ONCE SOME HUNTERS went deep into a dark forest and found a hut in which a hermit was praying before a wooden cross. His face shone with happiness.
"Good afternoon, Brother. May God give us a good afternoon. You look very happy."
"I am always happy."
"You are happy living in this lonely hut doing penance? We have everything and are not happy.
Where did you find happiness?"
"I found it here in this cave. Look through that hole and you will catch a glimpse of my happiness."
And he showed them a small window.
"You have deceived us, for all we can see is some branches of a tree."
"Take another look."
"All we see are some branches and a little bit of sky."
"That," said the hermit, "is the reason for my happiness - just a little bit of heaven."
Bliss is man's intrinsic nature. It has not to be attained, it has only to be re-discovered. We already have it. We are it. Searching for it somewhere else is a sure way to miss it. Stop searching and look within, and the greatest surprise of your life is awaiting you there, because whatsoever you have been seeking down the ages, through so many lives, is already the case. You need not be a beggar, you are a born emperor. But the Kingdom of God is within you and your eyes go on searching without, hence you go on missing it. It is behind the eyes, not in front of the eyes.
The Kingdom of God is not an object, it is your subjectivity. It is not to be sought because it is the very nature of the seeker. And then, even in the darkest forest, utterly alone in a cave, one can be happy. Otherwise even palaces only create misery.
There are all kinds of miseries in the world: the poor suffers one kind of misery, the rich suffers another kind of misery, but there is no difference as far as misery is concerned. And sometimes it happens that the rich suffers more, because he can afford more. He has more possibilities, more alternatives, open for him. The poor cannot purchase much misery, but the rich can purchase.
Hence the richest people feel the most miserable in the world. The richest people become the poorest in this sense. In fact, when you become rich, for the first time you feel the poverty of life.
When you are poor you can hope that some day you will be rich, and there will be joy and there will be celebration; but when you have attained to the riches of the outside, suddenly the hope disappears and great hopelessness settles in. You are surrounded by a despair: now there is no hope and no future; now the last hope has disappeared. You had lived with the idea that "One day I will be rich and then everything will be all right."Now you are rich and nothing has changed; the inner misery continues as ever.
In fact, because of the outer riches, in contrast to the outer riches, you can see your inner poverty more clearly, more accurately, more penetratingly. The outer richness only provides a background for feeling the inner poverty. Outer possessions make you aware of the inner emptiness. Hence, it is not surprising that rich countries become religious. India was religious when India was rich, in the days of Buddha, Mahavir. India was affluent; because of that affluence India was aware of the inner poverty. And when you become aware of inner poverty, then you start searching inwards. When you become aware that no outer thing can fulfill the inner longing, that all that is outer remains out, you cannot take it in; when this becomes an absolute certainty then you start a new search, a new adventure. That adventure is religion.
India cannot be religious today. India is one of the poorest countries in the world - how can it be religious? It cannot afford to be religious. Religion is the highest kind of luxury, the ultimate in luxury.
It is the ultimate music, ultimate poetry, ultimate dance. It is the ultimate drunkenness with existence itself Hungry and starved, you cannot search for it. When a man is hungry he needs bread, he does not need meditation. When a man is ill he needs medicine, not meditation. Only a healthy person can become aware that something is missing which can be fulfilled by meditation and by nothing else.
People ask me why there are not many Indians here listening to me. It is not surprising; they are not interested in meditation. Their interest is in material things, their whole obsession is with matter.
Of course they talk about spirituality but that is mere talk, a hangover from the past. It gives them a good feeling: at least they are spiritual. If they are missing in material things they can brag about their spirituality. But to me, spiritualism is a higher stage than materialism: materialism functions as a stepping-stone. Only a rich country starts feeling spiritual poverty. And if you have started feeling spiritual poverty then there are only two possibilities: either you commit suicide or you go through an inner transformation.
Meditation is the method of inner transformation. When suicide and meditation remain the only two alternatives and nothing else is left - either destroy yourself because your whole life is meaningless, or transform yourself into a new plane of being - one has to choose between suicide and meditation.
The rich countries of the world have always been in this dilemma of choosing between suicide and meditation. Rich countries suffer more from suicide, from madness, than poor countries. A poor person has no time to think about suicide; he's so preoccupied with life. A poor person has no time to think of transforming his energies; he's so occupied with how to feed his children, how to have a shelter. He's not interested at all in anything else higher than the body, deeper than the body - and it is natural, I am not condemning it. It is absolutely natural, it is how it should be. That's why poor countries of the world are leaning more and more towards communism, and the capitalist countries of the world are leaning more and more towards spiritualism. Marx's prediction has failed. Marx has said that rich countries will become communist: it has proved nonsense. Only poor countries have become communist. Russia was one of the most poverty-stricken countries, so was China, and so is India. India can be a victim of communism any day: it is preparing, it is on the way.
America has not turned communist. Marx predicted that rich countries would become communist. I predict that rich countries always become religious, poor countries become communist. And once, through communism, a country becomes rich, it will start searching and seeking for religion. That's what is happening deep down in the Russian soul now. Now Russia has come to a point where it can again think of God and meditation, prayer. You will be surprised to know that in Russia people meet in secrecy to pray, because prayer is not allowed by the government any more. To be religious is to be a criminal.
Here, there are temples and nobody goes, and churches are there and people have to be persuaded somehow to go to the churches, at least on Sunday. People have to be bribed to go to the temples, to the churches, to the mosques, to the gurudwaras. Can you conceive of a country where people meet in secrecy, in their basements, to pray silently, so that nobody can hear? Deep in the Russian soul religion is surfacing again; it HAS to surface. Now Russia is rich enough to think of higher things.
In my vision of life materialism and spiritualism are not contraries; materialism paves the way for religion. Hence I am utterly materialistic and utterly spiritualistic. That is one of the most fundamental teachings that I am delivering to you: never create an antagonism between the body and the soul, between the world and God. Never create any antagonism between materialism and spiritualism - they go together, just as body and soul. Remain materialistic and use your materialism as a stepping-stone towards spirituality. That creates much confusion in people's minds because they have always been thinking that poverty is something spiritual. That is utter nonsense. Poverty is the most unspiritual thing in the world. A poor man cannot be spiritual. He can try, but his spirituality will remain superficial. He has not yet been disillusioned by riches - how can he be spiritual? A great disillusionment is needed, a great disillusionment with the outer world; then you turn in. The turning in comes only at a certain point when you are utterly disillusioned with the outside - when you have seen the world, you have lived the world, you have experienced and you have come to know that there is nothing in it, all soap bubbles, momentary experiences. They promise much but they deliver nothing, and in the end only emptiness is left in your hands. The outer world can only give you death and nothing else. Life has to be searched for within. The sources of life are IN you.
The tree is in the seed. If you cut the seed open you will not find the tree, true, because that is not the way to find it. You will have to let the seed grow; then the blueprint that is hidden in the seed comes out. When a child is conceived in a mother's womb he is just a seed, but he has all the blueprint, all the possibilities - what kind of body he will have, what kind of face, what color of eyes, hair, height, age, how long he will live, healthy or unhealthy, man or woman, black or white - all is contained in the seed. Life grows out of that seed.
Meditation is turning back towards the innermost core from where all has arisen - the body has arisen, the desires have arisen, the thoughts have arisen, the mind has arisen. You have to go back to the source. Religion is a return to the source - and to know the source is to know God. To know the source is to know the goal, because they are both one. To come back to your innermost core, from where you had started, means you have come to the ultimate where you wanted to reach. The circle is full. There is a moment where the alpha becomes the omega, and then there is fulfillment.
When the circle is complete there is fulfillment.
And that is the whole teaching of THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER of Master Lu-tsu. He's trying to make the path clear to you: how the circle can be complete, how the light can circulate, how you can move inwards, how you can also have a little bit of sky, a little bit of heaven. And then you can be happy anywhere - even in hell you will be happy.
Right now, as you are, you would be unhappy anywhere, even in heaven. You will find ways and means of being unhappy there too, because you will carry all your jealousies, all your anger, all your greed, all your possessiveness. You will carry all your rage, all your sexuality, all your repressions; you will carry this whole luggage. The moment you reach heaven, you will create hell around yourself there too, because you will be carrying the seeds of hell.
It is said that if you are pure, if you are silent, you reach heaven. The truth is just the opposite: if you are pure, if you are silent, heaven reaches you. One never goes anywhere, one is always here, but once the inside becomes full of light the whole world outside is transformed. Buddha moves in the same world in which you move, Buddha passes through the same streets as you pass, but Buddha lives in a totally different world - Buddha lives in paradise and you live in hell. You may be sitting by the side of a Buddha, you may be holding his hand or touching his feet - so close, yet so far away, so distant, worlds apart. What is the secret of being in heaven, of being in utter bliss, of being in benediction, of being in that splendor called God? These are the secrets:
Master Lu-tsu said: YOUR WORK WILL GRADUALLY BECOME CONCENTRATED AND MATURE.
The path of Tao is not that of sudden enlightenment. It is not like Zen. Zen is sudden enlightenment, Tao is a gradual growth. Tao does not believe in sudden, abrupt changes. Tao believes in keeping pace with existence, allowing things to happen on their own, not forcing your way in any way, not pushing the river in any way. And Tao says: There is no need to be in a hurry because eternity is available to you. Sow the seeds in time and wait, and the spring comes, as it has always been coming. And when the spring comes there will be flowers. But wait, don't be in a hurry.
Don't start pulling the tree upwards so that it can grow fast. Don't be in that kind of mind which asks that everything be like instant coffee. Learn to wait, because nature is very very slow-moving.
Because of that slow movement there is grace in nature. Nature is very feminine, it moves like a woman. It does not run, it is not in a hurry, there is no haste. It goes very slowly, a silent music.
There is great patience in nature, and Tao believes in the way of nature. 'Tao' exactly means nature, so Tao is never in a hurry; this has to be understood.
Tao's fundamental teaching is: learn to be patient. If you can wait infinitely, it may even happen instantly. But you should not ask that it should happen instantly: if you ask, it may never happen.
Your very asking will become a hindrance. Your very desire will create a distance between you and nature. Remain in tune with nature, let nature take its own course - and whenever it comes it is good, and whenever it comes it is fast, WHENEVER it comes. Even if it takes ages to come then too it is not late, it is never late. It always comes in the right moment.
Tao believes that everything happens when it is needed: when the disciple is ready the Master appears. When the disciple is ultimately ready, God appears. Your worthiness, your emptiness, your receptivity, your passivity makes it possible; not your hurry, not your haste, not your aggressive attitude. Remember, truth cannot be conquered. One has to surrender to truth, one has to be conquered by truth.
But our whole education in all the countries down the ages has been of aggressiveness, of ambition.
We make people very speedy. We make them very much afraid. We tell them, "Time is money and very precious, and once gone it is gone forever, so make haste. Be in a hurry."
This has been driving people mad. They hurry from one point to another point; they never enjoy any place. They rush around the world from one intercontinental hotel to another intercontinental hotel. And they are all alike; whether you are in Tokyo or in Bombay or in New York or in Paris makes no difference. Those intercontinental hotels are all alike, and people go on rushing from one intercontinental hotel to another thinking that they are travelling around the world. They could have stayed in one intercontinental hotel and there would have been no need to go anywhere else; it is all alike. And they think they are reaching somewhere. Speed is driving people neurotic.
Tao is the way of nature, as the trees grow and rivers move, and the birds, and the children - exactly in the same way one has to grow into God.
YOUR WORK WILL GRADUALLY BECOME CONCENTRATED AND MATURE.
Don't be in a hurry and don't become desperate. If you fail today, don't feel hopeless. If you fail today it is natural. If you go on failing for a few days it is natural.
People are so afraid of failing that just because of the fear of failing they never try. There are many people who will not fall in love because they are afraid - who knows? They may be rejected - so they have decided to remain unloving, so nobody ever rejects them. People are so afraid of failing that they never try anything new - who knows? If they fail, then what?
And naturally, to move into the inner world you will have to fail many times, because you have never moved there. All your skill and efficiency is of the outer movement, of extroversion. You don't know how to move in. People listen to the words 'move in, go in', but it doesn't make much sense to them.
All that they know is how to go out, all that they know is how to go to the other. They don't know any way to come to themselves. It is bound to happen; because of your past habits you will fail many times. Don't become hopeless. Maturity comes slowly. It comes sure and certain, but it takes time. And remember, to each different person it will go at a different pace, so don't compare, don't start thinking, "Somebody is becoming so silent and so joyful and I have not yet become. What is happening to me?" Don't compare with anybody, because each has lived in a different way in his past lives. Even in this life people have lived differently. For example, a poet may find it easier to go in than a scientist; their trainings are different. The whole scientific training is to be objective, to be concerned with the object, to watch the object, to forget subjectivity. The scientist, to be a scientist, has to withdraw himself completely from his experiment. He has not to be involved in the experiment, there should be no emotional involvement. He should be there completely detached, like a computer. He should not be human at all; then only is he a real scientist, and then only will he succeed in science.
Now this is a totally different skill. A poet gets involved. When he watches a flower he starts dancing around it. He participates, he's not just a detached observer. A dancer may find it even more easy because a dancer and his dance are so one, and the dance is so inner that the dancer can move into his inner space very easily. Hence, in the old, mysterious mystery schools of the world dance was one of the secret methods. Dance was evolved in the mystery schools and temples. Dance is one of the most religious phenomena, but it has lost its meaning so completely that it has almost fallen to the opposite polarity. It has become a sexual phenomenon; dance has lost the spiritual dimension. But remember, whatsoever is spiritual can become sexual if it falls, and whatsoever is sexual can become spiritual if it rises. Spirituality and sexuality are intertwined. A musician will find it easier than a mathematician to move into meditation. You have different skills, different minds, different conditionings.
For example, a Christian may find it more difficult to meditate than a Buddhist, because with twenty- five centuries of constant meditation, Buddhism has created a certain quality in its followers. So when a Buddhist comes to me he can fall into meditation very easily. When a Christian comes meditation is very alien, because Christianity has completely forgotten about meditation; it knows only about prayer.
Prayer is a totally different phenomenon. In prayer the other is needed; it can never be independent.
Prayer is more like love prayer is a dialogue. Meditation is not a dialogue; it is not like love, it is EXACTLY the opposite of love. In meditation you are left all alone, nowhere to go, nobody to relate to, no dialogue because there is no other. You are simply yourself, utterly yourself. This is a totally different approach.
So it will depend on your skills, your mind, your conditioning, your education, the religion you have been brought up in, the books you have been reading, the people you have been living with, the vibe that you have created in yourself It will depend on a thousand and one things, on how much you can take - but it comes sure and certain. All that is needed is patience, silent work, patient work and concentration happens, and maturity arrives. In fact, a mature person and a concentrated person are only two aspects of the same phenomenon. That's why children cannot be in concentration:
they are constantly moving, they cannot be at one point, fixed. Everything attracts them - a car has passed by, a bird calls, somebody starts laughing, the neighbor has put the radio on, a butterfly moves - everything, the whole world is attractive. They simply jump from one thing to another thing. They cannot concentrate, they cannot live with one thing so utterly and so totally that all else disappears, becomes non-existential.
With maturity, concentration arises. Maturity and concentration are two names for the same thing.
But the first thing to remember is that it comes gradually; don't compare, don't be in a hurry.
BUT BEFORE YOU SIT LIKE A WITHERED TREE BEFORE A CLIFF, THERE ARE MANY POSSIBILITIES OF ERROR, WHICH I WOULD LIKE TO BRING TO YOUR SPECIAL ATTENTION.
Master Lu-tsu says: Before the condition arises in you in which you sit like a withered tree before a cliff... This is a Taoist expression, of tremendous beauty and significance. It means alive and yet dead, dead and yet UTTERLY alive. It means living in the world with great joy and celebration, but not being part of the world; being in the world but not allowing the world to be in you - "like a withered tree before a cliff." Living like a dead man...
Alexander wanted to take a sannyasin from India to his own country because his master, the great philosopher, Aristotle, had asked him, "When you come back from India, bring a sannyasin" - because India's greatest contribution to the world is the way, the lifestyle of a sannyasin. Aristotle was very interested. He wanted to see what kind of a man a sannyasin was, because it had happened only in India. This is its special contribution to world culture and humanity, a totally different way of living in the world: living in the world and yet not being of the world, remaining unattached and aloof; like a lotus flower in the pond, living in water and yet untouched by the water.
When dewdrops gather on the lotus petals they look beautiful in the morning sun, like pearls, but yet they are not touching the flower at all and the flower is not touching them. So close and yet so far away...
"What kind of a man is a sannyasin?" - Aristotle was philosophically interested. He was not the man to become a sannyasin, but he had asked Alexander to bring a sannyasin: "You will be bringing many things. For me, remember to bring a sannyasin." When Alexander was leaving the country he remembered. He had looted much, then he suddenly remembered, "What about a sannyasin?" He inquired at his last station in India. He inquired about a sannyasin and the people said, "Yes, we have a beautiful sannyasin, but it is almost impossible to take him."
Alexander said, "Leave it to me. Don't be worried. You don't know me. If I order the Himalayas to come with me they will have to come with me, so what about a sannyasin? Where is he? You just give me the address" - and the address was given.
The sannyasin was a naked fakir living by the side of the river. Four strong men were sent with naked swords to bring the sannyasin to Alexander.
The sannyasin, seeing those four strong men with naked swords, started laughing. They said, "You don't understand - this is an order from the great Alexander, that you have to be brought to his court.
He is waiting for you."
And the sannyasin said, "I have stopped coming and going long ago. If he wants to see me I can oblige him; he can come. But I have stopped coming and going. That coming and going disappeared with my mind. Now there is nobody to come and nobody to go. I exist no more!"
Of course, those Greeks could not have understood. The Greeks are the polar opposite of the Hindus. The Hindus are basically illogical, and the Greeks are basically logical. The Hindus are poetic, intuitive; the Greeks are intellectuals. Those four soldiers said to him, "What nonsense are you talking? We can drag you!"
The sannyasin said, "You can drag my body but not me. You can put my body in a prison, but not me. My freedom will remain intact. I am a lotus flower, the water cannot touch me."
Now this was utter nonsense to those Greeks. They said, "You wait. Let us inform Alexander, lest we do something wrong." Alexander was informed of those beautiful sentences of the sannyasin, and given the report that "He is a beautiful man, sitting naked in the sun on the riverbank. He looks like a great emperor, and there is nothing around him. He possesses nothing, not even a begging bowl. But the grandeur, the grace! You look into his eyes and it seems as if he is the emperor of the whole world. And he laughed at our foolishness - that we had come with naked swords, and he was not afraid at all. And he said, 'You can kill my body but you cannot kill me."'
Alexander became intrigued; he went to see this naked sannyasin. He was impressed, greatly impressed, and he said, "You will have to come with me. This is my order!"
But the sannyasin said, "The day I became a sannyasin I stopped receiving any orders from anybody.
I am a free man, I am not a slave. Nobody can order me. You can kill me but you cannot order me."
Alexander was angry. He took his sword out and he said, "I will immediately cut off your head!"
And the sannyasin started laughing again. And he said, "You can cut it off, because in fact I have cut it off long ago myself I am a dead man."
Now this is the meaning of real sannyas: a dead man.
And the man said, "How can you kill a dead man? It would be utter foolishness. How can you kill a dead man? A dead man is dead, he cannot die anymore. All is already finished. You came a little late; I exist no more. Yes, you can cut off the head - you will see the head falling on the sands. I will also watch the head falling on the sands. I am a watcher, a witness."
This is the meaning of 'a withered tree before a cliff'. Alexander was the cliff, and the sannyasin was the withered tree. What can the cliff do to the withered tree? The withered tree is already dead, gone. The cliff cannot destroy the withered tree. The withered tree will not be afraid of the cliff.
There are still many possibilities before this can happen to you - MANY POSSIBILITIES OF ERROR, WHICH I WOULD LIKE TO BRING TO YOUR SPECIAL ATTENTION.
THESE CONDITIONS ARE RECOGNIZED ONLY WHEN THEY HAVE BEEN PERSONALLY EXPERIENCED.
Remember, all these things that Lu-tsu is saying to you in his immensely valuable message - this is one of the greatest treatises for the seeker - he's saying because he has experienced these things on his own journey. He has come across these errors, and he would like to enlighten his disciples so that they need not be hindered by these errors, so that they need not be distracted by these errors.
Those who have never meditated will not understand what these errors are. When they have been personally experienced, only then does one understand them. But those who are on the Way, they have to be prepared, they have to be told what the pitfalls on the Way are. The Way is not just simple:
many other paths fork out of it at many places. You can take a path which will be a dead-end, but you will come to know that it was a dead-end after many many years, or maybe after many lives.
And all the effort, and the journey, will have been wasted and you will have to come back again to the point from where you lost the main road. And there are no milestones. No fixed map is available, cannot be made, because God goes on changing. His existence is a constant change. Except for change, everything goes on changing, so no fixed map is possible. Only hints can be given; these are hints. If you understand the hints you will be able to follow the right path, and whenever there is a possibility of going into errors your understanding will help you.
FIRST I WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK OF THE MISTAKES AND THEN OF THE CONFIRMATORY SIGNS.
Lu-tsu says, "First I will talk about the mistakes that are possible, and then I will tell you what the confirmatory signs are which make it certain that you are on the right path."
WHEN ONE BEGINS TO CARRY OUT ONE'S DECISION, CARE MUST BE TAKEN SO THAT EVERYTHING CAN PROCEED IN A COMFORTABLE, RELAXED MANNER.
This is the first thing to be understood. Once you take the decision to follow the inward path, once you take the decision to be a sannyasin, to be a meditator, once you take the decision that now the inner has called you and you are going to seek and search on the quest "Who am I?", then the first thing to be remembered is: don't move in a tense way. Move in a very relaxed manner, make sure that your inner journey is comfortable. Now this is of immense importance.
Ordinarily, this first error happens to everybody. People start making their inner journey unnecessarily complicated, uncomfortable. It happens for a certain reason. People are angry at others in their ordinary life. In their ordinary life they are violent with others. In their ordinary extrovert journey they are sadists: they enjoy torturing others, they enjoy defeating others, they enjoy competing with others, conquering others. Their whole joy is in how to make others feel inferior to themselves. This is what your extrovert journey is. This is what politics is. This is the political mind, constantly trying to become superior to the other, legally, illegally, but there is constant effort to defeat the other, whatsoever the cost. Even if the other has to be destroyed, then the other has to be destroyed. But one has to win: one has to be the prime minister, one has to be the president, one has to be this and that - at any cost! And all are enemies because all are competitors. Remember this: your whole education prepares you, makes you ready to fight. It does not prepare you for friendship and love, it prepares you for conflict, enmity, war.
Whenever there is competition there is bound to be enmity. How can you be friendly with people with whom you are competing, who are dangerous to you and to whom you are dangerous? Either they will win and you will be defeated, or you will win and they have to be defeated. So all your so-called friendship is just a facade, a formality. It is a kind of lubricant that makes life move smoothly, but deep down there is nobody who is a friend. Even friends are not friends because they are comparing with each other, fighting with each other. This world has been turned into a war-camp by the education of ambition, politics.
When a man turns inwards the problem arises: what will he do with his anger, enmity, aggression, violence? Now he is alone; he will start torturing himself, he will be angry with himself That's what your so-called MAHATMAS are. Why do they torture themselves? Why do they fast? Why do they lie down on a bed of thorns? When there is a beautiful shady tree, why do they stand in the hot sun? When it is hot, why do they sit by the side of fire? When it is cold, why do they stand naked in the rivers or in the snow? These are inverted politicians. First they were fighting with others. Now there is nobody left - they are fighting with themselves. They are schizophrenic, they have divided themselves. It is a civil war now; they are fighting with the body.
The body is a victim of your so-called MAHATMAS. The body is innocent, it has not done a single wrong thing to you, but your so-called religions go on teaching you that the body is the enemy, torture it.
The extrovert journey was the journey of sadism. The introvert journey becomes the journey of masochism - you start torturing yourself. And there is a certain glee, a perverted joy in torturing oneself. If you go into history you will be surprised, you will not believe what man has been doing to himself.
People have been wounding their bodies and keeping those wounds unhealed - because the body is the enemy. There have been Christian sects, Hindu sects, Jain sects and many others, who have become very very cunning, clever, efficient in torturing their bodies. They have developed great methods of how to torture the body.
There was a Christian sect which was not only in favor of fasting, but of beating one's body, flogging one's body, and the greatest saint was the one who was most wounded by his own beating. People would come and count their wounds. Now what kind of people were these who were counting their wounds? They must have also been enjoying, a perverted joy.
In India there are Jain MUNIS who go on torturing their bodies. The Digambara Jain monks pull out their hair every year, and a great gathering happens when they pull out their hair. It is painful, and the people are joyous: "Great austerity is being done." The man is simply a perverted psychopath.
He needs electro-shocks; nothing less will do.
There is a certain kind of madness in which people start pulling their hair. And you know, if you are a husband your wife sometimes tries it when she is in a rage, mad. Women try it more because they have been taught not to hit their husbands. Then what to do? They want to hit and the husband cannot be hit. The scriptures say your husband is your god, and she knows it is all bullshit but the scriptures are the scriptures. She knows the husband perfectly well - that if he is a god, then who will the devil be? But it is not to be said; she has to touch his feet. When she writes love letters to the husband she has to sign 'your slave', and she knows who the slave is! Everybody knows in fact, but it is a formality. And if she hits the husband guilt arises that she has done something irreligious, something like a sin, so she cannot hit the husband. But she WANTS to hit! Now what to do? Either she breaks plates - and that is costly, and she herself suffers that way, that is not of any use - or the easiest way, the cheapest way, economical, is to beat oneself, pull one's hair, throw oneself against the wall, hit the head against the wall; this is the cheapest. She wanted to hit the husband's head but she could not do it, it is not allowed; it is immoral. Who has taught her this idea? - the husbands and their priests and their politicians.
If you go into a madhouse you will find many people pulling their hair. There is a certain kind of madness in which people pull their hair.
Now a Jain monk pulling his hair is really pathological, but people gather together to celebrate the occasion - "Something great is happening! Look! What a great saint!" And because I call these people pathological, they are against me. That's simple, very simple; they have to be against me.
In Christian sects... In Russia there was a sect whose members used to cut their genital organs, and great gatherings would collect. There were certain days when people would do that; it was a frenzy. One person would cut his genital organs and throw them, and there was blood flowing all over the place. Then a frenzy would take over other people who had only come just to see: then somebody else would jump in and he would do it. And by the time the festival was over there would be a pile of genital organs. And these were great saints.
Now women were at a loss: they would start cutting their breasts, because how could they be defeated? They started cutting their breasts.
All kinds of stupidities became possible because of a simple error, and the error is: in life you try to make life difficult for others; when you start turning in, there is a possibility that the old mind will try to make your life difficult. Remember, the inner seeker has to be comfortable, because only in a comfortable situation, in a relaxed state can something happen. When you are tense, uncomfortable, nothing is possible. When you are tense, uncomfortable, your mind is worried, you are not in a still space. When you are hungry how can you be in a still space? And people have been teaching fasting, and they say fasting will help you to meditate.
Once in a while fasting may help you to have better health - it will take a few pounds away from your body, unnecessary pounds - but fasting cannot help meditation. When you are fasting you will constantly think of food.
I have heard...
A married couple went to the parish priest for marital counselling. In the course of the conversation which was serious at first, the priest commented on the number of good-looking girls in the parish.
"Father," said the husband, "you surprise me."
"Why?" he asked, "just because I am on a diet does not mean I can't look at the menu."
Those people who are repressing their sex will be constantly looking at the menu, and those people who are repressing their hunger will be constantly thinking of food. It's natural! How can you meditate? When you are fasting, menus upon menus will float in your mind, will come from everywhere - beautiful dishes. With all the smell of food, and the aroma, for the first time you will start feeling that your nose is alive, and for the first time you will feel that your tongue is alive. It is good to fast once in a while so that you can gather interest in food again, but it is not good for meditation. It is good to make your body a little more sensitive so you can taste again. Fast should be in the service of feast! It is good once in a while not to eat so that the appetite comes back.
Healthwise it is good, but meditation has nothing to do with it. It will be more difficult to meditate when you are hungry than when you are fully satisfied. Yes, eating too much will again create trouble, because when you have eaten too much you will feel sleepy. When you have not eaten at all you will feel hungry.
To be in the middle is the right way: the Golden Mean.
Eat so that you don't feel hungry, but don't eat too much so that you feel overloaded, sleepy - and meditation will be easier. The Golden Mean has to be followed in ALL ways, in all kinds of situations.
Be comfortable, be relaxed. There is no need to torture yourself, there is no need to create unnecessary troubles. Drop that mind of anger, violence, aggression, and then only call you move inwards - because only in a relaxed consciousness does one start floating deeper and deeper inside. In utter relaxation one reaches to one's innermost core.
WHEN ONE BEGINS TO CARRY OUT ONE'S DECISION, CARE MUST BE TAKEN SO THAT EVERYTHING CAN PROCEED IN A COMFORTABLE, RELAXED MANNER. TOO MUCH MUST NOT BE DEMANDED OF THE HEART.
And don't demand too much, because if you demand too much you will become tense, anxiety will arise. In fact, don't demand at all. Just wait. Just put the seed in the heart and start working; wait for the spring.
TOO MUCH MUST NOT BE DEMANDED OF THE HEART.
And people start demanding too much: they want immediate SATORIS, SAMADHIS. They want immediate NIRVANA.
Sometimes it happens - foolish people come to me and they say, "We have been meditating for seven days and nothing has happened yet." Seven days? And for seventy million lives they have been doing everything against meditation! And in seven days... as if they have obliged God, or me.
They come with a complaint: "Nothing has happened. Seven days have passed only three days are left of the camp, and we are not yet enlightened!"
Don't demand too much, don't be too greedy. Be a little more understanding. Everything takes time.
ONE MUST BE CAREFUL THAT QUITE AUTOMATICALLY HEART AND ENERGY ARE COORDINATED.
Remember that you need not be worried about the result: it is always according to your need and according to your worth. Whatsoever you are ready for is going to happen. If it is not happening that simply shows you are not ready for it. Get ready. Demanding it will not help. Just remember that you are not yet worthy, so cleanse your heart more, concentrate more, meditate more, become more silent, be relaxed, become more and more attuned with the inner. And wait. Because when the heart and energy are coordinated, the result automatically follows. If you have sown the seeds you need not dig the ground every day and look at the seeds to see what is happening. Otherwise you will destroy the seeds; nothing will ever happen. You just wait; for months nothing happens. And you have to water and you have to put manure and you have to go on caring - nothing happens for months. Then one day suddenly, one early morning, the miracle... the seeds have sprouted. Just two small leaves have come out, the miracle has happened. That which was invisible has become visible.
This is the greatest miracle in the world: a seed becoming a sprout. Now dance!
But it always happens in its own time.
ONLY THEN CAN A STATE OF QUIETNESS BE ATTAINED. DURING THIS QUIET STATE, THE RIGHT CONDITIONS AND THE RIGHT SPACE MUST BE PROVIDED.
Naturally. If you are preparing a rose garden you have to change the whole soil. Stones have to be removed, old roots have to be removed, weeds have to be removed. You have to create a right condition and a right space, protected. You have to make a fence around it. When you are going to cultivate roses all these preparations will be needed. Meditation is a rose, the greatest rose, the rose of human consciousness. That's why this book is called THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER... a golden rose.
What are the right conditions? And what is the right space?
ONE MUST NOT SIT DOWN (TO MEDITATE) IN THE MIDST OF FRIVOLOUS AFFAIRS.
You should find a place which enhances meditation. For example, sitting under a tree will help, rather than going and sitting in front of a movie house or going to the railway station and sitting on the platform; going to nature, to the mountains, to the trees, to the rivers where Tao is still flowing, vibrating, pulsating, streaming all around. Trees are in constant meditation. Silent, unconscious, is that meditation. I'm not saying to become a tree; you have to become a buddha! But Buddha has one thing in common with the tree: he's as green as a tree, as full of juice as a tree, as celebrating as a tree, of course with a difference - he is conscious, and the tree is unconscious. The tree is unconsciously in Tao, a Buddha is consciously in Tao. And that is a great difference, the difference between the earth and the sky.
But if you sit by the side of a tree surrounded by beautiful birds singing, or a peacock dancing, or just a river flowing, and the sound of the running water, or by the side of a waterfall, and the great music of it...
Find a place where nature has not yet been disturbed, polluted. If you cannot find such a place then just close your doors and sit in your own room. If it is possible have a special room for meditation in your house. Just a small corner will do, but especially for meditation. Why especially? - because every kind of act creates its own vibration. If you simply meditate in that place, that place becomes meditative. Every day you meditate it absorbs your vibrations when you are in meditation. Next day when you come, those vibrations start falling back on you. They help, they reciprocate, they respond.
That's the idea behind temples and churches and mosques; the idea is beautiful. The idea is that it may not be possible for everybody to have a special room for prayer or meditation, but we can have a special place for the whole village - a temple surrounded by trees on the bank of a river where crowds don't gather, where mundane affairs are not done. When one wants to meditate one can go to the temple. And everybody knows that he is in the temple, he is not to be disturbed.
A sacred place is nothing but a right space for meditation and right conditions. If you are feeling very angry, that is not the time to meditate: it will be going against the flow. If you are feeling very greedy this is not the time to meditate, you will not find it easy. But there are moments when you are easily available to meditation: the sun is rising and you have seen the sun rising, and suddenly all is silent within you, you are not yet part of the marketplace - this is the moment to meditate. You have been feeling good, healthy, you have not been fighting with anybody today - this is the time to meditate. A friend has come and you are full of love - this is the time to meditate. You are with your woman and you both are feeling tremendously happy - sit together and meditate, and you will find the greatest joy of your life happening if you can meditate with your beloved, with your friend.
Find the right conditions, and they are always available. There is not a single man who cannot find right conditions. In twenty-four hours' time many moments come which can be transformed into meditation very easily, because in those moments you are naturally going inwards. The night is full of stars: lie down on the ground, look at the stars, feel in tune, and then meditate. Sometimes it is good to go for a holiday into the mountains - but don't take your radio with you, otherwise you are taking the whole nonsense with you. And when you go to the mountains don't give your address and your phone number to anybody, otherwise there is no need to go anywhere. When you go to the mountains forget all about the world for a few days. That is the meaning of a holiday: it has to be holy, only then is it a holiday. If it is not holy, if it is not in tune with the sacred, it is not a holiday.
People carry their world with them.
Once I went to the Himalayas with a few friends, and then I had to ask them to leave me because they had brought their transistor sets and their newspapers and magazines, and the novels that they were reading. And they were constantly talking, talking about things that they had always been talking about. So I told them, "Why have you come to the Himalayas? You were saying these things at your home perfectly well, and again you are talking the same things, the same gossipping, the same rumors."
And whenever they would go with me to some beautiful spot they would take their cameras, they would take pictures. I told them, "You have come here to see. You have not brought your camera to see the Himalayas!"
But they said, "We shall make beautiful albums, and later on we will see what beautiful places we had visited." And right there they were not there, they were just clicking their cameras. This stupidity has to be left behind.
And it is good once in a while to go to the mountains. And I am not saying to start living there; that is not good, because then you become addicted to the mountains and you become afraid of coming back to the world. The holiday has to be just a holiday:
then come back into the world and bring all the peace and the silence and the experience of the sacred with you. Bring it with you, make an effort so that it remains with you in the marketplace.
These suggestions are for the beginners. When a person has really become a meditator, he can meditate sitting before a picture house, he can meditate on the railway platform.
For fifteen years I was continuously travelling around the country, continuously travelling - day in, day out, day in, day out, year in, year out - always on the train, on the plane, in the car. That makes no difference. Once you have become really ROOTED in your being, nothing makes a difference.
But this is not for the beginner.
When the tree has become rooted, let winds come and let rains come and let clouds thunder; it is all good. It gives integrity to the tree. But when the tree is small, tender, then even a small child is dangerous enough or just a cow passing by - such a holy animal - but that is enough to destroy it.
When you are beginning, remember, Lu-tsu's suggestions are of immense importance.
THAT IS TO SAY, THE MIND MUST BE FREE OF VAIN PREOCCUPATIONS. ALL ENTANGLEMENTS MUST BE PUT ASIDE. ONE MUST BE DETACHED AND INDEPENDENT.
When you are trying to meditate, put the phone off the hook, disengage yourself. Put a notice on the door that for one hour nobody should knock, that you are meditating. And when you move into the meditation room take your shoes off, because you are walking on sacred ground. And not only take your shoes off, but everything that you are preoccupied with. Consciously leave everything with the shoes. Go inside unoccupied. One can take one hour out of twenty-four hours. Give twenty-three hours for your occupations, desires, thoughts, ambitions, projections. Take one hour out of all this, and in the end you will find that only that one hour has been the real hour of your life; those twenty- three hours have been a sheer wastage. Only that one hour has been saved and all else has gone down the drain.
NOR MUST THE THOUGHT BE CONCENTRATED UPON THE RIGHT PROCEDURE.
And the second thing to be remembered: don't become too preoccupied with the right procedure, otherwise that becomes a preoccupation - that one should sit in a certain posture. If you can sit, good, but if it becomes an unnecessary preoccupation, drop it. For example, if you cannot sit in a full lotus posture - which is difficult for people who have been sitting for their whole lives on chairs; it is difficult because their musculature has developed in a certain way - then your Legs will not feel good. They will go to sleep or they will start creating trouble for you. They will constantly hanker for attention, so there is no need to force a lotus posture. A lotus posture, if easy, is good. Otherwise any posture is a lotus posture.
If you cannot sit on the ground, if it is difficult, sit on the chair. Meditation is not afraid of chairs; it can happen anywhere.
Just the other day Renu had asked one question: "Can enlightenment happen on a rocking horse?"
It can happen. It can even happen to the rocking horse! You need not be worried about it.
So, Lu-tsu says: NOR MUST THE THOUGHT BE CONCENTRATED UPON THE RIGHT PROCEDURE.
Just take a little care, that's all, but don't become too worried about it - whether the spine is absolutely erect or not, whether your head is in line with the spine or not, whether your eyes are exactly as Lu-tsu wants them. Now you have a different kind of eyes than Lu-tsu; you know the Chinese and their eyes. In fact they always seem to look at the tip of the nose. Their eyes are only half-open. When I give sannyas to a Chinese, then I have much difficulty looking into their eyes.
You have different kinds of eyes. Everybody has different kinds of eyes and different kinds of noses, so don't become too occupied with these minor things. They are just indications. Understand them, absorb them, and go on your way. Find out your own way. The basic note to be remembered is: you have to be comfortable and relaxed.
THIS DANGER ARISES IF TOO MUCH TROUBLE IS TAKEN. I DO NOT MEAN THAT NO TROUBLE IS TO BE TAKEN, BUT THE CORRECT WAY LIES IN KEEPING EQUAL DISTANCE BETWEEN BEING AND NOT BEING.
One has to be exactly in the middle. People either become too active or become too inactive. If they become too active, anxiety is created, a kind of rush, hurry, speed, restlessness; if they become too inactive, sleep, a kind of lethargy, indolence. Be in the middle. This being in the middle is a criterion to be used always. Don't eat too much, don't starve too much. Don't sleep too much, don't sleep less than needed. Remember always to be in the middle. Excess is prohibited. All kinds of extremes have to be dropped, because only in the middle is there a relaxed state of mind.
IF ONE CAN ATTAIN PURPOSELESSNESS THROUGH PURPOSE, THEN THE THING HAS BEEN GRASPED.
If one can attain this kind of balance, between effort and effortlessness, between purpose and purposelessness, between being and no-being, between mind and no-mind, between action and no-action...
... IF ONE CAN ATTAIN PURPOSELESSNESS THROUGH PURPOSE effortlessness through effort, inactivity through action - THEN THE THING HAS BEEN GRASPED. NOW ONE CAN LET ONESELF GO, DETACHED AND WITHOUT CONFUSION, IN AN INDEPENDENT WAY.
This is the basic: then one can allow oneself to flow with the flow of things. One can let oneself go.
FURTHERMORE, ONE MUST NOT FALL VICTIM TO THE ENSNARING WORLD. THE ENSNARING WORLD IS WHERE THE FIVE KINDS OF DARK DEMONS DISPORT THEMSELVES. THIS IS THE CASE, FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN AFTER FIXATION ONE HAS CHIEFLY THOUGHTS OF DRY WOOD AND DEAD ASHES AND FEW THOUGHTS OF THE BRIGHT SPRING ON THE GREAT EARTH.
Remember, the greatest problem for a religious person is not to be too serious; the greatest problem for the religious person is not to be sad; the greatest problem for the religious person is not to be negative, because ordinarily that happens - religious persons become very sad, very serious, very life-negative. They forget all about spring, they only think of dry wood and dead ashes. They have lost balance. A few thoughts of the bright spring on the great earth have to be remembered.
The really religious person is one who knows the sense of humor. The really religious person is sincere but never serious, utterly devoted to his work but never with that attitude of 'holier-than- thou', NEVER; never feeling any superiority because of it, but humble. The really religious person is one who can dance with the wind and the rains, who can smile and giggle with children, who can feel at ease with all kinds of situations in life. That is freedom, that is freedom from the ego. Ego makes one serious.
IN THIS WAY ONE SINKS INTO THE WORLD OF THE DARK.
If you become too serious you will sink into the world of the dark, into the negative world.
THE ENERGY IS COLD THERE, BREATHING IS ROUGH, AND MANY IMAGES OF COLDNESS AND DECAY PRESENT THEMSELVES.
Remember, you are not to become cold. You will find your so-called saints very cold: they have misunderstood the whole point. Become cool, but never become cold - and there is a lot of difference between the two, and a very deep paradox is there. I call it 'cool': compared to the heated state of passion, it is cool; it is warm compared to the coldness of death. It is warm compared to the coldness of death and it is cool compared to the passionate lust for life. It is warm and cool both. A really religious person is cool because he has no lust, and he is warm because he is not sad, he is not serious.
IF ONE TARRIES THERE LONG, ONE ENTERS THE WORLD OF PLANTS AND STONES.
And if you become too cold, sooner or later you will become a rock, you will become unconscious.
You will fall from humanity. Many of your saints, in my observation, are people who have fallen from humanity. They have not become superhuman, they have become sub-human. They belong to the worlds of rocks and stones.
NOR MUST A MAN BE LED ASTRAY BY THE TEN THOUSAND ENSNAREMENTS. THIS HAPPENS IF AFTER THE QUIET STATE HAS BEGUN, ONE AFTER ANOTHER ALL SORTS OF TIES SUDDENLY APPEAR. ONE WANTS TO BREAK THROUGH AND CANNOT. ONE FOLLOWS THEM AND FEELS AS IF RELIEVED BY THIS.
This is where psychoanalysis has gone wrong. Psychoanalysis has become the method of free association of thoughts. You can go on and on. One thought leads to another, ad infinitum. One should remain detached from the procession of thoughts. They will come, they will surround you from everywhere. They will be like clouds; even the little bit of sky will be lost. And when there are too many thoughts, the natural instinct is to fight with them, because you have read that meditation means thoughtlessness. But by fighting one never become. thoughtless. If you fight, you will be defeated. The very fight becomes the cause for your defeat. You cannot fight with shadows, otherwise you will be defeated. Try fighting with your own shadow and you will be defeated - not that the shadow is very powerful, but because the shadow is NOT. And fighting with something which is not, how can you win? Thoughts are shadows, don't fight with them.
And if you don't fight then the other alternative opals up - that's what psychoanalysis has chosen:
then move with them, then let them move wherever they move - free association of thoughts. Then one thought is tied with another and with another and with another, and it goes on and on ad infinitum, ad nauseam. This will feel like a kind of relaxation. That's why out of psychoanalysis PEOPLE feel helped, saved. They are not saved, they are not helped; just the fight disappears.
Because you fight you become tense. When you don't fight the tension disappears - and that disappearance of the tension gives you the feeling as if you are saved.
Mulla Nasruddin uses very tight shoes, two sizes less than he needs. The whole day he complains, and the whole day he is angry with the shoes.
I asked him one day, "Why don't you change these shoes? Why do you go on complaining? Who is forcing you to wear these shoes? You can purchase another pair."
He said, "That I cannot do! Never!"
I said, "Why?"
"Because," he said, "this is my only solace. When after the whole day's struggle with the shoes I come home and throw these shoes away and lie down on my bed, it feels so good!"
It will feel good. When you fight with your thoughts and you cannot win, then you drop fighting and you allow the thoughts to move and you start moving with them, it feels good. That's what the whole secret of psychoanalysis is. Psychoanalysis does not help at all: it simply makes you feel good because it helps you to drop fighting.
Lu-tsu says, "Both are not right. There is no need to fight, there is no need to allow the thoughts and become a follower of them. You remain a watcher, a witness."
THIS MEANS THE MASTER HAS BECOME THE SERVANT.
If you follow the thoughts, the master has become the servant.
IF A MAN TARRIES IN THIS STAGE LONG, HE ENTERS THE WORLD OF ILLUSORY DESIRES.
The master has to be claimed back. You have to be the master, not the servant. And what is mastery? - to be a witness is to be a master. Just watch those thoughts; utterly calm and quiet, watch. Let them come, let them go, let them arise, let them disappear. You simply take note - the thought is arising, the thought is there, the thought is gone - and soon you will come to a point where they arise less and less and less; and then one day, the gap... all thoughts have disappeared.
In that gap, the first experience of God.
AT BEST ONE FINDS ONESELF IN HEAVEN, AT THE WORST, AMONG THE FOX-SPIRITS.
SUCH A FOX-SPIRIT, IT IS TRUE, MAY BE ABLE TO ROAM IN THE FAMOUS MOUNTAINS, ENJOYING THE WIND AND THE MOON, THE FLOWERS AND FRUITS, AND TAKING HIS PLEASURE IN CORAL TREES AND JEWELLED GRASS. BUT AFTER HAVING DONE THIS, HIS REWARD IS OVER AND HE IS BORN AGAIN INTO THE WORLD OF TURMOIL.
If you succeed in meditation you are born in heaven, in eternal bliss. If you don't succeed, if you go astray... That going astray in Taoism is called: "At worst, one is born among the fox-spirits."
A fox-spirit is the spirit of a poet. The fox-spirit is the spirit of imagination. Even if you fail in your meditations something will be gained. This will be your gain: you will enjoy the trees more and the flowers more, and the world and the beauty more. But sooner or later the energy that had been created by meditation will disappear and you will have to fall back again to the old turmoil.
Remember, if you succeed in meditation the joy is eternally yours. But even if you fail you will find a few moments of beautiful joy and poetry. Those who fail in meditation become poets, those who succeed become seers. Seers are poets of the eternal, poets are the poets of the momentary.
That's why sometimes it happens: a little bit of meditation and you feel so good that you stop meditating. You think all is attained. Trees are greener, roses are rosier, love is going beautifully, things have started happening - why bother? But soon the energy that had been created will disappear: you have become a fox-spirit. That's what is happening through drugs all over the world:
drugs only create fox-spirits. But meditation, if not completed, can also do the same.
Once the decision has been taken, then it is a commitment: YOU HAVE to go to the very end of it. It is a challenge. Accept this challenge and go for this most beautiful journey of your inner search. And never stop in the middle anywhere unless you have arrived, unless you have arrived to the center of the cyclone.