The guest always comes; its coming is certain. The bell also rings. The door is also always opened, without fail.
But the moment you open the door, you are not there. Existence is, being is, but you are not. The way you have known yourself up to now is no longer there, and what is there cannot be named, cannot be defined. It is all and everything... it is the very essence of existence.
You will not be there as you think yourself to be.
If you are there, then the guest cannot enter in.
In fact, the guest can come only when it becomes a certainty that you are ready to disappear. Your disappearance is the appearance of that which you have been seeking all along. This is a paradox:
when the sought is found, the seeker is lost.
There are these words of Jesus - in some sense significant, but in a very much deeper way, not right. He says, "Seek, and ye shall find" - just a small sentence, "Seek, and ye shall find" - and every word is wrong, because if seeking continues, there is desire, there is longing. Seeking must stop, must disappear. "Seek, and ye shall find it." You cannot find it; it will be found, but you cannot be the finder.
And it is the same with the other sentences that follow. They are beautiful sentences, very poetic - "Ask, and it shall be given to you" - but every word is wrong. Unless you stop asking, nothing can be given to you. Ask, and you will go on missing; stop asking, and it is there. It has always been there - you could not see it because your eyes were so full of asking. "Ask, and it shall be given to you" - again, to YOU? To you, nothing is possible; you are the barrier, you are the hindrance. You have to dissolve into the whole, just like a dewdrop disappears in the ocean.
And the third sentence is also beautiful: "Knock, and the door shall be opened unto you." But all the words are wrong. You are not to knock; even that much effort on your part will not allow you to be totally relaxed. And the door is not closed, so there is no need to knock. If you are knocking, it must be before a wall, not before a door. The door of the divine is always open; you just go on knocking here and there.
"Knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Who is there to open it? There is no God; that there is a God is presumably the idea behind Jesus' sentence. But there is no one to open it - and particularly to you. If you are not, you suddenly find yourself at the door. And the door is open; it has always been open, so that you will not come and find it closed.
Existence is infinitely compassionate. Its doors cannot be closed; you are always welcome. But remember, when you come close to the door, take your shoes off, and with those shoes leave your idea of yourself also. Just enter as an innocent, just-born child, without any name.
These three sentences are beautiful, some of the best in the whole New Testament. But looked at through the experience of enlightenment, poetry is not the thing; it has to be reality.
So everything is right, just you are wrong. And the whole effort is to bring a state of being in you where you can say, "I am not." Logically, you cannot use that sentence "I am not," because who is denying? But existentially you can understand. There are moments when you are not and still you are. A beautiful sunset, a sky full of stars... for a moment you forget that you are, although you are, but in a totally new way - fresh, new, reborn.
Our whole education is so ugly, our whole upbringing is so wrong, that it takes away every possibility of your inner growth and gives you stupid ideas which have no relevance as far as your joy, your understanding and your maturity are concerned.
Every child is being told, in thousands of ways, to criticize himself, so this is not only your problem.
He is always told he is wrong in everything. Slowly, slowly he catches the disease of criticizing himself. And a person who criticizes himself cannot forgive others. How can he forgive? - for the same reasons, he criticizes others. His whole life simply becomes a condemnation - condemn yourself, condemn others. Then love becomes impossible, friendship becomes impossible, and he simply suffers. And what he is criticizing is so absurd.
A young boy came running fast into the house, went directly into the kitchen and said to his mother, "My God! It must be God's mercy that I am saved. A lion was following me from the school to the house. He is standing outside."
The mother said, "How many millions of times have I told you not to exaggerate?" She is saying, "How many millions of times have I told you not to exaggerate? Where can you find a lion in the city?"
The boy said, "Perhaps out of fear it looked big. But it is certainly a very dangerous dog."
The mother said, "Now you are coming to your senses. If it was dangerous you would not have been here."
He said, "That's true. In fact, it is a small dog." But the child made the comment, "I was exaggerating, and that is wrong. What about you? You said, 'How many millions of times have you told me....' "
I was staying in Calcutta in a friend's house from where I was going to a conference. I was sitting with him in the car and we were waiting for his wife. He was honking the horn. She came very angrily to the window and said, "I have told you a thousand times that I am coming in a minute!"
I said to my friend, "This is something - a miracle. She has told you a thousand times that she is coming in a minute. In fact, in a minute, one cannot say it a thousand times. And she has again disappeared into the bathroom."
The man said, "You don't know how she exaggerates. And the disease has caught me too. Once in a while, I suddenly become aware that I am exaggerating and it is just my wife...."
Parents are doing everything for which they are criticizing the child. And he is watching - and his watchfulness is far more clear. His intelligence is still growing; he can see that the same thing for which he is wrong, the parents are right. They are watching television late into the night - they are right - and he should go to sleep before nine o'clock. Slowly, slowly he gets accustomed to these things and starts feeling, "Somehow I am wrong. Everything I do is wrong."
I once asked my father, "Will you tell me some time, some day, just once, 'What you are doing is right'? Can't you see that it is impossible to do everything wrong for twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year... everything wrong? If it is true, I am really accomplishing something miraculous. Just make an exception - just one time say to me, 'What you are doing is right.' "
He was shocked because he understood the meaning of what I was saying, that it is impossible that I could be doing everything wrong.
But parents enjoy the idea because it is very fulfilling: it is the lust for power. Whenever you say to somebody, "No," whenever you say to somebody, "You are wrong," you feel powerful. It feeds your ego and it feeds the ego of everybody - the teachers, the neighbors. Wherever the child goes, everybody is enjoying the lust for power, and the child is crushed. And when so many people are saying that he is wrong, naturally he has to believe it.
But remember, as a reaction, he starts judging others. When everybody else is judging him, there is no reason why he should not judge others. You are teaching him to judge, to judge everybody - and as much as possible to judge negatively. So he starts judging that others are wrong.
And this is our world - where everybody is judging himself as wrong and judging everybody else as wrong. How can you be loving, friendly, trusting? How can you open your heart? You will be isolated, you will be completely closed, you will live in a world which you condemn and the world will condemn you.
It is not a beautiful situation, but you have to understand: asking me, "How to open my heart?" is not the real question. The real question is how you managed to close it.
Whatever you are doing, if you like doing it, do it. There is no question of judgment; nobody else has the right to say that what you are doing is wrong. If you enjoy it, you are not harming anybody, you are not disturbing anybody... but it is a strange world.
From my childhood I have always loved to just sit in a corner silently. Everybody who would pass by would say, "What are you doing?"
I would say, "Nothing."
And everybody would say, "This is not good."
I said, "This is strange: I am doing nothing, doing no harm to anybody - just sitting silently in this corner - and you say, 'This is not right.' It seems it has just become your habit to condemn, to criticize. But I am enjoying sitting here doing nothing, and I am going to continue it in spite of your judgment. I have not asked for your advice, and to give advice unasked for is unwise."
Slowly, slowly one has to assert oneself, to make one's point clear. Unless I trespass on somebody else's rights - if I am doing something which I am enjoying and I don't see it as harmful in any way - then I will not allow anybody to judge me, because it is not only a question of this act, it is a question of my whole life. You are teaching me a very subtle disease of judging. And when I condemn myself, how can I leave anybody else uncondemned?
It is said that Mulla Nasruddin used to come to his house, and every day there was trouble. His wife was suspicious - as all wives are - that he was having an affair with some other woman, because going out of the house he looked so happy and went so fast; coming home he looked sad. Certainly there was something outside the house which attracted him. So when he used to put his coat on the hanger, she would look on his coat, on his shirt, to see if she could find any hair or anything else to prove that he had been with some other woman.
One day - for seven days she had been searching and she could not find a single hair - on the seventh day, she burst out crying, screaming, "This is too much. Now you have started going with bald women!"
Now, it is very difficult to find a bald woman - almost impossible. I have seen only one woman who was semi-bald, not bald. But for seven days, no hair? The conclusion is clear, that he has fallen so low that he is now going with bald women. "Can't you find a woman with hair?"
If a husband is sitting silently, then the wife is angry. If he is reading the newspaper, the wife is angry; she will snatch the newspaper and say, "I am here and you are reading the newspaper as if I don't exist."
Everybody is so miserable that he wants to find some reason somewhere to explain to himself why he is miserable, why she is miserable. And the society has given you a good strategy: judge.
First, naturally, you judge yourself in every way. No man is perfect, and no man can ever be perfect - perfection does not exist - so judgment is very easy. You are imperfect, so there are things which show your imperfection. And then you are angry, angry with yourself, angry with the whole world:
"Why am I not perfect?"
Then you look with only one idea - to find imperfection in everybody. And then you want to open your heart - naturally, because unless you open your heart, there is no celebration in your life; your life is almost dead. But you cannot do it directly; you will have to destroy all this upbringing from the very roots.
So the first thing is, stop judging yourself. Instead of judging, start accepting yourself with all your imperfections, all your frailties, all your mistakes, all your failures. Don't ask yourself to be perfect.
That is simply asking for something impossible, and then you will feel frustrated. You are a human being after all.
Just look at the animals, at the birds; nobody is worried, nobody is sad, nobody is frustrated. You don't see a buffalo freaking out. He is perfectly contented chewing the same grass every day. He is almost enlightened. There is no tension; there is a tremendous harmony with nature, with himself, with everything as it is. Buffaloes don't make parties to revolutionize the world, to change buffaloes into super buffaloes, to make buffaloes religious, virtuous. No animal is concerned at all with human ideas.
And they all must be laughing: "What has happened to you? Why can't you be just yourself as you are? What is the need to be somebody else?"
So the first thing is a deep acceptance of yourself.
I was constantly asked by my teachers, "Don't you ever feel that you are mischievous?"
I said, "I am perfectly contented. This is the way I am, and I don't want to be anybody else."
They said, "This is strange because things that you do must make you feel guilty."
I said, "For what?"
One of my teachers was constantly talking about fearlessness - that he was a man of fearlessness, that he could go in the darkest night into the thickest forest. Listening to him again and again I said, "I am suspicious - because you are talking so much about your fearlessness. And what fearlessness is this, going into the dark night, into the thickest forest? This is not great bravery. My feeling is that you are a perfect coward."
He was very angry; he said, "You will have to prove it."
I said, "I will prove it. When I say it, it means I will prove it." And I could immediately see that he started perspiring.
That night I proved it. He used to live in a small house with mud tiles on it - I knew where he used to sleep - so I just went on top of the house, removed one tile, and I dropped a fake rubber snake tied to a rope, slowly, slowly, until it touched his face.
Once or twice he threw it off, and again and again the snake came back. Then he opened his eyes, half asleep in the middle of the night... and a long snake and the face just... and he screamed. I have never heard such a scream; that was a real primal scream. I had to take my snake and run away.
Next day he came to class, but his legs were still trembling; the fear of the snake touching his face....
He started teaching and I said, "First things first."
He said, "What first things?"
I said, "What about last night? You wanted something to be proved."
He said, "So you were behind it?"
I said, "I was not behind it, I was just watching what the snake was doing to you."
He said, "You were there?"
I said, "I know the whole story; you cannot hide it. I even know about your scream which woke up the whole neighborhood; everybody knows."
"But," he said, "you are saying it so definitely - because they must have heard a scream; but when they all came in, the snake had gone. We saw that one tile was removed, so the snake must have got away."
I said, "You are right: that was the place from where it came and through where it got out. And if you really want the proof...." I pulled out the snake from my bag and I showed him that this is the snake.
"You are such a fearless man, and this is only a rubber snake. And it just touched your face - two, three times, not much - and such a scream came out of you. I was not expecting that it would create so much fear in you."
He was so ashamed that that very evening he resigned and escaped from town, because everybody was asking him, "What happened with the snake? Was it real? - because somebody said that it was just a rubber snake and that some boy in your class had accepted your challenge." The whole town was talking, and it became so difficult for him that he escaped.
He met me ten years later on a railway station. He tried not to recognize me. I said, "Don't try not to recognize me because I still have the snake in my bag. I have been in search of you for ten years. I have been keeping it with me. Where have you been for ten years?"
He said, "Talk silently. Don't speak so loudly, because in this small place I have become a teacher and I don't want the same story to be spread here. And why have you come here?"
I said, "I have not come here, I'm just passing through by train, and the train is waiting for some other train to pass by. Seeing you, I got out. But what about your fearlessness?"
He said, "I have dropped the idea. One good thing you did was to make me free of a false idea that I am fearless. You made it clear to me that it is my fear that I am repressing with the idea of fearlessness. I was angry with you, but now I feel grateful. You did well."
I said, "I enjoyed it enough. I don't need any gratitude, any thankfulness from you."
He also asked, "Don't you feel sometimes that you are doing things that are not right?"
I said, "I have never felt that. I simply do things which I like. In this short life, who is going to bother and waste time wondering whether it is right or not? I just do not harm anybody. I did not harm you.
That scream that escaped from you was good; it must have cleansed your whole being. It must have taken much of the rubbish from inside you with it."
I have never judged, so I don't exactly know the experience. When you say that you judge yourself, it is borrowed. People have judged you, and you have accepted their idea without any scrutiny. You are suffering from all kinds of people's judgments, and you are throwing those judgments on other people. And this game has grown all out of proportion; the whole of humanity is suffering from it.
If you want to get out of it, the first thing is: don't judge yourself. Accept humbly your imperfection, your failures, your mistakes, your frailties. There is no need to pretend otherwise. Just be yourself:
"This is how I am, full of fear. I cannot go into the dark night, I cannot go into the thick forest." What is wrong in it? - it is just human.
Once you accept yourself, you will be able to accept others because you will have a clear insight that they are suffering from the same disease. And your accepting of them will help them to accept themselves.
We can reverse the whole process: accept yourself. That makes you capable of accepting others.
And because somebody accepts them, they learn the beauty of acceptance for the first time - how peaceful it feels - and they start accepting others.
If the whole humanity comes to a point where everybody is accepted as he is, almost ninety percent of misery will simply disappear - it has no foundation - and your hearts will open of their own accord and your love will be flowing.
Right now, how can you love? When you see so many wrongs, so many weaknesses, how can you love? You want somebody perfect. Nobody is perfect, so you have to accept a state of no-love, or accept that it doesn't matter whether somebody is imperfect. Love can be shared, shared with all kinds of people. Don't make demands.
Judgment is ugly; it hurts people. On the one hand, you go on hurting, wounding them, and on the other hand, you want their love, their respect. It is impossible.
Love them, respect them, and perhaps your love and respect may help them to change many of their weaknesses, many of their failures - because love will give them a new energy, a new meaning, a new strength. Love will give them new roots to stand against strong winds, a hot sun, heavy rains.
If just a single person loves you, it makes you so strong that you cannot imagine it. But if nobody loves you in this vast world, you are just isolated; then you think you are free, but you are living in an isolation cell in a jail. It is just that the isolation cell is invisible; you carry it with you.
The heart will open by itself. Don't be worried about the heart. Just do the primary spade work.
You are not going crazy, Maneesha - because you are already crazy. But to be crazy here with me is to taste sanity for the first time.
It is true that there is a paradox. You can feel at the same time in my presence, the intensity, the depth of the present moment, of the herenow, and - very illogically - the essential, the eternal, which has always been and always will be. But the paradox is only apparent - all paradoxes are only apparent - because to be here and now is the door to eternity.
To experience this moment is to experience, at the same time, all that has been and all that will be, because this moment contains both. It contains the whole past, because where will the past go? - it goes on and on entering into the present moment. And it contains the whole future, because from where will the future come? - it will grow from this moment, from the next moment and the next moment and from the whole eternity.
The present moment is a seed which has all the trees of the past... generations and generations of trees. This seed has not come from nowhere, it has come from a tree. That tree had come from another seed, that seed had come from another tree. If you go backwards, the seed will take you to the very beginnings - if there were any beginnings.
It has been forever here.
And this seed also contains the future trees. From this seed will grow a new tree, and from that tree will grow thousands of seeds and thousands of trees. A single seed can make the whole earth green... or, it can even be said that it can make the whole universe green. So much is contained in a small seed.
This present moment is a seed of time.
It is invisible. That's why we don't know what it contains.
It contains the whole past; it contains the whole future. That's why I insist: Don't think of the past, don't think of the future. Just remain in the present moment, and the whole past is yours and the whole future is yours.
Because of this paradox you feel in my presence as if you are seeing me for the first time; and when you saw me for the first time, years before, you had the feeling as if you had always known me. But it is an extension of the same paradox; it is not different.
We are always seeing each other for the first time, and we have known each other forever - because change is the only unchanging reality in existence... and particularly with a man like me, who does not live logically, who has no respect for any logic, who never bothers about whether this statement will contradict some other statement. In fact, I don't remember which statements I have made before, so it is very easy for me: each statement is fresh, and I don't compare it.
So you may have listened to me for years, but still you will find me fresh, for the simple reason that I don't have any remembrance of what I have said in all the yesterdays that have passed. I don't exactly know what is going to be my next sentence.
These are not prepared lectures of a professor in a university or prepared sermons of a priest in a church. I am simply responding to your silence, to your questions, to the implications of your questions. You may have asked the same question thousands of times, but my answer is not going to be the same - because everything goes on changing. You have changed a lot, I have changed a lot. The question may seem to be the same, but it is not the same, because it is coming from a different person who has changed.
Ten years have passed; in ten years one cannot remain the same. And certainly the answer cannot be the same, because I go on moving each moment with life; I don't lag behind. I have no investment in any system, I have no desire to be respected as a consistent thinker. I am simply playing with words. But my work is somewhere else; it is with your heart, and it is, every day, fresh.
So both are possible: from one angle you can see me as new; from another angle, as very ancient - you have always known me.
One more reason: whatever I am saying is phrased in a totally spontaneous way, but it contains the ancientmost truths ever uttered by any human being on the earth. So those who can understand can see that what I am saying has always been said by the mystics, and yet, every day I am saying something in such a way as it has never been said before. So there is a newness and freshness - and there is a deep, long ancientness in it.
But there is no paradox. All paradoxes are only apparent. At least with me, there cannot be anything paradoxical because there is nothing paradoxical in my being. My being is so harmonious that contradictory statements cannot arise out of it. So I don't bother about statements. I know my being, I know its harmony.
And to be crazy in this mystery school is the only way now to be sane in this mad world. So the day I give you the certificate that you are crazy means you have passed the examination.