The first question:
Sadananda, love is therapy, and there is no other therapy in the world except love. It is always love that heals, because love makes you whole. Love makes you feel welcome in the world. Love makes you a part of existence; it destroys alienation. Then you are no more an outsider here, but utterly needed. Love makes you feel needed, and to be needed is the greatest need. Nothing else can fulfill that great need. Unless you feel that you are contributing something to existence, unless you feel that without you the existence would be a little less, that you would be missed, that you are irreplaceable, you will not feel healthy and whole.
And prayer is the highest form of love. If love is the flower, then prayer is the fragrance. Love is visible, prayer is invisible. Love is between one person and another person, prayer is between one impersonal presence and the impersonal presence of the whole. Love is limited, prayer is unlimited.
If you can pray, no other therapy is needed.
Therapies are needed in the world because prayer has disappeared. Man was never in need of therapy when prayer was alive, flowing, when people were dancing in great gratitude, singing songs in praise of God, were ecstatic just for being, for being here, were grateful just for life. When tears were flowing from their eyes - of love, of joy - and when there were songs in their hearts, there was no need for therapy.
Therapy is a modern need, a poor substitute for prayer. Psychoanalysis is a poor substitute for religion, very poor. But when you cannot get the best, then you settle for second-best or the third- best, or whatsoever is available. Because temples have become rotten, churches have become political, religion has been contaminated by the priests, man is left alone, uncared for, with nobody to support him. The very ground on which he has been standing for centuries has disappeared. He is falling in an abyss, feeling uprooted. Psychoanalysis comes as a substitute: it gives you a little bit of rooting, it gives you a little bit of ground to hold onto, but it is nothing compared to prayer.
Because the psychoanalyst himself is in need, he himself is as ill as the patient, there is not much difference between the psychoanalyst and the patient. If there is any difference, that difference is of knowledge - and that makes no difference at all. It is not a difference of being. If there is any difference it is quantitative, it is not that of quality, and quantity does not make much difference. The psychoanalyst and his patient are both in the same boat.
In the o]d days there was a different kind of person moving in the world, the religious person - the Buddha, the Christ. His very presence was healing. Because he was healed and whole, his wholeness was contagious. Just as diseases are contagious, so is health. Just as illnesses can be caught from others, so can you catch something of the healing energy from the other. But for that, the psychoanalyst will not be of much help. He may help a little bit to solve your problems intellectually. He may find out the causes of your problems - and when you know the cause you feel a little better, you are not in ignorance - but just by knowing the cause nothing is helped. You are suffering: the psychoanalyst will show that you are suffering because of your mother, because of your upbringing, because of your childhood. It makes you feel a little good: so it is not you who is the cause, it is the mother. Or, there is always something else you can put blame on. Psychoanalysis shifts the responsibility, makes you feel a little weightless, unburdened, but the problem is not solved.
Just by knowing the cause, the cause does not disappear.
Religion has a totally different orientation: it does not shift the blame on others. In fact, it makes you feel responsible for the first time in your life. Hence, psychoanalysis is a kind of bribery; it is a kind of lubricant. It is a kind of help in your ego; strengthening your ego, throwing the blame on others.
It is a very dangerous game because once you start throwing the blame on others you will never be transformed, because you will never feel responsible. This is one of the greatest calamities that has happened to this age.
Marx says that it is the society that is responsible for all the ills that you are suffering. You are not responsible: it is the class-divided society, it is the economic structure. Freud says it is not the economic structure but the conditioning that has been given to you by the parents, by the society, by education, by the priest, by the church. It is the conditioning: that's why you are suffering; you are not responsible.
This is the old game. In the past it was called the 'game of fate': fate is responsible, you are not responsible. This is the same game played with new names and new labels, but the trick is that you are not responsible. Of course, one feels a little bit happier, but nothing changes. Sooner or later that happiness disappears because the cause remains where it was, the wound remains. How does it matter who has wounded you? Just by knowing that your mother has wounded you - or your father or the society or the church - how does it matter? The wound is there, full of pus, growing, becoming bigger every day. You can feel a Little bit good for the moment, unburdened: so you are not responsible, you are just a victim. You can sympathize with yourself. You can feel pity for yourself and you can feel anger for others, for those who have created the wound, but this is not a way of transformation: the wound is there and the wound will continue to grow. The wound does not bother about what you think about it; your thinking makes no difference to the wound.
Religion is a totally different approach: it makes you feel responsible. It is against your ego. It says, "It is you! It is your responsibility to have chosen a certain pattern of life. All patterns were available, no pattern has been imposed on you." Buddha was born in the same society in which others suffered, suffered hell, and he attained here-and-now the ultimate state of bliss, so society cannot be responsible. Christ was born in the same society in which Judas was born, in which everybody else was born, but he attained to God.
Religion makes you feel responsible AND free. Freedom and responsibility are two aspects of the same coin. If you are not ready to feel responsible, you will never be free. You will remain in bondage, in the bondage of others.
Psychoanalysis makes you feel in bondage; it can't really help. Prayer makes you free. Prayer means religion. Prayer means: you are responsible, you have chosen a certain way of life. Now there is no need to make much fuss about it. If you don't like it, drop it! It is up to you, it is ABSOLUTELY up to you. And you can drop it in a single moment of awareness. That's what SATORI is, SAMADHI is: dropping the whole nonsense in a single moment of understanding. Seeing the point that "I am carrying it, and if I don't want, there is no need to carry it; nobody can force it on me - no fate, no society, no church", it can be dropped. Your inner essence remains free of your personality. Personality is just like clothing: you can drop it, you can be naked any moment.
Your essence can be naked any moment. And when the essence is naked, you are healed - because the essence knows no illness. The essence is always in the state of health, in the state of wholeness.
Prayer is the ultimate way of dropping all personalities - Christian, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Indian, German, English. Prayer is the way to put aside the whole paraphernalia of personality and just to be, pure, innocent. In that purity and innocence one starts bowing down. You may not believe in God; there is no need to believe in God. A believer is not a religious person either. But when you are utterly nude in your essence, when you have dropped all clothing - you have dropped all that has been given to you, you have disconnected yourself from the learned, from all that you have learned, the taught, the cultivated - suddenly you are in your pristine clarity, as you were before your birth.
Your original face is there. It is as fresh as dewdrops in the early morning, as shiny as the stars in the night, with all the grandeur of the flowers and the trees, and with all the simplicity and innocence of children, animals, birds. In that moment you feel so joyous. Out of joy you bow down - not to a God, remember; there is no need to believe in a God. You simply bow down out of gratitude. There is no object in your bowing: you simply bow down because... to see such infinite joy showering on you for no reason at all... and you are not worthy! You don't deserve it! You have never earned it!
How can you remain without giving a heartful thank-you to existence? Your head bows down, you surrender. You lie down on the earth in utter silence, your heart throbbing, pulsating with ecstasy.
Your breathing has a different rhythm to it, a different melody to it. Your whole energy is dancing, streaming. You have fallen in harmony with existence. This is what I call prayer - not that which is going on in the churches and the temples: that is parrot-like, it is formal. It has nothing to do with real prayer. And this prayer heals, this prayer is real therapy.
Sadananda, you are right. This question arising in you is of tremendous significance: whether you have been healed by therapy or by prayer?
You have been healed by prayer. Therapy has not helped anybody. At the most, therapy can make you adjusted to the society. Prayer helps you to fall in tune with existence itself. Society is man-made, its values are man-made, hence they are different everywhere. In India there are different values, in the West there are different values. Something that is perfectly okay in the West is absolutely wrong in the East, and vice versa. These values are man-created.
You live in a society; you have to adjust to the society. Psychotherapy is in the service of the society you live in. When you start going out of the society, you start becoming a little rebellious, the society pounces on you and declares you ill. This is an ancient trick, one of the most dangerous tricks that the society has played on you: whenever you are not falling in line with the society, the society starts condemning you. In the past it used to call you 'sinners', and then it prepared hells for you.
Now, that language is out of date: it calls you 'sick', 'mentally sick', 'a mental case' That is a new condemnation.
In Soviet Russia, whenever somebody differs from communism, has his own ideas about life, existence, society, he is immediately declared a psychopath, a mental case. Once he is declared a mental case, now society is able to manipulate him. You can give him electric shocks, insulin shocks, drugs. You can force him to live in a mental asylum. And all that he has done is: he has done a little bit of thinking. His sin is that he was not obedient to the established order of the society; he was disobedient. Unless the society forces him back, gives him a mind-wash, forces him to fall in line, he will be kept in a hospital and will be treated as an ill man. This is very humiliating, degrading, dehumanizing, but that's what has been done all over the world, more or less.
Whenever a person is different from you, wants to live a different life, wants to be free from the bondage you have created in the name of the society, you declare him mad. Jesus was declared neurotic, Mansoor was declared mad, Socrates was declared dangerous to the youth of the society:
"Kill them now!" Now the society can kill them without any prick of conscience. In fact, the society is doing the right thing: first condemn somebody, put a label on him; if you kill somebody without putting a label on him, you will feel guilty; to avoid guilt declare him mad, and then it is so easy to kill, so easy to destroy. Now we have the technology too - to destroy the mind, to give the mind a complete brainwash, and to force the man to say yes to the established order, whatsoever it is:
communist, capitalist, fascist.
Therapy, the so-called therapy, is in the service of the established society. It is in the service of death, of the past.
Prayer serves nobody. Prayer is freedom. Prayer is a way to commune with the whole, and to commune with the whole is to be holy.
You say, "While in therapy myself, I spent much time praying. Over the years I felt better. I never knew whether it was the therapy or the prayer."
It was CERTAINLY prayer.
"As a therapist I want to urge others to pray but feel embarrassed."
I can understand, Sadananda. Prayer has become a dirty word. To talk about prayer is embarrassing. To talk about God is embarrassing: people think that you are a little bit eccentric, crazy or something, but don't be afraid. Drop this embarrassment, gather courage. Talk about prayer - not only talk about prayer, fall into prayer when the patient is with you. Let the patient feel the climate of prayer.
Once Jesus' disciples asked him, "What is prayer?" He simply knelt down, started praying, with tears coming from his eyes. His eyes raised towards heaven, and he started talking to his Father - which is just a symbol. He started calling, 'Abba'. He created the climate: that is the only way to show what prayer is, there is no other way.
If somebody asks, "What is love?", be loving. Hug him, hold his hand, let your love flow towards him.
That is the only way to say what love is. This is the only way to define the indefinable.
Fall in prayer while you are helping your patient. Just kneel down. The first time the patient may feel strange, a little weird - "What is happening?" - because he has come with a certain idea that he would have to lie down on the Freudian couch and he would talk all kinds of nonsense, and the psychoanalyst would listen very attentively, as if he is delivering a gospel or a revelation. He has come with certain expectations; he will not be able to believe what is happening. But if prayer is there it is bound to have effects: it is such a potential force. Whenever there is one person praying, he creates a vibe of prayer around himself. And patients particularly are very sensitive people - that's why they have become patients. Remember it! They are more intelligent than the common lot, hence they are ill! The common lot is so insensitive, so dull, so thick-skinned. It goes on carrying all kinds of nonsenses without being disturbed by them. It goes on living this so-called, meaningless life without ever becoming aware of its meaninglessness, its utter stupidity and absurdity. Remember always that the patient is a person who is more sensitive than the common lot, more alert, has more heart to feel. Hence he finds it difficult to adjust to the society.
The society exists for the lowest because it exists for the mass, the mob, the crowd. The society is a herd-phenomenon. Whenever there is somebody who is a little more intelligent, has a slightly higher I.Q., has some more potential for love and for poetry, he will feel a little maladjusted. He will not feel at home. Seeing the beggar on the street, he will suffer; seeing all kinds of exploitations going on, he will suffer; seeing the state of humanity and its degradation, he will suffer - and all this will become too much. He will start cracking underneath this burden.
Remember that the patient is more intelligent, more sensitive, more vulnerable. Hence he is a patient. If you create the climate of prayer around him, maybe the first time he will think you a little weird, but don't be worried. Everybody knows that psychoanalysts are a little weird.
I have heard....
"I got insomnia real bad," complained a psychotherapist to his physician.
"Insomnia," said the doctor, "is insomnia. How bad can it be? What do you mean, 'real bad insomnia'?"
"Well," said the psychotherapist. "I got it real bad. I can't even sleep when it is time to get up!"
Or this story:
A young doctor who was studying to be a psychoanalyst approached his professor and asked for a special appointment. When they were alone in the professor's office, the young man revealed that he had had a considerable amount of trouble with some of his patients. It seemed that in response to his questions. these patients offered replies which he could not quite understand.
"Well," said the older man, "suppose you ask me some of these questions."
"Why, certainly," agreed the young doctor. "The first one is, what is it that wears a skirt and from whose lips comes pleasure?"
"Why," said the professor, "that's easy. A Scotsman blowing a bagpipe."
"Right," said the young doctor. "Now the second question. What is it that has smooth curves and at unexpected moments becomes uncontrollable?"
The older doctor thought for a moment, and then said, "Aha! I don't think that's too difficult to answer.
It's a major league baseball pitcher."
"Right," said the young man. "Now, Professor, would you mind telling me what you think about two arms slipped around your shoulders?"
"A football tackle," replied the professor.
"Right again," said the young doctor. "But you would be surprised at the silly answers I keep getting."
So, Sadananda, don't be worried. You can pray, you can go into prayer. The first time, maybe the patient will think you a little eccentric. And in orange, and with the mala - you are eccentric! Don't be worried! You are allowed to do anything once you are a sannyasin. This is a certificate.
But if you can create a climate of prayer, soon you will find the patient participating with you. He may feel, for the first time, something of the unknown and the beyond. And if he can again feel something of the unknown, his life will start having meaning, significance. If he can have a little contact with the transcendental, just a little contact, his life will never be the same again. Just a little opening into the beyond, a little window, and the light coming in and the sky and the clouds and the stars - just a little window and you have transformed his whole being.
Use your therapy too; but the real help will come from prayer. Use therapy as a stepping-stone to prayer.
The second question:
Madhuri, die! because to die in love is to be reborn. It is not death, it is the beginning of true life. To die without love is death. To live without love is death. To be in love is to know something of God, because as Jesus says, "God is love." I have even improved upon it: I say love is God.
Die, Madhuri, die. Utterly. Abandon yourself. Be lost.
There is no need to protect yourself against love, because love is not the enemy. Love is the only friend. Don't protect yourself. Don't hide from love. Don't be afraid of love. When love calls, go with it. Wherever it leads, go with it, go in trust.
Yes, there will be moments of agony, because they are always there when there are moments of ecstasy. They come together, it is one package; just like day and night, summer and winter, they come together. But when there is ecstasy of love, one is ready to pay - whatsoever agony it brings, one is happy to pay.
And remember, nothing is free. We have to pay for everything. The more you can pay, the more you will get. If you want to move to the higher peaks of the Himalayas, you take the risk of falling into the valleys. Those who cannot take the risk of falling into the deep abysses surrounding Himalayan peaks will never know the joy of rising higher and higher.
Love is the highest peak of consciousness, the Everest of consciousness, and sometimes one slips and falls. And naturally, when you are moving on a height, you fall very deep. It hurts. When you know light and you fall into deep darkness, it hurts. But once you have known those peaks, you are ready to go into any valleys for those peaks. A single moment of ecstasy is enough: one can suffer for it in hell for eternity, then too it is worth having.
Meditate on these words of Kahlil Gibran:
When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him, though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him, though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed: for love is sufficient unto love.
When love beckons to you, follow him, follow to the very end, follow to the point where you disappear completely. Become a moth. Yes, love is a flame... and the lover is a moth. Learn much from the moth: it has the secret, it knows how to die. And to know how to die in love, in ecstasy, dancing, is to know how to be reborn on a higher plane. And each time you die a higher plane is reached.
When you can die ultimately and utterly, not holding back even a little bit of yourself, then that very death takes you into God. That is resurrection.
The third question:
I cannot be. The purpose of my statements is totally different than that of ordinary statements. I am not telling the truth, because truth cannot be told.
Then what am I doing here?
If you take my statements as true or untrue, you will miss the whole point. I am using the statements to awaken you. They are neither true nor untrue. They are either useful or useless, but they have nothing to do with truth. They have a certain utility.
It is just as if you are fast asleep, and I start ringing a bell; there is nothing of truth or untruth in ringing the bell. To ask the question would be utterly irrelevant. But there is something useful in it: if it helps you wake up, it has been useful.
Buddha is reported to have said, "Truth is that which has utility." Truth is a device. It does not state anything about existence, it is just a device to provoke something which is fast asleep in you.
Now I cannot be consistent, because I have tO provoke so many people - different types of minds, different types of sleeps are there. I can ring a bell: it may help somebody tO wake up, to somebody else it may look like a lullaby and he may fall asleep even more deeply. To somebody it may be a provocation into awakenedness, to somebody else it may simply give a beautiful dream: that he is in a temple and bells are ringing, and he is enjoying, and the prayer is going on, and the incense is burning. He has created a dream, he has not come out of his sleep. He will need something else - maybe a hit on the head, or cold water thrown on him, or a good shaking. Different people need different approaches to be provoked, to be awakened.
My statements are not about truth. I am not a philosopher! I am not trying to give you any philosophy.
I'm just trying all possible ways to wake you up. If one way fails, I try another - but I cannot leave you alone. So one day I will say one thing, another day I may say another thing. You miss the point if you don't understand the purpose of my statements.
Just the other day I had answered Habib's two questions about Carl Gustav Jung. He missed the whole point. I felt sorry for Habib: he missed the whole thing, he felt offended. And he could not even wait and meditate for a few hours: I finished at () :45 and he wrote a letter at 9:55. He could not wait a single minute to meditate over it. He thought I am against Jung.
Why should I be against Jung? - he has not done anything wrong to me.
But poor Habib; he missed the point. He thinks I am against Jung, so he has to defend Jung. He wrote in the letter that he would like to have a public or private discussion with me, debate.
Now you cannot discuss with a madman! It will be utterly useless, Habib. It will be pointless, it will drive you crazy.
I have heard...
Once it happened, an Egyptian king went mad. He was a great chess player. All medicines were tried, all physicians worked on him, but nothing, no help. And he was drowning and drowning in madness.
Then one fakir came, a Sufi mystic, and he said, "Wait! If you can bring a great chess player, it will be of great help. He has to play chess with this mad king."
Now who would like to play chess with a madman? But the king was ready to offer as much money as was asked for. A chess player was ready; so much money! And the mystic was right: after one year the king was perfectly sane. But the chess player went mad.
So if you have a discussion with me, beware, you will go mad! - because I am not a consistent man.
I am not logical either, I am absurd.
And Habib missed the point. If he was a Freudian I would have attacked Freud, if he was a Marxist I would have attacked Marx, and if he was a Rajneeshian, I would have attacked Rajneesh! It is not a question of Jung! Jung comes nowhere into it. The attack is on Habib's ego! Because the ego is Jungian, so poor Jung has to be attacked Now tomorrow somebody comes and he is a Freudian, and I will attack Freud. And I will say, "He is nothing compared to Jung - a pygmy!" And then naturally I become inconsistent, because you miss the whole point! I have nothing to do with Freud or Jung. Who cares? My effort is to provoke you, to show you the point. It is not that Habib is feeling offended because I have criticized Jung; he is feeling offended because his ego is hurt. If he can see it, then my statements were useful. If he cannot see it, then the arrow missed the point. Then I will have to use some other device.
I have to destroy your ego-structures. Hence, don't ask me again and again why my statements are not consistent. I have only one consistency: that is of being inconsistent. I am consistently inconsistent; that's the only consistency that I have. And I have infinite freedom; a consistent man cannot have infinite freedom. I can play, I can joke, I can enjoy shattering your egos, destroying your structures. I'm not serious about these things. I dare to play, to try first one thing, then another. My statements are like the actors on the stage: let them contradict each other; they are not there to tell the truth, but to provoke it, to discover it.
And I would like to tell you too: do not do anything merely for the sake of consistency. That is the shelter for fools and philosophers - which are the same people. Never do anything just for the sake of consistency. This is undesirable since it limits experimentation and exploration. Action so as to be consistent with the past develops into a programmatic addiction. It freezes you into stasis, halting the evolutionary march of becoming. You should retain all power over current behavior. None should be yielded to the past. Acting consistent with precedent is a form of death, and destroys all potential to grow into understanding.
Remember, what is consistency? It means my today has to be obedient to my yesterday - that is consistency. My present has to be obedient with my past - that is consistency. But then how am I going to grow? Then how am I going to move? If I remain consistent with the past, then there is no growth possible.
Growth means inconsistency. Your today has to go beyond your yesterday, has to be inconsistent with it, has to use it as a stepping-stone, has not to be confined by it. And your tomorrow has to go beyond your today. If you go on moving away from your past each day, you will be growing, you will be reaching higher peaks.
Consistent people are stupid people. Their life is stagnant. They stink of death. They are like corpses: they go on rotting, they don't live. Life is basically not a logical phenomenon but a dialectical phenomenon. Dialectics means thesis, antithesis. synthesis: your yesterday was a thesis, your today will be its antithesis and your tomorrow will be a synthesis. Again your tomorrow will create a thesis and the next day an antithesis. and then synthesis - and so on it goes. You go on in a dialectical way. Life is a dialectical process; it is not a linear, logical process. Life is a contradictory process.
That's why I cannot define myself - because today's definition won't be applicable tomorrow. I cannot define myself because it is like defining a cloud or an ocean or a growing tree or a child. I constantly change, because change is the very soul of life. Except change, nothing is eternal.
I am committed to change. Change is my God, because that is the only unchanging phenomenon in life. Hence I call it God. Everything else changes: life changes, death changes - only change remains. I worship change. I am in love with it. I cannot define myself once and forever. I have to define myself each moment of my life; and one never knows what each next moment is going to bring.
To be with me is to be in a constant flux, in a constant movement. Those who are not daring enough sooner or later have to drop out of this journey that I am taking you on. Those who are not courageous enough, who don't have guts to accept the unknown future and to remain available to the unknowable and the mysterious, and who are in a hurry to have a dogma, a belief system, a philosophy - so that they can stop growing, so that they can cling to the dogma, so that they can become fanatics about the dogma; those who are constantly in search of a certain orthodoxy in which nothing will ever change - these are the dead people, cowards. They can't become my people.
I'm bringing you a totally different kind of religion; it has never happened before in the world. All the religions in the world were believers in permanence; I believe in change. All the religions of the world were dogmatic; I am absolutely non-dogmatic, anti-dogmatic. All the religions of the world were reduced into philosophical statements. When I will be gone, I will leave you in such a mess - nobody will ever be able to reduce what I was saying, really. Nobody will be able to reduce it into a dogma You cannot pinpoint me. You cannot fix me. I am not a thing. I am a river, a cloud which is constantly changing its form. My idea of consistency is rooted in this continual change, this dynamic dance called life. Yes, to me God is a dancer, constant movement; that is the beauty of God. In fact I would not like to call God a dancer but dance itself - because even the word 'dancer' would be false: it gives an idea of a certain entity - just dance, just cloud.
There is an ancient Christian mystic treatise, THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING. No other book has such a beautiful title: 'The Cloud of Unknowing'. That is the definition of God: 'cloud' and 'of unknowing'.
You cannot make knowledge out of the experience of God. In fact, the more you experience God, the less and less you will know. The day God has happened to you totally, you will not be found there. The knower has gone, disappeared. The dewdrop has slipped into the ocean, or... the ocean has slipped into the dewdrop.
I am not burdened by my yesterday. It has already been changed by today. I live in the present because there is no other way to live. All other ways are ways of death.
So please, don't ask about consistency. You have to learn, you have to understand my inconsistency.
You have to understand my contradictions. The basic thing is that my statements are not saying ANYTHINg about truth. My statements are just provocations. I am urging you to discover, I am not delivering you the truth! Truth is not a thing to be given to you; it is not a commodity. It is untransferable. I am simply creating a desire and a longing, an intense longing in you to search and seek and explore. If I am very consistent, you will stop seeking. You will think, "What is the need?
Osho knows, I can believe in him." That's what Christianity has been doing, Buddhism has been doing, Jainism has been doing. "Buddha knows, so what is the need? We can believe. He is not deceiving. he cannot lie. He has stated the truth. What more truth are we going to discover? He has stated the truth; we can believe in it." You need not worry about your own exploration. And this is one of the most fundamental things about truth: that unless it is YOURS, it is not. My truth cannot be your truth; there is no way. My truth cannot be transferred to you.
Truth is absolutely individual. All the Buddhas have wanted to give it to you, I want it to be given to you, but there is no way. All that can be done is to provoke an inquiry in you, such a tremendous desire to know that you drop all your luggage, unnecessary luggage, and you start moving into the journey; that you gather courage to come out of your securities, conveniences, ideologies, philosophies, orthodoxies; that you gather courage to come out of your mind and to go into the unknown... the cloud of existence. One has to disappear into So I am not going to oblige you by giving you a dogma. No, I will go on contradicting myself each day, every moment. Slowly slowly you will see there is no point in clinging to any of my ideas. And in that very moment you will become aware: there is no need to cling to ANY IDEA WHATSOEVER - mine, Buddha's, Jesus', anybody's. All ideas have to be dropped.
And when there is no idea in your mind, you will find God there. When all philosophies have disappeared, then religion wells up in your being like a spring.
The fourth question:
Bhagwato, the real question cannot be asked. Only unreal questions can be asked. That's why whenever you will ask a question you will feel a little bit stupid - because deep down you will know it is unreal. And only the unreal can be asked! The real question cannot be asked. Why? - because to find the real question you will have to go so deep into your being; you will have to go to the very center of your being. Unreal questions exist on the periphery. Unreal questions are millions, the real question is only one, but it exists at the center. If you want to ask the real question you will have to go to the center of your being. And the problem is when you are at the center of your being, you know the real question, but immediately you know the real answer too.
The real question contains the real answer in it. They are instant, together. Simultaneously they happen. So that's why the real question can never be asked. If you don't know the real question, how can you ask? If you know the real question immediately you know the real answer too. They are not two separate things but two aspects of the same coin: on one side the real question, on the other side the real answer.
But one has to ask many unreal questions before one becomes aware of this, Bhagwato. You should feel blessed that you are aware of the phenomenon: that the real question is so difficult to ask, IMPOSSIBLE to ask. This is a good sign, a milestone. Even to ask "Why is it so difficult to ask the real question?" shows that you are moving in the direction of the real question. It shows that now you can detect immediately when you come across a false question. You have become capable of knowing the false as the false; this is the first step towards knowing the true as the true. Before one can know truth, one will have to know untruth utterly and absolutely.
And that's why you say, "And why do I feel so stupid about this and any other question?"
All questions are stupid questions. But I am not saying don't ask them; just by not asking you will not become wise. Stupid questions have to be asked so they can be dropped. And dropping stupid questions is dropping stupidity. And slowly slowly, one becomes aware that "All my questions are useless. Why am I asking? Even if I get the answer, how is it going to change my life?"
Once I was staying in a village. Two old men came to me - one was a Hindu, another was a Jain.
The Jains don't believe in the existence of God. Both were friends, almost lifelong friends. Both must have been nearabout seventy, and both had quarreled for their whole lives - whether God exists or not? The Hindu insisted that He exists and would quote the Vedas and Upanishads and Gita, and the Jain would insist that He does not exist and would quote Mahavir and Neminath and Parshwanath and his TEERTHANKARAS. And they argued and argued to no end, because these questions are so meaningless, so futile, you can go on arguing, ad infinitum; there is no end to it.
Nobody can prove absolutely, nobody can disprove absolutely either. The questions are so utterly useless: nothing can be proved definitely this way or that, so the question goes on hanging.
Hearing that I was staying in the guesthouse outside the village, they came to see me. And they said, "Our whole lives have been a conflict. We are friends, in every way we are friendly, but about this question of God we immediately start quarreling. And we have quarreled the whole life. Now you are here: give us a definite answer so this quarrel can be stopped, and we can at least die in ease."
I asked them, "If it is proved definitely that God is, how is it going to change your life?" They shrugged their shoulders. They said, "We will live as we are living."
"Or, if it is proved," I told them, "that God definitely does not exist, how is it going to change your life?" They said, "It is not going to change our lives at all, because we both live exactly the same life.
We are partners in a business. He believes in God, I don't believe in God, but as far as our lives are concerned we have the same pattern. His God does not make any difference, my no-God does not make any difference."
Then I said, "This is a futile question."
Which question is futile? One whose answer is not going to make a change in your life. It is useless.
People ask, "Who created the world?" How is it going to change your life? Anybody - A, B, C, D, - anybody; how is it going to change your life? "Is there life after death?" - how is it going to change your life?
Can't you see theists and atheists all living the same kind of life, the same rotten kind of life?
Can't you see the Catholic and the communist living the same kind of life, the same lies, the same falsehood, the same masks? Can't you see the Protestant and the Catholic living the same life?
Can't you see the Hindu and the Mohammedan living the same life, with no difference at all? All differences are only verbal. No verbal difference makes any difference in their existence. They have been discussing about useless questions.
But why do people ask useless questions? - to avoid going in. They pretend that they are great inquirers: they are interested in God, they are interested in the after-life, they are interested in heaven and hell. And the real thing is: that they are not interested in themselves. To avoid that, to avoid seeing this fact, that "I am not interested in my own being," they have created all these questions. These questions are their strategies to avoid their central question: Who am l?
True religion consists in the inquiry: 'Who am I?' And nobody else can answer it. You will have to go digging deeper and deeper into your being. One day, when you have reached the very source of your life, you will know. That day, the real question and the real answer will have happened simultaneously.
The fifth question:
Mariel Strauss, it is because of this idea that you are missing the whole beauty of nothingness: this desire to fill it. You are not-really a hollow bamboo, because in this hollow bamboo this desire is there, and this desire is enough to fill the hollow bamboo, to block its emptiness.
This desire to fill it one day, this expectation that "Some day, God will come and fill my emptiness"' this very idea is preventing you from really becoming a hollow bamboo. Drop this desire. Forget all about filling your hollow bamboo - then you are a hollow bamboo. And when you are a hollow bamboo, it is immediately full of God. But not that you have to desire it; if you desire it you will go on missing it.
This is one of the basic paradoxes to be understood about religious inquiry. Understand it as deeply as possible, let it sink deeply into your heart, because this is not only Mariel Strauss' problem, this is everybody's problem. Anybody who goes on in the search for truth, for being, for God, or whatsoever you call it, will have to come across it.
You can feel that you are empty, but deep down, lurking somewhere is the desire, the hope, the expectation that "Now, where is God? It is getting late and I have remained a hollow bamboo so long. What is the point? This is just nothingness."
There is condemnation when you say "This is JUST nothingness." You are not happy with this hollow bamboo-ness. You are not happy with this emptiness; there is condemnation. You have managed somehow, because you have heard me saying again and again that the moment you are a hollow bamboo God will descend in you: "Become empty, and you will become full." You want to become full, so you say "Okay, we will become empty. If that is the only way to become full, we will even try that." But this is not true emptiness. You have not understood the point.
Enjoy emptiness, cherish it, nourish it. Let your emptiness become a dance, a celebration. Forget all about God - to come or not is His business. Why should you be worried? Leave it to Him. And when you have completely forgotten about God He comes, IMMEDIATELY He comes. He always comes when you are utterly unaware of His coming, you don't even hear His footsteps. One moment He was not there, and suddenly another moment He is there. But your emptiness has to be total.
And a total emptiness means no expectation, no future, no desire.
You say, "I am often able to achieve the state..."
You must be forcing it, you must be trying hard, you must be cultivating it, you must be imagining it.
It is imaginary, it is not true.
"... or what seems like the state..."
And deep down you also know that it is not the real state. You have managed somehow to create a kind of emptiness in yourself. It is a forced emptiness.
"... which you call 'being a hollow bamboo' - silent, watching, empty..."
It is not what I call the state of being a hollow bamboo; it is not. If it were, then there would be no desire for God, because there is no desire. It does not matter what you desire; God, money, power, prestige, it matters not. Desire is desire, its taste is always the same. Desire leads you away from the present, from the herenow into the future, somewhere else. Desire does not allow you to relax into the moment. It takes you away from your being.
So what you desire does not matter: you can desire presidency of a country, or you can desire money, or you can desire sainthood, or you can desire God, you can desire truth - desire is desire.
Desire means you are torn apart between that which you are and that which you would like to be.
This is anguish, this is anxiety. And this anxiety will not allow you to become a hollow bamboo.
To be a hollow bamboo means: a state of desirelessness. Then you are utterly empty, and then that emptiness has a clarity in it. Then that emptiness has a splendor in it, a purity in it. Then that emptiness has a holy quality to it. It is so pure, it is so innocent that you will not call it 'just emptiness' or 'just nothingness'. That emptiness is God itself! Once you are empty, once you are herenow, with no desire taking you away from your reality, God is. God means 'that which is'.
God is already the case; your desiring mind does not allow you to see it. Your desiring mind makes you a monkey: you go on jumping from one branch to another branch. You go on jumping, you are never in a state of rest. This desire and that desire, and one desire creates another desire, and it is a continuum.
When there is no desire where can you go? When there is no desire where is the future? When there is no desire where is time? Where is past? When there is no desire where is mind? Where is memory? Where is imagination? All gone! lust cut one single root which is the chief root of the tree of mind: cut desire and just be. In that state of being you are a hollow bamboo. And the moment you are a hollow bamboo, reality bursts upon you, as if it has been always waiting but you were not available to it. It floods you!
The last question:
It has to be, because fiction is only a partial reflection of life, a very finite reflection of life. Life is infinitely complex. Life has no beginning, no end; it is always on and on, it is going on and on. It is a pilgrimage with no goal. Fiction is just a reflection of a small part of it.
Fiction is like a small window in your room. Yes, when the sky is full of stars, you see a part of the sky through the window, but the sky becomes framed by the window. The sky itself has no frame to it - it is infinite, it knows no boundaries - but your window gives a frame to it.
A fiction is a framed part of the sky. Howsoever strange, mysterious, unbelievable the fiction may be, it is very pale compared to real life. Real life is the mystery of mysteries... never possible to explain it. And the fiction arises out of the human mind. The mind is a mirror: it reflects a few things. If you have a good mirror, a creative mirror, you can create poetry, you can create music, you can create fiction, you can write, you can paint; but all that you will paint and all that you will create and all that you will write will remain a very tiny atomic part of reality - and not really a part but a REFLECTION of the part in your mind.
To see life as it is is mind-blowing. To see life as it is is psychedelic. To see life as it is is to become expanded in consciousness.
The fiction has to begin somewhere. Of necessity, it has to begin somewhere. It will have the first page, and somewhere it has to end; it cannot go on and on. You can lengthen it, make it very long, like Tolstoy's WAR AND PEACE - it can go on and on and on, and it is very very tiring and lengthy.
But still a moment comes when you have to put the last full stop. You cannot go on forever.
But life goes on forever. One wave turns into another wave, one tree creates other trees, one man gives birth to children - it goes on: there is no beginning and there is no end.
Art is only a poor imitation. Hence, the artist remains in imagination. The artist remains in dreams; he is a dreamer, a good dreamer - a dreamer who dreams in color, not just black and white - but still a dreamer.
A mystic is one who has dropped all dreams, who has thrown away away this mirror of the mind and looks directly into life without any medium interfering. Then he sees the eternal progressing. Then in a single moment he sees all eternity, and in a single atom he can see the whole reflected.
Just think: you contain your mother, your father, your father's father, your mother's mother, and so on and so forth. You contain Adam and Eve - if there was a time when things began. I don't think there was a time when things began. Adam and Eve is again a fiction, a religious fiction. Things never began, things have always been.
You contain the whole past. All the dreams of your father and your mother are contained in your cells, and all the dreams of their fathers and their mothers, and so on and so forth; all the dreams of the whole humanity have preceded you; and not only of humanity, but all the animals that have preceded humanity; and not only all the animals, but all the trees that have preceded all the animals; and not only the trees, but all the rocks and all the mountains and rivers that have preceded trees.
You contain all of that in you. You are vast!
And so is the case with the future - you contain the whole future too: the children that will be born and the poems that will be written - not only the Shakespeares of the past but the Shakespeares of the future too, the dreams that have been seen and the dreams that will be seen. All the poets and all the painters are in you, ready to be born, all the scientists, all the mystics. The whole future, the eternal future...
So you contain the whole past, you contain the whole future. The whole converges upon this small, tiny moment. And so is the case with space, as it is with time. You contain the whole of space in you, all the trees and all the stars.
A great Indian mystic, Swami Ramateerth, started saying things which look mad when he attained to enlightenment. People started thinking that he had gone bizarre, because he started saying, "I see stars moving within me, not outside, but inside. When I see the morning sun rising, I see it rising in me, not outside."
Now this looks like a kind of madness. It is not. He was saying something tremendously significant.
He was saying: I am part of the whole and the whole is part of me. So everything is within that is without, and everything is without that is within. All that has happened is in me, and all that is going to happen is in me, and all that is happening is in me.
To feel this, to see this, is to be in prayer, in awe, in wonder. Will you not be grateful to be part of this mysterious existence? Will you not feel grateful to have something to do with this splendor? Will you not feel grateful, thankful for all that surrounds you and all that is contained in you?
To see this mysterious existence, to feel it in the deepest core of your heart, and immediately a prayer arises - a prayer that has no words to it, a prayer that is silence, a prayer that doesn't say anything but feels tremendously, a prayer that is like music with no words, celestial music, or what Pythagoras used to call 'the harmony of the stars', the melody of the whole. When that music starts rising in you, that's what the SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER IS all about. Suddenly a flower bursts open in you, a golden lotus. You have arrived, you have come home.
This is what I am provoking you towards, this is what I am trying to awake in you - this desire, this longing, this thirst, this appetite. Once you are possessed by this hunger, for the first time you will become aware of the benediction and the beautitude of existence. You will not feel meaningless, you will not feel accidental. You will not feel at all as Jean-Paul Sartre says, that "Man is a useless passion"; no, not at all. You will feel yourself tremendously significant, because you are part of an infinite significance, and you are to contribute something by your being here.
You will become creative, because that is the only way to be really thankful to God - to be creative, to make this existence a little more beautiful than you had found it. The day you leave, this will be your only contentment: if you have made the existence a little more beautiful. When a Buddha leaves he leaves in tremendous contentment because he knows he is leaving the existence behind with a little more poetry in it, with a little more awareness in it, with a little more prayer in it.
Remember that when you leave the world, you can die in contentment only if you have made this world a little more worth living in, a little more meaningful, a little more dancing, celebrating. If you have added a little festivity to it, a little laughter, a little sense of humor; if you have been able to light a small lamp of light, and you have been able to disperse a little darkness from the world, you will die in utter joy. You are fulfilled. Your life has been of fruition and flowering. Otherwise people die in misery.
Jean-Paul Sartre is right for the majority of the people, but that majority is living in ignorance, unconsciousness. That majority is not really yet able to declare its humanity. Only a Buddha or a Krishna or a Zarathustra or a Jesus can claim that they are human beings. They are human beings because they have bloomed. Their whole beings have come to flowering. Now nothing is left, all is fulfilled.
Create this longing, this thirst. You have the seed; all that you need is a thirst. That thirst will become the occasion for the seed to sprout. You have the potential; all that you need is a tremendous longing. If you become aflame with longing you will be purified. The baser metal of your life will be transformed into a higher metal, into gold. This is all that alchemy is about.
And the SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER is an alchemical treatise.