A simple thank you

Fri, 9 February 1986 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
The Sword and the Lotus
Chapter #:
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Question 1:



Once a great poet was asked by a critic, "Your poetry is beautiful, but it is full of contradictions. Do you have something to say about the contradictions?" What the poet said has to be remembered.

He said, "I am vast enough to have contradictions in me."

I don't know whether the critic could understand it or not but you have to understand it. Life is vast enough, it can exist with all the contradictions in it. In fact it cannot live without contradictions. There will be no life without death, there will be no light without darkness, there will be no love without hate, and there will be no men without women. Everything has its opposite. When you look through the eyes of pure logic it seems contradictory. When you look without any logic in your eyes, you see only complementaries; all contradictions prove to be complementaries.

This statement of Gautam Buddha is one of the milestones in the history of human growth: Appa deepo bhava - be a light unto yourself. Nobody before him was courageous enough to say this.

They were all trying to say, "We are the light, follow us. Be surrendered to us and whatever we say never doubt it." These people were not really for human freedom, human integrity, they destroyed all self-respect in man, they reduced him to a slave, a spiritual slave.

Gautam Buddha has brought a great revolution to the world. He says, "Be a light unto yourself" - because there is no other light. You are not to surrender to somebody because every surrender is slavery, and spiritual surrender is the greatest of all because it is so subtle. The chains are so invisible that you may never become aware of it, and the imprisonment is not something outside you, it is something imposed on the very being of your interiority. You are carrying your prison wherever you go, whatever you do.

People were very angry against Gautam Buddha. It is a strange story that people become accustomed to their slavery too! So much so, that anybody who wants to make them free, it seems to them that he is their enemy.

During the French revolution there was a great jail in France, the biggest jail in the whole country. It was meant only for those who were sentenced for their whole life. So they entered into the jail alive, but they came out only when they were dead.

Their whole lives they had to live in dark cells with heavy chains on their feet, heavy chains on their hands. Even the keys of those jails were immediately thrown into a big well inside the jail, because the doors were not going to be opened: "These people will be out of the jail only when they are dead."

The revolutionaries thought about the jail. There were five thousand people in that jail, and they thought that if they could make all of them free they would be immensely grateful, immensely joyful.

But they were in for a great surprise. People had lived there for ten years, fifteen years, twenty years, thirty years... there was a man who had been there for sixty years! They had become so accustomed to the darkness of the cells that their eyes were no longer capable of coming into the light of the sun, and in a way they had accepted their fate.

They had forgotten that they had wives, they had children, they had parents. They had even forgotten their faces - sixty years, and no hope to see them again. And in a certain way they were comfortable in this utter indignity because they had no worry about food, no worry about clothes, they had no need to work. They had lost all human touch; they had almost become animals.

And then the French revolutionaries forced the door open and pulled the prisoners out into the inner compound. The prisoners said, "We don't want to get free - what will we do in the outside world?

We have forgotten the language. We don't even remember the names of our families, we don't know the address, where they are - whether they are alive or dead. And now at the age of eighty...

sixty years in jail! Why are you unnecessarily torturing us? Where am I going to get my bread...

my food and my clothes and shelter? We are absolutely okay... we need not worry about it." The revolutionaries were not going to listen to them.

Remember one thing: you cannot make anybody forcibly free! That is an impossibility. But that's what the revolutionaries did. They forcibly cut their chains and threw them out against their will, out of the jail. By the evening almost three fourths of the prisoners were back, saying that they wanted to get back into their cells: they didn't have any place to sleep, and they wanted their chains!

That was something absolutely unimaginable. The revolutionaries asked, "Why do you want chains?

We can understand you don't have a place.... You can stay one night, then find some place, but why do you want the chains?"

They said, "Those chains have been with us for so long, they have almost become part of our bodies.

We cannot sleep without them - we miss them! We feel as if we are naked."

It was a strange case but very significant.

When Gautam Buddha said, "appa deepo bhava" - be a light unto yourself - he was trying to take all the slavery, spiritual and religious, from humanity.

People were really angry, so angry that the moment Gautam Buddha died... They could not do anything while he was alive for two reasons: one, he was the son of a king, the heir apparent; he was going to be the emperor. Secondly, because he was royal blood, people were again in the same slave mind and mentality - as if blood is also royal and unroyal.

Yes, there are differences in blood, there are types of blood, but there is no blood which is royal.

You can take a few samples to the medical hospital and ask them which one is royal. There is no scientific way to find royal blood. It is all nonsense, perpetuated for centuries. Blood is blood. But he was "royal blood," and he had become more respected because he had renounced it.

People deep down have always loved it when somebody tortures himself. You have to understand the psychology of it: renunciation is nothing but torture. The man had lived in immense luxury, ultimate comfort, and he renounced it. People have always respected those who choose an uncomfortable life, those who are not forced to be poor and beggars but who have willed that they should remain as a beggar. And when a royal king becomes a beggar of his own choice, he gains respectability.

You have never respected a poor man who renounces his hut and his poverty. That's why you don't have a single Hindu incarnation coming from a poor family. You cannot respect; you will ask, "What have you renounced? In the first place you have nothing to renounce."

The Jainas have not a single tirthankara, not a single prophet amongst their twenty-four who was not a king. And Buddha was also a king. All three religions of this country are from royal families.

And they were respected more than they would have been respected as emperors.

People were not happy with this idea of "becoming a light unto yourself." Nobody wants that responsibility; everybody wants to throw the responsibility on somebody else's shoulders - a savior, a prophet, a messiah. It feels very good - he has taken all your responsibility. Now you have nothing to do, just worship Jesus Christ, worship Rama, Krishna... as if worship is the medicine for all your diseases, as if it is a panacea.

You have been worshipping for thousands of years and you are going down and down in misery.

Every day more darkness, every day more anguish, and you never think that your whole idea of religion may be wrong. That's why you are suffering. Religion is meant to help you to become blissful, but the situation is totally different. Everybody is religious: Hindu, Mohammedan, Jaina, Buddhist, Christian - everybody is religious. But why then is the world suffering so much that thousands of people have to commit suicide just out of misery?

No savior has been of any help; all their promises have proved false. That's what Gautam Buddha is saying - be a light unto yourself. Don't throw the responsibility on anybody else. Take the responsibility, because it is by taking the responsibility on yourself you become mature. Otherwise you will always remain retarded, childish.

The religions who worship a God as father indicate it immediately. Why do you call God "father"?

Psychoanalysts of different schools agree on this point that people are calling God the father just to get rid of the responsibility. They want to remain childish; they don't want to grow up.

Growth means responsibility.

Growth means freedom.

And growth means that whatever happens to you, it is your doing. Neither is your faith against you, nor are your past life's evil acts, karmas, against you, nor is God trying to make a fire test of your trust. All these are bogus excuses! The reality is that you have not tried to change your life, to change your vision, to change your consciousness. You have not taken the realms of your life into your own hands! The only misery is that you are not a master of your own being.

That is the meaning of Gautam Buddha's tremendously significant statement: "Be a light unto yourself." And this statement was given on the last day of his life. His whole life he had been saying that, and this was his last statement too. That means it is the very essence of his religion.

He declared to his disciples, "Now I am ready to leave my body. Do you have anything to ask?" For forty-two years he had been answering their questions and nobody was so inhuman as to ask now, when he was dying.

They said, "We have nothing to ask, you have answered enough. In fact, we have not followed the things that you have said to us."

At that very moment, Ananda, Gautam Buddha's closest disciple and also his elder cousin-brother, started crying. He could not hold back the tears.

Buddha said, "Ananda, what are you doing?"

Ananda said, "Don't stop me. I am not crying for your death, I am crying for my own life! Even after living with you for forty-two years, I am just the same as when I had come to you. I have heard you but I have not listened to you. I have heard you but I have not transformed myself according to it. And now you are going, I am weeping for myself, that here was a man who was reminding me every day and still I remained deaf, stupid. Now I don't know whether in any life I will meet another man of your quality again. And if after forty-two years you could not make me alert to take my responsibility...

"Deep down I have been continuously feeling, 'There is no worry, I am Buddha's closest disciple; he will take care. Whatever he says, that is another matter, but his compassion will take care.' I have befooled myself. Now what am I going to do? With you I have failed; without you how can I succeed?

Now destiny is sealed. I am finished with you. Not only are you dying, but I am also dying. Perhaps I may live a few years, but those will be my posthumous years of life, meaningless, just thinking of all those beautiful moments that I passed with you, reminding myself again and again what you have been saying and that I was not listening."

Buddha said, "These are my last words for you, Ananda: appa deepo bhava, be a light unto yourself.

Don't be discouraged. Because I am dying don't worry about how you can get out of your misery and suffering when you have failed even when you were with me. I know something more than you can understand: perhaps I am the cause of your continuing misery. My death may shock you, may shock you to your very roots. My death may come to you as a blessing in disguise. What you have not been able to achieve because I was with you, you may be able to achieve now that you cannot throw the responsibility on me."

You will be surprised that within just twenty-four hours of Buddha's death, Ananda became enlightened - because Buddha's death was such a tremendous shock. It shattered all his unconscious desires to depend on somebody else. Now that somebody else was no longer there, now there was no way to depend on anybody else, he could not find another Buddha... now he had to take the whole responsibility on himself.

And the miracle happened within twenty-four hours. He did not eat for twenty-four hours, he did not bother to sleep for twenty-four hours - he was intent that the first thing was to become enlightened because, "Who knows about tomorrow? If I go on living I can eat tomorrow, I can sleep tomorrow. I can postpone everything for tomorrow, but not enlightenment. That will be too risky. Forty-two years I have wasted. Now I cannot waste a single minute."

He remained under the same trees where Buddha had died, sitting with closed eyes, for the first time responsible for himself. And that responsibility brings tremendous transformation, because although you had everything that you need, consciousness just needs a shock so you start waking up.

You are living in your slavery very comfortably, and your religions - all religions without exception - are functioning like opium. They are helping you to remain asleep as you are because it is in their favor. All the priests of all the religions are exploiting you because you are not enlightened, because you are not conscious. They have been sucking your blood all over the earth for thousands of years for the simple reason that you are asleep. And they go on giving you ideas, concepts which keep you asleep.

Buddha is an exception. But when he died India took a great revenge on him. It has never taken any revenge so great as it has on Buddha. That proves that that man had completely shattered the whole business of priesthood. He destroyed the whole fabric that the priests had created in the society.

He had made everybody responsible for himself - there was no need for a mediator. And you will not be aware how India took revenge. It was far more dangerous than the Jews crucifying Jesus. Of course it was far more refined, because the Jews were not such refined people, nor was Jesus such a refined revolutionary. They could not encounter Buddha, they could not answer Buddha. What he was saying was so truthful that even those whose vested interests were being destroyed were unable to argue. Many had come to argue with him and had become his disciples.

But when he died India really proved very revengeful in a very ugly way. It destroyed everything that Buddha had left as a legacy.

It is a strange phenomenon that the whole of Asia became Buddhist except India, and it is not just a coincidence. Strange, the man spent his whole life in India, and Buddhism disappeared from India as if it had never happened. Even the temple of Gautam Buddha where he became enlightened, the bodhi tree... And a temple had been built in his memory by the side of the bodhi tree. Hindus cut down the bodhi tree; they could not tolerate it.

The bodhi tree that exists there today is not the one under which Gautam Buddha became enlightened. But it is connected with it because Ashoka sent his daughter Sanghamitra with a branch of that bodhi tree to Ceylon as a present. And Sanghamitra changed the whole of Ceylon - the whole of Ceylon became Buddhist. They were thrilled hearing all that Buddha had said, and that branch was planted and became a big tree. But the original tree - this is just a part of it - the original tree was destroyed by the Hindus. They could not even tolerate the tree.

Buddhism was in every way cut. They destroyed their scriptures, they burned living bhikkhus, they threw out those who remained alive - and that's how it spread all over Asia. People who escaped had to go somewhere. And wherever they went, although they were not Gautam Buddhas, they had some flavor of the man, they had lived with the man. Wherever they were they were respected. They changed the whole of Asia. And the conversion is also immensely important, because this was the only conversion in the whole world which took place without any force, without any violence.

It was not like the Mohammedans who came with the Koran in one hand, and in the other hand the naked sword. Their only logic was the sword. It was not spread like Christianity - they come, Bible in one hand, and bread and butter in the other. They are more commercial. The times have changed:

naked swords won't work. It is a world which understands finance and economics far better.

Buddhism is the only religion which spread all over Asia without forcing anybody or bribing anybody.

It simply gave the message of the man. Every Buddhist scripture begins: "I have heard Gautam Buddha saying this..." because Buddha never wrote anything. So the bhikkhus who wrote every scripture, without exception begin, "I have heard..." But just because they had been so close to Gautam Buddha they carried some vibe of the man and transformed the whole culture of Asia. But from India Buddhism simply disappeared.

There is no reason why such an influential man like Gautam Buddha has not left any impact on the country where he worked for forty-two years. Even the temple in Bodhgaya where he became enlightened has a brahmin priest, because there was not a Buddhist available to become a priest in Buddha's temple. So for centuries, generation after generation, a brahmin family has been in possession of the temple.

Hindu scriptures have done a great job - more murderous than crucifying Jesus Christ. In one of the Hindu scriptures, shivapuran, there is a story I would like you to remember....

The story is, God created the world, and he also created heaven and hell. He gave heaven into somebody's charge, and he gave hell also into somebody's charge. But for centuries nobody entered hell. And the man who was put in charge was getting bored sitting in his office, keeping his register open, but nobody ever came that way. Finally, he got so angry that he went to God and he said, "Why don't you close this, what is the point? I am unnecessarily wasting my life; not a single person has entered there. Everybody comes into heaven and nobody comes into hell."

God promised him, "Don't be worried, I will do something. I will be born as Gautam Buddha, and I will teach wrong things to people so they start committing sins and lose their virtuousness. Then don't come again to me saying that it is too crowded." And since then, hell really has been too crowded.

Do you see the ugliness of the story? So Hindus on the one hand have accepted Gautam Buddha as one of their avataras, incarnations of God, and on the other hand they have cut him from the very roots saying that he is teaching everything wrong, that whoever follows him will go to hell. A very cunning mind - accepting him as the incarnation of God, and still managing not to allow him to influence people and not to allow people to be in contact with him. But it is natural, because the revolution he had brought was too big; it needed a big heart, an open heart to receive the message.

Your question is that Buddha says, "Be a light unto yourself," but still there were Buddhists in his life who were coming to him with folded hands, bowing down to him, saying, "Buddham sharanam gachchhami," I come to the feet of the awakened one; "Sangham sharanam gachchhami," I come to the feet of the commune of the awakened one; "Dhammam sharanam gachchhami," I come to the feet of the ultimate truth of the awakened one. Your problem is that there seems to be a contradiction - there is none.

The person who gives you such total freedom - can't you even be grateful to him? This is nothing but gratefulness. This is just expressing your thankfulness. And when you say, "Buddham sharanam gachchhami," remember it; it is not applicable to Gautam Buddha alone. You are not saying, "I come to the feet of Gautam the Buddha," you are saying, "I come to the feet of the awakened one." There have been many awakened people before Buddha, and there have been many more after him. And in the future, more and more will be coming. Buddha is not a personal name, it is a quality. Buddha's personal name was Siddhartha. We have completely forgotten his personal name.

When Siddhartha - Gautam is his family name - when Siddhartha Gautam became enlightened, Siddhartha, the unconscious, the unenlightened, died. A new man was born with a new identity, and this new man we call Gautam Buddha. We have kept Gautam and dropped Siddhartha for a simple reason, just to remind you that it is the transformation of Siddhartha. So we have kept his family name to remind you that Siddhartha has to die, only then is the buddha born. But there is a link:

Siddhartha becomes the seed and every seed has to die before it sprouts and becomes a tree. It comes out of the seed, but it comes only when the seed dies into the soil and disappears.

To remind you of the connection, we have kept Gautama which is a family name - his father had it, his forefathers had it. It is just to make it clear that this man also belongs to the same family of people but he has gone through a transformation. Siddhartha has died, has become a seed, and now we find a new quality.

So when somebody says, "I go to the feet of the awakened one," it simply means you are going in a deep gratefulness to the quality of awakening, the awakened one, conscious of all the people who have ever awakened and all the people who will be awakened in the future.

That's why Buddha never objected to it - it had nothing to do with him personally. It was something absolutely impersonal. They were talking about the awakening that is not his possession, his monopoly.

So whenever you think to thank, thank the quality, not the man. Be grateful to his transformation, but don't become addicted to his formal body.

There is no contradiction at all. It is a simple fact. The man who gives you so much freedom - are you not going to say just a thankyou to him? Will there be a contradiction?

Question 2:



There is not a big problem. You need not jump out of anything. All your fears are nothing but conditioning. Particularly if you have been brought up by Christian parents, by Christian priests, you are bound to lose self-respect, because the whole of Christianity is based on the idea that you are born in sin. And it is very important to understand what they mean by sin.

The biblical story is that God prohibited Adam and Eve to eat the fruits from two trees in his Garden of Eden. And these two trees were, first, the tree of knowledge, and second, the tree of eternal life.

Now anyone who has a little bit of intelligence can understand a few points about this story which has been made up by the priesthood. The simple reason is that God cannot be such a fool. The Garden of Eden was vast; there were millions of trees. Just to point out two trees to Adam and Eve and tell them not to eat from these two trees - because one is of knowledge and another is of eternal life - is psychologically stupid. If he had not said this we would not have been here. We would have been in the Garden of Eden, still searching in those millions of trees.

It is a simple psychological fact that if you say to somebody, "Don't do it," the thing that you are trying to prevent becomes so significant... knowledge, eternal life. Adam and Eve would have been absolute idiots if they had followed God. God wanted them just to go on eating grass, and had prohibited the real things.

In the first place a father cannot prohibit his children from becoming wise. He would love them to become wiser and wiser. He would love that they attain eternal life.

In the first place God is committing the sin against his own children. And if they disobeyed - and I think they did perfectly right - it is because of them that man has so much knowledge, so much science, so much technology. But they were caught before they reached the second tree. They could not eat from the second tree.

The story says it was the Devil who persuaded Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge and the tree of life. And the reason he gave seems to be more compassionate than the order of the so-called God. The reason he gave is, "You have been prohibited because God is very jealous of someone becoming knowledgeable, because then he will almost be a God himself. God is afraid that you will become like God! He is afraid that if you attain to eternal life then nothing can be done to you - you cannot be punished, you cannot be killed. Then you are absolutely a God!"

The reasoning is perfectly right. The order from God was absolutely wrong. In fact he should have pointed to these two trees and said, "You go and eat them because I would love my children to be just like myself."

If the biblical story is true, then all worship of the Christian God should be stopped, because he behaved like a very jealous man. Even a jealous man will not be jealous with his own children. Even a jealous man would like his children to live forever. Even a jealous, ordinary human being would like his children to be wiser than himself. He may be jealous of others, but not of his own children.

An uneducated father tries hard, works hard so that his children can go to the university. But "God the father" behaved in such an unfatherly way and in such ungodly way. There was no need for any devil to persuade, his order would have been enough to provoke a challenge in Adam and Eve:

"These are the two trees you should not forget. And the sooner you eat them the better."

But they could only eat from one tree and then they were thrown out of the Garden of Eden, because they had sinned. According to Christianity, disobedience is sin. A logic without any support has been stretched so long that, although Adam and Eve committed the sin of disobedience, humanity will suffer for it forever and forever because you are born of that first couple; everybody is of the same blood.

Thousands of years have passed, but still you are born in sin. Christianity makes everybody guilty! And the moment you feel guilty you lose self-respect. In place of self-respect you have self-condemnation - you feel guilty.

This is the greatest damage that any religion has done to humanity: to create guilt. The guilty person starts having a very strange life. He is always afraid.

That's why you always feel fear. A guilty person is afraid in the same way. If you have been a thief then you are always afraid of everybody - that you may be caught.

I used to play a game when I was a student in the university....

Whenever I traveled on a train and the ticket checker came I would pretend to be very nervous. That made him directly come to me, "Because you are nervous that means you don't have the ticket."

And when I showed him the ticket he would say, "That is strange, then why are you behaving so nervously?"

I would say, "I am simply always trying experiments. I wanted to see how you would react. It is not always true that a person who is nervous... don't get onto him immediately."

He would say, "This is the first time that I have been proved wrong; usually only ticketless people become nervous."

If you have been trained from the very beginning with the idea of sin, guilt, self-condemnation, then everything has been poisoned. You cannot love anybody, because you cannot love even yourself.

And the person who cannot love himself is absolutely incapable of loving anybody else.

You are so much afraid that you cannot trust anybody. Your fear won't allow you to trust. Who knows, the other person may take advantage of your trust, may deceive you, may cheat you. But if you don't trust anybody you won't have any friends. In a vast world, living without a lover, living without friendship, moving around always afraid of hell because Adam and Eve did something for which you are not at all responsible... YOU had not suggested it to them. You don't know at all when they existed, whether they existed, or if it is just a parable.

You will start getting into this psychological paranoia, and the difficulty of many is that once you get a certain idea settled in your mind then you will find every reason to prove it right. The world is full of reasons. Once you get the idea, then you will find all the reasoning, rationalization to support it.

I have heard about a madman....

He had got the idea that he was dead. Madmen can get any kind of idea. His family was puzzled what to do with the man because he wouldn't go to the shop. He would say, "I am dead. Don't you understand? Dead people don't go to the market, don't run to the shops."

They tried thousands of ways: "You are not dead; you are not even sick!"

But he said, "That absolutely proves that I'm dead, because only dead people never get sick. If you are alive, sometimes you get sick, but look at me - years come and go, I am never sick. That simply proves what I'm saying. You don't understand, but I'm dead. Have you ever heard about any dead person getting sick?"

The family was at a loss what to do with this man. Finally, they brought the man to a psychoanalyst and asked, "Will you help us? He has got a strange idea that he is dead."

The psychoanalyst said, "Don't be worried, I have treated many people for all kinds of ideas. I will settle him."

He tried arguing, but he found the man really was difficult because he turned each argument in such a way that it proved him dead. Finally, getting angry at the man, he took hold of his hand and asked him, "Just tell me, if a dead man's body is cut by a knife will it bleed or not?"

He said, "I have never experimented. And how can I experiment, I am dead? While I used to be alive I have heard such a thing, but it is only hearsay. I have no personal experience of it." The psychoanalyst pulled him to the side where there was a full-length mirror, took a knife, cut his hand, and blood came out of the hand. He showed him, "Look, this is your hand. You can look in the mirror... the blood is coming out. Can you see?"

He said, "Perfectly. The blood is coming out. That means that the idea that dead men don't bleed is wrong. They do bleed."

Once you get an idea, you go on supporting it with all kinds of personal reasons.

There is no need to jump, because that means you still believe there is something surrounding you that you have to jump out of. There is nothing! It is simple conditioning. You don't have to jump out of it, you have simply to understand that unfortunately you are born into a Christian family, that in this world the situation is that nobody is fortunately born. There is no choice available. I am trying my best to create a choice, where somebody can say with pride that he is born out of parents who have not burdened him with any conditioning. But right now there exists no such thing. Everybody is part of some conditioning.

I will tell you my own experience, then it will be easier to understand. Up to the age of sixteen I had never eaten in the night, because Jainas don't eat in the night. It is simply not done. By the evening, as the sun sets, if anything is left over it is given to the beggars. Nothing is left in the kitchen. There is no question of eating anything. You cannot even mention that you are hungry; that is sin. In the night if you are hungry you should be ashamed of yourself. So up to the age of sixteen I had never eaten anything in the night.

At that time a group of the students in my class was going to a beautiful castle for a holiday and a geographical tour. There was such a beautiful old castle, and everyone was so much interested in exploring the whole of it because it had so many beautiful points they had never seen before. And nobody was in a hurry for food. I inquired once or twice, "What about preparing some food?"

But they said, "Food will be prepared after the sun sets. Right now nobody is willing... there is light and we want to explore more, to go to all the gates, to go to the basement, to see everything."

Naturally, I was alone and I could not cook food, I had never done it - I cannot even prepare a cup of tea! I was hungry, but I waited. But the real trouble was that after sunset how was I going to eat?

My whole conditioning of sixteen years was there, that it is better not to eat, to remain hungry - you cannot die in one day. It takes ninety days for a healthy person to die if he does not eat - ninety days he has to fast and wait.

So it was only a question of one day. I could manage, but the hunger was too much. The whole day on the mountain and the mountain air - and I was feeling immensely hungry. My stomach was almost hurting, so how could I sleep? I knew that I would not die, but I would not sleep either.

And then my friends started cooking food. And the very smells of their food - I had never thought that food could smell so beautiful. That day I knew that to smell food you need to be hungry. I was always overfed, so there was no question... And they were cooking very simple things. Then they all persuaded me saying, "We promise you we will not tell your family."

I said, "It is not a question of the family, it is a question of falling into hell. You will not tell my family, I will not tell my family, but the question is how I am to avoid hell - because this is what I have been told: eating in the night is a sure guarantee to fall into hell."

They argued, but more persuasive than their argument was their food and its smell.

They said, "Can't you see that ninety persons are eating it? Do you think we are all going to fall into hell? The whole world eats in the night except for three million Jainas in India. Five billion people in the world - they are all going to hell?"

I said, "Your argument is correct."

And they said, "In any case, if we are going to hell, wouldn't you like to be with us?"

I said, "I would love to."

And finally, I ate the food. The food was delicious, but I was eating it against my conditioning - I immediately vomited. I could not manage to keep it in. And I thought I could sleep because I had eaten, but the whole night I was vomiting till all the food was thrown out. Only late, at four o'clock, could I go to sleep.

Naturally, I was absolutely convinced that Jainism was right. I had already visited hell - the whole night vomiting. I had already been punished enough.

And when I told my family, they said, "You can see for yourself, there is no need to argue with you.

You suffered, and we had told you never to eat in the night."

But none of the ninety students vomited or anything. They were sleeping perfectly well - tired and full of good food. I was the only one who was suffering. And it was not the food, it was the conditioning.

So you don't have to get out of the fear, out of the self-condemnation and guilt. All that you have to understand is that these are thoughts given to you by others. They don't belong to you, they are forced upon you. The very insight that they are forced upon you, and you will find a tremendous freedom coming out of the insight. They are gone, because they are only thoughts. There is not a real brick wall that you have to jump out of. If you try to jump out, that means you still believe in the wall.

I have heard about another psychoanalyst who was treating a man, a professor....

He had got this idea that strange creatures, small creatures were continuously crawling all over his body, and he was throwing them this way and that way. He could not teach, because most of the time those creatures... nobody could see those creatures.

He was told by the principal, "Nobody can see those creatures."

He said, "That is one of the strangest things about them, they are invisible creatures. But I can see them."

He was brought to a psychoanalyst. The psychoanalyst tried to convince him, "There are no creatures, nothing; you are perfectly healthy and I don't see anything on you."

But he was not listening, he kept throwing them away. In this way three months passed, and two times every week he had a session with the psychoanalyst.

But he said, "Your sessions are not helping, the creatures are growing. They are giving birth to new children, new kids. The whole body... day and night. I cannot sleep, I cannot eat because they go on crawling in my food."

The psychoanalyst and the man had become friends in those three months. The man was also a professor of psychology, so there was a professional relationship and the psychoanalyst was not taking any money from him.

Today he was trying his best to persuade the man, so he had pulled his chair by his side... and the man was throwing the creatures away. And suddenly something happened....

The psychoanalyst said, "Stop it, you are throwing those strange creatures on me, and I am not even taking money from you! You can't do that. Last night I saw those creatures. Three months with you have destroyed my mind. I know they don't exist, but who knows? Now I have started to see them. So you sit a little farther away and throw them carefully. You are not supposed to throw them on me - otherwise no sessions anymore! Last night my wife was very angry when I started throwing them. She said, 'You stop this business of psychoanalysis, because living with all those mad people one finally gets convinced. For three months you have been persuading somebody - and nothing, no effect. And the man is so certain of his creatures. His certainty, his authority... naturally, you start thinking deep down that perhaps he may be right, who knows?'"

You don't have to jump out of the wall, because there is no wall. You have not to jump out of these things, you have simply to understand that this is a conditioning given by your family to you, by your atmosphere, surroundings, preachers. They have made you disrespectful of yourself, self- condemnatory. Without saying so they have deprived you of loving anybody. But a person who is filled with condemnation for himself, herself, is not capable of having a loving relationship with anybody. He cannot forgive himself. How can he forgive others? He knows he is a sinner - others also are sinners. He knows he is a hypocrite, he is trying to hide everything within himself. That's what everybody else is doing.

You cannot have friends, you will feel full of fear about what is going to happen to you. Your life is running out of your hands. And all these conditionings will become more and more strong, because you will find rationalizations for them every day. Any mistake you commit, you will immediately say, "This is how I am."

To err is human. There is nothing much to it; it is not a sin to commit a mistake. Just don't commit it again and again - that is stupid. You commit a mistake once, then learn about it that it is a mistake.

In that way every mistake becomes a stepping-stone towards being more and more wise.

But with your ideology every mistake will become a sin. In fact, the conditionings are so powerful that even if you can do something right you will not do it for the simple reason, how can you do it right? You are such a sinner, so self-condemned, you cannot go against your conditioning and do something right. You will do something wrong and you will feel satisfied, because your conditioning is satisfied. But that conditioning is poisonous.

So just see it - that it is not your doing, it is your parents, it is your society, it is your priests who have done it. And why should you suffer for their doing? You simply should undo it in a single moment of insight - not slowly, not tomorrow - because it is possible to finish all your conditioning this very moment. And when you go out of this hall you can go without your conditioning. There is no need to be worried that somebody else may get caught with your conditioning, poor fellow. Nobody will be caught in your conditioning.

Conditioning has no substance, it is just a continuous hammering of thoughts on the mind. Any thought can be made a reality, you just go on enforcing in every possible way and it becomes a reality - but you will be living in a hallucination.

Adolf Hitler in his autobiography says, "If you go on telling a lie continuously, emphatically, with authority, soon it will become a truth." And he proved it. He started saying to people that the whole misery of the German nation, its defeat in the first world war, its economical depression... all its suffering was because of the Jews. Now this is so absurd. There is no relationship between the two.

It is almost as if somebody comes and says, "All your misery, all your poverty is because of bicycles."

The Jews had nothing to do with it. In fact, Jews are very productive, very intelligent people. They were the richest people in Germany. They had all the wealth, they had all the intelligence - they were the very pride of the nation.

You will be surprised that although the Jews are a very small race compared to others, they get forty percent of all the Nobel Prizes. It is absolutely unbelievable. This whole century is dominated by Jewish thinking: Karl Marx was a Jew, Sigmund Freud was a Jew, Albert Einstein was a Jew. These three people have made this whole century; their impact is tremendous.

At first people laughed, just the way you would laugh at bicycles... But Hitler did not bother about their laughter. He went on speaking - and he was not a speaker like me who is just talking heart to heart to you. He would beat the table and he would shout and he would do every kind of action - he was half mad! But he impressed people, because if a person speaks with such authority he must know something. And he and his followers continued to say that it was the Jews, because the Nordics, Germans, are the purest blood, the purest Aryan blood in the world, and Jews have "contaminated" it: "These Jews should be destroyed. Once we are finished with Jews, Germany will come up and rule the whole world."

Slowly, slowly people started believing him. It just takes time. And all that you believe is nothing but a lie repeated for thousands of years.

How do you know that somebody is a brahmin? How do you know that somebody is a sudra?

How do you know that somebody is a vaishya or somebody is a kshatriya? And the sudra cannot move upwards, and the brahmin is at the top... what makes you think that? I have seen very idiotic brahmins, and I have seen very intelligent sudras.

Doctor Ambedkar was a sudra, and he wrote the constitution of India. They could not find a brahmin who was more intelligent, who knew all the constitutions of the world. He was the best man to do the job, but he was a sudra.

It was just an accident that somebody found that the boy was intelligent and helped him to go to England and to study there. Here, at that time, it was not possible for a sudra to go to a school or to a university. And when Ambedkar came back, he was almost an international figure as far as law is concerned. His expertise was perfect.

He was not a Gandhian; he was against Gandhi. The people who were in power were Gandhians.

They were all high-class Hindus. Jawaharlal Nehru was a brahmin. Still, they chose an anti- Gandhian, a sudra, Doctor Ambedkar, to write India's constitution.

So it is simply just an idea that has been perpetuated for five thousand years that society is divided into four castes. The caste is by birth, not by action! But the whole of India believes in it, even people like the great philosopher Adi Shankara, who founded an order of sannyasins. He is the most influential man Hindus have ever produced.

He was in Varanasi, and while he was taking a bath, coming up the steps, a sudra touched him.

He asked him, "Who are you?"

He said, "Forgive me, I am a sudra."

And Shankara, who was teaching peace and love and compassion, forgot all philosophy and all the vedanta - which was teaching that the same God is in everyone. He forgot all about that. He was very angry and told the sudra, "You will fall into the seventh hell. You have disturbed me. And don't you know who I am? Be careful never to disturb any brahmin. Now I will have to take another bath."

The sudra said, "Wait a minute before you take the bath. I want to know one thing: is my body sudra or my soul too?"

Shankara had never thought that a sudra could discuss such philosophical matters. But when he had raised the question it had to be answered. And Shankara was in a difficulty - he had never been in such a difficulty. He had encountered all the great masters and teachers and had been victorious in thousands of debates all over India, but he was defeated by a sudra on the steps near the Ganges in Varanasi. Nobody talks about it, but he thought for a moment about what to say.

Bodies - everybody's body is made of the same elements. What speciality has the brahmin's body?

The sudra was asking very significant questions. And what is the difference between the body of a sudra and a brahmin? So it must be the soul that is sudra....

"So you tell me, who has touched you, my soul or my body? And if the soul is sudra then what happened about your Brahma, the absolute, who is in everybody else - all over the world, in animals, in trees, in stones. You can accept it in stones and you cannot accept it in a living human being.

Who has touched you?

"If my inside is also part of Brahma, part of God, part of divineness, then there is no need to have another bath. And if you think my body is untouchable, then please prove to me what speciality you have got in your body."

This was the first time Shankara had to accept that he was wrong to get angry.

The sudra said, "Then simply go on your way, you cannot take another bath."

Nobody is lower, nobody is higher, but if for thousands of years... Manu has been the cause of the whole calamity. He preached these four castes, and they are still being followed. And even the sudra believes in them, it is not only the brahmin who believes in them.

I have been trying to convince sudras who used to come to see me: "You can come and sit on a chair."

They would say, "No."

They would sit just by the door, outside on the steps: "We are sudras, we cannot come in."

Even they have become convinced. If the brahmin is convinced one can understand, because he is gaining superiority by the conviction. But what is the sudra gaining?

In one place they were celebrating the birthday of a great saint, Raidas, who was a shoemaker, a chamar. I was just visiting there, so I said, "I will also be coming."

But they said, "No, how can you come there? Only sudras will be there."

But I insisted. The family I was staying with said, "It is creating trouble for us. If you go we have to go with you. You are our guest and we cannot let you go alone. We don't want to go there because if somebody sees that we are mixing with sudras, our whole life will be ruined!"

I said, "You don't need to come with me. I am going there."

But you will be surprised, the sudras wouldn't allow me to enter the area. They said, "No. We are sudras and we cannot commit this sin of bringing you down amongst ourselves. No, God will never forgive us."

I said, "This is strange."

They are so convinced. It is a lie, because in the whole world there is no caste system except in the Hindu world. So it is not something natural.

Abraham Lincoln was a son of a chamar, a shoemaker, and he could become the president of America - one of the greatest presidents ever. When he gave his first address in the American parliament, just to insult him somebody stood up - a very rich man - and said, "Don't forget that your father used to make shoes for our family."

Abraham Lincoln's answer is worth remembering. He said, "I will never forget, and I am grateful that you reminded me because I want to declare to the whole nation, through the parliament, that my father was a perfect shoemaker, and I am not going to be that perfect a president. It is a question of perfection. I know my father and I want to ask you, do you have any complaint against my father's shoes? Then I can come and repair them, because I have learned from my father the art of making shoes."

Lincoln was not offended. Instead, the man looked foolish. On the contrary, Abraham Lincoln was very proud that his father was a perfect shoemaker: "While he was alive there was nobody else who could compete with him. Whatever he made, he made so perfect. He used to ask us, 'Can you find anything wrong?' We were never able to find anything wrong with his shoes. I am afraid that I will not be that perfect a president. My father still remains higher than me, and I don't feel that I will ever be able to surpass him."

The whole world is without a caste system, so it is simply a conditioning. You have just to see that you have been misguided, and in that very seeing, things start slipping away.

You don't have to jump out of them, they will simply flee away from you and you will feel a great freedom. Your fear will become love, your disrespect for yourself will become an immense love for yourself and for others.

The last question?

Question 3:





No, it is immensely moral. It is the only morality there is - to be a pagan, to squeeze every drop of juice of every moment in life; to be a child, innocent, again running after butterflies, collecting seashells on the beach, colored stones... seeing the beauty of existence which surrounds you, allowing yourself to love and be loved.

Love is the beginning of religion.

And love is also the end of religion.

And a religious person is always young. Even when he is dying he is young. Even in his death he is full of joy, full of dance, full of song.

I teach you to be pagans and I teach you to have the innocence of children. I teach you to know the wonder and the mystery of existence - not to analyze it but to enjoy it, not to make a theory out of it but to make a dance out of it.

The whole existence is dancing, except men. They have become a big graveyard.

I am calling you to come out of your graves.

No, it is not immoral. All the religions will say it is, but all those religions are wrong. Whoever says this is immoral is just against humanity, against existence, against joy, against bliss, against everything that leads to godliness.

I am all for it.

Okay, Maneesha?

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