The Highest Flight
The first question:
WHAT IS A POET? WHAT IS POETRY?
Devaprem, there are three ways of looking at existence: seeing it, feeling it, being it. The first is science, the second is art, the third is religion.
Science looks at the universe in an objective way. It looks at the universe as if it is there, outside.
Hence science concludes that there is only matter and nothing else. The very method of science limits it; it is a great limitation. If you look in an objective way you can only catch hold of the objectivity of existence. That is matter. Matter is the objectiveness of existence.
The word object is significant; it means that which obstructs you, that which objects to you. Anything that obstructs your vision is an object. Hence science becomes antagonistic towards the world, it starts trying to conquer it, because the object is the enemy and has to be conquered. It is because of the scientific approach that man has become so alienated from nature. And now he feels so isolated and alone that it seems that suicide is the only way to get rid of the whole misery that this isolation has created.
The second approach, the second way, is that of art, aesthetics, poetry. It is a subjective approach towards existence. Art is not concerned with what is there but what is here, inside you. It is not concerned with the roseflower itself but how it feels to you. When you see the roseflower, what happens in your inner world? When you see the sunrise, how does it reflect in your being? When the cuckoo starts calling from the distance, how does it echo in your innermost recesses?
Art is concerned with your response: not with what is there but with what is inside you. Art is closer to home than science - although not yet exactly at home, but on the way. It is a mid-point between science and religion. Art gives you more freedom than science. The poet has more freedom than the mathematician, the musician has more freedom than the physicist. The scientist is obstructed by his own objects. The scientist cannot go beyond matter and matter defines his world. But the poet can soar, can go beyond, can create his own worlds.
Science discovers, art creates. Science can only discover that which is already there. Art creates, hence art brings you closer to the creator.
And whenever I talk about poetry I mean the essence of art. Poetry is the essence of art. The sculptor is creating poetry in stone, the musician is creating poetry in sound, the painter is creating poetry in color on the canvas. They are all poets. Their mediums differ, their expressions differ, but their basic approach is not that of arithmetic but of poetry.
Because science has become too predominant, art has almost disappeared. It is no longer thriving, it is no longer as alive as it always has been in the past. Science has taken over everything. Hence the great boredom felt in the world, because unless you are creative you are bound to be bored.
Only a creative person knows how to drop boredom; the creative person knows no boredom at all.
He is thrilled, enchanted, he is constantly in a state of adventure. And small things create such ecstatic states within him. A butterfly is enough to trigger a process in his being. Just a small flower is enough to bring a spring into his heart. A silent lake reflecting the stars, and the poet himself becomes a silent lake and starts reflecting millions of stars.
Science is the root cause of the creation of boredom in the world. First it creates isolation: man is no more part of nature, he stands outside it - he becomes just an observer, a spectator, no more a participant. And unless you participate in the celebration, unless you participate in the dance, you are bound to be bored. Isolated from existence, antagonistic to existence, trying to conquer it, you are simply killing yourself. And you become fed up, bored. Life loses meaning, there is no significance; there are only things without any significance, and life appears only to be an accident with no intrinsic value. Yes, things have prices, but nothing has value as far as science is concerned.
As far as poetry is concerned, things are valuable, they don't have any price. How can you price a beautiful roseflower? It is impossible. Its beauty is immeasurable; it is not possible to fix its price.
Yes, value is there... and remember, value is not price, value is your appreciation. The rose and the star and the moon and the sun are not marketable. You cannot sell them, you cannot purchase them. You can enjoy them, but you cannot possess them.
Price means you can possess a thing, you can sell it and purchase it; it is a commodity. Value means it is not a commodity; it is an experience, it is a love phenomenon.
Science lives through logic, poetry lives through love. Poetry is a loving approach towards existence.
Science is a kind of rape; poetry is a love affair. Yes, in rape also you go through the same act of penetration as in love but there is such a vast distance; the gap is unbridgeable. You can rape a woman, she may even get pregnant, but it will not be to know the mystery of the woman. You will not know the joy of love. And if rape becomes your very lifestyle, you will be missing something of tremendous value. Your life will remain empty, hollow.
Poetry is a love affair with existence. Existence has to be persuaded, seduced; not conquered, loved. And love never tries to conquer; on the contrary, love is surrender. The poet is closer to home because he starts surrendering, he starts loving, he starts living subjectively. He starts living from the center. The scientist lives from the circumference.
I have deep respect for poetry and the people who have poetic visions, the poets of all kinds:
musicians, sculptors, painters, singers, dancers, actors. Whosoever is creative in whatsoever way is a poet. Poetry is the essence of all art. But there is one step still to be taken.
Religion is transcendental. It is neither objective nor subjective, because both are halves of one whole. Science has chosen one half - the outside, the objective; poetry has chosen the other half - the subjective, the inner. But both are half and a half can never be fulfilling. One needs the whole to become whole. Religion is whole. It is neither objective nor subjective; it is transcendental. It goes beyond both and includes both. It encompasses both and yet is not limited by either. That is the highest flight possible for human consciousness.
Religion dissolves all dualities - and the duality of the subjective and the objective is the fundamental duality of within and without. Religion dissolves both and then there is only one single phenomenon.
The within is without and the without is within; there is no distinction, no gap. The within is becoming without every moment and the without is becoming within every moment - just like the breath. Just a second ago it was without, now it is within, and again it is without. The breath comes in, goes out, comes in, goes out. Just like that, existence is continuously merging. It is one orgasmic unity, it is not two.
The scientist is approaching reality as a male mind. It is the masculine approach: conquer nature.
And the poet approaches reality with the feminine mind: surrender, be receptive, open up to reality, be in a letgo, relax. Religion is neither male nor female; it is just a witnessing of both. But the scientist is very far away from religion; the poet is a little closer.
That's why I sometimes talk about poetry and the poet, because before you can become transcendental you will have to learn how to be poetic. Science is taught by the society, by the school, the college and the university. Poetry is missing. Because it has no market value, nobody cares about it. If you have a poetic approach, your approach is so private it can't be used by the society. And in fact you may be a little problematic to the society, because you will be bringing your private vision and your private vision can be a disturbance.
The society lives with the collective; the object is collective. The rose as an object is a collective phenomenon, but when you approach the rose you approach in your own unique way. Somebody else will approach in his own unique way.
Poetry is private; it is individual, it is not collective. And the society has always to be aware, alert, watchful, that private visions should not be supported because they become disruptive, they create chaos: the collective vision should be imposed on people. Christianity is a collective vision, Hinduism is a collective vision, communism is a collective vision. Impose a collective thing on everybody so that they all look alike and they all live alike; then they are all conformists.
The poet is basically a rebel. The real poet is bound to be a revolutionary. Vincent van Gogh has painted his trees so high that they reach beyond the stars. Somebody asked him, "We have never seen such trees. What kind of trees are these and how can they go beyond the stars?"
Van Gogh is reported to have said that "it doesn't matter whether any tree succeeds or not. This is the desire of the tree that I have painted, this is the ambition of the tree, this is the very spirit, the longing of the tree. Every tree longs to go beyond the stars. I have seen it in the trees, I have listened to the trees, I have watched them. I understand their language and the message is clear and loud from every tree, from the smallest to the biggest, that they are all trying to go beyond the stars. Whether they succeed or not is another matter. I am not concerned with that, I am concerned with the inner feeling of the tree."
Now Vincent van Gogh is right in a poetic way but not right in a scientific way. In a scientific way he looks absurd, but in a poetic way he is absolutely right. He says, "Trees are nothing but the longings of the earth to meet the stars, the desires of the earth to bridge the gap between itself and other stars. It may succeed, it may not succeed, that is beside the point." That is irrelevant for van Gogh.
The poet has his own vision; it is private, it is not collective. Hence all the people who believe in collectivity are anti-poetic.
Plato, the first collectivist in the world, writes in his utopian book, The Republic - which is his idea of society as future societies should be - that in his republic poets won't be allowed - poets in particular. Nobody else is prevented, but poets are prevented; they should not be allowed in the Platonic republic. Why? Why is he so afraid of the poets? For the simple reason that the poet brings the individual, private vision, and that can create disruption. Plato wants to impose a certain pattern, one type of lifestyle, on everybody. He wants a kind of unity, forcibly imposed, and poets are not reliable in that way.
It is not an accident that in Soviet Russia, after the revolution, poetry died. Before the revolution Russia had given the greatest poets and novelists that the world has ever known, in fact incomparable. No other country can compete. Who can compete with Leo Tolstoy, Maxim Gorky, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, Turgenev? Who can compete with these giants? No other country has produced such great artists. If one has to decide on ten great novelists of the world, then five will be Russians - but pre-revolution.
After the revolution, suddenly poetic activity fell down. The country of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and Maxim Gorky and Turgenev simply disappeared from the earth. It stopped producing that kind of man, that quality; it stopped soaring high. Communism was imposed, a collective vision was imposed. Now every poet had to serve communism, every painter had to serve communism, every singer had to sing songs in praise of communism. Now the government was the deciding factor about what was true literature and what was true art and who was a true poet. Stupid government officials were going to decide - those who have no idea of poetry. If they had had any idea of poetry in the first place they would not have been government officials at all.
Just think of a collector, a commissioner, a governor - do you think these people can have poetic ideas? They seem to be worlds apart. And the people who were reading Marx and Engels and Lenin, can they have any idea of poetry? Marx is so unpoetic in his writings, it is so tedious to read him. I have gone through the torture, so I tell you from my experience. Who has read Das Kapital?
It is so ugly, it really needs guts to go through it; otherwise two or three pages are enough and one feels finished. Even communists don't read it! I know - many of my friends are communists and they have not read it. Just a tedium, a boredom - nothing of poetry in it, nothing of beauty in it.
Jesus has poetry, he speaks poetry. Buddha has poetry, he lives poetry. Marx has no poetry at all, just dry, dull logic. Even the logic is not very sharp. People who have been living on such rubbish - are they going to decide about Dostoevsky, about Tolstoy, about Turgenev? They will not be able to understand these people, they are bound to misunderstand.
In Russia, poetry died; that has been one of the greatest losses to humanity. In China it is dead, because poets are in the service of the state now. They are rewarded, they are respected, they have been given big posts in the universities, but on condition that they are not to be poets of freedom.
They have to be poets of slavery, they have to serve the state.
And a real poet cannot serve anybody, he serves only poetry. He writes, he sings, not for any other motive than art for art's sake; there is no motive and no goal in it. His singing is just like the birds singing in the early morning sun, flowers blooming, bees humming. Yes, exactly like that: utterly free, natural, spontaneous.
I am absolutely in support of the poetic way of life, because it brings you closer to religion. But don't stop there... because the poet has only glimpses of the truth, only glimpses, faraway glimpses, as if a window suddenly opens in a strong wind and closes again, as if on a dark dark night you are lost in a forest and there are clouds in the sky, dark clouds, and then there is thunder and lightning.
When the lightning is there, for a moment all is light, you can see everything: the trees, the path, the rocks, the mountains. But it is only for a moment, and then the lightning is gone and the darkness deepens and becomes darker than ever before. You are dazed, even more in darkness. You may stumble upon a rock, because before the lightning you were taking every care, you were moving cautiously, but now that after a glimpse you know you are on the right path you may become less careful, less aware. You may stumble upon a rock, you may fall in a ditch, you may go astray. And the lightning naturally makes you see less; it is so sudden, it blinds you.
The poet only has lightning experiences. Once in a while he rises to the heights of consciousness, but then he falls - and falls badly, falls deeper than he was before. The poet only has enlightening experiences. The mystic is enlightened: he has become light itself; now there will never be any darkness again. But the lightning can give you an idea what it will be like to be full of light.
The poet has glimpses, the mystic abides on those heights. They are not faraway glimpses, he has reached to the Everest, he has made his hermitage there, he stays there. Even if he sometimes comes to visit you in your dark valley he brings his heights with him, his peaks with him. His Everest follows him; it has become his very climate.
The scientist is the farthest, the poet is in the middle, and the mystic is at the very center of existence.
Move from being a scientist towards being a poet. But don't stop there either, go on moving.
Buddha said: CHARAIVETI, CHARAIVETI. Walk on, walk on, till you arrive at a point where there is nowhere to go, till you come to that point, to that ultimate point where there is no way to go anywhere.
Then settle - only then settle. Then you are at home. Then life is a bliss, then life is a blessing, then life is a benediction.
The second question:
WHO AM I?
Sanjaya, how am I to know? How can I answer this question? Nobody else can answer it for you except you. I cannot answer it on your behalf. I know who I am, but how can I say who you are?
You will have to dive deep within your own self. And the people who have been answering on your behalf are your enemies, because you will start collecting and accumulating their answers, you will become knowledgeable, and to become knowledgeable is to prevent wisdom arising.
Yes, thousands of answers are available. I can also answer you very easily: that you are a soul, eternal, deathless; that you are sons of God, sons of immortality - AMRITASYA PUTRA. I can tell you all these beautiful things that have been said down the ages, but they are not going to help. If you cling to them, I have not helped you, I have hindered you. I have not been a master to you but an enemy, not a friend.
I cannot answer it for you. It is not a question that can be answered by anybody other than yourself.
You have to go into your own self. You have to search. You have to ask and inquire, "Who am I?" It is a question which is very private, absolutely private, and only you are capable of knowing the answer - and not through scriptures, remember, but through a deep inquiry into your own being. That very inquiry is meditation.
Ramana Maharshi used to give only one meditation to his disciples: Sit silently and go on inquiring within yourself "Who am I?" First verbally, and then slowly slowly let the words disappear and let the question become a feeling: "Who am I?" - just a feeling, just a question mark deep down in your heart. And go on asking. One day even that feeling disappears. There is no question; suddenly you are questionless.
The question "Who am I?" will help you to destroy all other questions, and then finally it commits suicide: you are left with no question. And that is the moment of the answer arising in you.
Then, even if you know the answer, you will not be able to communicate it to anybody else. It is incommunicable.
You ask me: "Who am l?"
You are Sanjaya; this is your name. You are a man; you have the body of a man. You are an educated person; you have a medical degree. These things can be answered by anybody, but these are not you. You are a Hindu; you have lived the life of a so-called Hindu religious man. You know the Gita; you have read it so many times that you can simply repeat it from memory. And in the Gita Krishna has answered so many times who you are that you must know those answers too.
Beware of people who answer such deep questions of yours. Only superficial questions can be answered by others. If somebody starts telling you about your deepest core, stop him immediately.
It is none of his business and he is going to make a mess of you.
A bachelor sent in his income tax return.
One of the agents working for the Internal Revenue Department noticed that he claimed a six- hundred-dollars deduction for the upbringing of a baby. He wrote the man a letter saying, "That obviously must be a stenographical error."
The return letter read: "Sir, Are you telling me!"
Whenever somebody else tells you who you are, stop him immediately. This is none of his business, and whatsoever he says to you is going to harm you; it is poisonous.
The real master will not tell you who you are, though of course he will shake you and shock you into awareness.
The two patients met with each other in the asylum grounds.
"Good morning, Fosdike, how are you?"
"I'm fine, Cartwright, but my name isn't Fosdike."
"Mine's not Cartwright either."
"Not to worry, we're probably not ourselves today."
But this is the situation of the whole world: the whole earth is almost like a madhouse; nobody knows who he is. People who don't know who they are go on telling others about their innermost selves. They are simply repeating scriptures, beautiful scriptures, like parrots; but in their hands all scriptures lose their truth.
When somebody who is awakened says something it has a truth in it, but when unawakened people repeat it, it becomes untrue. Truth repeated by those who have not experienced becomes untrue.
Truth borrowed becomes untrue.
Sanjaya, only one thing can be said: that you are in a deep unconsciousness. The unconsciousness has to be broken, the ice has to be melted. Once your unconsciousness is broken, once you have become a little conscious, you will be able to see who you are - you will be the first person to know who you are. See the unfortunate situation: that we have to ask others who we are.
The captain told the prisoner that he would be released if he fulfilled three conditions: "First, you must drink this gallon of Kentucky rotgut whiskey without stopping. Should you survive this, you must go outside to the animal cage where a lion has a bad tooth. You must remove the tooth barehanded, without anesthetic. And finally, if you survive the first two conditions, you must go out the back to a tent where a woman who has never, I repeat never, been sexually satisfied is waiting for you to satisfy her. If you accomplish all three, I will set you free."
The prisoner shuddered, but feeling that he had no choice agreed to try. First he drank the whiskey, turning all shades of the color spectrum. He then stumbled out the front door. For an hour all that could be heard were screams and roars, shouts and more roars.
Finally the prisoner returned, his clothes in shreds, his body covered in blood.
"Okay," he mumbled. "Now where's the lady with the bad tooth?"
The third question:
CAN MEDITATION BE LEARNED, OR IS IT, LIKE LOVE, A STATE OF BEING THAT COMES AS A PRESENT?
Prem Prabhati, meditation cannot be learned in a positive way, but it can be learned in a negative way. This is very important to understand: the basic method of meditation is negative.
What do I mean when I say meditation can be learned negatively, only negatively? I mean that the mind can be unlearned, and the moment you unlearn the mind you are learning meditation.
Unlearning the mind is learning meditation; when the mind has been completely unlearned you have learned meditation. You cannot go directly into learning meditation. All that is needed is to remove the mind.
Mind is like a block. The river is there but blocked, it can't flow. It is covered with rocks; those rocks don't allow it any outlet. It is surging inside you, it is longing for the ocean, it wants to get out of this prison. That's why everybody feels so restless. This restlessness is nothing but your consciousness longing to meet with the ultimate. The river wants to reach the ocean. The seed wants to sprout, but it is covered, blocked by a big rock. That rock is of your mind. And it is a big rock because you have been accumulating it for many many lives. Your meditation is simply crushed underneath it.
You cannot reach meditation directly, but you can remove this rock chunk by chunk. You can take a chisel and a hammer - that's what I go on providing you - and go on hammering on the rock. Slowly slowly the rock will disappear. The day the rock disappears, suddenly a flow, a fresh flow of water, will start running towards the ocean. That is meditation.
Hence, Prabhati, in one sense meditation cannot be learned. You cannot practice it, because all practicing is of the mind. All practices strengthen the mind, make it stronger. And the mind has to be made weaker; its power over you has to be destroyed. It has to be put in its right place: it is not the master, it has only become the master. You have to stop cooperating with it, you have to stop giving more and more nourishment to it.
That's what I mean by unlearning the mind. Don't support it. Don't cling to it. Don't rely on it. Don't be possessed by it. Don't live according to its dictates. And then slowly slowly the master is free from the slave. That master is your meditative quality.
You ask me: "Can meditation be learned, or is it, like love, a state of being that comes as a present?"
It is already there. It does not come like a present - nobody 'presents' it to you - it is your very nature, svabhava, it is your very being. And so is love.
When meditation has happened, love is its aroma, its perfume. A meditative person is naturally loving; it can't be otherwise. A loving person is naturally meditative. If it is not so, then you are deceived, then you are carrying false coins. If a man thinks he is meditative and is not loving, then his meditation is nothing but a mind practice, something false, pseudo. Something which is not meditation is masquerading as meditation. He has been deceived by his mind. If a man thinks that he is very loving and is not meditative, his love is nothing but another name for lust. He knows nothing of love; he can't know in the very nature of things.
AES DHAMMO SANANTANO. This is the ultimate law: meditation brings love naturally - it is its aroma, its fragrance. And love exists only around the flower called meditation, never otherwise.
They are together.
Either search for love or for meditation. And you can only search for one, because things are already too complicated. If you start searching for both you will make them even more complicated, you may become more confused. Hence I say, only seek one. If you can find one, the other is found without any effort on your part. Either find love or find meditation and the other will follow it like a shadow.
But they are not learned in a direct way as you learn mathematics, as you learn geography, history, as you learn a new language. That is not the way to learn meditation or love; they are learned in an indirect way. If you want to learn meditation, you will have to unlearn the ways of the mind. If you want to learn love, you will have to unlearn the unloving ways that have become very ingrained in you. Anger, possessiveness, jealousy - these will have to be unlearned.
And it never comes as a gift because it is already given; it is your innermost nature. Yes, it is a grace, a gift, but it is not going to happen in the future, it has already happened. You have never been without it, you CAN'T be without it. Love and meditation constitute your real essential core.
The fourth question:
I AM AMAZED AT YOUR MEMORY. TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR REMARKABLE MEMORY?
Gayan, what are you talking about, man? I must have the worst memory possible! The reason you cannot detect it is only because I don't care.
Just the other day I was telling you a story about Vrihaspati and his wife - and it is not about Vrihaspati. But I don't care! Just in the middle of telling it I remembered: it is about Vachaspati not about Vrihaspati! But so what? Vrihaspati or Vachaspati - they sound so alike. And that is not the point either; the name of the person does not matter. Whether I call him Vrihaspati or Vachaspati, the point is made all the same. I was talking about a concentrated mind; to whom it belonged need not be worried about.
Once in Ahmedabad I was delivering a discourse. I mentioned a small story by Marcel. When I left the hall and was entering the car, a professor approached and he said, "Sir, that story was not written by Marcel, it was written by Kafka."
I said, "Perfectly okay. So you can correct it - at least for yourself you can correct it. As far as I am concerned it doesn't matter."
He said, "But the story was written by Kafka!"
I said, "I agree. And if somebody says it was written by Jean-Paul Sartre I will agree. I can even agree if somebody comes and says, 'Sir, that story was written by you.' I will agree. It doesn't matter.
The point is that the story was used to indicate something."
My memory is not good, but I go on speaking so confidently... that confidence deceives you.
Father Ferrucio and Father Messina were sitting in a grotto chatting.
"Do you think the pope will ever allow priests to marry?" asked Father Ferrucio.
"It won't happen in our time," replied Father Messina. "Maybe in our children's!"
Yes, I also have that kind of memory.
Mrs. Brown could hardly believe her eyes! A mouse! Of all things - a mouse in her home! She was a perfect housekeeper, everybody said so; her spotless home was the pride of her life. But, yes, that was a mouse that just ran across the kitchen floor!
Mrs. Brown shuddered and called her husband. "Charlie," she said, "go down to the store and buy a mousetrap. But," she added quickly, "for goodness sake don't tell them what it's for!"
That's the kind of memory I have!
The memory expert had been given his turn in the village hall. The audience had not been enthusiastic and the questions asked at the end of the show really infuriated the man.
When one dear old lady came up and asked him to what he attributed his remarkable memory, he thought it was time to call it a day.
"Well, madam," he explained without a smile, "when I was in the air force, I once had to make a record parachute jump from a height never before attempted. Just as I jumped from the plane, the pilot leaned out from the side and yelled, 'Hey! You've forgotten your parachute!'
"Believe it or not, madam, that taught me a lesson and I've never forgotten anything since."
Gayan, I don't have a good memory. And a good memory is not necessarily a sign of intelligence either. In fact, just the reverse is the case. It has been found that the people who have very good memories are unintelligent people. You will be surprised, but this is one of the very strange findings which is becoming more and more established: that people who have very good memories are unintelligent people - because memory is a mechanical phenomenon, it needs no intelligence. It is just like a gramophone record.
Memory is part of your mind; your mind goes on recording. A good recording system, a very good record, does not mean that it has any intelligence. Yes, your mind is a good record; it is a biocomputer. And a few minds are very good records - so good that it seems sometimes incredible, unbelievable.
Lord Curzon, one of the viceroys of India, has written in his autobiography.... Now don't believe me:
it may be Lord Curzon, it it may be somebody else! And I don't know whether Lord Curzon has ever written any autobiography or not, but still I am going to tell you the story.
Lord Curzon has written in his autobiography.... And the story is true! Lord Curzon or no Lord Curzon, but the story is true.
There was a very famous man in Rajasthan whose memory was unbelievable. Absolutely uneducated he was, and very stupid too, but his memory was simply, absolutely rare, unique - maybe there has never been a man, before him or after him, who can prove his memory to be so one hundred percent correct.
Lord Curzon heard about him and called him to the viceroy's court to demonstrate his memory. And Curzon planned such a complicated situation that anybody, howsoever good his memory might be, would be bound to fail. It was impossible to succeed - such was the situation created.
Thirty people were to examine the man - thirty people each knowing a different language. Each person had to remember in his mind one sentence of his language. And this man from Rajasthan knew only Rajasthani, the local dialect of his state - no other language; and these people of the court - somebody knew French, somebody knew Latin, somebody Greek, somebody German - Curzon told them to make the sentences in their own languages as difficult as possible.
This man first had to come to the first man in the row who had been told to say the first word of his sentence: "Whisper in his ear the first word of your sentence." Then a great gong - just to disturb his mind so that he forgets. Then he reaches the other person and he says his first word. Another gong. He goes round these thirty persons and then comes back to the first again. Now he says his second word... and the gong. And he goes in a round... he comes back again, and the man says his third word. And at the end, when they have finished their sentences, he has to repeat each single sentence - thirty sentences in thirty languages, and he knows nothing of those languages!
Even the people who were saying them had to write their sentences, because by the time he came back they might forget whether they had said the third word or the fourth.
And you know I always go on forgetting which question it is! After the second comes the fourth, after the fourth comes the fifth. Only one thing is not happening, which is bound to happen someday:
after the fifth comes the first. That has not happened yet, but you can be certain and sure it is going to happen one day.
So they had to write their sentences to remember them, because a sentence might consist of twenty words and the person would come twenty times - and the gong was hammering on their heads too.
So they had to write their sentences and mark which word they had said.
And the man repeated separately thirty sentences in thirty languages without any fault. Not even a single word was missed. But the man was utterly stupid; he was an idiot.
Now this is becoming a psychological fact: that people with very good memories are unintelligent and people with great intelligence are not so good at remembering.
Just the other day I was telling you about Edison. I have heard about Immanuel Kant, one of the most intelligent persons that Germany has ever produced.... He was very bad as far as memory was concerned.
One evening he came back from his routine walk. It was getting dark when he knocked on the door.
In the darkness the servant could not recognize that it was the professor who had come back, so he said, "The professor has gone for a walk, so if you want to see him, come a little later on."
And Immanuel Kant said, "Okay," and went away. After half an hour of walking he remembered:
"This is too much! This servant is a fool! I am the professor!" He was very angry at the servant.
One night it happened, he came from his walk, tired - he always used to carry his walking stick with him - and he forgot what is what. So he put the walking stick on the bed, thinking that this was Immanuel Kant, and he himself stood in the corner of the room.
In the middle of the night he suddenly looked, "What is the matter?" Then he remembered: "Things have got mixed up. I am Immanuel Kant and that is the walking stick!"
This is possible, this is not difficult, because intelligence is a totally different phenomenon to memory.
Ordinarily people have a little bit of intelligence and a little bit of memory; they are called the mediocre. It is enough for carrying out the routine of life and work.
One of my friends, Doctor Ram Manohar Lohia, went to see Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein had given him an exact time to come, but he went fifteen minutes early.
The wife said, "You have come, that's very good. Have some tea, rest, but we can't be sure when he will come out because he has gone into the bathroom. Even I cannot predict it although I have lived with him for thirty years now. It is unpredictable."
Doctor Lohia said, "But he has given me a tentative time."
The wife said, "He goes on giving times to people, and it is a constant trouble to me, because I have to look after those people, sometimes three hours, four hours, five hours."
Doctor Lohia asked, "But what does he go on doing for five hours in the bathroom?"
The wife said, "Don't ask - all kinds of things. But he particularly likes to sit in his bath and play with soap bubbles. In fact, it is there that he has discovered all his great theories. Playing with soap bubbles he is relaxed and he completely forgets the world."
It was a kind of meditation for him. He stumbled upon the theory of relativity in his bathtub. The whole credit goes to the bathtub! Playing with soap bubbles he was like a child: innocent.
And the wife said, "We can't disturb him, because one never knows where he is and to disturb him may destroy something beautiful that is arising in him."
It is said, once he went to see a friend. The friend was very happy; he had been inviting him again and again, then one day he turned up. They drank, they ate, they talked about the old days. And then the night started becoming darker and darker and darker, and it was becoming very late. The friend was feeling sleepy and he was hoping: "Now he will leave, now he will leave, now he will leave." But Albert Einstein had completely forgotten. Finally the man gave him a hint. He looked at his watch and said, "It is very late."
Albert Einstein said, "That's what I have been thinking - it is very late. Why don't you go home? I am also feeling tired."
The man said, "This is too much! This is my home!"
Albert Einstein said, "Then why didn't you say so before? - because I was hoping and hoping that you would leave now! I also want to go to sleep. And how long can I keep on talking about these nonsense things that we have been discussing, wasting time? But I am sorry, I thought it was my home."
It has been happening again and again, because intelligence is a totally different energy in you:
it comes from your consciousness, and memory is only part of the biocomputer. Memory is only utilitarian. Intelligence has no utilitarian purposive quality, but it brings freedom, it brings insight, it brings you to the truth.
Gayan, I don't have a good memory at all. Hence, many times you will find many faults and many errors in what I say. Don't take much notice of them. Just remember the point that I want to make.
Everything that I am saying is like fingers pointing to the moon. Don't cling to the fingers, they are irrelevant. Look at the moon and forget the fingers completely.
The sixth question... or is it the fifth?
WHAT IS IT THAT HAPPENS WHEN ONE BECOMES AWAKENED?
Nothing special, no big deal; nothing really happens. All happening stops, the world stops. The smoke from the eyes disappears; you start looking at things as they are.
Don't make much fuss about it. Sooner or later many of you are going to become enlightened. Don't make much fuss about it. When you become enlightened, just keep quiet. Don't say anything to anybody - it is nothing to brag about.
When the nearsighted Nancy first met Kazantzakis, she thought he looked like a Greek god. But now that she has been fitted with contact lenses she thinks he looks like a goddamned Greek.
That's what happens: you start seeing things as they are. Greek gods become goddamned Greeks.
The last question:
WHEN I STAND BACK AND WATCH IT ALL, IT SEEMS SO INCREDIBLY AND ABSURDLY HUMOROUS. IS LIFE REALLY SO UNSERIOUS? IS THAT ALL THERE IS TO IT?
Prem Indivar, what else do you want? What else do you expect out of life? Is this not more than one can ask for? Life is tremendously absurd, that is its beauty. It is ridiculous, that is its joy. It is playful, it is not serious at all. Except for stupid people, nobody is ever serious.
Stupid people are bound to be serious because that is the only way to cover their stupidity. Intelligent people have a sense of humor. Stupid people cannot afford it, because a sense of humor needs great intelligence.
To be miserable is very easy; anybody can do it. It needs nothing - no intelligence, no courage.
That's why there are so many miserable people all over the world: it is cheap, it costs nothing, it is available free of charge. But to be blissful one needs to risk much.
To have a sense of humor one needs a kind of transcendence. Seriousness is a disease.
Now you are asking: "When I stand back and watch it all, it seems so incredibly and absurdly humorous."
It is so. Just go on watching more and more, and stand as far back as possible. Become a witness.
But you don't go too far, it seems - just one step and then you jump back into it. You become afraid because it looks so incredibly absurd. You become afraid: are you going mad or something? Don't be worried - you are mad already! Now nothing more can happen to you; that is your security.
You ask: "Is life really so unserious?"
Life knows nothing of seriousness, hence you cannot call it unserious either. If there is something serious, then something can be called unserious; but life knows nothing of seriousness, hence it knows nothing of unseriousness either. It simply is - neither serious nor unserious. It is what it is.
And when you see it from a distance in a cool way, calm way, that's what meditation is all about. You will start dancing, you will start laughing a great belly laughter.
And the Zen saying says: Whenever such belly laughter happens - laughter like Bodhidharma's - white lotuses start showering from the sky, from nowhere.
The white lotus is a beautiful symbol. White represents multidimensionality, because white contains all the colors of the spectrum. That is the most strange, unbelievable quality about white: it contains all the colors yet it seems to be colorless. It is not red, it is, not blue, it is not green, although it contains all the colors. But it contains all those colors in such synthesis, in such harmony, that they all disappear. They dissolve into oneness, and that oneness is white.
White represents the ultimate synthesis and harmony. It is the greatest orchestra, where all the musical instruments dissolve into each other - and not only the instruments but the musicians, too.
The whole orchestra functions as a single, organic, orgasmic unity. White represents that.
And the lotus also is a great symbol, particularly in the East - naturally, because the East knows what great lotuses are. In the West you only have small lotuses - they need hot sun. The East knows great fragrant lotuses, and the lotus became one of the central symbols of the East. You may have seen buddha statues of Buddha sitting on a lotus, of Vishnu, the Hindu god, standing on a lotus.
The lotus represents the essential meaning of sannyas. The lotus lives in the lake and yet the water cannot touch it. It lives in the water and yet remains untouched by the water. The lotus represents the witnessing quality of your being: you live in the world, but you remain a witness. You remain in the world and yet you are not part of it. You participate and yet you are not part of it. You are in the world, but the world is not in you.
When you become a calm and cool observer of life you are going to laugh - not ordinary laughter but a belly laughter like a lion's roar. And white lotuses will start showering on you.
Life is neither serious nor nonserious. It is a tremendous play, playfulness. Yes, many times it is ridiculous, incredibly absurd, but in our minds those words have a very wrong connotation, something negative. When we say something is absurd we mean that it is something wrong. No, it is not so.
Absurd simply means beyond our logic. Absurd simply means beyond our expectations. Absurd simply means that there is always a surprise. Absurd simply means that life is unpredictable and cannot be reduced to cause-and-effect, that life is more than logic, more than language can contain, more than can be expressed.
And it is tremendously humorous... because here you see gods pretending to be beggars. Yes, it is a pretense. Here you will see buddhas being miserable.
Have you ever gone to see a drama, not from the audience, but backstage where actors and actresses dress themselves up and prepare themselves? Then you will be surprised.
That was one of my hobbies in my childhood, to somehow get backstage. In my village every year they used to play ramleela, the great story of Rama. And it is far more beautiful if you see what happens at the back. I have seen Sita, the wife of Rama.... In India she is worshipped as the greatest woman ever born, absolutely virtuous, pure. It is impossible to conceive of a purer woman or a purer love. It is absolutely impossible to conceive of a more religious, more pious, more holy woman. But at the back of the stage I have seen Sita before she goes on the stage - smoking beedies!
Now Krishna Prem need not be worried about beedies! Just to prepare herself, just to give herself a shot of nicotine, Sita was smoking beedies. It was so absurd. I enjoyed it so much!
And Ravana, the man who is the criminal in the drama of Rama's life, who steals Sita and who represents evil in India, was telling Rama, "You be aware! Last night you were continuously looking at my wife in the audience, and if I see you doing that again I will teach you a lesson!"
Now, Rama is the incarnation of God, but in the drama he was just a schoolboy - and schoolboys are schoolboys. And Ravana teaching him, evil incarnate teaching God..."Don't look at my wife - that is not right!"
I enjoyed being backstage so much that what happened on the stage looked very ordinary.
When you become a witness you enter the backstage of life - and there things are really absurd - you start seeing things as they are. Everything is illogical, nothing makes sense. But that is the beauty of life: that nothing makes sense. If everything made sense, life would be a boredom.
Because nothing makes sense, life is always a constant joy, a constant surprise.
The man looked at the psychiatrist and said, "I work at the pickle factory and I have an incredible desire to put my prick in the pickle cutter."
The doctor thought for a moment and then replied, "I see. Perhaps it is a result of some suppressed childhood behavior - could be an Oedipus complex. I suggest you take a two week vacation, then you go back to work for a week and then return to me to start therapy."
Three weeks later the man returned and told the doctor that he had done it.
"You stuck your prick in the pickle cutter?"
"Yes," the man replied.
"Well, what happened?" the psychiatrist asked.
"I was fired," he said.
"Yes, of course, but didn't something else happen?"
"Oh yes," the man replied, "the pickle cutter, she was fired too."
Enough for today.