One boat is enough

Fri, 28 January 1986 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
The Sword and the Lotus
Chapter #:
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Question 1:



Man has been doing that since the very beginning, and he is still doing it. He is riding in two boats, and the result is the misery, the suffering, the anguish all over the world. You cannot ride in two boats.

Firstly, being in two boats you become split, you become two - you are divided. A house divided against itself cannot stand long, and a man divided against himself is simply sick.

The psychoanalysts call that sickness schizophrenia: he is not one. He has two voices - always in conflict with himself. He wants to do one thing, but half of his being pulls him back: "Don't do it."

If he wants to do something else, the other half pulls him back and says, "Don't do that." Caught between the conflict of his own inner rift, all man's energy is wasted. He finds himself in a constant nightmare.

You are all doing it, because all your religions have been teaching you to do it - not clearly, not openly, but in a very subtle way.

Religions say that your body and your soul are separate, not only separate but antagonistic to each other; that the body is the enemy of the soul; that if you want to attain something of spirituality you will have to control your body, you will have to stop listening to its desires, you will have to curtail everything in which the body rejoices. In other words, you have to torture the body - torturing the body will be the way towards spirituality.

All the religions have been saying to the world that there are two worlds - this world, and that world beyond death which nobody has ever seen, which nobody has ever proved, for which no evidence, no argument exists. But all the religions have been telling you: sacrifice the world that you know for a world which no one knows whether it exists or not.

They are dividing you again between life and divine life. The divine life is always beyond death. And we have accepted these divisions. Of course, nobody can manage to be completely split, otherwise he will become two persons. The spirit remains always half-hearted; there is always a compromise.

You think, "Just today I can enjoy this, but I promise to God that from tomorrow I am going to start..."

That tomorrow is never going to come. Tomorrows have a habit of not coming. That gives you a good space - it never comes, you need not fulfill the promise.

I have heard...

When Edmund Hillary reached to the highest peak of the Himalayas, Gourishankar, he was simply amazed, he could not believe it. He had made so many arrangements and he had put his and his friend's life at risk. He was going to be the first man to reach Gourishankar, but what he saw there shocked him. A Hindu monk was just squatting on top of Gourishankar. Edmund Hillary could not believe how he managed to reach there. But perhaps some spiritual power... That could be the only explanation.

He fell at his feet to pay his respects. The old man opened his eyes and what he said was even more shocking. He looked at the beautiful wristwatch that Edmund Hillary had and asked, "How much for this watch?"

Man cannot cut himself in two absolutely.

I was in the hills of Parasanath and I came to know a strange thing. Two Jaina monks lived there naked. Naturally, they could not manage to have money with them - where would they keep it? How would they avoid people knowing about it? But man is really inventive; his ingenuity is superb. They would never have been caught, because the naked Jaina monk only carries a small bamboo with a piece of wool attached so that when he sits anywhere he can clean the place with the wool so that no ants or small insects are killed, the wool is so soft.

Those two monks were traveling together for years. In the morning, when they went outside to their toilet, there was a fight - they hit each other with those bamboos. Somebody brought them to the police station. When I heard the news, I immediately went to the police station to inquire what could be the cause between two naked people! People fight for greed, people fight for a thousand and one things, but these people had nothing to fight about.

In the police station I came to know that inside the bamboos they had hidden one hundred rupee notes - the bamboos are hollow - and one was the master and the other was the disciple.

The fight was because the disciple had more rupees than the master, and this was intolerable. The master was saying, "You simply give half of your money to me, otherwise leave me."

Two persons who had left their families, who had left their houses, all the comforts of life, who were living naked in hot and cold... were still fighting for money...!

That's why I say it is impossible to cut yourself absolutely in two separate parts. You will have to make some compromise. All over the world all the religious people have made compromises. That is one of the reasons you see so many religions, but you don't see so many religious people. You see so many monks, missionaries, sadhus, saints, but if you look deep into their lives you will be surprised - it is hypocrisy. Deep inside there is continuously a compromise. I cannot condemn - let me repeat, I cannot condemn them. I condemn those religious doctrines which have been forcing them to do something unnatural, something impossible.

Riding in two boats, or riding on two horses, you are going to get into trouble. Everything is condemned.

In Mahatma Gandhi's ashram you could not use a mosquito net. His son, Ramdas, was very friendly with me. He had invited me to the ashram, but I said to him, "I cannot stay here with all these mosquitoes. Any intelligent person can understand that a mosquito net is not a luxury, it is not something unspiritual."

And what had Mahatma Gandhi substituted? He had substituted kerosene oil. You put kerosene oil on your face, on your hands, on whatever parts are exposed, put kerosene oil.

Naturally, the mosquitoes are more intelligent than you - they don't come near you, because it stinks!

But how can you sleep? You have to choose between mosquitoes or kerosene oil.

I said, "I am not going to choose, I am simply leaving. This seems to be some insane asylum - it is not an ashram."

Gandhi had adopted five basic principles of life from Jainism. The first is: aswad, no-taste - you have to eat, but if you taste, you are a materialist.

I am just trying to show you how they are making it difficult and impossible and unnatural. If you eat, you are bound to taste because you have taste buds in your tongue. Those taste buds don't know anything about your spirituality and the other world, they will simply function.

Now what are you going to do? You have to pretend that you eat but you don't taste. And you know all the time that you taste. You are becoming a hypocrite to yourself. You are falling in your own eyes. You are deceiving no one but yourself.

One of the American writers, Louis Fischer, came to Gandhi's ashram. He was writing a biography of Mahatma Gandhi. He was a special guest in the ashram, so Gandhi took him to lunch. He had seated him at his side, and he told the cooks, "Remember our special chutney."

What was their special chutney? It was made from the leaves of the neem tree so as to destroy taste.

"So give generously to our friend."

A big bowl full of chutney made from neem leaves, which are the bitterest, was placed on Louis Fischer's plate.

If Gandhi is praising this chutney so much - that it is very healthy, keeps your blood pure, is the only thing in the whole vegetable world which has no bad effects...

"Just one thing is a little difficult, but by practice - you will be here for fifteen days - you will get accustomed. It tastes a little bitter."

So much praise from such a great man! - Louis Fischer tasted the neem chutney first and he said, "My God, this is pure poison! I have never tasted anything like this!"

But to say that to Gandhi was not possible because all the inmates of the ashram were eating the chutney. Gandhi was eating it, and enjoying, and smiling. When thirty other people were eating the same thing and smiling you don't have the nerve to say that this is poison.

Perhaps you are wrong. Thirty people cannot be wrong. And the great Mahatma Gandhi is not capable of being wrong. But to eat this chutney with food, continuously mixing it with food, will destroy the whole food. So he thought of a more scientific way - being a Western man. He simply drank the whole of the chutney in one gulp, to be finished with it and to then eat comfortably whatever was available. But Gandhi was not an easy man. He told the cook, "Look, Louis Fischer liked the chutney so much... fill his cup again!"

Even if you mix your food with neem leaves you cannot say you are not tasting. That bitterness is also taste, just as sweetness is taste. There is no difference. As far as the word 'taste' is concerned, your buds are functioning.

Gandhi is simply befooling himself. Sweetness is taste, saltiness is taste, bitterness is taste. But the first principle is "no-taste," and all those people are pretending that they are not tasting anything.

Now you are creating a division in man, you are giving him a false mask which smiles when his whole body wants to vomit. This is how you can ride in two boats. Your whole body wants to vomit - that is one boat. And you smile - that is another boat.

And if your whole life becomes like this, you will be the most miserable person in the world.

And the same division is created for this world and the other world. You are taught that this world has to be sacrificed, this world has to be destroyed completely as far as your interest, your attachment is concerned if you want to gain the other world.

But just go a little deeper into the logic. Why should you want the other world in the first place? It is greed.

They say that here in this world to drink alcohol is a sin, but in the other world water is not available.

There are rivers of wine, rivers of champagne, rivers of all kinds of alcoholic beverages - you choose; you can drink, you can swim, you can do anything you want.

But it is a very strange logic. Here just a little drinking is a great sin, and there it is a reward. Reward for what? A reward because you did not drink when you were in this world? But this is a strange reward.

Renounce your wife, renounce women, renounce sex, and in the other world you are to be greeted with beautiful upcharas who are always young, who are all beautiful.

You can enjoy all those women for eternity, just because you renounce a poor wife who will be starving because she was not educated by your society, she was not given financial freedom by your society. And before renouncing her, you have given her at least one dozen children to take care of. So she will be begging, or she may have to become a prostitute just to raise the children that you have left as a legacy.

And you are being rewarded in the other world...? You should be punished! You should be thrown into hell if there is any. You have committed a crime against humanity, but these crimes are being rewarded.

This division is very dangerous, and even if you have renounced the wife and escaped deep into the Himalayas - it is not so easy to renounce women, because the woman is within you, in your mind.

The woman outside was not so important. The real desire for women is hidden within you - it is a center in your mind. What will you do sitting in the Himalayan cave? Do you think you will encounter God... you will have enlightenment?

Most likely you will dream of women, good food, comfortable clothes... small things which you had never thought of before.

I have heard...

One American billionaire became fed up because he had everything that money could buy, and naturally, he wanted some more excitement. He had achieved everything and there was nothing else in this world, so he started thinking of the other world.

The other world is created by these fed up people whose ambition has come to an end. They have everything - now what to do? They are bored. They need some new desire, some new journey, some new adventure, but this world is finished for them. Your priest opened the door of a dreamland - the other world.

So the American billionaire came to the East in search of the right way to the other world. It was a long journey, and finally he came to the Himalayas. People said, "You will not return empty-handed.

Here lives a great ancient seer, far away in the mountains. Very rarely have people been able to find him. If you are fortunate enough to find him just touch his feet, ask for his blessing... his blessing is enough."

The man was so desperately in search, he found the old man, and he clung to his feet.

The old man said, "Not so hard, because I am too old. And first things first, have you got an American cigarette on you? I have been thinking about it for almost thirty years, since I left the marketplace."

The American immediately pulled out a packet and gave it to the saint.

The saint said, "Now, my son, you can go back with all my blessings. And whenever this urge for the other world comes to you, come again, but bring as many cigarettes as possible."

The billionaire was very much shocked: "This is not spirituality! The man is asking for cigarettes..."

He had come for the other world. He was a spiritual seeker, and this man was simply an addict, a smoker - mad!

But just think: leaving this world, what are you going to think about, what are you going to contemplate?

My approach is absolutely different. I don't want you to ride in two boats because I am not your enemy. I would like you to be in one boat. One thing I can allow: you can paint one world on one side and on the other side the other world. Have both worlds together, but on one boat.

There is nothing wrong in enjoying this world and its joys. I don't see there is anything wrong in enjoying food or clothes, or having a cozy house, or having a beautiful wife or husband. I don't see anything unspiritual in it. All depends on you.

You can make it unspiritual, you can make it spiritual. When shivering cold, sitting in meditation, you cannot meditate - your teeth are chattering, your body is shivering and you are trying to be calm and quiet and collected.

Use the right clothes. They will help you in your meditation, and suddenly, they become your friends.

They are not unspiritual. Good and right food will help you.

It has been found that no vegetarian has received a single Noble Prize up to now. Three Indians have received Noble Prizes, but all the three were non-vegetarians. Medical research shows that vegetarian food is not complete food. Some essential proteins are missing in it, and those are the proteins which help your intelligence. Your intelligence needs them absolutely, otherwise you will remain mediocre - you cannot become a genius.

I have told my sannyasins that I am a vegetarian and I would like the whole world to be vegetarian.

But I would not like the whole world to become retarded, so I have made the vegetarian food complete. I have added the unfertilized egg to it. The unfertilized egg has no life, hence it is just vegetarian. Even a vegetable has some life, but the unfertilized egg is simply protein. Adding the unfertilized egg to vegetarian food, vegetarian food far exceeds the non-vegetarian food. Non- vegetarian food makes you insensitive.

If just for a momentary taste you can kill living beings, you are not yet human. Then what is wrong in killing human beings? Their meat is more tasteful....

There is a tribe in existence in South Africa which is still continuing to eat human flesh. It rarely happens that somebody passes that way. If somebody is caught accidentally, only then do they get food; otherwise they have to eat their own children, their own old people. In the beginning of this century there were almost thirty thousand in that tribe, and today there are only three hundred.

They have eaten themselves. Once in a while a Christian missionary goes there just to convert these cannibals.

I have heard about the first Christian missionary who reached them - I don't know whether anyone tried again....

As usual, he was a fat man. They caught him, they tied him to a tree and they were preparing the fire. The missionary was making every effort to persuade them that he had come to teach them the real religion: "Have you ever tasted Christianity?"

The chief of the tribe said, "Not yet. Just wait! When your soup is made, we will have our first taste of Christianity."

These cannibals are known to unanimously say that the best, most tasteful thing in the world is a small baby's meat. Just for the sake of taste should we start killing babies? And if you stop killing babies because they are human, then you have to understand that animals are even more helpless.

And they have done no harm to you; they have served you in every possible way.

The question to me is not of religion. The question is of your aesthetic sense, of your sensibility.

I was a guest in Maharaj Bownara's palace and he went to show me what a great hunter his father was. On all the walls were the heads of lions and other animals.

I told him, "Please remove these and don't mention to anybody that your father did all this, because that means your father was absolutely insane."

These poor animals are not "game," as the hunters call them. It is strange that when a hunter kills a tiger it is "game," and when a tiger kills the hunter, then it is "tragedy." I don't understand how the language changes - why is it not a game too?

Killing animals, destroying life just for food, while science is absolutely in a position to provide you with vegetarian food, with all the necessary ingredients for your health, for your mind, is simply stupid.

And I am not saying that it is religiously wrong, I am simply saying it is through insensitivity. It proves you don't have a heart; it proves you don't have any feeling. It proves that you are not alert to what you are doing. And when it can be done without being so stupid, there is no need to do it.

Right food which will be helpful to your meditations can be determined medically. There are foods which stimulate sexuality, and there are foods which create a calmness in you. No-taste is not a right principle. Have as much taste as you want. And to give taste, flavor, to any food of your choice is a simple affair.

The food can be arranged, the clothing can be arranged, the housing can be arranged so that you can enjoy this world with totality and with no guilt, and yet become more and more conscious, more and more spiritual. I will not say for the other world. My experience is that the other world is hidden in this world. This world is the circumference; the other world is the center. And if you renounce this world you will never find the other world. How can you get to the center when you have renounced the circumference? You have closed the doors yourself.

Enjoy deeply this world, so deeply that you start coming closer to the center. That world is contained in this world. There are not two worlds; there is only one world. There is only one existence, and all divisions are dangerous. Avoid them.

If you can understand that there is only one world, then it will create oneness in you. Then your body is just the visible part of your soul, and your soul is just the invisible part of your body. Then you can bring both into a communion. And that communion to me is the most important thing for a person to be religious - that all his faculties are functioning like an orchestra, together, complementary to each other.

Right now, renunciation is a very stupid thing that has been torturing humanity for centuries.

I used to know a Jaina monk, Muni Kanak Vijay. He loved me because I never condemned anything.

He came to visit me; he stayed with me....

On the first day, he went to the bathroom and came out. After fifteen minutes I went in. I was surprised that there was a smell of cigarette smoke.

I was living with two friends - neither was a smoker. And then I found a piece of the cigarette on the floor. It was simple logic that Muni Kanak Vijay had been in the bathroom before me - he must have been smoking. But a Jaina muni, a Jaina monk smoking is never heard of.

I came out, I went to him, and I told him, "Be sincere. I have nothing against smoking. It may kill you two years earlier - it does not matter. What are you going to do living two years more? It may give you tuberculosis - that too does not matter. Millions of people get tuberculosis without smoking, so why not smoke? I have nothing against it, and I don't think that it is some unspiritual activity.

It is some stupid activity. When you can breathe in fresh air, instead you are breathing in carbon monoxide. You are falling from the state of man. I have no objection - it is your life. But I want you to know the truth. And you know that I never condemn. If you want to smoke you need not hide, you can go to the farthest corner of the garden and smoke there, but not in the house."

He said, "I am sorry. I have been smoking. It is not right. It is against my whole spiritual training, and I am respected as a monk. It is not dignified for me to be caught smoking."

And his age was nearabout seventy.

I said, "To me there is no problem. This is what happens when you drop out of the world and renounce the world without having any maturity."

From the mature being, all that is wrong drops by itself; he does not drop it.

We have been told to renounce the world. I say unto you that if you are ripe, centered, whatever is wrong will renounce you, it cannot come close to you.

Allowing the man to smoke, he became courageous to tell me other things. He said, "This is my only wish and the only desire, and the only person who can help is you. I cannot say it to anyone else."

I said, "You say it. If I can manage I will do it."

He said, "I feel very embarrassed, but I have never seen a film because my father became a sannyasin when I was only thirteen. My mother died; my father became a Jaina sannyasin. For me there was no other way than to become a Jaina sannyasin with my father, otherwise I was just an orphan, a beggar on the street. So my mind has not developed from thirteen years of age - I am still there. Seventy years have passed; I know that I have childish desires but what can I do?

Whenever I see queues in front of every cinema, I think there must be something great going on. I have been in the world and I will leave without knowing what is happening there."

I said, "Don't be worried. I will arrange it."

I had a Jaina friend just living close by. I called him, and he was a reliable man. Whenever there was something to be done which was difficult he had always been of help. I told him, "This is a difficult job, but this Jaina monk has been suffering for years. You will gain great virtue; your paradise is certain. Simply take him to a film show."

He said, "What? If Jainas come to know they will kill me for seducing their sadhus, their saints, and taking them to the pictures." He said, "You have asked me to do so many things which were difficult.

I have always done them, but this is too much."

I said, "But somehow it has to be done."

He said, "I can do only one thing." The city where I was living was divided into two parts by the British government. And it has remained almost that way even now: the part where the army and the Britishers lived, and the part where the whole city was. The cantonment part had only English films.

He said, "I can do one thing: I can take him to the cantonment part, but there are only English films and he does not understand English."

I said, "It does not matter. He simply wants to see what is happening there. You take him to the cantonment part. Understanding is not the question - and you can sit by his side."

He said, "No! I cannot sit there. I will put him in his seat and run away. I cannot sit there. I will arrange for somebody else to pick him up after the show. I don't want it to be known that I am doing such things."

I asked Kanak Vijay, "Would you like to see an English film?"

He said, "It does not matter. I don't understand English, but something is better than nothing."

Can you see how we have made the human mind unnecessarily miserable? Now this man at the age of seventy still has a desire to go to see a film.

When he came back, I asked him, "Are you satisfied?"

He said, "That there was nothing, it was great of you that you helped me. I can now die without any desire. Otherwise I was afraid that this desire would continue even at the moment of death."

If you forcibly renounce anything it will follow you. If your understanding, your meditation, your silence makes you grown up, anything that is stupid will simply fall away from your life, you will not have to renounce it.

And remember one thing: growing old and growing up do not mean the same thing. Everybody grows old, but very few people grow up. Growing up means you are becoming more mature every moment, you are learning, experiencing everything of life.

This life is a gift. It is a university to learn, to become aware of all possibilities, experiences. Go through them. Don't escape.

Sannyas is not escapism, it is not for cowards - only cowards escape. It is for people who have courage to experience everything. And once you have experienced, you know what is worthwhile and what is not. That which is not of any value simply disappears from your life and slowly, slowly you become a treasure of wisdom.

By the time you leave this life you will not go empty-handed, you will be fully contented, utterly satisfied, grateful, thankful to existence. And this gratitude becomes the door into the second world.

That second world is not far away, it is just deeper than this - it is the center of the circumference.

And if this world is so beautiful, if this world is so charming, so enchanting, so magical, how much more will be the center. This world is only the circumference. The center will be a millionfold more.

But never put this against that - that is fallacious. Don't make two boats - one boat is enough.

The question is very significant because all down the centuries man has been tortured with these two boats, continually hesitating about what to do - whether it is right or wrong, whether it is spiritual or unspiritual. And you have been living with great fear.

The priests are creating as much fear as possible by inventing a hell which exists nowhere.

Geographically, hell exists nowhere.

And they are simultaneously seducing you and your greed for a heaven which also does not exist geographically.

Hell is fear.

They make you afraid of hell so that there are a few things that you cannot do. They make you greedy for heaven so that you have to do things which you don't want to do. And you are caught in a very deep tension.

I am reminded of a beautiful story....

A Japanese king had heard of a saint that had become enlightened. He went into the forest to see the saint, to be with him, to have some taste of his presence.

But as he touched the saint's feet, the saint said, "Although you are a king you don't have any manners."

The king was a warrior. He could not tolerate such an insult in front of so many people. He said, "I only came to ask one question, but you have annoyed me."

The saint said, "Ask your question."

He said, "I want to know what the difference is between heaven and hell."

The saint laughed. He said, "You must be an idiot."

This was too much.

The king pulled out his sword and was going to strike the saint, and the saint said, "Wait, you are at the door of hell."

A sudden insight, and the king pushed his sword back into the sheath and touched the feet of the saint. The saint said, "This is the door of heaven. Now you can measure the distance. I have shown you the doors of hell and heaven both."

Hell and heaven are psychological states. When you are disturbed, in a turmoil, in anger - you are in hell.

Most people, most of their lives, are living in hell. Only very few people have lived in heaven, but that heaven is here on the earth. And the hell too is here on the earth. They are two ways of being - you can manage to be either.

But if you start your journey in two boats you will remain in hell forever, because you will remain in tension and continuously in a state of split.

I want you to be in one boat. I want you to be one integrated self - a single unit, a single voice, a single dimension. Then life is all flowers.

Question 2:



The psychology of anger is that you wanted something, and somebody prevented you from getting it. Somebody came as a block, as an obstacle. Your whole energy was going to get something and somebody blocked the energy. You could not get what you wanted.

Now this frustrated energy becomes anger - anger against the person who has destroyed the possibility of fulfilling your desire.

You cannot prevent anger, because anger is a by-product, but you can do something else so that the by-product does not happen at all.

In life, remember one thing: never desire anything so intensely as if it is a question of life and death.

Be a little playful.

I am not saying, don't desire - because that will become a repression in you.

I am saying, desire - but let your desire be playful.

If you can get it, good. If you cannot get it, perhaps it was not the right time - we will see next time.

Learn something of the art of the player.

We become so much identified with the desire, then when it is blocked or prevented our own energy becomes fire; it burns you. And in that state of almost insanity you can do anything - for which you are going to repent. It can create a series of events that your whole life may get entangled with.

Because of this, for thousands of years, they have been saying, "Become desireless." Now that is asking something inhuman. Even the people who have said, "Become desireless" have also given you a motive, a desire: if you become desireless you will attain to the ultimate freedom of moksha, nirvana. That too is a desire.

You can repress desire for some bigger desire, and you may even forget that you are still the same person. You have only changed the target. Certainly, there are not many people who are trying to get moksha, so you will not have any great competition. In fact, people will be very happy that you have started going towards moksha - one competitor less in life. But as far as you are concerned nothing has changed. And if anything can be created which disturbs your desire for moksha, again the anger will flare up. And this time it will be far bigger, because now the desire is far bigger. Anger is always proportionate to desire.

I have heard...

There were three monasteries - Christian monasteries - very close together in the forest.

One day three monks met at the crossroads. They were coming from the villages back to their monasteries - each belonged to a different monastery. They were tired. They sat down under the trees and started talking about something to pass the time.

One man said, "One thing you will have to accept is that as far as scholarship is concerned, learning is concerned, our monastery is the best."

The other monk said, "I agree, it is true. Your people are far more scholarly, but as far as austerities are concerned, discipline is concerned, spiritual training is concerned, you don't come anywhere near to our monastery. And remember, scholarship will not be able to help you realize the truth. It is only spiritual discipline, and we are the best as far as spiritual discipline is concerned."

The third monk said, "You both are right. The first monastery is best in learning, scholarship. The second monastery is best in spiritual discipline, austerities, fasting. But as far as humbleness, egolessness is concerned, we are the tops."

Humbleness, egolessness... but the man seemed to be absolutely unaware of what he was saying:

"As far as humbleness, egolessness is concerned, we are the tops."

Even humbleness can become an ego trip. Egolessness can become an ego trip. One has to be very much aware.

You should not try to stop anger. You should not, in any way, keep the anger controlled, otherwise it will burn you, it will destroy you. What I am saying is: you have to go to the roots. The root is always some desire which has been blocked, and the frustration has created the anger.

Don't take desires very seriously.

Don't take anything seriously.

It is unfortunate that no religion in the world has accepted the sense of humor as one of the basic qualities for the religious man. I want you to understand that sense of humor, playfulness, should be the fundamental qualities. You should not take things so seriously, then anger does not arise. You can simply laugh at the whole thing. You can start laughing at yourself. You can start laughing at situations in which you would have been angry and mad.

Use playfulness, a sense of humor, laughter. It is a big world, and there are millions of people.

Everybody is trying to get to something. It is very natural that sometimes people may get into each other's ways - not that they want to, it is just the situation, it is accidental.

I have heard about one Sufi mystic, Junnaid, who every day in the evening prayer used to thank existence for its compassion, for its love, for its care.

Once it happened that for three days they were traveling and they came across villages where people were very antagonistic against Junnaid, because they thought his teachings were not exactly the teachings of Mohammed. His teaching seemed to be his own, and, "He is corrupting people."

So from three villages they had not got any food, not even water. On the third day they were really in bad shape. His disciples were thinking, "Now let us see what happens in the prayer. How can he now say to existence, 'You are compassionate to us - your love is there. You care about us, and we are grateful to you.'?"

But when the prayer time came, Junnaid prayed the same way. After the prayer the followers said, "This is too much. For three days we have suffered hunger, thirst. We are tired, we have not slept, and still you are saying to existence, 'You are compassionate, your love towards us is great, and you take so much care that we are grateful to you.'"

Junnaid said, "My prayer does not depend on any condition - those things are ordinary. Whether I get food or not I don't want to bother existence about it - such a small thing in such a big universe.

If I don't get water... even if I die, it does not matter, my prayer will remain the same. Because this vast universe... it makes no difference whether Junnaid is alive or dead."

This is what I mean when I say, don't take anything seriously - not even yourself.

And then you will see anger simply has not happened. There is no possibility of anger. And anger is certainly one of the great leakages of your spiritual energy.

If you can manage to be playful about your desires, and still be the same whether you succeed or you fail...

I can never forget one instance, one incident....

There was a wrestling competition, a district competition; all the district schools were participating in it. The school where I was studying had no such great wrestler, but we somehow managed one young man who said, "I am not a wrestler." But I said, "You see the thing - not to participate will look very bad."

And he was a very simple man. He said, "If you say, and if you all think that it is good for me to join... but I don't know anything at all. I have never been to the gymnasium, I have never done any exercises. You are putting me in such a situation. But if you want, and if you cannot find anyone else, it is okay."

So he was to participate for our school. And the strange thing was that because he was not tense - he was prepared to be defeated any moment, with anyone; he was the most relaxed wrestler - he got into the semi-finals!

Our teachers, our principal, our students were simply... could not believe what had happened.

Where had this man been hiding?

And in the last round, the man with whom he had to fight was really a very big man, very muscular; he was really a trained wrestler. We came to know later on that he was not a student, that some school had brought in a wrestler. We were all afraid for our poor man. He looked so small beside that man that we were worried what was going to happen.

But what happened was more than anyone could have even dreamed. Our wrestler jumped around the whole area - a dance before going into the fight! The wrestler was a little uneasy about what he was doing. And then he came and just fell flat in front of the wrestler and told him, "Please sit on my chest and be the winner. What is the point of unnecessary fighting?"

Almost everybody appreciated the sense of humor of the man. Even the wrestler laughed and he said, "I have been fighting but I have never come across such a situation. I cannot sit on your chest and I hope the judges declare us equal."

This man is not to be defeated, at any cost - such a playful and such a humorous man, who falls flat on the ground and says, "Now you sit on my chest and let the judges declare that you are victorious and I am defeated."

I cannot forget that incident for the simple reason that even at the moment of defeat that man changed it into a victory - he was almost the winner. There was no anger and there was no question of being frustrated. He simply accepted the situation that he was not a wrestler and it was better to be sincere and honest. Why unnecessarily fight and get defeated? It would simply have been wrong for the other man to sit on his chest. It would have looked really ugly, insensitive. He had to say to the judges, "Declare us equal. This man is not the one to be declared defeated. I have learned much more from him than I have learned in so many fights in which I have been victorious or defeated. This has not been a fight at all, but such a great experience that one can take things at ease."

Just start thinking about yourself at ease - nothing special; not that you are meant to be victorious, not that you have to succeed always in every situation. This is a big world and we are small people.

Once this settles in your being then everything is acceptable. Anger disappears, and the disappearance will bring you a new surprise, because when anger disappears it leaves behind it tremendous energy of compassion, of love, of friendship.


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"Even if we Jews are not bodily with you in the
trenches, we are nevertheless morally with you. This is OUR
WAR, and you are fighting it for us."

(Les Nouvelles Litteraires, February 10, 1940).