In the Lake of the Void
The first question:
WOULD YOU PLEASE COMMENT FURTHER ON THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN C. G. JUNG'S 'PROCESS OF INDIVIDUATION' AND THE ESSENCE OF THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER?
Habib, Carl Gustav Jung was groping in the right direction but he had not yet arrived. It was not his own experience, it was a philosophy. He was thinking about individuation, he was going into the idea of individuation deeper and deeper, but it was not his own meditation, it was not his own existential experience.
THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER IS an alchemical process. These are the words of those who have known.
Jung was not an individual in the sense of individuation, he was still divided: he had the conscious mind and the unconscious mind and the collective unconscious mind. He was not one, he himself was a multiplicity. He was a crowd as everybody else is. He had all the fears, all the greeds, all the ambitions that any normal human being is expected to have. He was not a Buddha, he was not enlightened. He had not known his own inner being which is timeless.
In the moment of inner illumination, all differences and distinctions disappear. There is only pure consciousness - neither conscious nor unconscious nor collective unconscious.
The same was happening with Sri Aurobindo in India. He was also talking about conscious mind and the superconscious mind, and so on and so forth.
In the moment of illumination, mind disappears. Mind means division; whether you divide it into conscious and unconscious or you divide it into conscious and superconscious docs not make a difference. Mind means division. Individuality means undividedness. That is the meaning of the word 'individual': indivisible. Mind is bound to be a crowd; mind cannot be one - by its very nature it has to be many. And when the mind disappears, the one is found. Then you have come home. That is individuation.
But still I say Jung was groping in the dark. He had not yet arrived at the door; he had only dreamed about the door.
There are parallels in human history. For example, Democritus, the Greek thinker, stumbled upon the idea of the atom without any experimentation. There was no possibility to experiment in his days; no modern sophisticated techniques were available. He could not have divided the atom, he could not have come to the atomic structure of matter, but he speculated. He must have been a great thinker - but only a thinker. He stumbled upon the idea of atomism.
Then there is Albert Einstein and modern physics. Both talk about the atomic structure but the difference is tremendous: Democritus only talks, modern physics knows.
In the East also there has been talk about atomism. Kanad, one of the great thinkers of India, has talked about atomism, and in a very subtle, refined way. But it is all talk. In fact, it is because he talked so much about atoms - his whole philosophy is based on the hypothesis of atoms - that his name became Kanad. KAN means atom. KANAD means one who continuously talks about atoms.
But still, it was philosophy, there was no real experimentation; it was not based on any scientific exploration. He must have been a great thinker. Almost three thousand years before Albert Einstein, he stumbled - and I say 'stumbled' - upon the truth of atomism. But it was an unproved hypothesis.
There are many parallels like that.
The same is the case with Carl Gustav Jung and the process we are talking about: the process given by THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER.
THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER IS an alchemical treatise. It knows; and if you follow the method, you will come to know. It is absolutely certain. And when I say this, I am saying it because I know - because I have gone through the process. Yes, the Golden Flower blooms in you. You come to a point where the many disappear, the multitude disappears, the fragments of the mind disappear, and you are left all alone. That is the meaning of the word 'alone': all alone, all one.
If you think about it, the thinking is bound to take you to a certain line. If you think about it, then you will ask how to come to the One, how to make these fragments of the mind join together, how to glue them together. But that will not be real unity. Glued or unglued, they will remain separate. A crowd can be transformed into an army - that means that now it is glued together, it is no more a mob - but the many are still many, although maybe with a certain discipline. It is as if there is a pile of flowers and you make a garland out of those flowers: a thread runs through all the flowers and gives them a certain kind of unity.
That's what Jung was trying to do: to bring these fragments together, to glue them together. That is his whole process of individuation.
The real experience of individuation is totally different. You don't glue these fragments together, you simply let them disappear. You drop them, and then, when all the fragments of the mind have disappeared, receded farther and farther away from you, suddenly you find the One. In the absence of the mind it is found - not by joining the mind together in a certain discipline, not by putting mind together into a certain kind of union. Union is not unity, union is only an order imposed on chaos.
This can be done, and then you will have a false kind of individuation. You will feel better than before, because now you will not be a crowd, a mob. Many noises will not be there, they will have fallen into a certain kind of harmony; a certain adjustment will have arisen in you. Your conscious mind will be friendly with the unconscious, not antagonistic. Your unconscious will be friendly with the collective unconscious, not antagonistic. There will be a thread running through the flowers, you will be more like a garland than a pile.
But still, individuation in the sense I am talking about here has not happened. Individuation is not the unity of mind but the disappearance of the mind. When you are utterly empty of the mind, you are one. To be a no-mind is the process of real individuation.
Jung was groping in the dark, coming very very close - just as Democritus was coming closer to the atomic structure of matter - but he was as far away from real individuation as Democritus was far away from real, modern physics. Modern physics is not a speculation, it is a proven phenomenon.
For THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER individuation is not speculation, it is experience.
Before one can know the One, the many have to be said goodbye to. One has to be capable of becoming utterly empty. Individuation is the flowering of inner emptiness - yes, exactly that. The Golden Flower blooms in you when you are utterly empty. It is a flower in the void. In the lake of the void the golden lotus blooms.
So the process is totally different. What Jung is doing is trying to put all the pieces together - as if a mirror had fallen and now you are trying to put it together, to glue it together. You can glue it together, but you will never find the same mirror again. A broken mirror is a broken mirror.
In the East the work has moved into a totally different dimension. We have to let this mind go. Each part of the mind has to be dropped slowly slowly. In deep awareness, meditativeness, thoughts disappear. Sooner or later mind becomes contentless, and when the mind is contentless, it is no- mind - because mind as such is nothing but the whole process of thought. When you are without thought, not even a single thought stirring in your being, then there is no-mind. You can call it individuation, you can call it SAMADHI, YOU can call it NIRVANA or what you will.
But beware! People like Jung can be very alluring, because they talk in terms which are really beautiful: they talk about individuation, and you may start thinking that the individuation of Jung is the same.
It is not the same, it can't be the same - he never meditated himself. He was really afraid of meditation. He was basically afraid of the East. And when his friend, Richard Wilhelm, who had translated the I CHING into German and who was also the translator of THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER, went mad, he became even more afraid. Then he started saying that the methods of the East are not useful for the West, they are dangerous. Then he started saying that the Eastern methods should not be used in the West because the West has followed a totally different line of evolution. Yoga, Tantra, Tao, Zen, Sufism - no Eastern methods should be tried by the Western mind. Then he started saying that. He was really afraid.
And he was not aware of what he was talking about - he had never tried these methods. Wilhelm went mad, not because he tried these methods, he became mad because he was trying to make a synthesis of Western psychology with Eastern psychology. That thing can drive you mad. He was not practising, he was not a practising meditator, he was philosophizing.
In philosophy East and West cannot meet - it is impossible. In philosophy you cannot make positive and negative meet. But in actuality they do meet. In actuality the positive never exists without the negative. In actuality death is nothing but the culmination of life. In actuality silence and sound are two aspects of the same phenomenon. In reality man and woman are together, one, but in philosophy you cannot make them meet, because philosophy is a process of the mind. Mind divides, mind cannot unite. Only in a state of no-mind, in existential experience, do they meet.
A Sufi mystic, Baba Farid, was given a present from a king. The present was a beautiful pair of scissors, golden, studded with diamonds. The king had loved them very much - some other king had given them to him as a present.
When he came to see Farid he thought, 'This will be a beautiful present.' So he brought those scissors. Farid looked at them, gave them back to the king and he said, 'What will we do with them here? - because scissors separate, cut, divide. They will not be of any use to me. Rather than scissors, give me a needle, which joins, which puts things together. A needle will be more representative of me than scissors.'
Mind is a pair of scissors: it goes on cutting. It is like a rat, a mouse, which goes on chewing.
You will be surprised to know that one of the mythological figures in India, Ganesh, the god with the head of an elephant, is the god of logic. He rides on the back of a rat; the rat is his vehicle. Logic is rat-like: it chews. It is a pair of scissors: it cuts.
Mind always makes things divided. Mind is a kind of prism. Pass a ray of white light through it and immediately it is divided into seven colours. Pass anything through the mind and it becomes dual.
Life and death are not life-and-death, the reality is lifedeath. It should be one word, not two; not even a hyphen in between. Lifedeath is one phenomenon. Lovehate is one phenomenon. Darknesslight is one phenomenon. Negativepositive is one phenomenon. But pass this one phenomenon through the mind and the one is divided immediately in two. Lifedeath becomes life and death - not only divided but death becomes antagonistic to life. They are enemies. Now you can go on trying to make these two meet, and they will never meet.
Kipling is right - that 'East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.' Logically, it is true. How can the East meet the West? How can the West meet the East? But existentially it is utter nonsense. They are meeting everywhere. For example, you are sitting here in Poona. Is it East or is it West? If you are comparing it with London, it is East; but if you are comparing it with Tokyo, it is West. What exactly is it, East or West? At each point East and West are meeting, and Kipling says, 'Never the twain shall meet.' The twain are meeting everywhere. No single point is such that East and West are not meeting and no single man is such that East and West are not meeting. It cannot be otherwise; they have to meet - it is one reality. East, West - one sky.
But mind divides. And if you are trying to put things together through the same mind, you will go crazy. That's what happened to Richard Wilhelm. A beautiful man, a genius in his own right, but just intellectual. And when he went mad, Jung was naturally afraid. It was Wilhelm who had introduced Jung to these secret books of the East: the I Ching and THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER; he had persuaded Jung to write a commentary on this book. He became really afraid of the East.
He talked about these things but he never tried in any way to practise them. And he has prescribed to the Western man that the West should evolve its own yoga, its own methods of meditation. It should not follow the Eastern methods.
It is as stupid as some Eastern chauvinist saying that the East should evolve its own science, its own physics, its own chemistry. It should not follow the West because these methods have been developed in the West. They cannot be followed because 'East is East and West is West'.
Do you think that the East has to evolve its own chemistry? What difference will there be? Will water evaporate in a different way in the East than it evaporates in the West? Nothing will be different.
And if it is so with matter, it is so with the inner consciousness too. All the differences are superficial.
All the differences are in your conditioning, not in your being. Your essential being is the same; whether you have the skin of a white man or a black man does not matter, the difference is only of a little bit of colour. In the old days they used to say that the difference is only that of a little pigment - four annas' worth. The white man has a little less pigment than the black man. Remember, the black man is richer, four annas richer. But there is just four annas' worth of difference in the colour of the body. Sooner or later we will be able to invent injections so that the white man can become black and the black can become white. Just an injection, and in the morning you are a perfect nigger! The difference is not much; it is only superficial - just on the surface.
And so is the difference in the mind. A Hindu has a different mind, certainly, than a Mohammedan or a Jew, but the mind is nothing but that which has been taught to you. When the child is born he is neither Hindu nor Jew nor Christian, he is simply pure essence. If the child is born of Jewish parents and is brought up by Hindu parents, he will have a Hindu mind, not a Jewish mind. He will never become aware that he was a Jew; his blood will not show it. Blood will not show at all who is who. You cannot go and have your blood tested by the doctor to show whether you are a Hindu or a Mohammedan. Your bones will not show it. So the difference is only in that which is taught to you, imposed upon you. The difference is only of clothing, dresses, and nothing else. Behind the dresses, the same naked humanness.
So what nonsense is Jung talking about: that the West has to develop its own alchemy, its own Tantra, its own Tao? But he was afraid. This was his way to avoid facing his own fear.
The West has not to evolve anything just because it is the West. Yes, every age has to evolve its own methods, but that is a different matter; it has nothing to do with East and West. I am evolving new methods because many things have changed. In these twenty-five centuries since Buddha much has changed. Buddha was working on a differently conditioned consciousness. Much has changed.
Man has become more mature, doubts more, is more sceptical. 'Yes' has become more difficult to say. He would like to explore, but without any beliefs. He cannot trust easily; distrust has become very deep-rooted. He is no more innocent; knowledge has corrupted him. These changes have happened. A few changes have to be made in the devices according to these changes. But it has nothing to do with East and West.
And particularly in the modern age to talk of East and West is sheer crap. The globe is one. For the first time this beautiful phenomenon has happened in the world: we are global, we are universal.
Nations are just hangovers, just hangovers from the past - old habits that die hard. And because old habits die hard, man is suffering unnecessarily.
Now science and technology have made it possible that no human being should have to remain in a kind of semi-starvation. But the old boundaries of the nations are preventing it. If people are poor in the world now it is not because methods are not available to help them but because of the nations and the states and the political boundaries. Man is capable enough now to make this whole earth a paradise, but politicians won't allow it. The one thing that the new generation has to do sooner or later - and the sooner the better - is to dissolve nations. We need one world, and that one world will be the answer to many questions and many problems.
Poverty can disappear immediately if the world is taken as a whole and if all that man has invented, discovered, is used. Otherwise poverty cannot disappear; it is going to persist. Illness can disappear from the world, man can become healthier and healthier; all the means are available, just the old rotten mind goes on clinging.
My own suggestion is for a world government. No national government is needed anymore. All national governments are outdated. But politicians won't allow it to happen. Why? - because if it happens they will all disappear. Where will Morarji-bhai Desai be? Where will all these many prime ministers and presidents be? All these people will become insignificant. Then they will not be able to make much fuss and they will not be able to create much noise on the stage; they will be forgotten.
They are really useless, they have to be put in the museums; they are no longer needed. The world needs one government. The world needs all nations to disappear, only then will wars disappear, otherwise stupid wars, just for small pieces of land which belong to nobody, or belong to all... Wars can disappear only if nations disappear; they are by-products of nations. But politicians don't like that - their whole importance will be gone. In fact, politicians like to create more and more nations.
India was one nation but Indian politicians decided to have two, India and Pakistan, so there could be double the number of prime ministers, presidents, ministers, and all kinds of buffoons. But then Pakistan was divided in two again because when Pakistan was one, then the Bengalis were suffering: they were not prime ministers and they were not presidents. They had to separate from Pakistan. Now India has become three countries.
And if it goes on and on in this way, India will become many countries. Now, deep down, South India wants to separate from North India over the question of language. Now they say that they are a different race, Dravidian, and the North is a different race, Aryan. 'Our blood is separate, our ideal is separate, our language is separate.' So the idea of separating from the North is getting more and more powerful, because then they will have their own prime minister.
Up to now all the prime ministers have been from the North. They take the president from the South just to console them, because the president in India is a nonentity. He is like the Queen of England:
he is the nominal head of the country, without any power. Just to console the South, they take all the presidents from the South. And the prime minister is the powerful man, the whole power is his; he is from the North. Now the South is suffering. Southern politicians particularly suffer very much.
Sooner or later the South would like to separate.
The world goes on dividing into small parts. If all the politicians are allowed, then each village will be a nation because then each village will have its own politicians, its own parliament, president, prime minister, ministers - if it is allowed. But why is it not allowed? It is not allowed, again for a political reason, because if South India becomes separate, then half of Morarji Desai's power is gone. So those who are in power resist: they would not like the country to be divided. And those who are not in power - they try to divide the country... This goes on.
The world simply needs to decide one day to drop all this nonsense and to become one. No passports should be needed, no visas should be needed. We need a world citizenship. We need freedom to move. Why so much distrust? Why so much antagonism towards each other? This earth is our planet. We should be able to move freely. This world is not yet a free world because of the hangovers of the past. They can be dropped. And with the dropping of them, the world can become as rich as you would like, as healthy as you would like. Poverty can disappear.
Poverty cannot disappear by Mahatma Gandhi's travelling in a third-class compartment. These are just strategies, political strategies. How can poverty disappear by Mahatma Gandhi's travelling in a third-class compartment? In fact, he is crowding the third-class compartment which is already crowded! If he had moved in an air-conditioned compartment, at least there would have been one person less in the crowd. And these things don't help.
But poor people like these things. They think their poverty is something very special: 'Look, even Mahatma Gandhi moves in a third-class compartment. Look at Mahatma Gandhi. He lives like a poor man.' So poverty has something spiritual in it. Poverty has been worshipped, that's why the world remains poor. And wherever poverty is worshipped, those people are going to remain poor.
In India poverty is worshipped - as if there were something spiritual in it. It is pathological. Nothing is spiritual in it. To be poor simply means you are stupid. You cannot manage. To be poor means only that you are too attached to old forms which are no longer useful in the world. To be poor simply means you are not inventive, not creative. To be poor simply means that you are not intelligent. It is nothing spiritual; it simply shows lack of energy, lack of intelligence. Poverty should be condemned, poverty should not be worshipped. We have to change the whole consciousness of man about these things, then they can be dispersed very easily. Technologically we are able to live in a very affluent world, but psychologically we are not capable of living in an affluent world. It happens that a person becomes rich but still goes on living the life of a poor man, and people appreciate it very much. They say, 'Look, he has so many riches, he is so rich, and still look at the simplicity of the man.' It is the sheer foolishness of the man. Why should he not live the riches that he has attained through great labour and effort? He is just a miser. He does not know how to live richly. He hides his impotence to live richly behind a beautiful facade that he is 'simple'.
We have to change these ideals. Poverty is ugly, as ugly as illness. But it is going to remain there if nations remain. It is going to remain there if politicians remain. It is going to remain there if the world remains divided. Wars will continue. We can go on talking about peace but we will go on preparing for war, because peace is just talk.
The hangover of the past is big. What is the hangover? Three thousand years of continuous quarrelling and fighting and murdering and killing - that is our past. We have to disconnect ourselves from the past. The Western man has to disconnect himself from the Western past, the Eastern man has to disconnect himself from the Eastern past, the Hindu from the Hindu past and the Christian from the Christian past. And the methodology of disconnecting oneself from one's past is going to be the same - it cannot be Eastern, it cannot be Western. The methodology to disconnect oneself from all past hangovers is going to be the same.
But Jung was very afraid. He was afraid of moving into silence, he was afraid of moving into his own inner being, because that inner being is first experienced as utter emptiness. But he would not say that he is afraid, he said he had to devise Western methods. There are no Eastern methods, no Western methods. Methods are methods.
And when you are trying to go beyond mind, it is the same method: awareness. What else will you do in the West? What can you do except be aware? To be aware, alert, to be in the moment, spontaneous and total, wherever you are, will help you to get rid of the whole past - political, social, religious. And once you are disconnected from the past, your mind disappears, because your mind is nothing but the past hanging around you. Mind is memory, memory is past, and when there is no mind you are utterly here, brilliantly here and now.
In that luminous state of being here and now is individuation in the sense of the book, THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER. Jung was thinking in the right direction, but only thinking.
Habib himself is a Jungian analyst, hence the question. It may be very hard for him to understand what I am saying. He has asked another question, too. He says, 'Osho, when you mention Freud, Jung and Adler in one line, it hurts. It appears as if you are mentioning Buddha, Christ and Nixon together.' It will be hard for you, Habib, but the truth is that Freud is a genius, Jung and Adler are just pygmies, just pygmies. They don't reach to his height. Freud is a pioneer: he has contributed something of immense value to humanity. Freud is the source, the very tree, Jung and Adler are just branches. Freud can be there without Jung and Adler - he will not miss anything - But Jung and Adler cannot even exist without him. You cannot conceive of it. Can you conceive of Jung and Adler if there had been no Freud? It is impossible even to conceive of it. They are his children even if they have disobeyed him, even if they have rebelled against him; it makes no difference. You can fight with your father, you can go against him, but still, he is your father. You can fight with him, you can murder him, but still he is your father. You cannot kill the relationship. You can kill the father, but you cannot kill his fatherhood. That is absolutely determined.
Now there is no way to undo it. Freud is the father, Jung and Adler are just rebellious children - small branches which are trying to go away, far away, from the father tree. But they cannot go very far because deep down they still get the shape from the same tree, deep down they are still joined.
They are reactions against Freud.
And the reason is not that they have been able to develop something very new - nothing of the sort. Jung is to Freud exactly what Judas is to Christ. It always happens. The closest disciple can betray the Master very easily. Judas was the closest disciple of Jesus, the most intelligent, educated disciple - more intelligent, more educated than anybody else. In fact, more educated than Jesus himself. He was the most sophisticated one. And, of course, he was hoping that he would be the second: that after Jesus was gone, he would be the leader. He was next to Jesus, and naturally a deep jealousy and ego started arising in him - why couldn't he be the first? How long had he to wait? And he knew more; he was more articulate than Jesus - Jesus was uneducated. Naturally, he must have started thinking in these terms. And the conflict arose. He must have been very egoistic.
And it is not that it has happened only once, it has happened many times. It happened with Mahavira; his own son-in-law betrayed him. He was his disciple and then left with five hundred other disciples.
Buddha's own cousin-brother, Devadatta, betrayed him. He tried to murder Buddha, poison him.
Why? - because Devadatta was always thinking that he was as good as Buddha, 'So why is Buddha respected so much, and why not me? We have grown up together, we have been educated by the same teachers, we are both from the same family, the same royal family, why has he become the enlightened one and I am still a disciple?' He wanted to declare himself also an enlightened one. It was ambition, it was jealousy, it was ego.
And the same was the case with Jung and Adler and a few others. Freud is a revolution. Freud is a milestone in the history of human consciousness, a great transforming force - not himself enlightened like Buddha or Mahavira or Jesus, but a great revolutionary as far as thinking is concerned, and he has opened a door which makes many things possible. Without Freud it would not have been possible for Tantra to be understood by the West. Without Freud the Western man would have lived with Victorian puritanism, with Victorian pseudoness, hypocrisy. Freud opened the doors for man to be more real, to be more authentic, to be more honest and true.
Jung and Adler are just offshoots. Jung was second to Freud. Freud himself had chosen him as his successor - that's why I say he is almost like a Judas. But Freud missed. In the very choice he missed. He himself was not enlightened; he must have chosen the most egoistic because the most egoistic is the most active. Jung was the most egoistic. You can look at the old pictures of him with Freud and with the other disciples. Jung seems to be the most egoistic. Even in pictures he cannot hide it; it is impossible to hide - it is written all over his face.
Freud must have chosen him because he was articulate, talented, active, tremendously active. He was able to philosophize, speculate, argue. But all those qualities were such that sooner or later Jung became aware that he could become a master in his own right, he could start a new school of psychology in his own right. Why should he bother to play second fiddle? He could be the first, the foremost. He started his own school.
His school is just a reaction, a reaction to Freud. And his understanding never went very deep, although he was groping in the right direction. But, I repeat, it was groping. He was not conscious of it, he was just moving as far away from Freud as possible. Freud had a very scientific attitude. Jung started moving into the world of art - just to be away from Freud. By accident he started moving in the right direction. Freud was very mathematical, Jung started becoming poetic. Freud was very factual,Jung started becoming more and more mythological. This was because of reaction. He had to prove himself separate, utterly separate from Freud. He had to drop all kind of links with Freud.
He had to become his polar opposite, unknowingly, unconsciously.
But, in a way, it was good. It was good in the sense that he stumbled upon a few facts which Freud would never have stumbled upon on his own, because he was down-to-earth, practical, pragmatic, scientific, a realist. And there are many things which cannot be contained by facts. There are millions of things which cannot be reduced to facts. And the higher you go, the deeper you go, the more difficult it becomes to talk the language of science or to use the language of science. One has to have more poetic freedom. One needs poetry, one needs fiction in order to express. Mythology becomes the only means to express certain heights and depths.
But Habib must be feeling hurt. He has been a Jungian analyst and now he has fallen into my hands. And I am going to beat him as hard as possible because I have to create something totally new out of him: not an analyst but an individual. I have to give him individuation and for that he will have to suffer much, too. He will have to pass through many fires. This also is a fire. Once I see your attachments I start attacking them, and his attachment is with Jung. Now, because of your attachment, Habib, even Jung has to suffer.
The second question:
WHY DO YOU USE PARABLES?
A parable is a way of saying things which cannot be said. A parable is a finger pointing to the moon.
Forget the finger and look at the moon. Don't catch hold of the finger, don't start biting the finger:
the parable has to be understood and forgotten .
And that is the beauty of a parable, a story. When it is told, you listen attentively because a story always creates curiosity: 'What is going to happen?' You become attentive, you become all ears, you become feminine, you become very intrigued You start expecting: 'What is going to happen?'
The parable creates suspense, it brings a climax, and then, suddenly, the conclusion. And when after the climax the conclusion happens, you are so hot that the conclusion sinks deep into your heart.
To say something about truth is not an easy matter. One has to devise parables, poetry, different methods and means so that the listener can be aroused into a kind of passion, can become vibrant, available, can wait for what is going to happen.
And it is not only I who am using parables; that has been always so. Buddha used them, Chuang Tzu used them, Jesus used them - all the great teachers of the world have been using the parable as a method, and it has served its purpose down the ages. It is still tremendously meaningful, and it is going to remain meaningful.
A parable is not just a story. It is not to entertain you but to enlighten you. That is the difference between an ordinary story and a parable. A parable has a message in it, a coded message in it; you will have to decode it. Sometimes it will take you your whole life to decode the message, but in its very decoding you will be transformed.
A parable is not an ordinary story just to entertain you for the moment, its significance is eternal, its significance is not momentary. In fact, it is more significant than your so-called facts, because facts have a limited impact. A fact is an event: it happens and then it disappears. And after it has disappeared there is no way to be certain about it - no way at all.
You cannot be certain whether Jesus existed or not; you cannot be absolutely certain whether Jesus is a historical person or not. At most you can feel the probability that he may have been. But the doubt persists - he may not have been. Who knows? - because except for his four disciples, nobody mentions him, nobody at all.
Now these four disciples may just have been the inventions of a novelist. The whole story is so dramatic, it has all that a dramatic story needs, all that a modern film is based on: a prostitute falling in love with Jesus, a carpenter's son declaring himself the son of God, a young man doing miracles, opening the eyes of blind people, giving limbs to those who had none, helping people who had suffered their whole life to be healthy and whole - not only that, but calling forth Lazarus out of his grave. What more suspense, what more do you need to make a story dramatic? And then being caught, then all the political intrigue, then the efforts to kill him. And then, one day, he is crucified.
And the story does not end there. Then after three days he is resurrected.
Now, no detective novel has so much in it. Resurrection... Then he is seen again by the disciples, he again meets his disciples, and they cannot even recognize him. And then this son of a carpenter, uneducated, unsophisticated, becomes the founder of the greatest religion in the world, he also becomes the founder of the greatest religious empire in the world - he defeats all other prophets and all other messengers of God. Now, what credentials did he have? Buddha was the son of a king, but this carpenter's son has defeated Buddha as far as the number of followers is concerned.
Socrates has not a single follower in the world today - and he was such a sophisticated man, so intelligent, so utterly intelligent. And he has the same story, he was poisoned and killed, yet he could not gather any followers. What happened? How did it happen? And was this man Jesus really there, a historical figure? - because no history books carry his name, there are no monuments. He may have been just a fiction, a fictitious story.
Historical events cannot be proved once they have happened - cannot be proved totally, absolutely.
At most they remain more or less probable. But a parable has an eternal reality about it. It does not claim any historicity, it simply claims a message. It has nothing to do with events that happen in time.
A parable is something that happens in timelessness. It remains relevant. Whether Jesus existed or not is not the point, but the stories that he has told ARE. Whether he told them or they are some fictitious invention of some novel-writer doesn't matter, but those parables have eternal messages in them, something so eternal that time cannot make them irrelevant, no passage of time can make them irrelevant.
The truth of a parable is timeless. The truth of history is the truth about particular events in the present or the past. Once past, there is no way to prove beyond all doubt that they actually happened; all that can be established is only a probability. The only truth which we can trust is the truth which is in the present tense. Only the truth of a parable, because it is beyond all time, can speak to us forever in the present tense. A parable remains always in the present tense; it is never past. A parable is always present; if you are ready to understand it, it is ready to deliver all its treasure to yoU. And it does not depend on the arbitrary conditions of history.
Parable and history may coincide: a story which is historically true may also present us with the truth of parable. The Jesus or the Buddha story may be historically accurate, but even if it is, it is by the truth of the parable not by the truth of history that we are healed. It does not matter whether Jesus existed or not, whether Buddha was ever born on the earth or not; that doesn't matter.Just the parable, the possibility that a Buddha is possible is enough to stir our hearts in a new longing, is enough to make us feel thirsty for the divine. It is enough - the very possibility of the parable is enough - to make us look upwards towards heaven, to send us into an exploration, to make us discontented with the limitations that we have created around ourselves. It provokes us into adventure.
A man is drowning. A rope comes spinning down; he clutches it and he is saved. Who wove the rope? This parable... some say Buddha, some say Jesus, some say Mohammed, but to the drowning man the important question is: 'Will it bear my weight or not?' Who wove the rope is a question about history. You may get it all wrong and still be saved. That is the beauty of a parable.
Buddha may not have ever existed, but if you understand the parable you will be saved.
What is a parable?
For example, Buddha is going to participate in a youth festival in his beautiful golden chariot.
Suddenly he sees an old man for the first time in his life, because this is the parable: that when Buddha was born great astrologers came to his father to depict the future, to predict the potential of the child. All the astrologers said, 'Either he will become a world ruler, a CHAKRAVARTIN who will rule all the six continents, or he will become a sannyasin who will renounce the whole world. These are the two possibilities.'
All the astrologers except one raised two fingers to the king and said, 'One possibility: he will become the greatest ruler in the world, never known before, never heard of before, such will be his power.
And the second possibility: that he may renounce the whole thing completely and move into a forest, become a sannyasin and meditate, and attain to Buddhahood.' Out of all the astrologers there was one astrologer, the youngest, who raised only one finger. The king said, 'All have raised two fingers, and you are raising one?'
He said, 'Because he is going to become a Buddha, there is no other possibility.'
But he was the youngest astrologer and the king was not puzzled by him and not worried. How much can he know? And the old people were all saying, 'Two are the possibilities,' so he asked the old people, 'What should I do so he never renounces the kingdom?'
And they suggested, 'Make beautiful palaces for him, separate palaces for separate seasons.' In India there are four seasons, so - four palaces with beautiful gardens, acres and acres of flowers.
'Make it almost like a paradise. And make it a point that no old man ever enters into his gardens, that no ill person ever comes across him, that he never sees a sannyasin, the ochre-robed, that he never comes across the phenomenon of death. These four things are prohibited. Even if leaves are falling they should be removed before he sees the old dying leaf. Flowers should be removed from his garden before he becomes aware that flowers fade and die. And he should be surrounded by beautiful women, the most beautiful women of the kingdom. And he should be kept continuously entertained. Remember, then only can he be saved from the desire of enlightenment. Keep him continuously entertained, exhausted, tired. In the morning when he gets up he should see beautiful women dancing around him to the very last moment when he falls asleep. He should fall asleep to music and dance.'
And this is how it was managed.
Now whether it is history or not is not the point. This is how we are all managing in some way or other. This is a parable. This is how all parents are afraid - maybe not so much as Buddha's father because that is the extreme point. To make the parable absolutely clear it has to be stretched to its logical end, that's all. But all fathers, all mothers are afraid: you should not become a drop-out, you should not renounce.
Now one woman from America has written to Morarji Desai that her daughter is caught by an Indian Master, hypnotized. 'Save my daughter, send her back to me.' The papers have not said who this man is who has hypnotized her, the possibility is that it must be me. And the daughter must be here.
Now parents are forming associations, societies, groups, to protect their children from getting into any Eastern trip. They are more afraid of meditation than drugs. In America there now exists an organization of parents to kidnap their children if they become meditators. And then those children have to be given to deprogrammers, to psychoanalysts, to deprogramme them - a kind of mindwash.
This is illegal. And one psychoanalyst has been sent to jail in California for deprogramming, because he was too enthusiastic. At first parents were giving him the authority to kidnap their children, then he started on his own. Not even a parent has the authority to kidnap the child - once the child is of age no parent has the authority. But maybe they can manage it. They have lobbies in the parliament.
They can manage it, because the judge is also a parent, a father, and the police and the lawyers - all are parents; they can manage, they can enforce it.
But the psychoanalyst became a missionary on his own; he started kidnapping. He had an organization of kidnappers and he started mindwashing programmes - he called them 'de- programming' - so that a person becomes anti-meditation, anti-East, and falls back into the old fold. If he is a Catholic, then he becomes a Catholic and goes to the church; if he is a Protestant, then he becomes a Protestant and reads the Bible.
These people are afraid - not only now, they have always been afraid. Buddha's story is just a logical extreme. Parents are afraid their children may renounce the world, that is the eternal truth in it.
But the parable goes on. Whenever Buddha moved to the capital the roads were cleaned, all old people were removed, sannyasins were barred. When his chariot would pass he never came across anything ugly, ill, old, dead.
But that day something happened. The parable says that the gods in heaven became very worried, 'Is Buddha going to remain in this stupid kind of continuous entertainment? Will he never become enlightened?' Roads were cleaned, traffic was managed and controlled, but those gods managed, too. One god appeared as an old man, another god appeared as a sannyasin, another as a very ill, coughing, almost-dying person, another as a dead man being carried by other people to the cemetery .
The parable is beautiful - the gods became worried. It has a significant message. This existence wants you to become enlightened, that is the meaning of it. Existence becomes worried, existence cares, existence wants you to become free of all bondage, free of all darkness. Existence wants to help you, and when it sees that you are going and going and going and wasting your life, it creates situations in which you can be provoked; that is the meaning of the parable. There are no gods in heaven and no gods will come and walk like old men, but the parable is a way of saying certain hidden truths. The hidden truth is that the existence cares for you, that you have been sent into this existence to learn something.
Don't get lost.
Now this is an eternal message. It doesn't matter whether Buddha was born or not, whether he is a historical person or not, all that matters is that existence cares for you. If it cared for Buddha, it cares for you too. It will create occasions for you and if you are a little bit alert you will be able to catch hold of those occasions and those occasions will prove a transforming situation, an awakening.
Buddha saw the old man and asked his charioteer, 'What has happened to this man?' - naturally, because he had never seen an old man. You would not have asked because you see it every day. It was so strange. He was married, he had a son, and he had never seen an old man. Suddenly he was shocked at seeing the old man. And the charioteer was going to lie, because he knew Buddha's father.
But, the story says, one god entered into the charioteer's body and told the truth. He said, 'Everybody has to become old.'
And Buddha asked, 'Am I also going to become old? And my beloved, my wife, Yashodhara too?
And my little child, Rahul, who was just born a few days ago, he too?'
And the god, through the charioteer, said - forced the charioteer to say, 'Yes, everybody is going to become old.' And then the dead man was seen. 'And what has happened to him?' Buddha asked.
And the god, through the charioteer, said, 'Everybody has to come to this state. Illness, old age, then death.'
'Am I also going to die? And what about my beautiful woman, Yashodhara, and my child, Rahul, who was born just a few days ago?'
And the god said, 'All are going to die without any exception.' And then Buddha saw the ochre-robed sannyasin. And he said, 'Why is he wearing ochre, orange?' And the god said, 'This man has also seen illness, old age and death happening. Now he is trying to find the source of immortality. He has become aware that this life is contaminated with death. He has seen the fact that this body is going to disappear sooner or later, dust unto dust. So he is trying to seek and search for something which is undying. He has become a meditator. He has renounced entertainment. He is in search of enlightenment.'
And Buddha said, 'Then wait. There is no need to go to the youth festival anymore, because if youth is just a momentary phenomenon, I am already old. And if life is going to disappear into dust, I have died.'
See the insight of the parable: Buddha says, 'If it is going to happen, what does it matter whether it is going to happen tomorrow or after seven years or seventy years? If it is going to happen, it has already happened. Turn back! I am no longer interested in any festival. All festivals are finished for me. I have to seek what you call enlightenment before this body disappears. I have to use this body as a stepping-stone towards something that is undying. I have to search for nectar.'
And he turned back. The same night he left his palace and escaped into the deep forest to meditate.
Now this is a parable. Whether it happened or not I am not concerned about at all. How does it matter whether it coincides with history or not?
That's why many times people who are too obsessed with history become angry with me - because I have no commitment to history at all. I take all poetic freedom. My commitment is to parables, not to history. If I see that the parable can become more beautiful, then I play with the parable. I don't bother whether it is written so or not. Who cares? My whole commitment is to the poetry and the parable and the hidden message in it. And whether it happened or not, it can save you still.
'Who made the rope - Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed?' What is the point when you are drowning in a well? The whole point is whether this rope is going to bear your weight or not. Try it. And you may get it all wrong and still be saved. The rope may have been made by Buddha and you may think it has been made by Jesus - it doesn't matter, you can still be saved. The Bible may have been written by a ghost writer - it doesn't matter; it has the message. And whosoever the writer was must have been enlightened, otherwise he could not have written such a beautiful parable. He WAS Jesus. Whosoever has created the story of Buddha WAS Buddha. Whether the story existed or not doesn't matter.
Hence I use so many parables. The parable embodies the hope, the danger, and the possibility held out by Lao Tzu or Zarathustra. If all the Bibles were destroyed, if the name of Jesus were forgotten, it would not matter anymore, so long as the fire kindled the hope, the beauty, and the possibility still went on burning. If it is proved, absolutely proved, that Buddha never happened, Jesus was never born, Mohammed never walked on the earth, Mahavira was a myth and Lao Tzu an invention of some fictitious writers, if the hope continues and if man continues to hope to surpass himself, if the fire continues to burn, if the longing remains to seek and search for the truth, that's enough. You can forget all about the Bibles and the Korans. If the longing continues, the Koran is going to be born in you. If the longing is intense enough, one day you will see Buddha arising out of you, you will see Jesus being born in you.
The last question:
YOU SAY THAT ONE HAS TO PAY FOR EVERYTHING IN LIFE. ISN'T THERE ANY EXCEPTION?
Listen to this anecdote.
An American in Paris asked a cabby to give him the address of a good brothel. He went there alone, selected his partner, and ordered dinner. Later that evening, after satisfying his every whim, the thoroughly-drained gentleman went downstairs and asked the Madame for his bill.
'There is no charge, Monsieur,' said the lady of the house. Astonished, but not disposed to argue the matter, the gentleman departed. The next night he returned to the brothel and repeated his performance of the previous night. Upon leaving this time however, he was shocked to learn that his bill was eight hundred francs.
'Impossible!' the American shrieked. 'I was here last evening and I got everything and you didn't charge me a sou.'
'Ah,' said the Madame, 'but last night you were on television.'
Yes, sometimes you may get something free, but be aware - you may be on television.
In fact, there is nothing in life that you can get without paying for it - and you only get as much as you are ready to pay for. When you are ready to pay with your life, you get eternal life in return.