The first question:
I GIVE UP. I'M REACHING NOWHERE. I CAME HERE FULL OF HOPE AND JOY, BUT I NOW REALIZE THAT IT'S ALL MEANINGLESS. BEFORE, YOU TOUCHED ME TO TEARS, BUT THEY WERE TEARS OF ECSTASY, RELIEF, THE ONES THAT FLOW WHEN ONE LISTENS TO BEAUTIFUL MUSIC. NOW, EVEN MY LOVE FOR YOU HURTS. MY TEARS GIVE NO RELIEF.
I CANNOT GET IN TOUCH WITH MY INNER CORE. I CANNOT SEPARATE MY EGO FROM MY REAL SELF AND, EVEN WHILE I WRITE TO YOU, DOUBTS COME UP AS TO WHETHER THIS IS SELF PITY OR I AM ON A MIND TRIP. DO I WANT YOUR ATTENTION?
Dhyano Marion, there is nowhere to go, nowhere to reach.
Because you have come with an expectation, you are creating your misery. Your expectation is the cause of your frustration. It is always so: expect, and you create a hell around yourself. Sooner or later the seeds of expectation bring a whole jungle of misery around you.
You say: "I give up."
If you really mean it then the work is done. If you are not just saying it then you have arrived home.
It is in giving up that one comes home, but it has to be an existential giving up. You are writing it, you are saying it, but you don't mean it, because if you really meant it then there would be no need to be in such grief and pain. If you have given up then from where can misery come to you? The very root is cut.
To give up is to be a sannyasin. To give up is the most fundamental thing that can ever happen to you. It simply means that now there is no more desiring, no more dreaming: "I am finished with it, I have seen through and through, and it is all meaningless." Because you are not ready yet to accept the meaninglessness of your desires and dreams, you are in a self-torture manufactured by your own mind.
You say: "I came here full of hope...."
Whosoever comes here with hope is bound to feel hopeless sooner or later. Hope cannot lead you anywhere else - hope is already moving towards hopelessness. Hope is like a small river moving to the ocean of hopelessness - it will reach the ocean sooner or later.
Yes, when you are far away from me you can hope: you can go on dreaming, you can fantasize - beautiful dreams, occult fantasies, esoteric nonsense - because you are totally free. But when you come close to me it becomes more and more impossible to dream, because the whole work is against dreaming.
I want you to wake up - and waking up is a painful process because it will destroy all your hopes, it will destroy all that you have cherished and thought very beautiful. Waking up is destructive in the sense that it will destroy your unconsciousness.
And you all live in unconsciousness: unconsciousness has been your way of life for many lives; it has become your second nature. In fact, it has covered your nature so deeply that you don't know that there is another nature to you, that this is not your nature, that the way you are is not the natural way - not the way of Dharma, Tao, religion. Unconsciousness is deep, and the whole work here consists of bringing you to consciousness. It will destroy all kinds of desires, hopes, fantasies, 'future'.
It is a difficult task for me to destroy your dreams, because sometimes they are so sweet, so cute....
It is difficult to take away your unconscious habits from you. It is not like taking your clothes away, it is like peeling your skin - it hurts.
The first thing to recognize is that coming out of unconsciousness into consciousness after many many lives is a painful process. Growth is painful.
The health service doctor told the shapely co-ed, "Miss Wellbuilt, if I have to find out just what's wrong with you I'll have to examine you thoroughly, so please undress completely."
To which she blushed and replied, "Okay, doctor, but you first."
Just old habit! We are in the grip of our old habits, patterns, structures, strategies.
Once a western salesman did not get home except about once in six months. On the night he went home, after supper he and his wife were sitting in the living room quietly reading. Suddenly there was a knock at the door.
"My husband!" exclaimed the woman, dropping her newspaper.
"Goodbye!" cried her man, leaping out of a back window.
I understand where exactly your trouble is. You have a gestalt: it has penetrated in the body, it has gone deep in the mind - it has even reached your very essence, your very core. Now, uprooting it all, shaking you, shocking you into awareness, is a hard task. It is not only painful for you, it is painful for me too.
It is like snatching away toys from a child. He will cry and he will weep and he will implore you to give his toys back. But one day or other those toys have to be taken away, otherwise when will he be able to live in the real world? How long can he be allowed to fantasize? Small children don't know the difference between reality and dreaming. That's why when they wake up in the morning sometimes they start crying "Where are my toys?" They were dreaming about toys; they want them back. They don't know that now they are awake those dreams have disappeared. That's what has happened to you.
Moses Cohen came back home in the middle of the night and slipped silently into the bedroom and began to undress.
Sarah Cohen woke up and asked, "Moses, where did you leave your underpants?"
"They must have been stolen," replied Moses.
Now you cannot steal anybody's underpants... but the unconscious mind goes on saying, doing...
Bill: "I think I'm starting to walk in my sleep."
Will: "What makes you think that?"
Bill: "I woke up in my own bed this morning."
Marion, it is really something tremendously significant that is happening to you, but you will only be able to understand it later on. When you will reach a little farther away from your dreams and have a better perspective, you will be able to feel grateful. But right now there may be anger and rage.
That happens to almost every sannyasin who comes here with expectations and hopes - and who does not come with expectations and hopes?
You say: "I give up."
Please, give up! That's exactly what is to be done. But you are not doing it, you are simply saying it - maybe in unconscious utterance, maybe in desperation, but not in understanding. Yes, one can give up in desperation, but then wounds are left, scars are left. When you give up with understanding, seeing the futility of it all, there is tremendous peace.
You say: "I am reaching nowhere."
My effort is to bring you now, here, and you are trying to reach somewhere else. I am not trying to help you to reach somewhere - you are already all over the place except now and here. My function is to pull you back to your present moment, to the real - howsoever difficult it is to come back home, howsoever much you have become accustomed to wandering. But you have to be brought back home, because only then there can be blissfulness, benediction, freedom - what Bodhidharma would call nirvana: cessation of the ego and the birth of the soul.
You say: "I am reaching nowhere. I came here full of hope and joy...."
That hope was false - all hopes are false. To hope simply means to postpone. To hope means your present is ugly and you want to avoid it for some beautiful future. To hope means you don't want to see the present, you want to remain occupied with the future. The tomorrow is more important to you than the today and the next moment more important than this moment. Either you escape into the past or you escape into the future - and the reality consists only of the present.
Yes, I can understand: you must have come full of hope. But that is your problem - what can I do about it? You have come to a wrong person. I cannot give you more hope, because hope is poison.
I would like to take all possibilities of hope away from you. And remember: when all possibilities of hope are taken away from you, when the whole poison is taken out of your system, you don't feel hopeless. You simply feel freed from both hope and hopelessness - because hopelessness can exist only as a shadow of hope; it can't exist without hope. Your shadow can't exist without you; you are needed there. Hopelessness is just the shadow of hope.
Drop the hope, and see a miracle happening - hopelessness also disappears. And when there is neither hope nor hopelessness, great freedom arises in you. You are out of the prison of desire.
You say: "I came here full of hope and joy."
That joy was just an idea - an idea that something is going to happen, that your hope is going to be fulfilled, that now you have found the right master. This is what you always wanted to do: to find the man who can fulfill all your hopes. Now you have found him, hence the joy; the joy was a by-product of hope. If hope itself is false, how can the joy which is a by-product of it be real? It was not real joy, it was a false phenomenon, because now that the hope is disappearing, the joy is disappearing.
And you say: "... but I now realize that it's all meaningless."
Yes, it is all meaningless. The hope and the joy that hope creates, the fantasies and the joy that the idea of their fulfillment creates - it is all meaningless. Not that there is no meaning in life, but meaning is revealed to you only when you have stopped all these meaningless activities. When all these activities disappear, meaning appears. These activities are preventing your meaningfulness.
And when that meaning appears in your being it is inexpressible, it is absolutely incommunicable, but it transforms your whole being: it makes you luminous.
It is said of Moses that when he saw God on the mountain his face became so luminous, so full of light, so shining, that he had to cover it, he had to veil it. He came to his people with a veil over his face. They were surprised. They said, "Why are you covering your face?"
He said, "Because it has become so luminous, so full of light, and I don't want to look holier than others." This is real sainthood! "I don't want to prove myself superior to others, and my face is so full of light that if I move among you without a veil everybody is bound to feel that I have become the chosen one, that God has descended into me, that my heart has been touched and transformed."
It is a beautiful story, of tremendous significance. That's how the really holy people have always lived: in a veiled way. They live as ordinary human beings, that is the meaning of the story. Not that they really cover their faces - there is no need; that is not the way to hide yourself. If you move with a covered face you will attract more attention. People may not look at your shining face, because who cares about other faces and others' faces? Everybody is preoccupied with his own face - people stand before mirrors for hours. Who cares about others? Who has the time? And if they see the light they may find a thousand and one ways to explain why it is so. They may even think: This man is ill, diseased, something has gone wrong with his chemistry. Maybe his body electricity is leaking out or something - short-circuited or something. But if you move with a veiled face, everybody is bound to be attracted towards you. Mohammedan women attract more attention than anybody else.
The veil becomes a provocation, an invitation: one wants to uncover the face and see what is there.
A great curiosity arises.
So the story does not relate anything factual - I don't think Moses would have done such a stupid thing - but it has a significant meaning. It is a metaphor. It simply says that the really holy person lives in such an ordinary way that nobody will become aware of his holiness unless they come very close to him, unless they become almost part of his being. He eats like you - that's why Jesus eats like you, drinks wine, mixes with ordinary people. He just remains ordinary, in no way does he pretend. The really holy man is unselfconscious about his holiness, that is the meaning.
But I have read one philosopher who thinks otherwise. Philosophers are strange people; they can find loopholes where none exist. They are only concerned with finding loopholes. I have come across one analysis of this metaphor. The philosopher says that Moses was hiding his face not because he did not want to prove his holiness to people but because he was afraid that sooner or later the light would fade away and then where would his holiness be? So it was better for him to keep his face hidden so that nobody would ever come to know that the light had faded away.
Now you see the tricky mind, the cunning mind! The cunning mind always destroys; it is always destructive. Now a beautiful metaphor is turned into an ugly thing. Now Moses looks cunning, afraid, scared of the people - because the light will fade away and when people see that the light has faded they will think, "Now Moses is no longer our prophet, our leader." Afraid of the future, he keeps his face covered so that he can go on deceiving people.
There are people who will find thorns in the roses and there are people who will find roses in the thorns. Belong to the second category if you ever want to know God, if you ever want to know the real meaningfulness of your life, the grandeur, the glory, the beauty of your being.
Don't be so concerned with your hopes. Existence does not oblige anybody, it never fulfills anybody's hopes; it goes on in its own way. You have to become attuned to it. Don't have any private goals, and you will have tremendous contentment. Don't struggle for private ambitions and egoistic ideas - there is no need to prove anything, there is no need to be anything - you are already that. God has made you in his own image. Nothing is lacking and nothing is missing.
You say: "Before, you touched me to tears, but they were tears of ecstasy, relief, the ones that flow when one listens to beautiful music."
I am still speaking the same words, it is the same music, but your interpretation has changed. Then, you were interpreting my words through your hopes; there was a curtain between me and you. Now, I am trying to pull away that curtain so that you can see me as I am and I can see you as you are.
The disciple and the master have to be utterly nude to each other, naked beings.
You say: "Now, even my love for you hurts."
Real love always hurts because it transforms. The love that you felt before was your imagination.
Now something real is happening. It was your love, you had not known my love. It was your projection. Now I am here, present; I will destroy all your projections. I have to bring you down to earth. I am a very down-to-earth man, I am very pragmatic. I can't help your great ideals and dreams, they are all stupid - the greater they are, the more stupid they are. I will destroy all your old-fashioned ecstasies and tears and emotionality and sentimentality.
Remember, to be sensitive does not mean to be sentimental. To be sensitive does not mean to be touchy. You must have been very touchy, moved by anything - but you were moved by your own ideas, I was not part of it. Please don't blame me for your joy, for your ecstasy, for your hope, for those great tears that were coming to you listening to my music. Don't blame me for them. I am not responsible for them at all, but I am certainly responsible for the love that is hurting you now.
If you are courageous enough and you can absorb the hurt, the pain, the agony of transformation, you will feel grateful later on. Only later on you can feel grateful; right now it will be rough going.
You say: "My tears give no relief."
They won't give you any - not anymore. I am here, I won't allow it!
"I cannot get in touch with my inner core."
Don't be worried about the inner core. Let me destroy your outer core and you will be in touch with your inner core; there is no problem about it. The first thing is to destroy the hard crust that has grown around you, and it is hurting.
You would like to remain as you are and be in touch with your inner core; that is not possible. I am helpless, I cannot help you that way. I have to dismantle the whole house - I don't believe in renovation. First the whole house, the whole rotten ruin has to be destroyed and removed.
But people love old, rotten things so much. They give them beautiful names - antiques. I am not a lover of antiques, not at all. I love the new, the fresh, the young.
I have heard:
There was an old church, so old that people stopped coming - they were afraid it might fall down any moment. The priest was against making a new church.
Priests are always against the new, they are always for the old - the older the better, because with the old they are safe, with the dead they are safe. They are priests of death not of life.
And the board of trustees was against it, too. They were all elderly people, the elder brothers of the community. But when everybody stopped coming and even the priest was afraid to enter.... Just a little bit of strong wind and the whole building would shake. It was so rotten that it was a miracle that it was standing at all.
Finally they had to call a meeting of the trustees. They met - not inside the church but far away from the church - and they decided a few things. The first resolution was: The old church has to be demolished. Unfortunately, we are helpless - and it has to be done, God forgive us. The second proposal was: The new church will be built exactly on the old spot and exactly like the old church.
And the third proposal was: The material of the old church - the bricks, the doors, the windows, everything - has to be used in the new church. Nothing new has to be used in the new church; it will be new in name only. Everything from the old church has to be used and the new church has to be made out of the old; nothing new has to be added. And the fourth proposal was: Unless the new is ready we will not demolish the old.
This is how the stupid human mind goes on working. This is how your mind works. This is how mind as such works.
Marion, don't be worried about the inner core. It is there; whether you know it or not it is there. You can't be without an inner core, and you can't know it unless the outer core is demolished. The bird cannot come out of the egg unless the egg is demolished, broken. Once the egg is broken the bird can be free. The bird can have the whole sky. It can be on its wings. Be a little patient.
Marion came just a few days ago. Just a few days ago she became a sannyasin. Don't be in such a hurry. Don't be so American!
A Frenchwoman was talking to an American woman. The Frenchwoman said, "The Frenchmen know how to love. First they kiss your forehead, then they kiss your cheeks, then they kiss your earlobes, then they kiss your neck, then they kiss your back...."
The American woman said, "Wait! By that time the American is back from his honeymoon!"
Don't be so American. Wait. Go slowly. Kiss the forehead and the eyes and the cheek.... Be a little French about it! What is the hurry? There are a few things which cannot be done in a hurry.
Neither love can be done in a hurry nor prayer. Neither meditation can be done in a hurry nor self- transformation. These are very very silent, slow processes. And the more patient you are, the faster they happen. The less patient you are, the longer they take.
The second question:
THE OTHER DAY IN DISCOURSE YOU REFERRED TO THE JEWS AS BEING VERY INTELLIGENT PEOPLE. AT OTHER TIMES YOU HAVE DESCRIBED THE JEW NEGATIVELY AS THE CUNNING BUSINESSMAN. INTELLIGENCE SEEMS TO HAVE A POSITIVE AND A NEGATIVE ASPECT. PLEASE COMMENT.
Anand Akam, you got the point! But remember, you belong to the negative aspect.
Yes, intelligence, like everything else, has both possibilities: it can be positive, it can be negative. If intelligence is negative it is sheer cunningness; if intelligence is positive it is pure meditation. And the negative is easy because the negative is a fall, and the positive is difficult because the positive is an uphill task. The negative is easy because it asks no sacrifice from you, and the positive is arduous because it asks the ultimate sacrifice - the sacrifice of the ego. The negative supports the ego and the positive is possible only when the ego is surrendered.
We have both kinds of Jews here. Akam, you belong to the negative. I am sorry to say it - please forgive me. It is very difficult for negative people to forgive, too; they feel very offended.
But there are positive Jews also. You should move with some positive Jews, for example, Pradeepa - she is a positive Jew. I have been joking about the Jews and so many letters come to me asking, "Are you against Jews?" Except for Pradeepa, all the Jews have raised the question at some time or other: "Are you against the Jews?" How can I be against the Jews? I myself am an old Jew... very ancient! You may be very new.
I am not against anybody nor am I for anybody; I am just exposing to you things which needed to be exposed, because only then you can get rid of them.
Yes, intelligence is cunningness if it starts falling downwards. And the fall is so easy and so ego- supporting and ego-nourishing that everybody, almost everybody, chooses the fall. To be cunning seems to be the only way to exist and survive in this world, because everybody else is cunning. If you are more cunning you can survive, if you are less cunning you will be exploited.
Cohen visited his doctor for a check-up. He carried with him a large amount of liquid specimen which the M.D. examined in his laboratory.
"Everything's fine," announced the physician. "Couldn't find a thing wrong with your specimen."
"No sugar? No albumen?" asked Cohen.
"None at all. You're okay."
"May I use your phone to call my wife?"
"Good news, dear," announced the Jew over the phone. "Neither you nor I nor the kids nor even Grandma have a thing the matter with us."
He had brought everybody's specimen!
During the reign of the gestapo in Germany, Schloss and Hirsch were walking along a Munich street, when an SS officer approached them. Schloss had proper credentials but Hirsch did not.
"Quick," said Hirsch, "you run that way. The nazi will follow you and I'll be able to get away."
Schloss tore off in the direction indicated, pursued by the SS man, while Hirsch escaped. When the nazi finally caught up with him, he demanded to see Schloss' papers. He saw that they were in order.
"So why did you run?" he asked.
"I just took a physic," said Schloss, "and my doctor told me to run after taking the medicine."
"But didn't you see me running after you?"
"Yeah, I thought maybe we both had the same doctor, and you took a physic too."
In this cunning world it seems that the only way to exist is to be more cunning. When everybody is exploiting everybody else, to be cunning seems to be an armor, so everybody becomes cunning.
Every child is born innocent, Akam, and every child becomes cunning, hypocritical, pseudo, deceptive. Every child is born a saint and every child turns into a scoundrel. Every child is born religious and every child becomes a politician. And that is the worst that can happen to a man.
Beware that to survive in the world should not be your goal, because even if you survive, death is going to come. Even if you have all the money possible, death is going to come. Even if you have all the power and all the prestige, it will all be bogus, because inside you are poor, empty.
The really intelligent person is one who discovers the inner treasures, who discovers the inner eternity, who discovers God. That's my definition of the intelligent person: one who discovers God. Unless you have discovered God don't think of yourself as an intelligent person. You may be intellectual but you will not be intelligent.
And to be intellectual is easy. You can go to the university and you can get a degree, a diploma. You can study the books, you can visit the libraries, and you can become acquainted with great words, great systems of thought. You can become a good talker, a good conversationalist, a good writer, author, philosopher, but still you will not be an intelligent person, remember.
Intelligence is possible only through meditation. When mind dissolves in meditation, when thoughts are no longer your constant obsession - when you can put the thoughts aside whenever you want and you can move into inner emptiness at your own will, when you are not a victim of your mind but a master - then you are intelligent.
And those are the moments when you discover who you are. You discover what this life is. You discover what the meaning of the word God is. You cannot find the meaning in the dictionaries, in the encyclopedias; it has to be found within your own being.
Akam, become positively intelligent. I have been watching you: from the very beginning, while you have been here you have been trying to be clever. And trying to be clever with me is utter stupidity!
You can succeed with me only if you are totally innocent, otherwise there is no bridge between you and me. You are a sannyasin, but I have never really felt you as a sannyasin. To be true I have to say it. Maybe that shock will bring you alertness and you will start looking at the whole thing that is happening between me and you. You are trying to be clever. And you are not alone in that, there are many, so don't feel lonely. Don't be clever with me, otherwise your being here with me is of no use.
This place only belongs to those who can trust, who can be innocent, who can be utterly childlike.
Then great intelligence is released, and that intelligence will be a light into the darkness of your soul.
That intelligence will become a lamp, and it will be able to guide you to the ultimate goal.
The third question:
WHY WAS THE BUDDHA SO RELUCTANT TO ALLOW WOMEN INTO HIS SANGHA? WHY DID HE FEEL, WHAT DID HE FEEL ABOUT WOMEN?
Nandan, it must have been his experience with women. When I became enlightened I was only twenty-one and absolutely inexperienced about women, so I had no problem accepting women into my SANGHA. But when Buddha became enlightened he was forty years old.... Now you can understand. He had so much experience, poor man, that he wanted to save his disciples from the same experience.
Mulla Nasruddin becomes very much afraid whenever he is walking down the road, and if he sees any truck or bus coming towards him he starts trembling and perspiring.
One day I was walking with him along the road and I asked him, "What's the matter? Whenever a bus or a truck passes by you suddenly start perspiring and shaking and trembling."
He replied, "My wife ran away with a truck driver and every time I hear a horn I'm afraid he's bringing her back."
Buddha had much experience with women, much more than anybody else, much more than any other enlightened man in the world. Mahavira was Buddha's contemporary, but he did not object to women, he immediately accepted them. When they asked to be initiated he initiated them without any hesitation. Why did he not object? - because he seems to be more of an ascetic type than Buddha. Buddha follows the middle way; Mahavira is an extremist, an utter extremist - he is absolutely ascetic. According to him one has to go to the very extreme, one has to deny everything, renounce everything. Only then can the ultimate jump, the ultimate leap into the divine happen.
Buddha is more relaxed about it. He says, "Follow the middle course. There is no need to go to the extreme. There is no need to be too worldly and there is no need to be too otherworldly.Just be in the middle."
One would have expected Buddha to allow women into his sangha more easily than Mahavira; but Mahavira allowed them with no hesitation - not even a single time did he say no. The day the first woman asked, he immediately initiated her the same way that he initiated men. But Buddha continued to refuse women for at least ten years. He was almost forced, compelled, by his own disciples. They started crying and weeping and they said, "This is not right!" Still he would say, "I will think over it."
But finally, when his stepmother asked to be initiated, it was difficult for him to say no. His mother had died immediately after he was born, so in fact he knew nothing of his mother; he was brought up by his stepmother. The stepmother was his mother; he knew her as his mother. And when the mother asks to be initiated, how can he say no? So reluctantly, not very happily.... And this conspiracy involving the mother was the strategy of other women and other disciples - they persuaded the mother. "If you come to ask he will not be able to say no, and then the door will open. Then he will not be able to say no to any other woman." A conspiracy because of great compassion.
Why was Buddha so hesitant? For the simple reason.... You will have to go into the life story of Buddha to understand his psychology, to understand his mind, because even when you become enlightened you have to function through the mind, and the mind remains the old. The enlightenment is the same - Mahavira, Buddha, Zarathustra, Jesus - it makes no difference - but the minds are different. And when they communicate with you the mind has to be used, and the mind is made up of the past. Buddha has a certain mind, Mahavira has a different mind.
What happened to Buddha was really very rare, unique. When he was born, all the great astrologers were called by his father to inquire what he was going to become. All the astrologers except the one who was the youngest raised two fingers.
The father asked, "What do you mean by two fingers?"
They said, "Either he is going to become a chakravartin, a world conqueror, a world emperor, who will rule all the six continents, or he is going to become a renunciate, a sannyasin, who will renounce the world and live like a beggar. These are the two possibilities. Both are open, and we cannot say decisively which is going to happen."
Then the father was very much afraid. He had been hoping for so long, and now, in his old age, the son was born - it would have been better if he had not been born. In old age now, all his hopes were on him - he was going to carry out all his incomplete ambitions - and if he were to renounce the world that would be a great shock to him, he might die of the shock. He could not conceive or accept the possibility.
Very afraid, he asked Kondanna, the youngest astrologer who had raised one finger. He asked Kondanna, because although he was the youngest he was the most famous astrologer; his perception was the most clear. He was afraid because he was raising only one finger - he might be raising it for sannyas, he might be raising it because he would become a great emperor, a chakravartin.
The king asked him, "What do you mean by raising one finger?"
Kondanna said, "It will hurt you, but I can't help it. Your son is going to become a sannyasin; it is absolutely certain. He will renounce the world, he will renounce the family, he will renounce the palaces and the kingdom, and he will move to the jungles to meditate, because he is destined to become the greatest Buddha."
The father started crying. He said, "Save him! I am ready to do anything."
Kondanna said, "I cannot help. This is absolutely destined. For many lives he has been searching and searching and searching; now the search has come to its ultimate peak. This is his last life. And I am not going to be part of distracting him."
Kondanna left, but the other old astrologers remained and they said, "There is a possibility. Don't be worried about this Kondanna; he is inexperienced. Although he is very famous, he is young. But we are more experienced, we know life more. We know that life is always a choice, nothing is so absolutely determined. Astrology can only indicate the alternatives vaguely. Astrology is not such an exact science that you can say, 'Two plus two is bound to be four.' Sometimes it is three, sometimes it is five. Don't be worried."
They consoled the king and they said to him, "Do one thing: from the very beginning keep him in such luxury, keep him in such comfort, that he never thinks about renouncing. Let him become so accustomed to luxury and comfort that the very idea of going into the forest will scare him. Make him three palaces in different places for the three seasons, so that each season is beautiful for him."
Those three palaces were built in three different places. In summer he would be in a place almost like a hill station where there was no summer, where it was cool. In winter he would go to hotter places where it was warm. In the rains he would move to places where it was not too rainy - just little showers once in a while - and he would enjoy those little showers. Beautiful palaces with lakes, with gardens spreading for miles.
And the old people suggested, "Find the most beautiful women in the country. Let those beautiful women take care of him."
So all the beautiful women of the country were called, and they went into the service of Siddhartha, who was going to become the Buddha finally. He lived with women.
The astrologers said that he should never be allowed to see an old man, because that could raise the question in his mind: Am I also going to become old? "Never allow him to see anybody dead, not even a dead leaf"... because Lao Tzu had become enlightened by seeing a dead leaf falling from the tree. That was a very shaking incident, a tremendously important incident for Lao Tzu. Seeing the dead leaf he immediately thought, "I am also going to die one day like this leaf - dust unto dust.
Before that something has to be done. Before that I have to know if there is more to life, or only this mundane, superficial, so-called life. Is there something more than time?"
So they said, "Not even in his garden should he be allowed to see a dead leaf or a withering flower."
And the king managed it that way - I don't think anybody has lived in such luxury as Gautama the Buddha up to his twenty-ninth year. All the beautiful women were available to him. His whole day from morning to night was just a picnic, a holiday: dancing, singing, music - beautiful women available, all the luxuries - no problems, no anxieties. And it is basically because of this that he one day escaped - he became fed up.
Too much luxury is a dangerous thing. It is easy to be poor and be in the world, because one goes on hoping. It is very difficult to be really rich and not to renounce the world, because richness is far more frustrating than anything else. When you have all the riches and you see that you are as miserable as before, the riches lose all meaning.
Arnold has written one of the most beautiful books on Buddha, The Light of Asia, in which he depicts the scene when Buddha leaves the house, the palace. Up to twelve o'clock in the late night there were dance and music and beautiful women dancing around him. Then it was too late, he fell asleep and the women also fell asleep in the same room.
In the middle of the night - it was a fullmoon night: the moon was peeking through the window, the moonlight was coming into the room - Buddha looked around at the beautiful faces. Some mouths were open and the saliva was flowing out - and it was disgusting. Some women were snoring - beautiful musicians and yet snoring so loudly and with such ugliness that he felt very disgusted.
He went around the room - it was a chaos. All those beautiful women he saw for the first time in their reality. Their makeup was gone, their false eyelashes had fallen; he could see how they really looked. He left the palace that very night.
And just think of a man who had lived for twenty-nine years with women - and only women.... That must have been the cause.
You ask me: "Why was the Buddha so reluctant to allow women into his sangha?"
Out of compassion for the poor bhikkhus, the sannyasins, because he knew they could become victims. They had not lived in such luxury. Many of them had not known the reality of women.
Sick of American bigotry and of his nagging wife, Ashford went to New Guinea and became a cannibal. Six months later his wife tracked him down with a non-support summons. There was only one thing to do: he ate her.
Guess what? She still disagreed with him!
Too much experience of the other sex is boring. And it is not so just with women, it is the same with men. If Buddha had been a woman he would have been reluctant to initiate men. So what I am saying has nothing to do with women as such; it is just an accident that he was a man. If he had not been a man, if he had been a woman who had lived with men for twenty-nine years, the same would have happened. He would not have easily allowed men into his sangha.
An elderly Englishman was sitting quietly in his London club when an old friend came up and said, "Sorry, old boy, to hear that you buried your wife yesterday."
"Had to," replied the other man. "Dead, you know."
The fourth question:
DOES HELL REALLY EXIST?
Yes! In the beginning God wanted to create hell, but after creating India he changed his mind. Once he created India it was useless to create hell, it was a sheer waste of time and space. And you are here in India, and still you ask: "Does hell really exist...?"
It is all over the place. India is very representative: it represents hell. Starvation, misery, poverty.
And not only that - tremendous stupidity. People cling to their poverty, to their starvation. Not only do they cling, but they rationalize it, they make much out of it, they brag about it. They think that to be poor is something spiritual, to be ill and starved seems to be something holy.
Count Keyserling came to India. His son's son is one of my sannyasins now. In his diary he writes:
In India I realized that to be poor is to be spiritual, to be ill is to be spiritual, to be starved is to be spiritual.
More than the poverty, more than the starvation, more than the misery, it is the stupidity that creates hell. India clings to its misery, it brags about it. It thinks: The whole world is worldly except us. We are religious people, we are otherworldly.
You have to be otherworldly, because that is your only hope. This world you have made so ugly, this life you are living in such misery, that it will be impossible for you to live at all if this is the only life.
You have to project your ideas to the life after death.
So Indians are always thinking about life after death. Indians come to me and they ask, "What happens after death?"
I tell them, "Don't talk nonsense - ask what happens before death. The real question is before death, not after death. And whatsoever happens before death will continue to happen after death.
Don't be worried about it."
But I can understand why they don't ask about life. They have all settled for the ugliness of it, they are not ready to change it. This is hell, and created by the people themselves. No devil is responsible for it.
You can change it. Even if there is a hell, if the right people go there they will change it.
I have heard a story:
An atheist asked a priest... because the priest had said in his discourse that day that people who believe in God and who do virtuous deeds go to heaven, and people who don't believe in God and who are sinners go to hell.
An atheist raised his hand and asked, "Sir, one question has to be solved then. What about those people who don't believe in God and yet do virtuous deeds, where will they go? And what about those people who believe in God and yet are sinners, where will they go?"
The priest was at a loss, naturally. If he says that the virtuous people will go to hell because they don't believe in God, it doesn't look right. Then what is the point of being virtuous? Then just believe in God and enjoy all the sins you can enjoy. Why bother about being virtuous? If he says that those people will go to heaven who believe in God and who are still sinners, then just belief is enough. So God is not interested in what you do, he is not interested in your acts. You can kill, you can be a Genghis Khan or an Adolf Hitler, if you still believe in God.
And Adolf Hitler believed in God, remember. Genghis Khan believed in God, remember: before massacring thousands of people, every day in the early morning he would recite the Koran. The first thing was namaz, prayer, and then he would go into all kinds of ugly things, unimaginable butchery.
The priest must have been a very sensitive person, alert. He said, "Please give me time. The question is difficult, it is not so easy. Next Sunday I will answer."
Those seven days were really hell for the priest; he tried this way and that, but nothing was going to work. Sunday arrived, and he knew the atheist would be there, but not to turn up would be humiliating. So he came a little early to pray to Jesus Christ, "Help me! I am your servant, I have been speaking on your behalf. Now help me - what is the clue? This man has created such trouble!"
Praying to Christ - and for seven days he had not slept, thinking the whole night, thinking the whole day - he fell asleep before the statue of Christ and he had a dream. In the dream he saw a train ready to leave for heaven. He jumped in. He said, "This is perfectly right. Why shouldn't I go there and see with my own eyes? If I see Adolf Hitler, Genghis Khan, Tamburlaine, in heaven, then the question is solved. Or if I see Socrates, who did not believe in God but was one of the most virtuous of men, if I see Gautama the Buddha, who did not believe in God but was one of the most godly persons who ever walked on the earth, then the question is solved."
He rushed into the train and the train left. He reached heaven. He was a little surprised, puzzled, because heaven did not look very heavenly; it was very sad, dull and damp - no joy, nothing sunny, no song. He had heard so much about the angels who go on playing on their harps and singing and dancing. No harps, no singing, no dancing. Just a few stupid-looking saints sitting underneath their trees covered with dust.
He inquired - he went to the stationmaster and asked, "Is there some mistake? Is this really heaven?"
The stationmaster said, "Yes, and there is no mistake."
But the priest said, "It looks more like hell! Is there any train leaving for hell? - because I would like to see hell, too, then I can compare."
He got a reservation, went to hell - and he was really more surprised than he was seeing heaven.
There was joy, there was song and music - all was sunny and bright. People were working, people had lights in their eyes. No devil, no hellfire, nobody torturing - nothing. So he inquired: "This looks more like heaven!"
And the stationmaster said, "Yes, now it does, but before it used to be just the way it is described in your scriptures. Since Buddha, Mahavira and Socrates came here, they have transformed it."
A very rich man who was about to die asked his wife to promise to bury him without any clothes on.
He was such a miserly man, that he thought: Why not save the clothes?
The wife was shocked, but he said, "Listen, I know which way I'm going. I won't need clothes down there, it's too hot."
When he eventually passed over, his wife kept her promise. A few days later, just as the widow was preparing to go to bed one evening, the man's ghost appeared through the window and said, "Get out my winter underwear and my tweed overcoat, darling. There are so many rich people in hell now that they've installed air-conditioning!"
It all depends on you. Hell is not part of geography, it is part of your psychology, and so is heaven.
You create your hell, you create your heaven. And it is not in the future. Herenow somebody is living in heaven and somebody is living in hell - and they may be sitting together, they may be friends.
Right now, I say to you, I am in heaven, and I am inviting you to come into my space and share it.
That's what sannyas is all about: an invitation given, an invitation received: an invitation from my side and a gesture from your side that "yes, I am willing to come into your space."
Don't be worried about hell and heaven; they are just your states. If you live in the mind, you live in hell. If you live in the no-mind, you live in heaven.
The fifth question:
SOMEONE HAS TOLD YOU THAT THE BUICK IS THE PIMP'S CAR, AND NOW THE NEWS I BREAK IS THAT THE CADILLAC IS THE PIMP'S CAR, AT LEAST IN NEW YORK CITY AND OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA! SO, HOW ABOUT A LINCOLN CONTINENTAL MARK IV, LIKE THE CARS THE US PRESIDENTS RIDE IN?
Kavita, that is far worse! Then I would like to go back to my Impala and be a plumber. That's what I am: a plumber of the mind, a plumber of the soul!
But it seems no car is going to work out. In fact, I need an orange elephant!
The last question:
WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY?
Sudarshan, philosophy is an obsession with words. The word God becomes more significant than the experience of God; that is philosophy. Philosophers ask: What do you mean when you use the word God? What do you mean when you use the word truth? What do you mean when you use the word good? What do you mean when you use the word love?
Philosophy is more or less a linguistic phenomenon, a question of language and grammar, of hair- splitting and shadow-boxing. It is not concerned with reality at all. It talks about reality. But remember, to talk about reality is one thing and to move into reality is quite another. Philosophy is talk, religion is experience.
My interest is in religion, not in philosophy at all.
Noah Webster's neighbor came into the pantry and found him kissing the pretty chambermaid.
"My, Mr. Webster!" she exclaimed. "I am surprised!"
"No, my dear," said Mr. Webster with a reproving smile. "You are astounded, I am surprised."
It is only a question of words - the reality is put aside. Webster is a linguist, a great grammarian. He changes the words, he says, "No, my dear, you are astounded. You are using the wrong word when you say 'I am surprised.' You are astounded, I am surprised."
The emphasis - you see the emphasis - is no longer upon the act of kissing the pretty maid, the emphasis is on the wrong word or the right word.
Philosophers go on and on with words, and words have their own way. One word brings another word, and so on and so forth. You can go on and on ad infinitum; there is no end to words. You can fabricate, manufacture, new words, and you can create such a fuss about words that you can mystify people. Philosophy is a mind trick, a very sophisticated trick but a mind trick.
Religion has nothing to do with philosophy, religion is just a totally different dimension. It is going beyond words, it is reaching into experience. Religion is existential, philosophy is intellectual. And you can't understand even a small thing like a roseflower intellectually.
If you try to understand the roseflower and its beauty intellectually, either you have to say that the beauty is indefinable - that is another way of saying that it is unthinkable - or you have to say there is no beauty at all; it is all projection, it is all illusion. These are the only two alternatives for philosophy.
The philosopher says, "God is an illusion, truth is an illusion, love is an illusion" - he tries to prove everything is illusion - and then suddenly he is at a loss what to do; he is in a deep misery, in great frustration. Life seems to be just a chaos with no meaning to it. Then suicide seems to be the only outlet from this whole mess.
Many philosophers think of committing suicide and many commit suicide, too. And those who cannot commit suicide - they go mad. Just in between the two, neither alive nor dead, just hanging in limbo, that is madness.
G. E. Moore has written a great book, as far as books are concerned, Principia Ethica. For two hundred pages he discusses what 'good' is. If somebody asks me, "What is good?" I will say, "It is indefinable" - right now, immediately. But he comes to the conclusion that it is indefinable after two hundred pages - and two hundred pages of great logic. He was one of the greatest logicians of this age.
These three names are very important: G. E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Two hundred pages of great hard work - so much perspiration and nothing of inspiration! - and then the conclusion is that good is indefinable, because good is a simple quality like yellow. How can you define yellow? Yellow is yellow. What more you can say about yellow? But do you have to go through this hell of two hundred pages just to come to the simple conclusion that life is indefinable, it is mysterious - what the mystic has always been saying?
You cannot demystify life. Yes, you can enjoy it, you can go deep into the mystery and become part of it, you can dance it, you can sing it, you can celebrate it, but you cannot understand it.
Philosophy tries to understand and comes to no understanding. Religion never tries to understand and comes to deep understanding.
Beware of words! Words are very enchanting, hypnotizing. Sometimes you can get caught into a whole net of words.
Two ladies conducting a school survey ring a doorbell which is answered by a man who has been taking a shower and who is covering himself with only a newspaper. He tells them that he is Peter Pepperpod, wife Pauline, sons Paul and Peter Jr., both in your school. "I'm a peanut packer for Planter's Peanuts and poke around in part-time party planning on the side."
Later one of the ladies goes to the toilet at the first filling station they pass and does not return for fifteen minutes. She explains to the other, "I just sat there and got to thinking about that personable Mr. Peter Pepperpod, the peanut packer for Planter's Peanuts and part-time party planner, standing there with his pert, petrified pivot poking through the paper, and it just made my pussy pucker with such peccability that I couldn't hardly precipitate!"
This is what philosophy is!
Enough for today.