THE Ultimate is one - but it can be viewed from many angles; it can be looked at from various points of view. It is one, but when it is expressed the expression can take multi-shapes. It is one, but when one reaches toward it the paths differ. And whatsoever is said from a particular path is just one aspect of the reality: it is not the total reality.
Experience of the Total is possible, but expression of the Total is not possible. Expression is always partial. You can feel and realize the Total, but the moment you express it, it is only a viewpoint: it is never the Total.
There are two basic divisions of approaches - the path of knowing and the path of love. Man's mind is divided between these two aspects. These are not divisions of the Ultimate Reality: these are divisions of the human mind. The mind can look at the Truth as a knower or as a lover. That depends not on the Ultimate Reality but on you. If you look through a lover's eyes your experience will be the same as when you look through the knower's eyes, but the expression will differ. When you look through love, your expression will be totally different.
Why this difference? Why this total difference? Because love has its own language, knowledge has its own language. Love has its own language! Those languages are quite contradictory. For example, knowledge always strives toward one, and love is impossible if there are not two - love is possible only when there is a duality. But I must make haste to gay that love is a very mysterious experience - it is oneness between two. The two must be there, but just the two being there does not mean that love is there: when the two begin to feel a deep oneness, then love happens.
Love has a double duality: oneness in two. The duality must be there, and at the same time oneness should be felt. And the language of love will retain this duality: "the lover and the beloved." These are the two polarities. Between these two polarities, oneness has been felt, but that oneness cannot exist without these two polarities.
The lover will say, "I have become one with my beloved; the beloved is in me," but he cannot speak the language of knowledge. He cannot say that duality has disappeared; he can only say that duality has become illusory: "We are two and yet we are not two." This paradox - "We are two and yet we are not two" - is love's language. It is not mathematical; it cannot be. It is the language of feeling.
You can feel oneness without becoming one. There is no need to become one; that is irrelevant. You can feel oneness without merging, without dissolving. You can remain two outwardly, and inwardly you can become one. And the path of devotion, the path of love, says that if oneness means dissolution of the two, that oneness will be just that. That oneness will have no poetry in it; that oneness will be dry. It will be a mathematical oneness. Love says that oneness is something more alive; it is not a mathematical unity. The lover and beloved remain, and yet they begin to feel that they have dissolved. The two-ness remains, but it becomes more and more illusory. Oneness is felt as more real than two-ness, but two-ness remains.
The seeker on the path of love says that this is the beauty and the experience is richer for it, and mathematical unity means that the experience is not a rich one. In a flat way, two things have disappeared and there is one. It is less mystic. Lovers say, "We remain two and yet we are not two," and they go on taking in terms of this non-duality in duality, oneness in two-ness. The oneness is basic. On the surface, the beloved is the beloved and the lover is the lover, and there is a gap. Deep down, the gap has disappeared. Love is a poetic approach toward Existence, and minds differ.
I remember one anecdote about a British scientist, a Nobel prize winner, Dirac. A friend of Dirac's - another scientist, a Russian scientist, Kapitza - gave him one of the most highly praised novels of Dostoyevsky - "Crime and Punishment". Kapitza said to Dirac, "Go through this novel and then tell me your impression." When Dirac returned the book he said, "It is nice, but there is one fault, one error in the book. The writer says that the sun rises twice in the same day. On the same day the sun rises twice." In the story somewhere Dostoyevsky has made this error: the sun rises twice in the same day. So Dirac said, "That is the only error, and I have nothing more to say."
And this was the only thing he said about Dostoyevsky's great novel "Crime and Punishment", and he is no ordinary man. But the approach, the approach of a mathematician, is not the approach of a poet, of an artist, of a lover. It is the approach of an impartial observer. It is mathematical. Only this he had to say - that there is one error: the sun cannot rise twice in the same day. About such a great piece of creation, such a great piece of art as "Crime and Punishment", only this struck his mind.
Why? Because of the training of the mind for impartial observation, mathematical observation. No one had ever detected this error. He was the first. Many have felt in Dostoyevsky's book a deep insight, a depth-psychology, a great poetry, a great drama, but no one has detected this error. It depends on how you look at the world.
A lover looks with different eyes. When the lover comes to the Ultimate experience, he knows that now everything has become one, but he says that if this oneness is simply oneness, just oneness, it is dead. It is an alive oneness. It is an alive, dynamic phenomenon. k is a constant movement between the two sources. It is a constant unity, a movement, a live process: it is not a dead unity.
And the reality can be looked at with quite contradictory outlooks.
The mathematical mind, the mind of an observer, a detached observer - that is the one on the path of knowledge, knowing - will say that either the duality exists or oneness, but both together are impossible. This is a logical approach. How can you say that oneness exists while two are Still there? Either dissolve the two and then there is oneness, or do not talk of oneness: talk of two. And he is also right in his own way; it is his approach. He says that if you have achieved oneness, then there is neither the lover nor the beloved. Both have disappeared; there is no distinction. You cannot talk of the beloved, of the Divine, of God; you cannot talk of the devotee. It is nonsense! Stop! Or, if you are still continuing to talk in terms of duality, then you have not come to oneness - because both cannot exist simultaneously. This is just a mathematical approach, but mathematics is not life and life allows even the opposite, even the contradictory. So I will explain it in a different way; it will be easier.
This century has seen one of the greatest revolutions in science, and that is the dethronement of mathematics. With the discovery of the electron, the old rationalistic approach became absurd, out of date.
You might have heard about Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher. He had two cats. One was a smaller one and one was a bigger one. Both the cats would sleep with him, but there was a difficulty.
Sometimes they would not come in time, and Kant was very particular about time. He would move only by the clock. He would have to wait for the cats: only then could he lock the door. So one day he asked his servant to bring a carpenter to make two holes in the door - one for the smaller cat and one for the bigger one. "Then they can come at any time and I can go to sleep easily," he said.
The servant thought him mad, crazy, because the cats could come through just one hole; there was no need for two. But mathematically Kant is right; practically he is just foolish. Mathematically he is absolutely right! However, the servant thought that one hole would do, so one hole was made.
When Kant came back from his university, he saw that there was only one, for the bigger one, so he said, "From where can my small cat get in? Where is the other hole?"
The servant said, "She can get in from this hole. She is not such a big philosopher. Cats are very practical, they are not theoretical, so do not bother about it." But it was inconceivable for Kant, so he waited. When he saw with his own eyes that both cats were coming from one hole, then only was he at ease.
We would laugh at this, but now a more crazy thing has happened. With the discovery of the electron, everything in physics has become muddled - because one electron thrown at a mirror, at a screen, shot at a screen with two holes, will pass through both the holes simultaneously. One electron must pass through one hole. If you are thrown out of the window you cannot pass from two windows simultaneously, but an electron passes.
When this was observed for the first time, the electron seemed absolutely impractical. The whole thing seemed weird. How can one electron pass through two holes simultaneously? But it passes, and electrons are not philosophers. So what to do and how to interpret this phenomenon?
Science had to develop a new concept. Now they say that the electron is both a particle and a wave:
it is both. So when you throw it at a screen, it passes through two holes simultaneously - because a wave can pass through two holes simultaneously, not a particle. A wave can pass through two holes simultaneously, but a particle cannot. When you look at it, it is a particle, but it behaves as a wave.
Now, old mathematics, old geometry, the old Euclidian mathematics, will not be ready to concede to this, because a wave is not a particle and a particle is not a wave; a point is not a line and a line is not a point. They had to throw out the whole Euclidian geometry, and now they say they cannot force mathematics on reality. We have to change our mathematics; there is no other way. If reality behaves non-mathematically, we cannot say to reality, "Now behave mathematically, behave logically." Physics has discovered a very weird world where all our laws are blurred. If you observe the electron, it appears as a particle, as a point. If you observe its behaviour, it appears as a wave, as a line.
The same has happened with the Ultimate Truth. If you look at it through love's eyes, it behaves like a wave. If you look at it through a knower's eyes, it appears to be a particle. Through a knower's eyes it appears to be one, and through a lover's eyes it appears to be two. It depends on the looker.
It is both and it is neither.
Because of this, if one goes on emphasizing one's own standpoint too much, then that standpoint will look contradictory to the other - because if someone says, "The electron is a particle; I have observed it myself," he is right, nothing is wrong, but then he will exclude the other. Then the other by itself becomes wrong. If he says, "Because I am right, you are wrong; because I have observed an electron to be a particle, it cannot be a wave," then you are rejected outright. Then there is contradiction.
But the same can be done by the others who have observed it behaving as a wave, who have seen it with their own eyes passing through two holes simultaneously. They can say, "It is not a particle at all, because a particle cannot behave like a wave." Then they go on insisting. Then they create sects, exclusive sects.
This sutra is rare; it combines both. It says that when you know you are That, this is the salutation.
The first part belongs to the path of knowledge and the second part to the path of devotion, the path of love. This is to say, in other words, that when you know you are one, only then do you know that you are two. Or, when you come to know that you are two, you can come to feel the inner unity, the oneness.
This twoness and oneness belong to you, not to the reality. The reality is both or neither. Before a lover's eyes, it behaves like two: it is divided between the lover and the beloved. Before the knower's eyes, it behaves like a particle, like one. There is no real contradiction, but they will laugh at each other. The seekers on the path of knowledge will always feel that the devotee is missing something - that he cannot achieve the Ultimate. They are right in a way, because from their standpoint it is so.
I will tell you one story that I heard one day. It takes place early in the morning; the sun is yet to rise.
One earthworm is half awake, still sleepy. He is relating curled around a stone. Then the sun begins to rise, the mist disappears, and this earthworm feels the presence of some other earthworm. He looks around the stone. Just by the other side, another earthworm is approaching. He falls in love, as it is the habit of men and earthworms to fall in love at first sight. And when the preliminaries of courtship are over, the first earthworm says to the other, "Baby, I am in deep love. Now I cannot live without you, so marry me."
The other has remained silent up to now. Then the other laughs and says, "You fool! I am your other end."
On the path of knowledge devotees look foolish. They seem to be talking to their own other end.
They are calling the beloved "God, the Divine", but they are talking to their own other end. They look foolish to those on the path of knowledge. But knowers will say that they are good people because they admit their foolishness.
St. Francis is reported to have always called himself "God's fool". But as devotees are good people and they can laugh at themselves, St. Francis said, "I am a fool, but let me be a fool. I do not want to be wise because I have seen wise ones. I may be mad, but let me be mad. This love between myself and the Divine is enough."
Devotees are fools, but with a method. They are mad, but with a method. They say that this madness is the only wisdom possible. If you cannot love yourself, you cannot love. Let it be the other end - but love is so good and love is so beautiful that even if one has to divide oneself into two to love, one should divide. That is why bhaktas, devotees, lovers, have said, "This world is a play - LEELA"
Radha is also Krishna - disguised. God is loving himself through so many disguises. So bhaktas - devotees - are not very serious. They say, "We are fools, we are mad people. But we are happy about it, and we do not want your dry, dead knowledge. Of course, it is exact, but dry and dead. Our madness is alive."
For those who are on the path of knowledge, love is inconceivable. They say that if you love you cannot know, because love gives partiality. You cannot be detached. A seeker must be detached; he must not be involved. He must be aloof, indifferent. He must observe as an outsider; he must not be in the process himself.
A lover cannot be detached. You cannot ask Majnu to be detached about Laila; that is impossible.
He will say that Laila is the only beautiful woman - not only of this time, but of all times. This is absurd, but he is in love. Love creates this feeling. He is authentic. Whatsoever he is saying he feels, but this feeling is that of an involved man, one who is committed. He is not an outsider. He cannot look at Laila detachedly, so the followers of the path of knowledge will say that he can never come to Truth, that he will always live in his own illusions. Whatsoever he is saying is a subjective feeling; it is not objective Truth. They will say that bhaktas go on talking about their own illusions. If you want reality, then be objective. Then love will not do. Really, love is the hindrance because it colours everything.
In Sanskrit, we have the word rag. rag means attachment and rag means colour. Every attachment gives a colour to the object. It is a projection. The path of knowledge says, "Be absolutely unattached. Have veetrag - no attachment, no love, no thought of devotion - only then can you come to the Real."
This dialogue can continue infinitely, because on every point those on the path of knowledge will differ. And I would insist that they are right as far as they are concerned. Whatsoever they say about themselves is right, but they become wrong when they begin to say something about the others.
When the followers of knowledge say something about devotees, it becomes wrong because the devotee's experience is not their experience at all. Whatsoever they know about love is one thing; whatsoever a devotee comes to know about love is absolutely different.
For the devotee, the follower of the path of love, it is not a projection, because the lover says, "I am no more, so who can project? I have no expectations, no demands, no desires, so how can one project without desires, without expectations, without ambitions?" The bhakta says, "I have nullified myself just to become a space for the Divine to descend, and now the Divine has entered."
This love, this communion, is not a projection, because projection is always through desires. So if you are desiring something by your communion, it will be a projection. If you simply desire communion and nothing else, it cannot be a projection. So bhaktas have said, "We do not want your moksha - Liberation; baikunth - heaven - we do not want. We do not want any punya - any merit; we do not want your heaven. We only want you."
Bhaktas say that those who are following the path of knowledge want Liberation. They want moksha, they desire heaven, they desire purity, they desire freedom. Their effort is ambitious. Bhaktas say, "If baikunth is there - if heaven is there - and your feet are here, then we choose your feet." They have never asked for moksha, Liberation, freedom. They ask nothing. One bhakta has sung, "Let me be a dog in Vrindavan (Krishna's birthplace) or let me be just the dust in the streets of Vrindavan.
That is enough, and I will wait for your feet for eternity. I need nothing else."
Really, in a deeper way, bhaktas seem to be less ambitious than gyanis, but they cannot understand each other; that is difficult. You cannot make them understand. The dialogue seems impossible, because they use different languages, they use different realms, they give different meanings to their words. Bhaktas say that love is the only freedom - the only freedom! For those on the path of knowledge, knowledge is freedom, not love. Love is a bondage: the moment you are in love you are in a bondage. And the bhaktas say that love is freedom, and that if you know love as a bondage you have not known love at all. They are talking in different languages, and there is no meeting.
Only sometimes, rarely does it happen that a person is both. It is a very rare phenomenon. Centuries and centuries pass, and only then does someone happen to be both. But then his language will become more difficult for you to understand. Look at this: a bhakta cannot understand the language of a gyani; a gyani cannot understand the language of a bhakta. But if a person is both, masses will not understand him at all. In itself, each language is difficult - and when both languages become one, it becomes impossible to understand him. That man can understand both the bhaktas and the gyanis, but the masses cannot understand him at all because he will continuously appear to contradict himself.
Whenever he will speak the language of the path of knowledge he will say one thing, and whenever he will speak the language of love he will speak in contradictory, absolutely contradictory, terms. He will go on contradicting himself, and you will simply be confused. What does he mean? This is rare, and whenever it happens, that man is misunderstood completely.
This Upanishad belongs to such a man who is both. You may not have noticed, but the very name of this Upanishad is "Atma Pooja - Worship of the Self". It is absurd! The title is absurd, contradictory.
Worship of yourself? Worship is always of someone else! But here you are the worshipped. Worship loses all meaning, and he is continuously speaking in paradoxes. Every sentence belongs to both gyanis and bhaktas. He will use the symbols of the bhaktas and then give them meanings of the knowers, not of the lovers. The whole Upanishad is doing this consistently. The symbology is of devotees, of worship, but the meaning given to it is that of the knowers.
In this sutra also, the same is the case. If you know you are That, then this is the salutation.
Because of this consistently inconsistent attitude, he is consistently contradicting himself and using double languages. He is mixing two different realms. This Upanishad was neglected; no one has commented upon it. It is one of the most neglected Upanishads and one of the most beautiful ones.
To comment on it is difficult because commentators are, again, of two types. For those who believe in the path of knowledge, the whole language belongs to the other camp. And for the followers of the path of love, the whole meaning belongs to the former Camp. So this rishi of the "Atma Pooja Upanishad" really belongs to no camp. And because of this, this Upanishad has remained neglected, uncommented upon.
So the first thing is that these are two languages. Love has its own language; knowledge has its own language. And they cannot meet superficially. They can meet only in a person, not in a dialogue.
One person can attain such a state, but this happens rarely. And why rarely? Because when you have come to the goal by one path, why bother about the other paths? There is no need. You have reached the goal by one path.
Ramakrishna tried one experiment. He was the only one who has done such an experiment in this age. He would reach to a particular state of consciousness, and then he would stop and begin to travel by another path, then by another. And he stopped this only when he found he could reach to the same state by so many paths. He tried Sufi ways, he tried Buddhist meditation, he tried Hindu paths. Deeply he was a devotee, basically he was on the path of love, but then he tried Vedanta - the path of knowledge. It was very arduous, because it is not so easy to change from the path of devotion to the path of knowledge. Then everything has to be contradicted.
He was learning from Totapuri, one of the greatest Vedantists of his time, and Totapuri was absolutely a Vedantist, a follower of the path of knowledge. So he would laugh at Ramakrishna and would say, "You are foolish! What are you doing with this weeping, crying, dancing, praying?
There is no one! To whom are you praying?' Then Ramakrishna became a disciple. And this is one of the rarest phenomena, because Ramakrishna had achieved whatsoever Totapuri had achieved.
This is humbleness. He became a disciple of Totapuri. He said, "Teach me. Now, by your path I will travel."
Totapuri became the teacher, and he was a very rough teacher, a taskmaster. And he would teach him in the same way as he would teach anyone else ABC. So Ramakrishna was in a mess because Totapuri would say, "Throw this image of your goddess Kali! Throw this! Destroy this! Cut it into pieces!" And Ramakrishna would begin to weep. Then Totapuri would say, "This childishness won't do."
One day Ramakrishna said, "It is difficult! It is impossible! Whenever I close my eyes the goddess is there. I am bowing down to her Divine feet, and you go on saying to me, 'Throw, cut, destroy!' How can I do it? How can I destroy the Divine image? And it is so beautiful, and the experience is so lovely! And I am in such a high state of mind. 1 am not in this world at all."
Totapuri said, "This is all illusion, your projections. Take a sword in your hand and out the goddess into two. Kill!"
So Ramakrishna said, "From where can I get the sword?"
Totapuri said, "From the same source where you got this image, from inside where you got this image - from imagination. So get one sword from imagination; and if you are not going to destroy this, I am going to leave. And you have taken a vow to follow me, to be my disciple, so do whatsoever is told! Otherwise I will leave this very moment!"
So Ramakrishna closed his eyes. He was weeping, tears were falling down, and Totapuri, while laughing, said, "What foolishness you are doing! Why are you weeping? No one can reach Truth through weeping. Be a man and kill the goddess!" And then he brought a piece of glass. Totapuri brought a piece of glass and he cut Ramakrishna's forehead with that glass. Blood began to flow, and he said, "As I am cutting your forehead, just inside cut the image."
And Ramakrishna destroyed the image. This was very arduous. No bhakta has ever done this.
This was done for the first time. But no bhakta will travel this path; there is no need. And then Ramakrishna said, "The last barrier has fallen away." That was the last barrier on the path of knowledge, so Totapuri was at ease, happy. He said, "You have achieved. Now you are Liberated.?'
And the second day Ramakrishna was in the Kali Temple and weeping. He himself had said that the last barrier had fallen, and now again he was weeping and crying and dancing. Then Totapuri left, and he said, "You are incurable."
But this is not a case of incurability. He was just trying to reach to the same point by so many paths.
He became a Mohammedan for six months; then he would not enter the Kali Temple - because how can a Mohammedan enter? So he would come just outside and he would inquire about his goddess, asking how she was, and then he would go back. Then he would sleep in a mosque and he would do Sufi methods for six months. For that period he was a Mohammedan. Then, one day, he came laughing to the Temple and said, "Now I am back. Mother, I am back! I have reached to the same through Mohammedan methods."
Sometimes only, this has been done. This Upanishad belongs to someone who knew both paths, and who knew deeply, so he goes on changing his track from one language to the other. And those languages are contradictory. If you understand this, then there can be no confusion.
This is one of the most significant problems, and much confusion exists about it. So first, know well that religion is not ethics, religion is not morality. Morality goes on endeavouring against that which is evil, bad, immoral - that which is sin. So morality is a conflict, a struggle, against that which is evil. Morality is trying to create a moral world where no immorality should exist. That is impossible!
Only you can change, but the balance remains the same.
This is one of the. deepest laws of nature - that it exists as polar opposites. If you destroy one, the opposite will also be destroyed. In a world where there is nothing bad, nothing will be good. Where there is no sinner, there will be no saint. The saint exists as a polar opposite to the sinner; they are interdependent. So moral effort cannot create a world where only good exists. This is an unfulfilled hope, and it will remain unfulfilled. It cannot come to happen because it is denying the basic law.
Now physicists say that matter exists only because there exists something like anti-matter; a parallel world of anti-matter exists. Nature is a balance. You cannot destroy the balance. If you go on emphasizing one polar opposite, really, two things are possible. Either you will be able to make it stronger - then the other polar opposite will also become stronger - or, you will be able to destroy the other; then the one that you were trying to make stronger will also be destroyed.
Life is a balance, so morality is a futile effort. when I say this, ???I do not mean do not be moral, because then again you destroy the balance. So be whatsoever you can be.
Religion is a totally different realm. Religion is not after creating a good world against the bad.
Religion is after a balanced world - not against anything. Where good and bad both balance, they negate each other. And when a man is neither a saint nor a sinner, this man becomes a sage. This is a balanced person - neither a sinner nor a saint, just a deep balance, an inner balance between the polar opposite forces.
When two polar opposites are balanced, you transcend them. Look at it in this way. Sometimes you feel that you are healthy: this is an imbalance. Sometimes you feel that you are ill: this is again an imbalance. Sometimes you do not feel yourself as either ill or healthy: this is balance. To feel that you are healthy means that you have moved to the other extreme. Now you will fall ill. Remember this: whenever you begin to feel you are healthy, you are on the verge - you will fall ill. This happens every day, but you are not aware of it. Whenever you feel, "I am happy," happiness ends. Whenever you become aware of anything, it means you have moved very far. Now come back. The balance must be regained, and to regain the balance you will have to move to the opposite.
It is just like a NATA - an acrobat - walking on a rope, constantly moving from left to right. But have you observed that whenever he has moved too much to the left, then suddenly he will have to move to the right, to balance? When he feels that now he will fall if he goes further to the left, to balance this he will have to move to the right. We are all acrobats moving on a rope continuously - from good to bad, from bad to good, from health to illness, and illness to health - continuously! A sage is one who has come down from the rope. Now he is not bothered about going from left to right. He has gone beyond.
Religion is a transcendence. The sage knows that the bad cannot be destroyed because it is part of the balance; the good cannot remain alone - both are necessary. So through these polar opposites, Existence exists. Seeing this, realizing this, the sage simply balances himself between the two.
There is no choice. He has not chosen good against bad. If you choose good against bad, sooner or later you will have to choose bad against good. Because you have moved in one direction, now you will have to move in the other.
So saints are always moving toward sin and sinners are always moving toward sainthood. Saints have their sin moments and sinners have their saint moments. In each saint the sinner exists as a possibility, and whenever the saintliness is too much the sinner brings the balance. So they say, those who know say, that you cannot be a saint for twenty-four hours a day. You have to have some holiday. You cannot be - it is too much, it is boring and heavy. One has to escape. So saints have their own tricks to escape from their sainthood.
You cannot be the whole time a sinner. It is difficult - impossible! You will fall down, you will die. You will have to move! So it happens sometimes that sinners will do such saintly acts that you cannot even conceive of saints doing them. Sometimes sinners are so saintlike that it seems unbelievable.
But they balance.
Religion is not concerned with good and bad - with choice. Religion is a choiceless transcendence.
Realizing this polarity of Existence, the sage, the one who knows about the polarity, just leaves choosing. Then he never moves to the right, never to the left. He remains in between. Buddha has called this majjhim NIKAYA - the middle path. Buddha says, "I will not choose. I will remain in the middle - just exactly in the middle."
When you do not choose, you transcend. It is possible. It may be; it may not be: but it is possible.
A world is possible in which we have transcended this constant wavering between right and left, between sinner and saint, between good and evil, between good and sin - in which the whole world is balanced. That will be a religious world. It will not be moral; it will not be immoral. It will be religious! So this constant confusion between religion and morality must be discarded. Religion is not morality. Morality is a choice against something and for something.
I will tell you a story: Once Mulla Nasrudin was a listener to a very learned scholar. He was listening to him: the scholar was a religious man - a great religious teacher also. So in the end, when the discourse was just over, the religious scholar said to everyone present, "Who wants to go to heaven?
Those who do, raise your hands." So everyone raised his hand except Mulla Nasrudin, and he was sitting just in the front row.
This happened for the first time. The teacher had asked the same question in many villages and towns, and never had he seen anyone just sitting there without raising his hand for heaven. So for the first time he had to ask the other question. He had never asked it. Then he asked, "Who wants to go to hell? Those who do should now raise their hands." No one raised a hand - not even. Mulla Nasrudin. Then the scholar asked, "Are you hearing me? Are you deaf? Where do you want to go!
I asked for heaven and you remained silent; I asked for hell and you remained silent. Where do you want to go?"
Mulla Nasrudin said, "Just in between. I do not want to go anywhere - not to heaven, because I have seen those going to heaven fall down into hell. I do not choose hell either, because from hell where can you go? You can only go to heaven. So please allow me, if it is possible, to be just in between.
Only then can I be at peace, otherwise it is impossible. In heaven, hell becomes an attraction. In hell one is hankering after heaven. So if it is possible, allow me to be in between."
This is the attitude of no-choice. Religion is no-choice - choicelessness. But we go on thinking in terms of morality and confusing it with religion. Morality is a day-to-day necessity, and through morality you have not been able to create a moral world. Really, the more man becomes conscious of morality, the more immorality is found. Everyone says that the world has gone immoral. The real case is this, that you have become too morality conscious. The world has not gone immoral. Man has become too conscious of morality; that is why the world looks so immoral. It is a balance.
Now we are condemning war everywhere. Now war looks like total immorality. Are you aware that never in history, never before, have we condemned war? We have fought. We have never condemned. For the first time we are condemning war and we are creating atom bombs. We never condemned war because we never created atom bombs. They both create a balance. The more fatal, suicidal war becomes, then the more we will be against wars. The more we are against, the more fatal war will become.
So whatsoever you deny you also create. The world was never so poor, and when I say this I mean that the world was never so conscious of poverty. It has always been poor - more poor than it is now; the world has always been poorer. The further back we move, the poorer a world we will find.
But poverty was taken for granted, and it was not immoral to be rich. Now to be rich is immoral.
One feels guilty, and the poor man by your side is your sin. For the first time we have become so moralistic that to be rich is guilt-creating, and to have poverty around is a sin committed by the rich.
This is one thing: too much consciousness, too much awareness, too much morality. And then, simultaneously, the poorer have become more poor. Economically they are not, but now they feel poverty to be heavy upon them. So whatsoever we do goes in two directions. It develops both ways simultaneously, and a balance is always achieved.
Religion is not for a richer world, because a richer world can only exist with a deep poverty, a great poverty. In every dimension, you can change circumstances, you can change names, and then the same thing will become apparent with a new face.
Religion is for a balanced world - neither rich nor poor. Try to understand this: neither rich nor poor, but a balanced world where no one is conscious of poverty, no one is conscious of richness. That is why a religious world is a very deep affair. It seems to be the impossible revolution. These polar opposites are there and they will always be there. All that you can do is to go beyond them.
For example, let us look from some other direction: man has been fighting with death continuously.
The whole history of science is nothing but a fight against death. The history of medicine, the history of the human mind, is a fight against death. Now we have prolonged life. Man is now living the longest, but no human society was so much afraid of death as we are afraid of death. Now, in the West, they have achieved the longest life on earth.
We hear and we go on saying that in the old, golden days man lived to be a hundred. That is not a fact; it is simply a fiction - but it has a reality behind it. Everyone felt that he had lived a hundred years because no one ever counted. Counting is a new thing; remembering one's birthday is a new thing. But, remember, when you remember a birthday, then the death-day will be continuously before you.
No animal is afraid of death because no animal is aware of birth. Primitive societies are not afraid of death, but they are not aware of birth either. Death happens as birth happens, and there is no counting of how long they have lived. The more precise your counting becomes, the more afraid you become of death. Now America is in the grip of death because time consciousness has come to apeak. Everyone is aware. The longest life becomes possible and death becomes more black.
Why? It is a deep balance. If you go on prolonging life, you are prolonging your death also. If you live long, your death will also be a long spread-out affair. Both grow continuously and simultaneously.
You cannot escape; you cannot choose.
Really, we have found every possibility for fighting diseases. But man is ill - more ill than ever. With all the scientific growth in medicine, man is more ill than ever. Why? Why does your progress in medicine also create somewhere a progress in illnesses, in diseases?
Carl Gustav Jung proposed a very fantastic idea. He called it "synchronicity". He said, "For whatsoever is being done, there is also a parallel world growing." And you cannot do anything. If knowledge grows, ignorance will deepen. If health grows, then illnesses will explode. If you become good, somewhere someone may become bad. And nothing is wrong about it: it is simply a balance.
The world cannot exist with good people only. It will be such a boring world. Can you conceive a world of only MAHATMAS? The whole world will commit suicide because even to exist for a single day will be such a tedious affair. All around MAHATMAS! You will simply die of them.
Now life is a constant polarity. The richness comes from the polar opposite - from both opposites existing together. Religion is not a choosing between these two. Religion is just understanding this polarity and then remaining in a non-choosing attitude.
A religious man lives without choosing. If he is healthy, he is healthy. If he is ill, he is ill. When he is ill, he is at ease with his illness. He is not longing for health. When he is healthy, he is at ease with his health. He is not conscious of it. He moves easily between these polar opposites without any choice. And, by and by, his movements are slowed down. They become shorter and shorter and shorter, and a moment comes when there is no wavering. This non-wavering comes through non-choosing. If you choose, you will waver. If you choose, you will create the opposite.
This looks very paradoxical, but I would like to say do not try to be good: otherwise you will be bad. Do not try to be something: otherwise you will become quite the contrary. Just remain in a non-choosing attitude. Whatsoever happens, let it happen, allow it to happen.
This is very difficult. If anger happens, allow it to happen: do not choose. If love happens, allow it to happen: do not choose. And soon a day will come when neither love will happen nor anger. If you choose, then you are in the grip. Then you are in the wheel, and then the grip is automatic. When you go on changing from one to the other - and this is a constant, repetitive process - the whole life becomes just a wavering from one point to another. Do not be an acrobat on the rope - just come down.
Look at it in this way: you are walking on the ground. You can walk even on a very narrow strip. We can make a chalk strip, a white strip on the ground, and you can walk on it without any movement to the right or to the left. Why? Now the same size strip can be set up between two houses, two roofs.
Now walk on it! You will find you cannot walk. Why? You can walk the same strip on the ground very easily balanced, but when the same strip, when the same size strip is hanging between two roofs, you cannot walk a single step. You begin to waver. Why? Now you have become aware that you may fall down. Now you have chosen something: you have chosen not to fall down. Now you are not walking at ease. There is a choice not to fall down. You have chosen. Because of this choice, every step is toward falling down, so you will have to move right and left to balance.
Life is just a rope - a very narrow rope. If you choose, you choose wavering. Neither good nor bad - that is the only good. Neither this nor that - this is the only religion. Upanishads have said, "Neti, neti - not this, not that." You do not choose! It is an effortless understanding. It is a simple understanding.
No opposite pole is to be created because Neo-Sannyas is not a choice. It is not against the world. If sannyas is against the world, it is a choice. Therefore, if sannyas is against the world, we will create a very worldly society. We have done this in India. These 5,000 years in India were a conscious choice for sannyas - renunciation. Renunciation was the goal, and look at the Indian mind: the most worldly in the whole world! Why? We have tried to create an absolutely unattached society, but look at the Indian mind: the greediest! We have been saying that "Wealth means nothing - it is simply nothing," and look at our society: wealth is everything!
Why has this happened? This was a conscious choice. We were against the world. Through that conscious choice, we moved to the other extreme. So now we go on talking against the world and go on living in a worldly way.
The same in the reverse order will become possible in the West. They have chosen the world, and now their children are going against the world, against society, against the establishment, against whatsoever has been held as valuable. America stood for wealth, and now its children are hippies: they are against wealth. America was a clean society, cleanliness was held just next to God, godliness, and now hippies are going just against this - they are the most unclean.
Why? If you go against something, something else will happen to balance it. If you choose wealth, your children will be against wealth. If you choose some other world, your children will belong to this world: they will choose this world.
Neo-Sannyas is not a choice. It is a deep acceptance, not a choice. It is not against, neither is it for. It is a deep understanding - a remaining in between. Not choosing: LIVING! Not choosing:
flowing! If you can flow with a deep acceptance inside, sooner or later the day will come when you will transcend both worldliness and renunciation.
To me, sannyas means not renunciation, but transcendence.