praying? And I am not just anybody, I am the emperor of the country."

The girl said, "I am sorry, but as far as I am concerned, I never saw you. My body may have touched your body, but I don't even remember that your body touched mine, because I was going to meet my lover, who is coming after many years. I wanted to meet him just on the road that passes a few miles away. And I was so full of my lover and his sweet memories that I was almost not myself. So just forgive me. It was not deliberate on my part to disturb you; I was not even aware of it.

"But I want to ask you one question. I was going to meet just an ordinary lover. And you were praying to the greatest lover of the world, to God, and you were disturbed. You became angry, and you have been waiting here to punish me. It was not prayer. You were repeating those words just like a parrot; otherwise you would not have known who had gone by, who had touched you, you would have been so deeply involved with the ultimate beloved...."

Akbar was a very sensible man - perhaps the most sensible emperor India has known. He asked the girl to forgive him. And she had taught him a great lesson. He told her, "You are right. Your love was authentic. My prayer was false, just routine."

When the river is dancing and singing and rushing it is going to the ocean to its lover, to its ultimate beloved. There is nothing wrong in experiencing the beauty of this moment. But remember, this beauty has to grow more; each coming moment it has to bring more flowers, more songs, more dances.

And deep down you are longing for those; hence you say, "Who cares? Who wants to reach the ocean? Sometimes much longing is there." Longing for what? - because you have stopped your being from taking note that all your dance and joy is for the ocean. Now you cannot find the object of your longing.

"Sometimes much longing is there, but I really don't know for what." You yourself are preventing it; otherwise it is in your heart - the ocean.

"I was so happy to hear you say that you will recognize us in the universal consciousness." Again, the same thing. Mind goes on repeating the same mistakes. "But again I have only a fantasy of what this means. And who wants to be there when this life is so incredibly wonderful."

But do you think this is the limit? Do you think this is all? You know perfectly well. You may suppress it, but your being knows that this is not all. This is only the beginning - don't make it an end. In fact, there is no end. It is always beginning, reaching higher and higher, deeper and deeper, closer and closer.

But it is always beginning. And this is the grandeur of life - that you will never come to a full stop, because the full stop means death. It is good to have many commas and semicolons in your life, but don't have any full stops. Keep it open, and your dance will become richer, and your song will become celestial.

Sannyas is the pilgrimage - just the pilgrimage in search of something which you will many times think has been found, and again you will have to realize: this is a new beginning, not an end. From eternity to eternity, from one sky to another sky, we go on moving.

Our dance is forever.

You know you are missing the point; hence you ask, "Am I missing the point? Is there something that needs to be understood?" There is much that has to be understood. And you are missing the point - it has to be consciously recognized.

You become satisfied with so small, so little. A spiritual seeker remains in a strange balance. He is contented with whatever he has got, but he never loses his discontent for more. It is a difficult point to understand, because it appears contradictory. It seems either you should be contented or discontented. But the spiritual seeker is both: he is contented with whatever life has given, but he knows there is much more; hence, he is discontented too... contented with the past and discontented for the future. Hence, he goes on discovering new treasures every moment.

Question 2:



Deva Priya, it does not matter at what time you have arrived to me - in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, or even in the middle of the night - what matters is that you have arrived. You will have to be a little patient, because those who have come before are having flowers, fragrance, foliage.

But rather than becoming jealous of them, take courage from their experience, because the seed needs great courage. Unless the seed is ready to die in the earth there is no possibility of any sprout being born. The death of the seed is the birth of the plant. Seeing all those bushes and plants full of flowers will give you encouragement so that you need not be afraid. Your seed also contains many flowers, much future, much joy. And if I have been able to give other plants their basic needs like earth and water, I will become your earth, your water too.

But you are new and must be wondering whether this miracle that has happened to other trees is going to happen to you, or not. It all depends on you. If you are ready to die as a seed, as an ego, immediately you will start growing, blossoming. The spring always waits at the door - just you have to gather courage to disappear in the earth. And the master is nothing but an excuse for your ego to die.

You are afraid to lose your ego because you don't know, if you lose your ego, what will remain. But look around - and you are aware that people are blossoming. They were also in the same state in which you are, but they arrived in the morning and you have come in the evening.

In India we have a proverb: If a man is lost in the morning and comes back home in the evening, he should not be called "the lost". He has arrived, what does it matter whether it was morning or evening? All that is significant is arriving home.

I am going to be your earth and I am going to be your water - just as I have been the earth and water to others. Allow your seed to disappear. The moment the disciple disappears in the master, spring has come. Then thousands of flowers will be yours. Right now, also they are with you, but only as a potential. They need actualization; and for actualization the seed has to die.

It is one of the mysteries of life, that the seed protects your potential until it finds the right soil. But the seed is blind. It is a protective layer, but the protective layer can become an imprisonment if you start clinging with it. Say goodbye to it. Be grateful to it that it protected you till you reached the place where you could discard it. And you can come out of it with all your glory, with all your beauty.

Every man is born with the potential of the divine in him; no man is there without the potential.

There is a beautiful story about Gautam Buddha's past life, when he was not yet awakened, when he was himself a seed. But another man, his name was Deepankar, had become a buddha. His name is beautiful - deepankar means full of light. And thousands of people were coming to Deepankar to listen to his words, to sit at his feet, to have his blessings, to find a discipline from him and an encouragement.

The man who was going to become Gautam Buddha in the next life also went to see him. He was so beautiful, so silent, so serene, so blissful, that the man who was going to become Gautam Buddha in the next life, although he had come with all kinds of skepticism and doubts, forgot all his skepticism, forgot all his doubts, and fell to the feet of Deepankar Buddha. His very presence was enough to dispel the darkness of his skepticism. But he was very much puzzled - as he stood up, Deepankar Buddha bowed down and touched the feet of this unknown man.

He was puzzled, and he said, "My touching your feet is perfectly right. I am wandering in darkness; you have arrived and you are full of light. I had come with many doubts, but just seeing you, looking into your eyes, they all have disappeared. I have never felt such silence, such serenity. It is perfectly right for me to touch your feet in gratitude. But what have you done? Why have you touched my feet? - an ignorant man, unconscious of his own self?"

Deepankar laughed and he said, "Don't be worried. It is only a question of morning and evening."

The man said, " What do you mean by morning and evening?"

Deepankar said, "I arrived a little earlier, but I can see you... you may not be aware, but I can see that by the evening you will also have arrived. In the next life you will become awakened, enlightened.

It does not matter - the seed has become actual in me, in you it is a potential, but the value is the same. And more emphatically I have touched your feet, so that you can remember when you become a Gautam Buddha, that anybody who comes to you is also a Gautam Buddha of some future life.

"I have touched your feet so that you never forget the reverence for every human being, however lost. He may be a murderer, he may be a criminal - it does not matter. It is only a question of time.

But everybody's spring is going to come. One day all beings have to become awakened. They can delay it, they can postpone it, but they cannot cancel it."

Buddha used to tell that story again and again to newcomers: "Don't be worried. I myself was worried, and when Deepankar said this to me it gave me such an upsurge of energy, such a confidence, that if Deepankar says that next life I am going to become a buddha, I have already become a buddha. It is only a question of time - and time does not matter; the whole eternity is available."

Question 3:





Deva Surabhi, it is not your imagination, for the simple fact that you are saying, "Although I feel like I am dying, I am so glad." It is a basic truth of spiritual life that before you really know what life is you have to die to the old, which you had been taught is your life. It was phony, false. It was more or less acting in a drama, and sometimes the drama can become too much.

It happened that after the murder of Abraham Lincoln... one hundred years had passed, and the whole year was celebrated in his sacred memory. A drama was prepared, which moved all over America all through the year, playing the same drama based on the life of Abraham Lincoln. And it was a rare coincidence that they could find a man who looked like Abraham - he was lean and thin and tall and ugly. Abraham Lincoln was not a very beautiful person, as far as his face is concerned.

As far as his being is concerned, he was one of the most beautiful persons.

When he was fighting in the election for the presidentship, a little girl suggested to him, "If you grew a small beard, that would make your face look more beautiful," because he had marks on his face from small pox. First he laughed, but he thanked the girl and he thought it over. And he grew the beard, and with the beard his face took a totally new shape.

This man had the beard, had the same kind of eyes, the same nose, the same height; so he was given the part of Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln used to stutter a little once in a while, so he was taught to stutter. He was also a little lame - one leg was a little longer than the other - so they tried to make one of this man's legs a little longer by traction, pulling it - just a little longer so he started walking like a lame man.

They trained him to speak the way Abraham Lincoln used to speak - one hundred year-old language, words which were in fashion in those days. And he proved to be a perfect actor. Anybody could have misunderstood, seeing him, that he was Abraham Lincoln.

And for one year he was moving around the whole continent playing the same drama, three times a day - in the morning, in the evening, in the night. The poor man got so much obsessed with it that when he came home he still walked the way Abraham Lincoln used to walk; he still talked in one hundred year-old language, and he still stuttered.

His wife, his children, his father and mother all laughed. They said, "You have done enough - one year - now, drop it. And let your other leg also be lengthened so that you stop this business of walking like a lame man. And there is no need to stutter."

But he said, "I am Abraham Lincoln."

First they thought he was joking, but soon they realized it was not a joke. He had started believing that he was Abraham Lincoln. They tried in every possible way... but once he had seen the glory of being the President of America and one of the greatest men of history, he was not ready to descend down back to being an ordinary human being.

He was brought to the psychoanalyst, but to no effect; he would behave just like Abraham Lincoln.

And he would ask the psychoanalyst, "What is missing in me that you are so worried? What is the problem? Why am I not accepted as Abraham Lincoln? You show me any fault...." And it was true, there was no fault.

Finally the psychoanalyst said , "This is beyond... this is not a case of mental derangement. He has become obsessed, and he will understand only when he has been assassinated. But then there will be no point. And if you assassinate him, perhaps he may think that he was right - even dying, he will die exactly like Abraham Lincoln. He has died many times on the stage, although the assassination was false. But he knew how to fall, what to say, what Abraham Lincoln's last words were. Even if he is assassinated, he will do his act to the very last."

You will think that this is a rare story, but the fact is, you are all living a personality which has been imposed on you.

My father used to introduce me to guests: "He is very obedient," and I would immediately tell the guest, "He is saying something absolutely wrong. I am not obedient."

And he would tell me, "That at least in front of the guests, you could have remained silent."

I said, "I cannot, because this is the way people are falsified. If I go on accepting that 'I am obedient, I am obedient, I am obedient...' I may start being obedient, which is not true. You should introduce me saying 'This boy is very disobedient.' Then I will remain silent, because you are saying something true."

He said, "But it looks very awkward to introduce your own son to somebody saying, 'He is very disobedient,' as if disobedience is a quality."

I said, "It is a quality. Obedience is just a kind of death. The person has no individuality of his own; he has become only an actor. And I don't want to become an actor."

There was a fair just a few miles away from my village. I went to the fair. My father was worried, and he came in search of me. He knew that I must have gone to the fair. He was worried because in that fair there were prostitutes, magicians, gamblers and all kinds of things used to happen. And the fair continued for one month.

So he got hold of me on the third day, and he asked me, "Why did not you tell me that you want to go to the fair?"

I said, "Because I wanted to go."

For a moment, he was silent, and he said, "If you wanted to go... that's what I am saying, that you should have told me."

I said, "I could not afford to tell you, because then going to the fair would have been impossible. I really wanted to go. So you make it a note in your mind that when I don't ask for something, that means I really want to do it. And when I ask about something, I do not care whether you say no or yes - it does not matter.

"So any nonessential thing I will ask, but any essential thing I am not going to ask - because, why commit a double crime? First, I am going whether you say yes or no, and then there is a second crime, that I am disobeying you. At least I came to the fair without disobeying anybody, just obeying myself."

Without your being aware, your parents, your teachers, your neighbors, your friends... all are putting things around you, creating an image of you. And because the image brings respect, honor, you start holding it. But you don't know it is the death of your real being. You become an actor; life becomes a drama where you smile when your heart is not with your lips, where you cry, but those tears are crocodile tears.

I used to live with one of my father's sisters. Her husband's sister died - she had come for treatment, and she had also been living in the same house. She had been old, crippled, and it was a burden on the family, so nobody was really sad about her death - in fact everybody said privately, "It is good.

For the family it is good, and for her also because she was suffering too much." But you cannot say these things publicly.

I used to sit outside on the lawn, and my father's sister told me, "Whenever somebody comes - neighbors come, relatives come...." For at least a few days this whole drama continued. So she had told me, "Whenever you see that some relative is coming..." just to give consolation about her.... And nobody needed the consolation; in fact, the death of the woman had consoled everybody.

But my father's sister had to cry and weep, so I had to push the button: "Get ready." Because it is not easy when you don't want to cry, but in India it is easy. She used to pull her ghunghat down so you could not see her face, and she used to keep water.... The moment I would push the button, she would immediately put a few drops of water on her face, pull down her ghunghat - cover her face in the sari - and would start talking about how untimely it was that the old woman had died. I was amazed at the whole thing.

One day a very close relative came and I did not give the signal. I told the man, "You go in." And she was not prepared. She was very angry at me saying, "I could not manage... I could just pull my ghunghat down, but I could not show the tears. What will the man think?"

I said, "What happened... I think something must have gone wrong with the electricity. It is not my fault, I had pushed the button."

She said, "Then you should take care that nothing goes wrong, because I was in such an awkward position. I was sitting with a friend, laughing and enjoying, when the man entered. Suddenly I had to change from laughing to crying, and I could not manage the tears. Then to put the water on in front of him would have been too much."

You are living acts, but you are not allowing your reality to function.

Surabhi, your personality has to die, has to be discarded, so that your individuality, in its authenticity, starts functioning. To be an individual is a beautiful experience, and to be just carrying a bogus personality around yourself is nothing but misery.

Because of the personality, your individuality cannot grow. Slowly, slowly, you become so identified with the personality that you forget the individuality - you become Abraham Lincoln. But however accurately you become Abraham Lincoln, it is not going to give you joy, contentment, blissfulness, because you are false, and these things don't happen to anybody who is false. Be sincere and be truthful, and your joy will know no bounds.

You are saying, "Although I feel like I am dying, I am so glad." This statement is possible only if you are really going through the process; otherwise you would not have been able to put this contradiction together.

It is not your imagination. Allow that which is dying; help it to die - the sooner it dies the better. Then whatever remains will be your innocence - the individuality that you had brought into the world, but which the world corrupted. It corrupts, and it succeeds in corrupting everyone because small children cannot do anything.

Listening to the birds, I remember.... Just outside my classroom in the high school there were beautiful mango trees. And mango trees are where cuckoos make their nests. This is the cuckoo that is calling, and there is nothing sweeter than the sound of a cuckoo.

So I used to sit by the window, looking out at the birds, at the trees, and my teachers were very much annoyed. They said, "You have to look at the blackboard."

I said, "It is my life, and I have every right to choose where to look. Outside is so beautiful - the birds singing, and the flowers, and the trees, and the sun coming through the trees - that I don't think your blackboard can be a competitor."

He was so angry that he told me, "Then you can go out and stand there outside the window unless you are ready to look at the blackboard - because I am teaching you mathematics, and you are looking at the trees and the birds."

I said, "This is a great reward you are giving me, not a punishment." And I said goodbye to him.

He said, "What do you mean?"

I said, "I will never come in, I will be standing every day outside the window."

He said, "You must be crazy. I will report to your father, to your family: 'You are wasting money on him, and he's standing outside.'"

I said, "You can do anything you want to do. I know how to manage things with my father. And he knows perfectly well that if I have decided then I will remain outside the window - nothing can change it."

The principal used to see me standing outside the window every day when he came for a round. He was puzzled at what I was doing there every day. On the third or fourth day he came to me, and he said, "What are you doing? Why do you go on standing here?"

I said, "I have been rewarded."

He said, "Rewarded? For what?"

I said, "You just stand by my side and listen to the songs of the birds. And the beauty of the trees....

Do you think looking at the blackboard and that stupid teacher... because only stupid people become teachers; they cannot find any other employment. Mostly they are third class graduates. So neither do I want to look at that teacher, nor do I want to look at the blackboard. As far as mathematics is concerned, you need not be worried - I will manage it. But I cannot miss this beauty."

He stood by my side, and he said, "Certainly it is beautiful. I have been a principal for twenty years in this school, and I never came here. And I agree with you that this is a reward. As far as mathematics is concerned, I am an M.Sc. in mathematics. You can come to my house anytime, and I will teach you mathematics - but you continue to stand outside."

So I got a better teacher, the principal of the school, who was a better mathematician. And my mathematics teacher was very much puzzled. He thought that I would get tired after a few days, but the whole month passed. Then he came out, and he said, "I am sorry, because it hurts me continuously the whole time I am in the class that I have forced you to stand out here. And you have not done any harm. You can sit inside and look wherever you want."

I said, "Now it is too late."

He said, "What do you mean?"

I said, "I mean that now I enjoy being outside. Sitting behind the window only a very small portion of the trees and the birds is available; here all the thousands of mango trees are available. And as far as mathematics is concerned, the principal is teaching me himself; every evening I go to him."

He said, "What?"

I said, "Yes, because he agreed with me that this is a reward."

He went directly to the principal and said, "This is not good. I had punished him and you are encouraging him." The principal said, "Forget punishment and encouragement - you should also stand outside sometime. Now I cannot wait; otherwise I used to go for the round as a routine, but now I cannot wait. The first thing I have to do is to go for the round and stay with that boy and look at the trees.

"For the first time, I have learned that there are better things than mathematics - the sounds of the birds, the flowers, the green trees, the sun rays coming through the trees, the wind blowing, singing its song through the trees. Once in a while you should also go and accompany him."

He came back very sorry and said, "The principal told me what has happened, so what should I do?" He asked me, "Should I take the whole class out?"

I said, "That would be great. We can sit under these trees, and you can teach your mathematics.

But I am not going to come in the class, even if you make me fail - which you cannot do, because I now know more mathematics than any student in the class. And I have a better teacher. You are a third class B.Sc., and he is a first class gold medalist M.Sc."

For a few days he thought about it, and one morning when I went there I saw that the whole class was sitting under the trees. I said, "Your heart is still alive; mathematics has not killed it."

But every child has to follow so many things, so many people, that by the time he has grown up, become adult, it is too late - the personality has taken over, and the individuality is forgotten.

Surabhi, let the individuality die. It is not individuality that you have been thinking of, up to now, as your individuality - let it die. It is simply personality; and when it has died, without leaving any trace behind, you will find yourself. For the first time you will meet yourself, and that meeting becomes the beginning of spiritual growth.

It is not your imagination. The personality may be telling you, "It is all imagination." I don't believe in imagination. I destroy all kinds of imaginations so that you can know your consciousness without any dreams, without any projections, without any imaginations - just pure awareness. And that pure awareness is the door to the divine.

Okay, Vimal?


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