Don't miss the head
A VERY REVEALING INCIDENT OCCURRED RECENTLY. IN THE WAKE OF THE SO-CALLED "GIANT STEP FOR MANKIND," WHEN THE FIRST ASTRONAUT SET FOOT ON THE MOON, THE AMERICANS HAVE CONTINUED THEIR SPACE EXPLORATION, NOW WITH THE REUSABLE SHUTTLE.
SUDDENLY, A LITTLE WHILE AGO, THIS 2.3-BILLION-DOLLAR SPACECRAFT BLEW UP IN THE SKY, KILLING ALL SEVEN PASSENGERS.
IT CREATED AN ENORMOUS REACTION IN THE U.S. - SORROW, ANGER, HURT NATIONAL PRIDE, ETC. IT TURNED OUT THAT BEHIND THE TRAGEDY LAY THE USUAL HUMAN FORCES:
EGOTISM, PREJUDICE, DISHONESTY, COMPETITION, ARROGANCE, FEAR, AMBITION, AND SO ON.
AN OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION CONCENTRATED ON "FLAWED MANAGEMENT PROCEDURES," AND "REORGANIZING THE CHAIN OF COMMAND,"
BUT NOWHERE FELT IT RELEVANT TO INVESTIGATE EGOTISM, PREJUDICE, DISHONESTY, AND ALL THE REST.
ISN'T THE REAL "GIANT STEP FOR MANKIND" YET TO COME - THE REALIZATION THAT IT IS MAN HIMSELF WHO LIES AT THE ROOT OF HIS OWN CATASTROPHE?
It is man himself who lies at the root of all the catastrophes, but the trouble is, it goes against man's ego to accept it.
The way of the ego is very simple: always throw responsibility on somebody else. It is always the other who is hell. One never looks at oneself. The other cannot be hell for me, unless I in some way support the other to create the hell for me. It must be somewhere in the unconscious, my own need.
Just today I came to know, that all over the world man wastes enough energy, money, technological power and human genius in three days to support the whole earth for a year with food, clothing, shelter, everything that a human being needs to survive. And this figure is five years old, so I guess that now man must be wasting perhaps every day as much energy as is needed to support the whole of mankind for one year.
And who is at the root of it, who is forcing you to do all this nonsense? All this is being done to prepare more efficiently for war, to kill more, to destroy more.
It seems man is insane.
Everywhere you can see his insanity, and if it were only a few people who were insane, it would be easy to do something for them, but if the whole humanity is functioning in an insane way, then a tremendous effort is needed to stop this idiotic behavior.
The people who are responsible for the basic catastrophe - that is, the insanity of humanity - are the people who are in power. They want more and more power. The desire for more and more is unending, and everybody is competing without thinking of the whole humanity - that all this competition for destructiveness is suicidal.
The rocket that was carrying seven passengers was not a big catastrophe, but this earth which is carrying six billion people is in the same danger. And there seems to be no thinking about what is needed first. If you have more than enough, then it is worthwhile to explore space. But right now even America does not have more than enough. Millions of people are on the streets: no food, no clothes, no shelter.
But Ronald Reagan is not interested in those millions of people, he is interested in the national ego, "We are the first to take passengers into space."
It is hilarious. As far as is known, no planet around the earth is habitable. In this solar system, except for the earth, no planet is habitable - all efforts are useless, because there is no oxygen, no water, and life cannot exist. Perhaps in other solar systems, there may be planets where life can exist, but to reach to those planets is an impossible job right now. They are too far away.
We don't have the energy, and we don't have the money, and we don't have the expertise - and right now it is not a problem at all, they are not disturbing you.
Our problems are simple, which we are capable of solving for the first time in man's history. For the first time it is possible - there is no need for poverty; no need for people to die without medicine, without proper care; no need for millions of people to remain uneducated, never knowing great literature, great paintings, great music.
Up to now man has simply been fighting. Except for fighting he has not done anything else. One war after another war. What we call times of peace are nothing to do with peace, they are really preparations for the next war. There are only two periods in history: war and the preparation period for another war; we have not known peace at all.
Our problems are so simple. Seeing our developed technology, it is absurd that in Ethiopia one thousand people continue to die every day and nobody bothers. Every day one thousand people...
from hunger. And death from hunger is not easy, it is the worst death, because it takes almost ninety days for a person to die. Ninety days he has to suffer in starvation. It is really cruel, and nobody seems to be interested.
These toys - rockets for space - are absolutely unnecessary. It is not the time for them. Something else is needed that can educate every human individual, that can make every individual live long, be healthy, be capable of understanding all the great treasures of art, literature, music, sculpture, that for centuries human genius has created, and give an opportunity to everyone. Who knows how many Beethovens, how many Leonardo da Vincis, how many van Goghs, simply die uneducated, without any opportunity to express themselves, their talents?
There is no way to know how many Gautam Buddhas we have missed, and by missing them how much human consciousness has suffered, human evolution has suffered. And now that science has brought us to a point where everybody can be given equal opportunity to grow, to express his talents, the idiots who are in power are not allowing scientific progress to help humanity to reach to a higher status of evolution, but are trying to divert all scientific progress towards a global suicide - and in the name of beautiful words: democracy, communism, freedom, individuality. And there is no freedom anywhere. There is no freedom of speech, there is no democracy anywhere.
And we are forcing the whole world to die for these empty words, which contain no meaning. And this has been going on.... First we were fighting for God. Now nobody is fighting for God, because we have found out that there is nobody behind the word, it is simply a word. We have been fighting for love, for truth, for peace, just words.
Rather than fighting with each other, we should fight together, against the ugly past of humanity, so that we can get rid of it; and our love is freed, our freedom is in our hands, our individuality is given to us. There is only one fight which can be justified, and that is against the past, because the past has been simply destructive of all human values.
If we can only disconnect ourselves from the past, there is hope for humanity, not only to survive, but survive blissfully; not just to drag on somehow, but to be creative. And unless a man reaches to the fulfillment of his potential, he is never blissful.
And the discontented man is the cause of all our catastrophes. Bring contentment to man. Give him simple things - survival and opportunity to express himself - and this very planet will become far more beautiful than the farthest star. There is no need to go anywhere.
Restore to every individual his self-respect, which religions have destroyed - people are living like zombies. So many millions of people and just a few politicians and a few religious leaders go on creating all kind of nuisance, and nobody even raises his voice. We have been so suppressed, so humiliated.
My only suggestion is: everybody has to take it into his own hands, the dignity of man, and everybody has to be assertive, and everybody has to be questioning about all the rules that the past has forced upon you. And any discipline that is unreasonable, is irrational, is unintelligent, should be dropped without a second thought.
If my people can do this much, become purely individuals, freed from all kinds of dark shadows from the past; declare themselves - we are the new man, we are not Christians, we are not Hindus, we are not Mohammedans, we are not Americans, and we are not Russians - we are simply the new man. And we want to live from the very scratch, from ABC, not according to any discipline laid down by the ancient, centuries-old scriptures, which had no idea of what is going to happen in the future.
We are facing a time that no scripture has had any idea of. All those holy scriptures have to be reduced to ordinary books. That's what they are: there is nothing holy in them.
Just free yourself from the rotten, from the junk, and free yourself for some creative expression of your life, and you will be laying down the foundation of a new humanity; otherwise more and more catastrophes are going to happen. We are sitting on volcanoes created by our own great leaders, blessed by our great religious saints.
Once and for all we have to understand the conspiracy of religions and politics against man. And man has to be freed from politics and religion, both, because both have been exploiting him, destroying him, not allowing him to be individual, completely free and natural, without guilt, enjoying like an innocent child.
YOU WERE SPEAKING LAST NIGHT ABOUT GURDJIEFF'S WORK, AND THE INDIVIDUAL'S CHIEF CHARACTERISTIC. HOW DOES ONE FIND OUT WHAT ONE'S CHIEF CHARACTERISTIC IS?
It is very simple. Just watch your mind for a few days and see what is the thing that takes most of your energy: jealousy? lust for power? ego? Just watch whatever takes most of your energy, and you will find what is your chief characteristic, and that it is your number one enemy; and you have always thought that that is your number one friend.
Somebody may find greed, somebody may find anger, somebody may find repressed sexuality, somebody may find an inferiority complex or a superiority complex - it does not matter what it is.
Finding it is almost half the victory. And only you can find it out.
Gurdjieff had his own ways to find it. He will force his disciples to drink as much wine as possible.
He will go on forcing them. And by midnight everybody was flat on the floor, and then he will go and listen to what each is saying.
And this will continue for days, and then he will figure it out, what is the chief characteristic of that man, because in his unconscious that chief characteristic will surface. It was easier than psychoanalysis, because that takes years - ten years, twelve years. Gurdjieff manages to do it within three or four days.
The psychoanalyst finds out what is your chief characteristic by examining your dreams and finding through your dreams what are the dreams that you dream continually... again and again. And then too, his finding is just guesswork, because he has to interpret it, and his interpretation is his interpretation.
Another psychoanalyst interprets the same dream in a different way, for him something else is the chief characteristic. For Sigmund Freud whatever dream you bring, he reduces it to repressed sexuality. A few people have even tried to create bogus dreams, but Freud will not change. They have made such dreams that nobody can find any sexuality in them, but not Freud. He will find sexuality in them.
Anything - it doesn't matter, his interpretation is fixed, and he was right about most people, because in a Christian Jewish society sex is repressed. It would have been really worth seeing if he had come to the East to interpret the dreams of a different culture, different traditions, where sex is not repressed, and he would have been at a loss, or he would have had to force his interpretation even on them.
The same dream you take to Adler, and it is always will-for-power. Go to Jung, and it is always some ancient mythology being repeated in your dream - the same dream.
Gurdjieff was the greatest psychoanalyst of this century. Just within three, four days, forcing people to drink wine, making them as unconscious as possible, and they start showing their true colors.
A man who has never been angry is shouting and is angry and throwing things and is ready to kill anybody. You could have never thought that this gentleman can do such things. And he did it continuously for three or four days - that means it is lying down there in his unconscious, as his chief characteristic. Once it was discovered, then Gurdjieff would give him the work to do.
With me things are easier. Gurdjieff had no understanding about Freud, Jung or Adler. His method was very crude. He had learned it in the Caucasus. It was a very primitive and ancient method, thousands of years old.
My method is so simple. Just put down in your diary for seven days, noting every day what it is that takes most of your time, what it is that becomes your fantasy most of the time, where your energy always moves readily. And just watching for seven days, noting in your notebook, you can find your own chief characteristic. And this finding is half the victory. It gives you a great strength, that you know the enemy.
And then the second part is very simple: now be aware of it. When the enemy attacks, don't react.
When it comes, you just remain cool. Just watch it, as if something is passing on the screen, and you have nothing to do with it.
If you can remain detached, unaffected, suddenly a great energy will be released which was contained in your enemy, which you were putting into that enemy every day.
You were watering it, you were caring about it. If anybody pointed at it, you were very angry; you protected it in every possible way. You gave all kinds of rationalizations. Now you are simply watching. All that energy is simply released. You will feel revitalized. Your whole being suddenly becomes new.
And then go on looking for the enemy number two, the enemy number three, because you have to finish all the enemies.
The day you don't have any enemy left in your mind, you have a grace, a beauty, and a great energy that blossoms in thousands of flowers.
MANY TIMES I FIND MYSELF WITH TEARS OF GRATITUDE FLOODING MY HEART, AND WHEN I START TO WHISPER THANKS, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, INEVITABLY I BECOME DUMB, NOT KNOWING IF I BOW TO YOU, BELOVED FRIEND, OR THIS WHOLE EXISTENCE, WHICH GIVES US THE BLESSING OF HAVING YOU AMONG US. I READ SOMEWHERE THAT THE BUDDHA SAID, "IF YOU MEET ME ON THE WAY, KILL ME." IS THIS RIGHT, EVEN THOUGH I WILL ALWAYS BE HONORED TO BOW TO YOU, AND WHENEVER POSSIBLE, TO SIT AT YOUR FEET?
The statement of Gautam Buddha and your problem are two separate things. Gautam Buddha is saying that in meditation people see Jesus Christ, and they feel great joy, thinking that Jesus has come to their consciousness. And it was only their imagination: there is nobody to come to your consciousness. Or Krishna.... Different religions have different gods, and if you go on repeating their names, watching their images, sooner or later you will start hallucinating. You will start seeing them.
Buddha is saying to his disciples, that if even in your meditation you meet me, don't be hindered by me. Cut off my head, throw me away, because you have to reach to a point where you experience only nothingness, only pure silence - no image, because all images are imagination.
He is not saying that you have to kill Gautam Buddha. He is saying you have to kill the image which is bound to come to you because you love Gautam Buddha. And he is a great master in the sense that he will not even exclude himself. Everybody has to be thrown away: Krishna, and Rama and Mahavira - whoever comes in the way has to be removed. You are not to stop before you have come to pure nothingness.
The purity of nothingness is the experience of your isness, when there is nothing to see as an object - any image. As far as you can see, all is nothing. Your consciousness turns back upon yourself, and for the first time you see yourself. For the first time you become aware of your real being.
What Gautam Buddha is saying is perfectly true. Your problem is that it will be difficult for you to cut off my head. No problem. First bow down, and then cut off the head. Be respectful, be grateful, but don't miss the head. If you love sitting beside my feet, cut off the head and sit beside my feet, but don't miss cutting off the head.
Once you have cut off the head, the feet will disappear, and once you have allowed me to disappear as an image, you will be closer to me than ever. And this is not something ungrateful. You will feel more grateful to me than ever before, because now you will see that as I disappear, the whole existence opens up to you. I was blocking it.
This is not ungratefulness, and anyway you are following the instructions of the master. And this is only a question of the image, while you are meditating. Just try it once, and you will be surprised.
It looks ordinarily that this is not gratefulness, but you don't know. There is a bigger gratitude just waiting. You will be grateful to the master, that he even suggested to you that you shouldn't let him become a barrier, that his work is not to become a barrier between you and reality. His work is not to be between you and reality, he has to remove everything, and finally he has to disappear also.
This can be done only by a man of immense compassion. And you will feel that compassion when you realize what has happened, you will feel that compassion. And your gratefulness will be a thousandfold more.
So don't make a conflict between the two.
IS IT A COSMIC JOKE THAT MOST OF US ARE BORN WITH AWARENESS AND DIE IN UNCONSCIOUSNESS?
No. Most of us are not born in awareness. Most of us are born in innocence, but that innocence is equivalent to ignorance, it is not awareness.
Only very few people are born with awareness. Those are the people who die in awareness. If the death was conscious, then the birth will be conscious, because the death is the one side and the birth is the other side of the same coin.
So only very few people, who have attained to a certain consciousness in their life, die consciously and are born consciously. And those who are born consciously will die enlightened, because a child who is born in awareness - it is impossible to conceive how he can miss enlightenment. In his seventy years' life he is bound to become enlightened.
But most of us are born unconscious, and die unconscious. And between the two do you think you live consciously - between these two unconsciousnesses - birth unconscious, death unconscious? How can life be conscious between these two? It is unconscious. People are living like somnambulists, sleepwalkers.
You may have seen somebody, or may have heard about somebody who is a sleepwalker. There are many people who will get up in the night... they are asleep, their eyes are open but they are asleep, and they will go directly into the kitchen to the fridge, eat something, drink something, come back, go back to bed. And in the morning they will not remember it. "I have not done anything," - because the ice-cream is missing, somebody has taken it; but that person is completely innocent, he has not done it consciously.
It happened in New York, one man used to sleepwalk and jumped from one terrace to another terrace. High rise buildings... if he falls, you will not find even bits and pieces of him. But this was a nightly routine - in the middle of the night - and slowly the neighbors became aware. And he was doing really something, the jump was long, and people will watch silently down on the street.
And in the middle of the night he will come up, every night at the same time, and jump from one side to the other side, then jump back, and go back to bed. And he will not remember in the day.
Slowly, slowly the crowd became bigger, and one day when he came, the crowd was so big that they cheered him.
The man woke up, because of their cheers, just in the middle of the jump, and he missed and fell down and died. And this had been happening for years, but it had remained confined to the neighbors who remained silent and became more silent when he came, because he was asleep - everybody knew.
But these new people came; they thought that it was something like a circus or... so many people, and he is jumping over such a long distance. They cheered, and in the middle he woke up. Seeing himself what he is doing, he could not manage it.
And to every psychoanalyst, every day, people are brought who are somnambulists.
One of my friends was very much disturbed, because every night in his house something was burned: some cloth, some furniture. And he was there, his wife was there and his fourteen-year-old daughter - three persons only in the house; and naturally in India, if such a thing happens people think some ghost... the place is haunted. And many people were brought to drive away the ghost, the evil forces, but nobody could succeed.
Just by the way he mentioned it to me, because he was the registrar in the university. As I was walking in the corridor by his office, he looked very sad and very disturbed, and I went in and asked, "What is the matter?"
He said, "For six months my life has become a hell. Every night something is burned, and we have tried all kinds of people who think that they can drive away the evil spirits, the ghosts - nothing works."
I inquired, "How many people do you have in your house?"
He said, "Only three."
I said, "If you won't feel any interference, I would like to sleep in your house."
He said, "If you can help in any way, I will be grateful."
So I slept in the house, because my sleep is almost no sleep. I am just resting with my eyes closed.
So I remained looking in the dark, again and again, if any noise was there. And then I found out; the girl stood up, went inside, took out one of the saris of her mother and burned it, went back to her bed and to sleep.
In the morning I asked the girl if she had had a dream of something burning.
She said, "No." And she was absolutely innocent.
But these are the times when girls and boys become sexually mature, when they are in a very critical situation. Their energy is going through such a change, that many haunted places are nothing but the results of some girl or some boy who is getting sexually mature, and his energy is going through such a deep transformation that he can function as a somnambulist.
So I told the father, "I have one suggestion. You send the girl to the hostel."
"But," he said, "why?"
I said, "You simply send her, only for two, three days. And you are the registrar, so there is no problem. You simply manage a room for her. Send her to the hostel. And for three days I will be here, and seeing whether anything is burned or not."
And for three days nothing was burned. The father and the mother could not believe it, they said, "What is the matter?"
I said, "Nothing is the matter. Your girl is becoming sexually mature and must be going through some great changes inside her, and this is a common phenomenon, that at these times people can do things which normally are not done. She has been burning these clothes and things for six months. Now bring the child home, and let me have a session with her."
And I talked to her, and I told her, "It is you who have been doing it, but you are not responsible, because you were not conscious." So I suggested to her, "Do one thing. Tie one leg to the bed, so that you can experience for yourself what I am saying. My saying is just my saying. You have to know it as a validity."
And that very night she woke up, asleep, but could not get up, because the leg was tied down. She tried hard, but could not. The father was awake, the mother was awake, everybody was watching what would happen. And trying to untie the leg from the bed, she woke up, and we turned the lights on.
And we asked her, "What are you doing?"
She said, "I don't know, but faintly I remember that I had to do something, and my leg is tied down.
So I cannot get to the place where I have to do something. I don't know what exactly I have to do."
And these people walk in darkness with open eyes - you would not think that they are asleep. They don't stumble over furniture or anything.
Between an unconscious birth and an unconscious death, our whole life is the life of a somnambulist - of course with open eyes - and only a very little part is conscious. And that is our only hope. Only through that little consciousness in us, is a bigger consciousness, a deeper consciousness, possible.
It is only a seed, but if you work upon it, slowly, slowly it can grow. And you can die consciously, if you have lived before it consciously.
The whole of religion consists of a simple thing: to live consciously, so that you can die consciously.
And once you have died consciously, you will be born consciously, and that will be the life which will be the easiest for you to attain to enlightenment in.
You can attain to enlightenment right now, but for that a tremendous intensity and totality is needed.
Evolution will not do; only a revolution, a radical change, a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn.
Otherwise, slowly go on trying to be conscious. If you can manage even to die consciously, you have managed much. Then your next life is going to be the life of an enlightened person. And the enlightened person has no more lives, because he dies with no desires, with no ambitions; hence he simply becomes one with the whole.
SITTING HERE EVERY DAY WITH YOU, HEARING WHAT YOU SAY, LISTENING TO HOW YOU SAY IT, WE GO UP AND DOWN SO MUCH. YOU ARE CONTINUOUSLY PULLING OUR BIG TOE, HERE AND THERE, TRYING TO PUT US RIGHT, AND WE GO TOO FAR, AND FALL BACK INTO THE DITCH, AGAIN AND AGAIN.
TODAY, I WAS WATCHING, NOT WHAT YOU SAID, BUT WHAT YOU DO, AND A BIG LAUGH CAME OUT OF ME. I IMAGINE THAT MILLIONS OF TIMES YOU MUST HAVE THOUGHT, "MY GOD, THEY HAVE MISSED AGAIN."
BELOVED MASTER, PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP ON US. LITTLE BY LITTLE WE ARE GETTING THIS BIG JOKE.
Don't be worried. I am not the one who gives up. You can rely on it. It is a promise.