Contentment: The Dispersion of Desires
SARVA SANTOSHO VISARJANAMITI YA AEVAM VEDA "TOTAL CONTENTMENT IS VISARJAN, THE DISPERSION OF THE WORSHIP RITUAL. ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS SO IS AN ENLIGHTENED ONE."
TOTAL contentment is wisdom. Three things have to be understood. First, what total contentment is; second, what wisdom is, what it means to be wise, to be Enlightened, and third, why contentment is wisdom. Whatsoever we know about contentment is a negative thing. Life is suffering, much suffering, and one has to console oneself. There are moments when one cannot do anything, so one has to cultivate a certain attitude of contentment; otherwise, it would be impossible to live.
So contentment for us is just an instrument - a survival instrument. Life consists of so much suffering that one has to create this attitude. That attitude saves you from much which would become impossible to bear, which would be unbearable if there were no attitude of contentment. But this is not the contentment which is meant by the rishi. That is with all of us, so that contentment is not wisdom: rather, that contentment is part of ignorance. When you cannot do anything the situation will be unbearable. If you go on feeling that you cannot do anything, if you go on feeling that nothing is possible, the situation will become unbearable, it will be suicidal. So you change the whole thing.
You interpret in such a way that, really, you begin to say that you can do much, but you do not want to - that much is possible, that things can be different, but you are not interested. That change of emphasis is really deceptive. But life exists through so many illusions. They are helpful.
Nietzsche has said that without lies it is difficult to survive. If one thinks he will live simply by truth, he cannot live. So we go on believing in so many lies. They are our foundations in a way; they help us to be on this earth. And so many so-called truths are not really truths for you: they are simply lies.
For example, you do not know that the soul is immortal, but you go on believing in it. That helps.
That is a lie for you; it is not your experience. But to live with death will be almost impossible, so this lie helps. Then you can forget death. You know that life is going to continue. Only the body is going to be dead; you are not going to be dead. You will be there.
This is a lie to you. You do not know anything because you do not know anything more than the body.
You are acquainted only with your body, and that too not in its totality. You do not know anything which is immortal. If you know anything immortal in yourself, then this is not a lie. But to know that immortality one has to pass through conscious death.
All meditations are really an effort to die consciously. If you can die consciously, only then do you come upon something which is immortal, which cannot die. But we believe in an immortal soul just to deceive ourselves. Through this belief life becomes easier. You have solved the problem without solving it. Now there is no death for you, and you can live as if you are going to live forever. Not only those who are theists, but even those who are atheists - who do not believe in soul at all and thus cannot believe in immortal souls - they too live in such a way as if they are going to live forever.
They also have to deceive themselves by believing that there is no death and that there are so many lives.
Kant has said that if there were no God, then too we would have to invent him because without God it is difficult to live. Why? Because without God no morality is possible. Without God the whole edifice of morality falls down. All heaven, all hell, the results of your karma, everything falls down. So Kant says that even if there is no God, He is needed. He is required because without him morality becomes impossible, and to live without morality will be very difficult.
We can live as immoral beings - we are already living so - we can live in immorality. That is not difficult: we always live in it. But even to live in immorality we need moral concepts. So an immoral person also goes on believing. He may not be good today, but tomorrow he is going to be good. He is not going to be good in this life, but he will be good in the next life.
So even a sinner goes on believing that he is not really a sinner. Any day he can be a saint - that possibility helps. Then he can hope for the possibility and continue to be whatsoever he is. So whatsoever he is, is just in a shadow. His being a sinner is just a changing thing. It is not going to be permanent: he is going to be a saint soon. He can hope for the saint and he can continue to be a sinner. If you want to be a sinner, you need some hope against your being a sinner. If you do not have any hope, it will be difficult to continue. So even those who are immoral need morality, and a God is needed as a central force, as a governing energy, otherwise the whole thing will be a chaos.
Kant then says: "Do not deny God." Kant has written two books, very valuable books. First he wrote one of the most valuable books of these two or three hundred years. He wrote "The Critique of Pure Reason" in which he says that there is no God because reason cannot prove Him, and that book is based on pure reason. So he goes on thinking about it, he goes on, and ultimately he comes to say that there is no God, because for reason it is impossible even to conceive of a God since there is no possibility of proving the hypothesis. Since he is an honest man, he argues and finds that God cannot be proved.
So because this hypothesis is irrational, he concludes there is no God. Then he feels uneasy because he was a very moral, religious man. He was one of the keenest intellects, but a moral man, so he felt uneasy for twenty years continuously. Then he wrote a second book: "The Critique of Practical Reason." The first was "The Critique of Pure Reason." He followed pure reason wheresoever it led, but then it was not leading to God. For twenty years, concluding that there is no God, he felt an uneasiness, as if he had done something wrong. And the wrong was not that without God there was any inconvenience for Kant, but that he saw that if there is no God, then to the whole world morality disappears, evaporates.
Then he writes in the second book that it is not possible to prove God through pure reason, but practical reason needs Him. So God is not a rational hypothesis, but a practically reasonable hypothesis. Without God the whole thing will become unreasonable, so he says God is - not because God is, but because God is needed. Without God man is not possible, so if He is not He has to be invented because only then does morality become possible.
For us there are so many hypotheses like this. We go on believing in them not because we know, but because if we do not believe in them then we will know our ignorance, our deep ignorance. We want to avoid it, we want to escape from it.
Contentment to us is really a deep escape. We cannot fight life. We try, but we cannot succeed in it. No one ever succeeds. Everyone comes upon barriers; there are limitations. Not only those who are weak, but also those who are very strong in our eyes, who are more strong than others and who come a little further ahead, they also come to barriers, and from those barriers there is no escape.
Even a Napoleon has to die; even an Alexander comes to know things which he cannot win. Then what to do? One thing is to remain continuously in discontentment. That will become a cancer. You cannot sleep with it; you cannot forget it at any moment. It will become a continuous worry, an inner cancer in the mind. So create a facade of contentment: "I am a contented man. It is not that I cannot win these barriers - I do not want to win." This is a rationalization: "I do not want to. It is not that I cannot win - I am not interested in winning!" You withdraw yourself and you give a rational flavour to it. This contentment is a rationalization - a shrewd, cunning rationalization. This gives you a certain hope that if you want you can do it.
Look at it in this way. I have known many people. One man I know is a habituated alcoholic. For thirty years he has been trying to leave alcohol, but he cannot leave it. It has become impossible.
But still he will go on saying, he will come to me and say, "Any day I can leave it if I will it." And he has tried continuously for thirty years. He has willed so many times, and was defeated, and again he will fall, but he still goes on saying, "If I will, I can drop this habit in a moment."
Because of this hope that "If I will...." he still feels he is not a defeated man. He is already a defeated man, and this hope allows him to live. He goes on thinking that any moment he can drop it: he is not a slave; he can drop it - he is only not dropping it because he does not want to drop it. So one day I asked him, "You go on saying 'If I will....' but have you not tried so many times, have you not willed so many times to drop it?"
Then he said, "Yes, I have tried many times, but the effort was not really wholehearted."
So I asked him, "Have you tried any time when the effort was wholehearted?"
He said, "No! If I try wholeheartedly I can leave it this very moment."
I asked him, "Is it possible for you to do it wholeheartedly? Is it in your capacity to will it wholeheartedly? Is your will your own?"
He became uneasy, because when you feel that your will is not your own you will have to face your imprisonment, your slavery. So he is in an imprisonment, but he goes on believing that he is free.
That helps you to live in a prison as if it is your home.
This is how we go on rationalizing, and this man cannot leave alcohol unless he leaves this rationalization. If he begins to feel that "Even if I will I cannot leave," then he is realistic. Then he has come down to the earth. And if he comes to feel that "I cannot do anything even if I will," then he can do something because then he will not be living in illusion - he will have stumbled upon reality. And you can do something with reality, but you cannot do anything with illusions.
To escape from reality we create many mental attitudes. Freud is reported to have said that religion will continue to have power over man not because religion is true, but because man needs many illusions and man is not yet adult enough, mature enough, to live without religion In a way he is right, because as far as the majority of humanity is concerned religion is a rationalized illusion. Only sometimes - with a Buddha, with a Patanjali or with a Kapil - does it happen that religion is not an illusion but the Ultimate Reality. But for others religion is an illusion. It substitutes for your life, compensates. Your reality is so horrible that you need some illusions to compensate for it.
For example, if a country is very poor, it is bound to believe in a heaven after this life. That is a compensation. The reality is so horrible, so ugly, and there is so much suffering all around for which nothing can be done. But you can do one thing: you can believe in some heaven after this life, and that will help you to live in this ugly poverty. Then you can live easily because it is a question of a few years, or only a few lives, then you will be in heaven. So this poverty is not something permanent which you have to be worried about. It is just a passing phase, just as if you are in a waiting room in a railway station. Let it be ugly, let it be as it is, because you are not going to stay here. It is not your home. A friend will come and you will be away from this waiting room.
If there is a heaven after this life, then this life becomes just a waiting room. Everyone is waiting for his train. When the train comes, you will go away. You need not be worried. You can close your eyes and chant the "Gayatri" - a spiritual mantra - close your eyes and chant a mantra, because this is only a waiting room. Religious people are reported to have continuously made the simile that this world is just a waiting room: you are not to be here forever, so do not be worried about it.
But if the waiting room is going to be your home, if it is not a waiting room but the whole of reality, then it will be impossible to live there. Then it will be impossible to live there even for an hour. But if it is a waiting room, you can live even lives in it, because the hope is always for something else.
Really, you are not there. You have transferred yourself mentally to somewhere else. This is a trick.
The mind has gone to live somewhere else; only the body is here, so you can continue.
Much of religion, so-called religion, is a compensation, a consolation. Whatsoever you lack in life, you substitute for it in your dream. Whatsoever you lack, you substitute in your dreams! That is why every religion, every country, every race, believes in different types of heaven and hell. You believe in one heaven; in another country the concept of heaven will be different - because your problems are different and their problems are different, so you cannot compensate with one heaven.
For example, Tibetans believe in a heaven which will be warm, Indians believe in a heaven which will be cool. Indians believe in a hell which is going to be fiery, a burning fire, hot; Tibetans believe in a hell which is ice-cold. Why this difference? This difference is one of compensation. Tibetans are already in India's heaven and India is already in their hell. India cannot believe in a heaven unless it is air-conditioned. What type of heaven can it be if it is not air-conditioned? It must be air- conditioned! That is a compensation. Your contentment is a compensation. It is a cunning mental trick.
So do not think that those among us who are contented are very simple. They are very complex and cunning. Whenever a person says, "I am content with my poverty," do not think that he is a simple man. He has created a very cunning attitude.
Once I met a great Jain monk. He is a leader and he has a big following. Hundreds and hundreds of Jain monks believe in him as their teacher. So when I met him, he recited a small poem. He had written that poem. He is an old man, very old: he lives naked.
He recited the poem. The poem had only one central idea continuously repeated, and the idea was this: "You may be a king, you may be on your golden throne, but I am happy in my dust. I do not care about it. I am contented in my hut. You may be in your palace, I am contented in my hut.
Whatsoever you have is nothing to me, because death is going to snatch everything away from you."
Like this ran the whole piece. This mind is very cunning. What is he saying? If he is really not interested in being a king, why compare? If you are really contented in your dust, why think of golden thrones? I have never heard any poem written by a king that says, "You may be happy in your dust, but I am contented on my golden throne." Why has no emperor written this? There must be some reason.
And why does this man say that whatsoever you have will be snatched away by death? He feels happy about it. "Okay, be on your golden throne. Soon I will see that death snatches away everything, and then you will know who was happy. I am happy because death cannot snatch anything away from me." This is a very-cunning attitude; this is not contentment. But he was writing on contentment. That was the title of his poem - "Contentment."
Is this contentment? If this is contentment, then this sutra is not concerned with it. This sutra has a different meaning, a different dimension of contentment. What is it? In your case, you desire something, you cannot get it; or, even if you get it, the desire is still unfulfilled. Then you rationalize.
Then you say, "I must live in contentment because desire gives pain, because desire gives suffering, because through desire anxiety is created, through ambition one suffers unnecessarily. So I give up: I do not desire because I do not like suffering."
This is not the contentment of this sutra. This sutra means many things, so it will be good to enter through many doors. One door for total contentment is non-desiring. Our contentment comes after the failure of desire; this contentment comes through desirelessness. It is not that desires is suffering, but that desire is futile; desire is useless, absurd. Knowing this. feeling this, realizing this, one becomes desireless. Then one will not say, "I do not care about your golden throne." Then one will not compare and will not say, "I prefer my hut."
Buddha left his palace. The night he left and renounced, only his driver came along just to leave him on the boundary of his kingdom. The driver is weeping. He loves him and he feels attached to him.
He thinks this is absurd: "What has happened to Prince Siddharth? What is he doing? Leaving the palace? Leaving the kingdom? Leaving his beautiful wife? Leaving everything everyone desires?
He has gone mad!" So he goes on weeping. He cannot say anything. He is a mere driver of Buddha's chariot. But he loves him, he feels attached, and he feels that Prince Siddharth is going to do something foolish.
This is unimaginable to a poor man. His reaction is natural. He feels that it is obviously madness.
What is Siddharth going to do? Then when he leaves, he says only one thing; he says, "I am no one to say anything to you; I am just a driver. And also, it is not my business to interfere. Your order is your order, so I have brought you to the boundary of your kingdom. But if you do not mind, let me say to you a few words. What are you doing? It seems mad! This is what man lives to attain.
This is what everyone aspires to be. You were born in it. You are a fortunate one. Why are you leaving? Remember the palace! Remember your beautiful wife! Remember your father! Remember the kingdom and the happiness it brings!"
Buddha says, "I cannot understand what you are talking about. I have not left any palace behind, I have not left any kingdom behind. I have left only a nightmare. The whole thing was burning in a fire. I am escaping from it. I have not renounced it because the very word 'renunciation' means you are leaving something valuable behind. I have not renounced anything; there was nothing to be renounced. The whole thing is on fire. It was a nightmare. So I have escaped from it, and I thank you because you have helped me to come out from it."
After that Buddha is never reported to have talked about his palace, about his kingdom, about his beautiful wife - never again. If this renunciation is a bargain, if this renunciation is for something to be achieved in the future, if this renunciation is just an investment for heaven, moksha, then you cannot forget it so easily. He completely forgot it. Why? He was not leaving something for something else.
If you leave something for something else, it is a desire. If you simply leave it, it is desirelessness.
If you leave it for something else, then it is still desire. If you simply leave it looking at its absurdity, futility, nonsense, then it is desirelessness. And when a man is desireless, he is content. This is the first door. When a man is desireless, he is content, because now how can you make him discontented? He is in contentment because no discontentment is possible now.
Chuang Tzu's wife died. The emperor came to pay his respects. Chuang Tzu was a great sage, so even the emperor came. He was also a friend; the emperor was a friend to Chuang Tzu, and sometimes he would call Chuang Tzu to his palace to learn his wisdom. Chuang Tzu was just a beggar, but a great sage. The emperor came. He rehearsed in his mind what to say because Chuang Tzu's wife had died. He thought of every good thing to console him, but the moment he saw Chuang Tzu he became very uneasy. Chuang Tzu was singing. He was sitting under a tree playing his instrument, singing loudly. He looked very happy, and just in the morning his wife had died.
The emperor became uneasy and he said, "Chuang Tzu, it is enough if you are not weeping, but the singing is too much. It is going too far!"
Chuang Tzu asked, "But why should I weep?"
The emperor said, "It seems you have not heard that your wife is dead.".
Chuang Tzu said, "Of course, my wife is dead. Why should I weep? If she is dead, she is dead.
And I never expected that she was going to live forever. You weep because you expect. I never expected that she was going to live forever. I always knew she was going to die any day, and this day it happened. This was going to happen any day. And any day is as good for death as any other, so why should I not sing? If I cannot sing when there is death, then I cannot sing in life, because life is a continuous death. Every moment death will occur somewhere to someone. Life is a continuous death. If I cannot sing at the moment of death, I cannot sing at all.
"Life and death are not two things. They are one. The moment someone is born, death is born with him. When you are growing in life you are also growing in death, and whatsoever is known as death is nothing but the peak of your so-called life. So why should I not sing? And, moreover, the poor woman has lived so many years with me, so will you not allow me to sing a little in gratitude when she has left? She must go in peace, harmony, music and love. Why should I weep?
"You weep only when you expect and the expected doesn't happen. I never expected that she was going to be here forever. When you do not expect, when you do not desire, you cannot be discontented."
Look at the difference. We go on desiring, then there are failures. Then we try to cultivate contentment. This sutra means that you do not desire and you see also the futility of desire. So the second difference: you cultivate contentment only when you fail. If you succeed, then you are overjoyed. That shows your contentment was false. When you are a failure, you say, "I am contented." When you succeed, you are filled with joy. That is impossible. Behind your contentment, under your contentment, there must have been some sadness. Otherwise, in your success this joy is not possible. If in success you feel happy, then it is impossible not to feel unhappy when you fail.
With a person like Chuang Tzu or a person like Buddha, whether they succeed or fail is immaterial.
It is irrelevant. They remain contented. Your false contentment will be broken by your success. You use it only as a center when you are in failure, in misery. When you succeed, you come off the center into the open sky, dancing and jumping, happy and enjoying. This is impossible. That shows that your center was a false one. It was just an emergency arrangement. It was not your nature. The person who is in contentment will not feel any difference between success and failure. He cannot.
Now there is no difference. Whatsoever happens he is contented. Whether he succeeds or fails is not his concern, because there is no desire to have a particular result, to have a particular future.
Whatsoever happens, his future is liquid. He is ready to absorb it, whatsoever it is.
I remember another anecdote about Chuang Tzu. Whenever someone would say something to him, even before he had said it Chuang Tzu would say, "Good, very good!" This was a habit. So sometimes the situation would become very awkward, because someone would say something which was not good and he would not even hear. He would just say, "Good, very good!" Someone was saying, "My wife has died," and Chuang Tzu said, "Good, very good!" as if he had not heard.
Someone would say, "My house has been broken into during the night, burglarized." But Chuang Tzu would say, "Good, very good!"
One day someone said, "Your son has fallen from the tree and broken both his legs." He said, "Good, very good!" So people began to think that he didn't know the meaning of "good" - because if there is nothing bad, if everything is good, then you are crossing the boundaries of language. So the whole village gathered, and they asked him, "Please be kind enough to tell us what you mean by 'good' - because we have been reporting all kinds of things, even misfortunes and deaths have been reported, and you have said 'good'. And this morning your own son has fallen from the tree, both legs broken. He was your help in old age, your only help. He was serving you up until now, and now you will have to serve him. In your extreme old age it is a misfortune, but you said 'good'."
Chuang Tzu said, "Wait! Life is a very complex affair."
And the next day it happened that the country was involved with the neighbouring country, at war, and it was compulsory that every young man be recruited into the military. Only Chuang Tzu's son was left because his legs were crippled. So they said, "You have a very deep insight into things it seems. You said 'good', and it has turned out to be 'good'."
Chuang Tzu said. "Wait! Don't be in a hurry. Life is very complex and things go on happening!"
The son was just engaged to a girl, but the next day the family refused to let her marry him because now there was no hope of whether he would even be able to walk again; his legs were very much injured. So again the people said, "It seems to be a bad thing after all."
Chuang Tzu said, "Wait! Don't be in a hurry. Life is very patient."
After a week, the girl who was going to be his son's wife, whom the family denied to him, died suddenly. So the villagers came and said again, "What are you doing! You have a very uncanny insight. Did you see that she was going to die?"
But Chuang Tzu went on saying, "Wait! Wait!"
Chuang Tzu had said that everything is good if you do not have any expectation. And life is infinite, God is infinite, but our patience is so small. Why are we so impatient? Why? We have expectations; we desire something. Something must be there! Something must happen!
Mulla Nasrudin had saved some money to have a new shirt. So he went to a tailor, the most famous tailor in that locality. He waited a long time for it, and this was going to be his shirt for the new year. The new year was just about to begin. He asked impatiently, "Please, prepare it as soon as possible."
The tailor said, "The shirt will be ready, if Allah wills, within a week."
Nasrudin contained himself for a week. It was so difficult, he couldn't sleep. The new shirt haunted him continuously, day and night. In his dreams, he was again and again at the tailor's shop. Then seven days passed as if it were seven years. When you are expecting something, time is lengthened.
It becomes longer and longer and longer. Seven days passed like seven years!
Then early in the morning, when the sun was just rising, before the shop had even opened, he was knocking at the door. The tailor said, "There has been a delay, so come after two days. If Allah wills, your shirt will be ready."
These two days were even more difficult, but Mulla Nasrudin contained himself. He tried to console himself in many, many ways. It was only a question of two days, so he told himself not to be so worried. He tried many religious tricks, and then he was again at the door of the tailor. The tailor said, "I am sorry. The shirt is not yet completely finished. So come tomorrow morning. If Allah wills, the shirt will be ready."
Now it was impossible to go back. So Nasrudin, exasperated, said, "Please tell me in how many days the shirt will be ready if you leave Allah out of it, because Allah is an infinite thing. It is enough!
I have passed nine days, and it is difficult to conceive when Allah will will it. So leave Allah out and tell me exactly how many days it will take!"
Mind is impatient; life is not. Mind is impatient; God is not. Mind is temporal; life is eternal. Mind has a limit to how long it can expect, how long it can desire, how long it can feel, how long it can wait to achieve. Life has no limits. It goes on and on. It is an infinite process. Because we desire that some expectations be fulfilled in the future, the mind is a constant discontent. Looking at the infinity of life, looking at the endless process of life, one is contented. This is not a defense measure. This is wisdom.
Thirdly, let us look at this from some other door: contentment means consciousness here and now; discontentment means consciousness somewhere else, in the future. Discontentment is concerned either with the past or with the future. Contentment is here and now, in the present. A person who lives moment to moment will be contented, but we never live from moment to moment. Really, we never live in the moment! We always live beyond it - somewhere in the future. We are moving like shadows, and we go on moving in the future. And the more you move in the future, the more discontented you will be, because the future never comes.
There is no future in Existence. In Existence nothing like the future exists. Existence is a continuity in the present; Existence is here and now. Expectation is somewhere else - and they never meet.
That non-meeting is discontentment. You hope, and there is no meeting. You dream, and there is no fulfillment And there is a gap - an eternal gap always between you and your hopes - so you move in discontentment. Discontentment means a movement that is always in the future and never in the present.
Buddha says that only this moment is real. That is why philosophy is known as kshanikvad - "momentism." This "momentism", only this moment, is real. Do not move beyond it! Be here and now! Consider it, think it over: just for this moment, if you are here and now, how can you be discontented?
Discontent needs comparison. You compare with the past which is no more. It is no more, but you compare with it. In some past moment you were somewhere else, and that moment was very beautiful - filled with happiness. But now you are sitting here, and you compare with that moment - discontent is given birth. Or, you can contemplate into the future about some moment when you will be meeting with your beloved or your lover, or something else. You compare - then you are discontented.
Discontent means comparison of something which is not in the present, which is either past or future, with your present. If you are really here with no comparison to the past or the future, then where is the discontentment? Then whatsoever is the case, you are contented.
Comparison brings discontentment; contentment is noncomparison. If you forget comparing, no one can make you discontented. It is you, your mind working in comparison, which creates discontentment. And then, to avoid this discontentment, you cultivate contentment. To negate one thing, first you create it; then to negate it, you have to create something else. And you will not succeed in it, because to think of creating contentment is moving again into the future.
So you will go on thinking that you have to cultivate contentment, and you will go on being discontented. You will begin to feel discontent even in relation to contentment, because you have not created it yet, because you are still far away from it - far away from the goal. So even the goal of contentment, the ideal of contentment, will create more discontentment.
Our contentment is after we have created the disease. The contentment of the Upanishads is not to create disease at all. Do not move in comparisons. Each moment is unique; it Cannot be compared.
And this is the nonsense, the stupidity of the human mind: that the moment with which you are comparing your present moment was not so beautiful as you think, because when you were actually in that moment, you were thinking about something else. So the glory, the beauty, the happiness of it, is just a false phenomenon.
Everyone says that childhood was golden, and no child seems happy about his childhood. Every child is trying to grow up soon. If he can take a jump, if a child is allowed to take a jump, he will become his father immediately. No child is happy about his childhood, because childhood is such a slavery, and childhood is such a weakness, and a child is so much at the mercy of others. He feels it. Everything hurts. Mother and father and everyone is so strong, and he alone is so weak and dependent that he cannot do anything on his own. From everywhere comes the commandment "Don't!"
So every child is in deep misery. He contemplates the day when he will also be an adult - powerful.
But when he is an adult, he will begin to say, "Childhood was good." When he is old, just near death, he will create a golden dream. He will say, "What bliss childhood was! What a heaven!"
Psychologists say that this is also a trick of the mind. Because the reality is so hard, you have to escape somewhere. You are not capable of facing it, you do not want to encounter it. Really, the old man is now near death, so he wants to escape from it. When he begins to think about childhood, he has escaped, because childhood is as far away from death as anything. In his imagination, he has moved to being a child again. Now there is no death, no disease, no illness, no oldness. He is passing into the past, but why not into the future?
Old men always escape into the past, young men always into the future. Why? Because for an old man the future means death, so he doesn't want to see the future. Every day on the calendar a new date appears and death comes nearer. He doesn't want to see it, and the easiest way is to escape into the past. And to escape, you have to make it golden and beautiful, otherwise the journey will be boring. If you really escape into the real past, it is going to be a bondage.
Ask any old man, "If a chance is given by the Divine to you, will you be ready to repeat the same life again?" He will say, "No! The same life?" He feels horrible. The same life? No one will be ready to repeat the same life - not even the same childhood.
If you are given the opportunity that this can happen, that you are allowed to be born again to your parents and have the same childhood, you will say no. And just one moment before you might have been saying that "My father was just godlike, a holy man. And my mother? The climax of motherhood!" But if someone says, "Now be born to them again," you are going to refuse - because whatsoever you have been saying about your mother, about your father, about your childhood, about your home, about your village, about your country, is just an imaginative creation. It is not concerned with reality. You have created it to escape from reality. A young man is thinking of the future, moving into the future, but contentment means to be here.
Socrates is dying, and on his face there is so much contentment that everyone feels it is strange - because he is just on the verge of death, and death is a certainty with him. He is to be given poison.
The poison is being made ready, being prepared just outside his room. The room is filled with his disciples and friends. They are all weeping and crying, and Socrates is Lying on the bed. He says, "Now the time is coming near. Ask those persons who are preparing the poison if they are ready yet, because I am ready."
Someone asks, "Are you not afraid of death? Why are you so anxious to die?"
Socrates says, "Whatsoever is, is. Death is there; death is coming nearer. I must be ready to meet it, otherwise I will miss the moment of meeting death. So be silent. Do not disturb me; do not talk about past days."
Many are talking of past days, of how beautiful it was to be with Socrates, and Socrates says, "Do not disturb me. I have known you. In the past, in the days which you are talking about, you were not so happy as you are saying." His wife is weeping, and the same wife struggled with him for her whole life. It was a long conflict, a long problem - never solved.
Socrates says, "It is strange! Why is my wife weeping? I would have thought she would be filled with happiness when I died, because my life was such a burden and such a suffering for her. Why is she weeping? She never enjoyed any moment with me, and now she is weeping for those golden moments. They were never there; only now she is creating a past which never was. It seems she has suffered because of me, and now she will suffer because of my absence."
Such is the stupidity of the human mind. You will suffer the presence, then you will suffer the absence. You cannot live with someone, and then you cannot live without him. When he is with you, you will see all the faults. When he is gone, you will see all that was good in him. But you never face the reality.
Then the poison comes and Socrates says, "Be silent; do not disturb me. Let me be here and now.
Do not talk about the past. It is no more."
Someone asks Socrates, "Are you not afraid of dying? You seem so contented. Your face shows such silence. We have never seen anyone dying in such beauty. Your face is so beautiful! Why arc you not afraid?"
Socrates says, "Only two are the possibilities, two are the alternatives. Either I am going to die completely. If this death is ultimate and there will be no Socrates, why bother? If I am not going to be at all, there is no question. There will be no suffering because Socrates will be no more. Or, the second alternative: only the body will die, and I, Socrates, will remain. So why bother? These are the only two alternatives possible, and I do not choose either of the two. If I choose, then if will become a problem. If the one I choose doesn't happen and the other happens, then there will be disturbance and discontent and fear and insecurity, and I will begin to tremble.
"But these are two alternatives, and I am not the chooser. The Whole is the chooser. Whatsoever happens, happens. If Socrates will be no more. Socrates is unworried. Or, if Socrates will still be there, again there is no worry - then I will be. If I am there, then I will be there. Then I will continue, so no need of any worry. Or, I will drop completely; then no one will remain to worry. But no more questions." Socrates says, "No more questions! Let me face death."
He takes the poison, he lies down, and then he begins to face, to encounter, death. No one else has ever encountered death in that way. It is unique - Socratic. He says, "Now my legs have become dead, but I am as much alive as ever. My feeling of I-ness is the same. The legs have become dead, my legs are no more. I cannot feel my legs, but my wholeness remains the same." Then he says, "My half-body has become dead. I cannot feel it. The poison is coming up and up. Sooner or later my heart will be drowned in it, and it is going to be a discovery whether, when my heart has been drowned, I feel the same or not. But there is no expectation - just an open inquiry."
Then he says, "My heart is going, and now it seems it will be difficult for me to speak more. My tongue is trembling and my lips are now giving way. So these are going to be the last words. But still, I say, I am the same. Nothing has dropped from me. The poison has not touched me yet. The body is far away from me, going away and away. I feel I am without a body, but the poison has not yet touched me. But who knows? It may touch, it may not touch. One has to wait and see." And he dies.
This is facing the moment without moving from it anywhere. Then you have contentment.
Contentment means life here and now, living moment to moment without any escapes.
That is why this sutra says that total contentment is visarjan. visarjan is a particular process. Visarjan means dispersion.
In India, whenever someone worships, the deity is created. For example, Ganesh: Ganesh is created - an image is created. For the worship, the image is taken as Divine, so Divinity is invoked in it. Then, for particular days, for a particular length of time, it is worshipped. When the worship is over, the deity has to be dissolved into the sea or into a river. That is known as dispersion - visarjan.
This is rare. This happens only in India, nowhere else in the world. Everywhere else they have permanent images of gods. Only India has impermanent images. This is rare!
India says that nothing is permanent and nothing can remain permanent - not even your image of a god. Because you have created it, it cannot be a permanent thing. Do not fool yourself. When the time is over, go and throw it back. Your god cannot be permanent. Go on throwing your gods - creating them and throwing them. Use them and throw them. Only then can you reach that God which is not your creation. The images are your creations, so they have an instrumental value. They are devices. They are necessary because you are still so far away from the reality, and it is difficult for you to conceive of an imageless God.
Create an image, but do not stick to it. No clinging is allowed. When the worship is over, throw it; throw it back into the mud. It is again mud. Then do not retain it. This is a very deep psychological process, because to throw a god needs courage, to throw a god needs detachment.
You were just worshipping - falling at the feet of the god, crying, weeping, dancing, singing - and now you yourself go and throw it into the sea. So it was just a device - nothing permanent in it.
You used it as an instrument. Now the worship is over, so throw it and create it again whenever you need. This constant creating and throwing will always help you to remember that your created gods are not real gods. They are symbolic.
Hindus were never in favour of creating stone images. They came with Buddhists and Jains, and with Buddhists and Jains came temples. Hindus were really never in favour of stone images, because they give a false permanence. They give a false appearance of permanence.
A Buddha dies, but his stone image remains when even Buddha himself dies. How can an image of Buddha be permanent? But a stone image gives a false appearance of permanence.
Hindus have believed in mud gods. Make a mud god; then rains will come and you will know what happens to your god. It is your god; this must not be forgotten. And all gods created by men are mud gods. They are bound to be because man himself is an impermanent entity. He cannot create anything permanent.
So do not create a false appearance. This is called dispersioN - visarjan. This word is beautiful.
First create the image, then uncreate it. It is not destroyed. Visarjan means "uncreated". Create, then uncreate it; then let everything go again to its basic elements.
Hindus say death is a dispersion. You are created in your birth; you are a mud image. Then in death the elements move again to their original source. You are dispersed, and that which was not born in you, which was even before your birth, will remain after your death. But your image will disperse.
The same is to be done with human gods, man-made gods - create them, then disperse them.
This sutra says that dispersion means contentment. Contentment is the dispersion - the visarjan of your worship. Why? Why call contentment "dispersion"? It is very deeply related. Creation means desire. You cannot create unless you are filled with desire. Hindus are very logical in a way. They say God created the world because He felt the desire to create it. Even God cannot create the world without desire: He was filled with desire!
Creation means desire. You cannot create without desire. Desire allows you movement, effort, then you create. Then how to uncreate? If there is still desire, you cannot uncreate. Uncreation means no more desire, desirelessness, contentment. That is why this sutra relates visarjan to contentment.
If a man is totally in contentment, then everything will disperse.
This is what Buddhists call Nirvana - cessation of desire. Buddha says that when there is no desire you will cease: you will disperse into the cosmos. Still, the desiring mind will ask, "But I will be somewhere. Will I not be somewhere? Where will I be?" Buddha says, "It will be just like a flame going out." Can you find out where it is, where it has gone? You blow out a candle, and the flame goes out. Where is it? So Buddha says, "It has simply dispersed. It went to the elements, to the source."
It is everywhere or nowhere, and both are meaningful. If you say it is everywhere, it also means that now it is nowhere. You cannot find it anywhere now because it is everywhere. Or, you can say it is nowhere now because to find it is impossible.
Hassan, a Sufi mystic, relates in his life, "I was passing through a village, and I was so filled with knowledge that I wanted to teach anyone - anyone who should meet me. Whosoever should meet me I would teach, but the whole day passed without teaching."
It is the teacher's itch. It is a disease. The whole day had passed and Hassan had not preached, so he caught hold of a child. The child was going with a candle in his hand, with a burning candle, to a temple. The evening was faDing, and the child was going to the temple to put the candle there.
Hassan stopped him and said, "My boy, will you answer me one question? From where has this flame come into this candle?" He was asking a very metaphysical question, and he was certain that the boy would be caught in his net. But the boy did something, and Hassan couldn't forget the incident for his whole life.
The boy laughed and blew out the candle, and he said, "Now it has gone just before your eyes. Tell me, where has it gone? If you can tell me where it has gone, I will tell you from where it came. And it has gone just before your eyes."
Hassan fell down at the feet of that child and said, "Forgive me. I do not know anything. I am only filled with knowledge. I do not know even this much - where this flame has gone - so what else can I know? You are my teacher. You have taught me much: you have taught me my ignorance."
When Hassan became Enlightened, the first thanks he expressed were toward this boy, this unknown boy. He thanked that unknown boy. So his disciples asked him "Whom are you thanking?"
He said, "There was a boy in a certain village who taught me my ignorance by blowing out a candle lamp and asking where it had gone. He was my first real teacher because all other teachers simply taught me more and more knowledge. He was the only one, and the first who taught me my ignorance. And only because of him did I become aware that my knowledge is false. And when your Knowledge is false, when you know it, only then can you progress toward an authentic, real knowledge - toward a Knowing."
This sutra says that contentment is visarjan - contentment is dispersion. When you are contented totally, you are out of the birth cycle. Now you will not be reborn again, because only desire is reborn, not you, and because of desire you have to follow. You become a shadow of your desire.
The desires move ahead and you move behind. Now there is no desire, and one does not need any movement. One is freed from the wheel of rebirth, from sansar - the world. This is what Liberation is.
Disperse yourself. Through this dispersion, you disperse your desires. Attain the center of Being through contentment. Contentment is a centering in oneself, and one becomes unmoving, still, silent.