Experience is the Heart of the Matter
The first question:
IF INDIA IS SUCH AN UNSPIRITUAL COUNTRY, WHY ARE SO MANY ENLIGHTENED BEINGS BORN HERE?
Spirituality is individual. It has nothing to do with the social, the collective. No society is spiritual, no nation is spiritual. There are spiritual beings - because there is no social soul, the soul manifests through the individual.
You ask, "WHY ARE SO MANY ENLIGHTENED PEOPLE BORN IN INDIA?"
That too is propaganda; it is not true. They have been flowering everywhere - in China as much as in India, in Japan as much as in India, in Israel as much as in India. They have been flowering everywhere. You don't have a right perspective for seeing world history. History is created by people according to their prejudice.
One thing is certain: India has been very articulate, it knows how to say things. It is one of the ancient-most cultures, the first country where writing happened in the beginning and people became articulate. They were pioneers in thinking, in philosophizing, so they are very articulate people. They can say things as they should be said. The Chinese are not so articulate, they are more trusting in silence. Their trust is not in words but in silence, hence you don't know much about Chinese enlightened Masters. And then, China has remained almost a different world from the remainder of the world. It is not only the China Wall; there exists a certain subtle wall too which has kept China away from other countries.
In Tibet so many enlightened people have existed, but nothing much is known about Tibet. Tibet has remained a remote, faraway land, exists somewhere in clouds. The very name has become a symbol for mystery.
India is articulate. Amongst all the Eastern countries, India is the most articulate. It has been speaking about spirituality for at least five thousand years. That has created an idea in the whole world that India is spiritual. No country is especially spiritual; spirituality has been coming to all kinds of people and all races.
What do you know about the dark continent of Africa, about how many enlightened people have existed there? What do you know about primitive tribes, about how many Buddhas have existed there? They don't have any record, they don't write anything, they don't have a written language, so it is difficult.
India has great records. India has been interested in philosophizing - it does not write history, it writes philosophy. It does not write ordinary things of life, it writes myth. It is not interested in history at all, its whole interest is in mythology. And naturally, five thousand years is a long time: if you go on doing a certain thing you become very, very clever at it.
But there is something to be understood: there is a difference between the Eastern and the Western approach, and India has become the representative of the East.
There are two possibilities in approaching reality: one is to be logical, to be masculine, to be yang, aggressive. That's what the West has been doing. That is the Western choice. The Eastern choice is just the opposite: to be feminine, to be intuitive. More emphasis is given to feeling than to thinking, more emphasis is given to the inner than to the outer. These are the two gestalts reality can be reduced to. If you look outside it becomes matter, it appears as matter; it is the same reality. If you look inside it appears as consciousness; it is the same reality. The East has been searching more in the inside, the West has been searching more on the outside. Naturally, in the West, science has developed immensely, technology has developed greatly. When you look into matter science develops, technology develops. When you look inside science does not develop but philosophizing, poetry, religion. But both are halves, and both, because they are halves, are wrong, lopsided.
Try to understand me: when I say a man is spiritual I mean he is as easily flowing on the outside as he flows inside. He is whole. Neither has the East been spiritual nor has the West been spiritual.
The West has been materialist and the East has been spiritualist - but not spiritual. The West believes in the philosophy of the outside, the East believes in the philosophy of the inside.
The spiritual person is one who has come to that ultimate synthesis between the outer and the inner, between matter and consciousness, between body and soul. In the real spiritual person East and West meet and disappear. The really spiritual person is neither of the East nor of the West; he is global. Where he exists is not the point. His approach is global because his approach is total. He's whole, that's why I call him holy. Neither is the East whole nor is the West whole; both have suffered.
Nobody has chosen the total reality as it is. The total reality is enormous, it contains contradictions - that's why nobody has chosen it. If you choose the inside you are afraid to choose the outside because they look to be opposite. You start feeling inconsistent. If you choose the outside, naturally you start denying the inside because they don't fit. You learn one kind of language - the outer or the inner - and you deny the other kind of language.
Who is a spiritual person? Whom do I call enlightened? I call that man enlightened who is not afraid of this contradictoriness of life, who accepts it, and in that acceptance transcends East-West, transcends matter-mind, transcends all kinds of dualities.
A Buddha is not Eastern, cannot be. Christ is not Western, cannot be. They have come to that peak of consciousness from where the whole earth is one.
Do you know? - when man walked on the moon, what his greatest experience was? It was not of the moon. His greatest experience was of the earth! From that space, from that distance, they could see earth as one. Boundaries disappeared, nations disappeared. There was no India and there was no Germany and no England and no America; it was all one earth. That was their greatest experience when they were standing on the moon. For the first time ordinary human beings could feel that the earth is one.
Exactly the same happens when you reach to the inner peak of consciousness. From there, the vision is even MORE clear than it is from the moon, because that is the greatest peak. From that perspective you see life as whole.
I call that man enlightened who sees life as whole. They have been blooming, flowering, everywhere.
Flowers bloom in the valleys of the Himalayas too, where nobody goes and sees them. Don't think that they bloom only in your garden. They bloom in primitive societies too. Of course, they don't have the word 'enlightenment' or 'buddha'. They have their words.
If you look into the Old Testament you will not find the word 'enlightenment', you will not find the word 'buddha'; that is not there. That is a different kind of language. But who are these prophets? In a very primitive society the enlightened person may be called 'the magician', and it looks very absurd to call Buddha a magician. But that is their language and that has its own beauty - because. this is the greatest magic there is, and the man has performed the greatest miracle: he has transformed himself.
The word 'magician' comes from a very, very enlightened person, Magus. The people around him must have felt the same way as they felt around Buddha. The vibe of the person was miraculous.
To be around him was enough to trigger something inside you that took you far away, far, far away from your ordinary places, which brought you to a new place inside your being, which gave you an experience of a new space. People must have wondered what he had done.
Primitive societies call their enlightened people 'the magicians'. Languages differ. Those who understand should not bother too much about languages. They should break all the barriers of languages, concepts, and they should look directly. Then you will be surprised: flowers have been blooming all over the earth, God has been coming all over the earth. God has been descending everywhere, in every time, in every kind of place. God is not partial, but every race would like to declare that God is partial.
Jews say they are the chosen people: all that is beautiful and all that is great has been happening to them, all the prophets belong to them. Just listen to the Jews: they will say "Who else has so many prophets?" Of course in India they are not called prophets, in China they are not called prophets - "Who else has so many prophets?" And the Jew is right, because they have a long, long line of prophets.
If you ask the Christians, of course they are the chosen people. They follow the 'only begotten Son of God'. Christ has come to them. Who else has such a phenomenon as Christ? It is their property, their possession: Christ belongs to them.
In India the enlightened person is not called Christ, but the Christ-consciousness is the same as Buddha-consciousness. In China the enlightened is neither called a prophet nor is he called a Buddha, but he is called 'the sage'. The Chinese can say, "So many sages are born here, nowhere else." And every race has its own ego, so China thinks itself the greatest land on earth.
When the first travellers from the West went to China and they went to see the emperor, they were thinking that they had come to very primitive people. And what were the Chinese thinking about them? They were thinking, "These people look like monkeys!" The Chinese records say that 'monkeys have come from the West'. And the Western traveller writes that 'these people are very primitive, barbarians'.
Germans think they are the real Nordic aryans, that they are meant to rule over the world, they are the superior-most people. And the white thinks he's the superior-most, and how can the black man even claim that he is a human being? - he is not. All egos and nothing else.
So these so-called Indian MAHATMAS who go on travelling around the world and teaching people that India is the only spiritual country, the only religious country, are nothing but chauvinists, racists; they are not religious at all. Because a religious person.... how can he claim that God has been happening on only one spot on the earth? God is happening everywhere! God IS everywhere!
He is not concentrated somewhere more and somewhere less; He's impartially showering all over existence. It is His existence, it is His creation.
So this idea has to be dropped. No country is spiritual, no country is special. And the day will be a day of great jubilation in the world when we can drop all these stupid ideas of Indians, of Germans, of Chinese, of English. of Hindus, of Christians, of Mohammedans. When a pure human being arises who belongs to the whole earth, who is a citizen of the whole, who is universal, that will be the beginning of something spiritual. A spiritual man is a whole man. His vision knows no divisions, his vision is indivisible.
You ask, "If INDIA IS SUCH AN UNSPIRITUAL COUNTRY, WHY ARE SO MANY ENLIGHTENED BEINGS BORN HERE?"
There are a few things more to be understood. One is: in the day, the stars disappear. What happens? Do they go and hide somewhere? They are there, exactly where they have always been, but the sunlight is too much, you cannot see them. When the sun has gone down they will start appearing again. Not that they start coming; they have been there the whole day, but great darkness is needed for them to shine.
Lao Tzu says that there was a time when people were so religious that there were no religions at all.
There was a time when people were so innocent that they had not even heard the word 'innocence'.
They were so simple that they knew nothing of simplicity. They were so trusting that they had not heard anything about faith, belief, trust. There was no religion because people were religious! Just think of that time, if it ever was. Then there cannot be any enlightened person, because ALL were in that kind of ocean, in that place called enlightenment. A Buddha can be seen only when there is darkness all around. If there are millions of Buddhas, Buddha will disappear. Not that he will not be there! He will be there but how will you see him? How will you find him? In a really spiritual world, again there will be no enlightened people. Not that there will not be enlightened people; but enlightenment will be so natural, so spontaneous, that you will not be able to find who is Buddha.
All will be Buddhas!
Enlightened people can be seen only against the darkness.
In India enlightened people have existed against the darkness. The society is very unenlightened.
People are dark holes. Amidst such darkness, whenever a star is born it is brilliant, it is bright. You can see it, you cannot forget it for centuries and centuries! You worship it because it is so rare.
One thing to be remembered: for an enlightened person to be recognized as enlightened, great masses of unenlightened people are needed, but the vice versa is not true. I am not saying that if in a certain society no enlightened person exists, that it means that the whole society is enlightened; the vice versa is not true. But this is absolutely true: that an enlightened person can be recognized only against the unenlightened. The rich person can be recognized only against the poor, and the beautiful person can be recognized only against the ugly. If all people are beautiful, as plastic surgeons think that soon it will be possible - all people will have beauty - then beauty contests will disappear. There will be no beauty queens anymore. The beauty queen can exist, Miss Universe can exist, only amidst great ugliness. Otherwise it is not possible. If all people become meditators, if all people become silent, how will you feel a Buddha? Not that Buddha will disappear; Buddha will be there. And Buddha will be very happy because no work is left for him, he can rest and relax. But he will not be recognized at all.
You can count your enlightened people on fingers: a Buddha, a Christ, a Krishna, a Lao Tzu. Why?
- because the greater mass of people have remained immensely dark, immensely ugly, immensely barbarian.
Remember this: a Buddha, his existence, does not make a country enlightened. The people start repeating his words easily but the people are not enlightened. It is like this: Edison discovered electricity; now everybody uses electricity, but everybody is not an Edison. And even when you use electricity what do you know about it? Just pushing the button, you think you know much about electricity? You can put it on and off - do you think you know much about electricity? In fact Edison himself had said that he does not know what this electricity is. He had stumbled upon its utility but its inner reality remained a mystery.
You can drive your car; that does not mean you know everything about its mechanism. You live in the body; what do you know about the body?
People learn words, they can use words. Buddha has said many things, now you can repeat. The whole country can become parrot-like. That's what has happened in India: it is a parrot-like country, everybody repeats. They know the Vedas, they know the Upanishads, they know the Gita, they know the Dhammapada, and they have memorized it, crammed it, and they go on repeating it. But when a parrot repeats anything, do you think it means anything? It does not mean anything at all. A parrot repeating has no sense of meaning, he simply mechanically repeats. Man simply learns words.
Yes, India knows many more religious words than any other country, that is true, but that is not very significant. It is all jargon. Unless that meaning has been experienced, nothing matters. In fact, all this knowledge will be a barrier. Buddhas have existed here, they have existed everywhere else, and people have learned their words. Those words have beauty, those words have poetry, those words... just to repeat them is also a wonderful experience. Not even knowing their meaning they have a certain kind of vibe. You can repeat and you will feel good, but that 'feeling good' is not being spiritual. Unless you have seen with the same eyes as Buddha, unless you have experienced the whole existence just as Buddha experienced it, you are not an enlightened person.
And that is the whole emphasis of Sufism: experience and experience and experience. All that matters is experience. Experience is the heart of the matter! Everything else is futile. Avoid knowledge, knowledgeability. Get into the feel of things.
The second question:
I KNOW YOU USE PARADOXES AND CONTRADICTIONS, BUT MY MIND IS STILL VERY LOGICAL, SO I HAVE DIFFICULTY UNDERSTANDING. IF THE TAO SAYS " THE ONE WHO KNOWS DOES NOT TALK", AND IF YOU SAY ONCE YOUR WORDS ARE UTTERED THEY ARE DEAD, AND IF YOU SAY THAT ONE CANNOT MAKE AN IMAGE OF THE DIVINE, THEN WHY AM I WEARING AN IMAGE WHICH IS A SYMBOL OF YOU AS A MALA, WHICH INEVITABLY FORCES ME TO TALK ABOUT YOU? I FEAR THAT I AM PARTICIPATING IN THE CREATION OF A TRADITION.
The question is from Ma Prem Dassana.
A few things have to be understood. They will be helpful to each of you, because this question will arise to many people.
First, she says, "I KNOW YOU USE PARADOXES AND CONTRADICTIONS, BUT MY MIND IS STILL VERY LOGICAL."
Mind will never be anything else: that is the first thing to be understood. Mind is logic, they are synonymous. You can't have an illogical mind - that doesn't happen, that is not possible. That will be like having enlightened darkness. That will be like having a healthy disease. That will be a contradiction in terms. Mind is logic. Don't say mind is logical because that creates the fallacy. Mind is not logical, mind is simply logic! Logic is called mind! So you can never have a mind which is more than logic, mind will remain logical.
You can go beyond the mind, you can enter into the transcendental, but mind will have to be left behind. That's the function of using contradictions, paradoxes. What is the function of a paradox?
The function is to baffle your mind, to shatter your mind, to destroy its roots, to shock it, to shatter its logic. And it will not leave easily, it will try to find its roots again. It will gather itself together again. It will pull the fragments together again. It will do it again and again.
And I have to be contradictory continuously, because what I am saying to you is not a teaching, it is a WORK! It is not teaching, it is action. Let it be remembered: talking to you is my action upon you, it is an operation. See the distinction!
A teacher has some teaching to impart, a Master has some work to do - he has no teaching. That's why it doesn't matter to me whether I am speaking on Zen or Yoga or Tantra or Sufism. It doesn't matter, that is only an excuse. How does it matter whether I have a hammer which is made of gold, or made of silver, or made of iron or steel, or painted black or green or red? It doesn't matter.What matters is that I hammer your head with it! The color of the hammer is immaterial, the make is immaterial. The ACTION is the thing.
Listening to me, you are under an operation. It is not a teaching, it is penetrating into your being.
And the mind is logical, so I have to be illogical. If I am also logical then mind will perfectly agree with me. It will become my contemporary. It will say, "Right! Perfectly right! This is what I have always been thinking. You are saying the things that I have always been thinking to say but could not say. You are saying them better than I could have said them, but they are the same things." Then you have missed me. It is not a question of agreeing with me or disagreeing with me. It is a fight between me and you. I am here to KILL you, and the only way to kill you is - the beginning of it - that I have to hammer on your head, again and again, SUCH illogical statements that the mind cannot cope with it, that the mind by and by starts feeling tired and exhausted, weary of it all. In that tiredness, in that exhaustion, the first glimpses of the beyond will come to you. The clouds will part and you will have some moments, sunlit moments. Once you have tasted those sunlit moments then there is not much of a problem. Then you know that you are something more than the mind.
Then the journey has started. Before that, there is great struggle.
Now Dassana is a new sannyasin. My old sannyasins don't ask such questions. They have become accustomed to my illogicalness. They understand that there is some action behind it. They have learned it, they have experienced a few moments, they have seen that this hammering helps. In fact, nothing else helps. But for new sannyasins it will always be the problem: you start creating a system around me. You want me to be consistent. If I am consistent it is very comfortable to you, because then there is no problem, we are agreeing. But agreeing too easily will be too cheap. I will not allow you to agree with me so easily. I will go on saying things which will disagree. I will go on saying things which will create, again and again, the conflict between me and you. I will go on saying things and you will not be able to find out a way to cope with them. I will go on making my contradictions bigger and bigger, heavier and heavier. This is how I tire your mind, this is how I let your mind feel its impotence.
One day, listening to me on Sufism, you will agree, and then another day, listening to me on Zen, you will disagree. If you agree with what I said in the name of Sufism, you will disagree when I say something in the name of Zen. And then I will be speaking on something else.
For example, Dassana is worried because I say that once your words are uttered they are dead.
Naturally, the idea arises: "Then why do you say them?" And I go on speaking. In fact, nobody has said so much as I have been saying, and I am going to continue it. If words are dead, then why?
This will be logical: if words are dead then become silent - and you will feel comfortable with me because your mind will be able to cope with it - or, if words can say and I am using words, then don't speak against words, then use them. That too will be okay. You will agree with me: "This man believes in words, and believes that words can say something, and says them" - so there is no problem.
But I am not going to settle so cheaply. I don't want your agreement with me to be so cheap. I will allow you only to agree with me when understanding has arisen in you, not thinking. I don't want to agree with your thinking because that will be agreeing with your mind. And then I will not be of any help to you; I will be strengthening your mind. I'm not here to strengthen it. I have to uproot it, I have to destroy it, root and all.
So one day I say nothing can be said, and I go on speaking. Now this will baffle you.
You quote Lao Tzu. You say "TAO SAYS, 'THE ONE WHO KNOWS DOES NOT TALK."' But do you think Lao Tzu was silent? Then who said this?
To say that the one who knows does not talk is saying something, something of immense importance.
You would not have heard of Lao Tzu at all if he had not said something. And there are millions of ways of saying. Even when you go to a Zen Master and you ask a thousand and one questions and he keeps silent, and then suddenly says, "Have a cup of tea," that is his way of saying it. But he is saying something all the same.What is he saying? He is saying, "Drop all this nonsense!" When he says, "Have a cup of tea," that is his way of saying something of great importance: he is saying, "All this is nonsense that you have been talking about. It is better that you become a little more alert."
That is the symbol in tea - "Have a little tea. Have a cup of tea." In Zen a cup of tea means: have a little meditation, have a little more awareness.
Tea was discovered by Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen. The story is beautiful.
He was meditating for nine years, facing a wall. Nine years, just facing the wall, continuously, and sometimes it was natural that he might start falling asleep. He fought and fought with his sleep - remember, the metaphysical sleep, the unconsciousness. He wanted to remain conscious even while asleep. He wanted to make a continuity of consciousness - the light should go on burning day and night, for twenty-four hours. That's what DHYANA IS, meditation is - awareness.
One night he felt that it was impossible to keep awake, he was falling asleep. He cut his eyelids off and threw them! Hm, now there was no way for him to close his eyes. The story is beautiful.
To get to the inner eyes, these outer eyes will have to be thrown. That much price has to be paid.
And what happened? After a few days he found that those eyelids that he had thrown on the ground had started growing into a small sprout. That sprout became tea. That's why when you drink tea, something of Bodhidharma enters you and you cannot fall asleep. Bodhidharma was meditating on the mountain called Ta, that's why it is called tea. That TA can be pronounced in two ways in China, either TA or CHA. That's why in Hindi it is called CHAI, or in Marathi, CHAH. It comes from that mountain where Bodhidharma meditated for nine years. This is a parable.
When the Zen Master says, "Have a cup of tea", he's saying, "Taste a little of Bodhidharma. Don't bother about these questions: Whether God exists or not? Who created the world? Where is heaven and where is hell? And what is the theory of KARMA and rebirth?" When the Zen Master says, "Forget all about it. Have a cup of tea," he's saying, "Better become more aware, don't go into all this nonsense. This is not going to help you at all." But don't think that he is silent. He's speaking, he's speaking with a hammer!
Lao Tzu says, "The one who knows does not talk." Then what about Lao Tzu? - because he has talked, whether he knows or not.
It will be a problem. It will baffle you.
What really is meant is: the one who knows talks and knows well that it cannot be talked about. Still he talks! That which he has cannot be talked about, but the people who are in the world CANNOT connect with him in any other way than by talk, because people know only one bridge. All other bridges have been broken. There is only one bridge between people and that is of intellect, that is of language. All other bridges are broken. Feeling has disappeared, intuition has disappeared, instinct has been repressed and killed. Man has become paralyzed! Only one thing still lives: language, mind, thought. The man who has attained knows that what he has attained cannot be delivered in thoughts. He also knows another thing: that only if something is delivered in thoughts will you listen.
Otherwise you will not listen. Then what is he supposed to do? He will talk and still keep you alert:
"Don't just go on gathering my words, because these words are dead."
Then what is the function of the words of a Master? These words are to provoke you, to seduce you for a journey of wordless silence. And that is my situation too.
I'm like Carlyle, who they say wrote fifty volumes on the value of silence. Silence is so vast; even fifty volumes won't do justice to it. Five hundred volumes; even that will not be enough. Five thousand volumes and then too nothing has been said. Silence is so vast.
Can you paint the sky? Yes,, you can paint it, but the painted sky will be a very, very tiny portion. You can go on painting and you can go on painting, but you cannot exhaust the sky, because to exhaust the sky you will need a canvas as big as the sky - which is not possible. Where will you keep that canvas? You will need another sky, and there is none.
So is truth: no word can contain it. But words are the only communication left between man and man. So the Master has to use words and still he has to continuously remind you that words are meaningless.
You say, "I KNOW YOU USE PARADOXES AND CONTRADICTIONS, BUT MY MIND IS STILL VERY LOGICAL, SO I HAVE DIFFICULTY UNDERSTANDING."
Mind never understands. With mind there is no understanding. Understanding is a totally different phenomenon in you: it happens only in no-mind. Mind pretends to understand and understands nothing. Mind is a great pretender. You can understand only when you can start seeing, feeling; you can understand only when you realize something. You will have to put the mind aside. That is the meaning of being a sannyasin: you put your mind aside, you start slowly, slowly moving towards something which is not mind at all.
What is mind? - the past, the learned, the knowledge that has been fed into you. Mind is a computer.
The society has used it, the parents have used it, the politicians, the priests have used it. They have put a thousand and one things in you - that is your mind. That is not you! And this mind can be put aside, because it is not you! You are the witness. You are not the thought, but the one who sees the thought flick by. Watch... when a thought arises in you, are you the thought?
You are feeling anger, or love, or compassion, and thoughts are arising in you - thoughts of anger, thoughts of love or compassion, and there is a crowd of thoughts passing by, the traffic of thoughts.
Are you this traffic? Then who is the seer? Then who is looking at this traffic? The onlooker cannot be part of the traffic, the onlooker has to be transcendental to the traffic. You cannot be the thing that you are seeing. The seer can never be the seen. The meditator can never be the meditated upon. When you start watching your mind, your thoughts, a totally new awareness arises in you:
you become a witness, you become a mirror. That mirror understands. Understanding is part of that mirror.
Mind is a pretender. It is a hypocrite, it is a deceiver, it is a cheat. Without understanding anything it goes on saying to you, "I understand. Look, I know this. I have read this. I have thought this over."
You say, "... SO I HAVE DIFFICULTY UNDERSTANDING."
You will always have if you don't drop the mind. The mind has to cease for understanding to be.
"IF THE TAO SAYS THE ONE WHO KNOWS DOES NOT TALK, AND IF YOU SAY ONCE YOUR WORDS ARE UTTERED THEY ARE DEAD, AND IF YOU SAY THAT ONE CANNOT MAKE AN IMAGE OF THE DIVINE..."
Yes, I say one cannot make an image of the divine.
"... THEN WHY AM I WEARING AN IMAGE WHICH IS A SYMBOL OF YOU AS A MALA, WHICH INEVITABLY FORCES ME TO TALK ABOUT YOU?"
This will have to be understood.
What is an image? An image represents something. If you understand that it represents something, that it is not the thing represented, then there is no problem. The moment you forget that it represents something and it becomes that something itself, then the problem arises.
For example, you see a milestone. On the milestone is written Delhi, and an arrow towards Delhi - 50 miles. That milestone is not Delhi, although Delhi is written on it. That milestone is simply saying, "Go ahead. Delhi is fifty miles ahead." If the statue in the temple is just a milestone, there is no problem. IF YOU THINK IT IS GOD, then the problem arises.
The mala around your neck is not me! If you understand that - that it simply represents me, it is a symbol, a metaphor - then there is no problem. If you forget that and you start talking with the mala, and you start listening to the mala, and you forget all about me - because then there is no need to come here; if you have the mala you have me - then you have fallen into a trap. You have become an idolator. Then you are getting into a very, very neurotic state. The symbol has become truth itself.
The word 'fire' is not fire; you cannot cook on it. Or can you cook on it? When you want to cook, you don't write the word 'fire' and put your tea-kettle on it. It won't do. But symbols tend to become realities.
The word 'god' is not God; if you remember this the word 'god' is beautiful. The moment you start thinking the word 'god' is God, then you have fallen into a trap. Then the word will not be a symbol anymore, the word has usurped the reality itself. The word 'love' is not love. You know it! But if you think that the word 'love' is love, and without feeling any love you go on loving people because you say "I love you", you will never know what love is. That is the problem.
There is no thing in the world which can represent God as God is. It can be a symbol, can be a metaphor, can be a sign - then there is no problem. But man is so stupid: either you want to make your symbol the reality, or you want to throw the symbol completely. Both are stupid attitudes. There is no need to burn the statue, there is no need to burn the temple, because the one who goes to burn the temple is as foolish as the one who goes and worships in the temple. The temple is just a symbol to remind you that the market-place is not all, that the shop and the office and the factory are not all.
The temple is standing there just in the middle of the town to remind you that there is still something which you have not explored. It is a milestone. Hence, it is made just in the middle of the town - the church, the temple, the mosque - so people passing by, coming and going, are reminded again and again that there is something they have not explored yet. "I have explored money, I have explored power, but I have not known yet for what this temple stands." This temple is a constant reminder: "I am also here. Sooner or later death will take you away. Enter in me, experience something of the beyond, because through me it is possible to transcend death."
The mala around your neck is not me, but it reminds you of me. It is beautiful if it reminds you. If you start thinking it is me then you are getting into trouble.
I have heard...
Renoir, the great French impressionist, was once asked how he knew when a nude portrait was finished. Replied the master, "When I stop painting and feel like pinching, I know it is finished."
Yes, that happens - a picture can fascinate you so much. And you know that the picture is just a picture, just paint on canvas, but it can become flesh and you may like to pinch it. But then you are becoming foolish.
This happens every day. You go to the movie, you see a film, and you know perfectly well that the screen is empty and behind you is a projector, and on the screen there are only shadows and nothing else - no woman, no man, nothing is happening there, all is empty - but many times you get into that place where you forget, where the symbols on the screen become realities. You start crying, and later on you will laugh: "How foolish it was." It is good that in the movie houses it is kept dark; it helps people to relax. Otherwise it would be hard. If somebody saw you crying it would look so childish. Or sometimes you become so excited! Some scene can take such a grip on your soul that you cannot rest in your chair, your spine goes straight, your eyes become fixed, your heartbeat stops. You start living the film, you become part of the movie. You are no more a seer, you have become the seen. The observer is lost in the observed.
Reading a novel you can become very much excited. There are books which you cannot read alone in a house in the middle of the night, books about ghosts, detective stories, murders. If you are alone in the house and it is dark, you can become so fascinated with the novel you may start feeling that things that are happening in the novel are happening around you too. The wind comes and knocks on the door and you were just reading about a ghost... and you forget completely. Then you are losing awareness.
The picture on the mala is not me; please don't pinch it! It is simply a representative. And it helps, because you are so unaware. It reminds you.
So is the orange color: just to remind you again and again. Wherever you go people look at you with a shock - their shock reminds you that you are in orange, that you are a sannyasin. You were just going to say something, or hit somebody, and you see your orange and something stops exactly in the middle. You feel frozen. A great awareness has happened in that moment - of that old rotten habit of saying something ugly, that what you are doing is stupid. You were just going to say it and suddenly, the remembrance. The mala comes in between, or the orange. And those small moments of remembrance can be of great transformation. This is not idolatry.
Idolatry is when you keep my picture and you worship it, and you are finished with it. Idolatry is worship without being in any way involved in the process of transformation. If an image can help to remind you about yourself, it is not idolatry.
Have you gone into a Buddha-temple? Have you seen the Buddhist statue, the statue of Buddha?
- that white marble, that coolness, that posture, even the marble seems alive, that calm, that quiet that surrounds that statue. The form of the statue is such that it creates its own vibe.
Now much scientific work is being done on form. Now they say the pyramids have a certain form which helps. You can sit inside a pyramid and you will have new experiences that you may not have outside, because the form of the pyramid gives a certain shape to space, gives a certain vibration.
They have made small pyramids to keep your razor blades in. And you will be surprised: a razor blade kept in a small pyramid can be used for years; it does not lose its sharpness. The same razor blade is gone within days without the pyramid. What happens under that space? That pyramidical space somehow goes on sharpening the razor blade. This is a miracle! Now this is a scientific fact.
If it can sharpen the razor blade, is it possible that it can sharpen your consciousness, that it can sharpen your mind? It is possible. They were invented by great Masters.
Another fact has been known: just a few scientists were working in a pyramid. By accident a cat entered and died inside. They found the dead body after two months. It had not deteriorated at all, it was not stinking. They were surprised: "This is a miracle!" Then they stumbled upon a fact: that's why mummies were kept inside the pyramid. Just the shape prevents the body from deteriorating.
Now this can be a great secret.
If you want to go deep in meditation, it will be easier under a pyramid, because you will need less food, less water. You can go on a long fast inside a pyramid more easily than outside. You can live with minimum expenditure of energy. Even when the body is gone and dead it can be preserved by the pyramid. And sometimes it happens, in deep SAMADHI, that you disappear into the inner so deeply that the body is felt to be almost dead.
It used to happen to Ramakrishna: for six days he would be in SAMADHI and the body would almost be falling dead. The disciples had to continuously massage it, otherwise he would not be back again.
They had to heat the body, massage the body just to keep the blood flowing. Now there would have been no need if Ramakrishna had been put inside a pyramid.
Those pyramids were created by great Masters, great explorers of the inner. The shape of the Buddha-statue is the shape of meditation. It does not represent Buddha, it has nothing to do with Buddha. Never think for a single moment that it is a realistic image, no. Buddha never looked like that! It does not represent his physical body, it simply represents the INNER FORM OF ENERGY.
When you go into absolute silence this is the shape of your inner energy, of your inner aura. This is how your inner electricity starts flowing. This represents Kirlian photography more than ordinary photography.
Remember, in ordinary photography your figure is caught by the camera plate. In Kirlian photography your figure is not caught, but the electricity that is flowing around your figure, the electric field is caught. Buddha's statue is a Kirlian statue, not an ordinary camera figure. It simply represents the innermost form of energy - when everything falls silent, when mind disappears. It is the symbol of no-mind.
If you think it is Buddha and you just go and put a few flowers there and bow down and forget all about it, then you are in idolatry. But if you go and sit there and you feel the energy, the form of the energy, and you create that form of energy in yourself, in your own being, this is not idolatry, this is pure science. Then that statue is functioning only as a map to remind you of how you should be.
Sometimes I will be saying many things against idolatry - I say them - but I am not saying that all those who have images are idolators, no. Ninety-nine percent of people are, but even that one percent is enough to prove the truth.
They say that even if you can find one white crow it will be enough to prove the falsity of the statement that all crows are black. Just a single white crow will be enough proof. There will be no need to bring two white crows to destroy the certainty that all crows are black. One crow will do.
That one percent is enough to prove that there is something more in the image than the image. It can be a map of consciousness, it can be a symbol. If you are just a worshipper you will miss it. If you are not just a worshipper but an explorer, a seeker, you will be surprised how many clues the Buddha-statue has in it - MILLIONS of clues. The exploration is great, it is a great adventure.
The form of the temple, the form of the church, the form of the mosque has something to do with inner work. But then you are being simply scientific.
You ask me, "IF YOU SAY THAT ONE CANNOT MAKE AN IMAGE OF THE DIVINE...."
Yes, nobody can make an image of the divine because divine means the total. How can you make an image of the total? But I am not saying that you cannot make maps, I am not saying that you cannot make symbols. The only thing to be remembered constantly is that a symbol is a symbol and not the truth. Don't start clinging to the symbol as the truth; then there is no problem. The moment you forget the symbol as the symbol and the symbol becomes the truth itself, then... then you have lost the whole point.
"THEN WHY AM I WEARING AN IMAGE WHICH IS A SYMBOL OF YOU AS A MALA, WHICH INEVITABLY FORCES ME TO TALK ABOUT YOU?"
That's the purpose of it - so that you have to talk about me. That is the purpose - to offend people, to provoke people. Just your very presence will create uneasiness in people. They will have to talk to you, they will have to criticize me, they will have to say something against me. They will provoke you into saying something for me, they will provoke you into defending me. That is going to help you, because talking with people about me, you will come to know me more. In fact, many times it happens: you learn only when you teach. To be a teacher is to be a great learner.
When somebody says, "Why this mala? Are you crazy? Mad?" now you have to say something. You have to speak out something for me, in defense of me: you have to search within yourself, you have to reconsider, you have to rethink, contemplate. This helps you. You have to remember me.
And sometimes you will be surprised by things that you say. You would never have thought of them on your own, but this man provoked and you responded - and that response may change you! It may change the other person too. The joy in your eyes, the song in your sound, your trust in me, your love for me, may give the man an experience. He may start thinking of coming sometime and seeing on his own what is happening here.
People can tolerate one person in orange. They can tolerate two, three, four, five; how much can they tolerate? I am going to create thousands! And each orange person will be an offense. His very presence will be a disturbance, a shock. How can they tolerate? And for how long?
There is a function; all that is being done here is a device.
And you say, "I FEAR THAT I AM PARTICIPATING IN THE CREATION OF A TRADITION."
There is no need to fear - it is exactly what is happening. All traditions are not bad. It depends.
For example, Christianity is a tradition, Islam is a tradition, Buddhism is a tradition. Zen is also a tradition! And Sufism is also a tradition! Don't throw them together; they are totally different.
Christianity is the tradition of the worshippers, so is Islam, so is Buddhism. But Zen, Sufism, Hassidism - these are not the traditions of worshippers, these are the traditions of explorers. These are the traditions of those who are really hungry for truth, who are thirsty. Many have walked on the path before you - wouldn't you like to be benefitted by their experiences? That's what real tradition is.
Many have searched before you. You are not searching for truth for the first time. Why should you start from ABE? You can be benefitted by all that experience. That's why I'm continuously speaking on these traditions - Sufism, Hassidism, Tantra, Yoga, Zen, Tao. Why? These are all traditions, but there are traditions and traditions!
The tradition that becomes only a worship, the tradition that becomes only a belief, the tradition that simply consoles you and does not transform you, is wrong. But there are traditions which can transform you, which are great streams of energy: if you can join hands with those streams your journey will become very easy, simple. You will be moving on more certain ground.
Yes, this is the creation of a tradition. And you are fortunate because very rarely does it happen, to very few people, that they are there in the beginning of a tradition, at the very source. People who will be coming when I am gone will not be so fortunate. They will have to depend on second-hand things.
And this is the creation of a tradition in a VERY CONSCIOUS way. I am creating it!
There have been two types of people in the world. One, those who do not want to create a tradition.
For example, Krishnamurti does not want to create a tradition. The tradition is still being created, but he does not want it so he will not cooperate in creating it. He will, on the contrary, create all kinds of hindrances on its way. The tradition will be created all the same. Tradition cannot be avoided. The moment you speak, tradition is on the way. The moment you say, the moment you look into somebody's eyes, the tradition is created. What is a tradition? - just this declaration, "I have arrived!" It may not be in words. I may keep quiet, I may remain silent, but my silence will be felt; then the tradition will be created. Tradition is created when I start communing with anybody in the world.
Where there are two there is creation, creation of the tradition. Alone there is no tradition. If I am alone and I don't commune and I don't relate then there will be no tradition. But this is impossible.
Whenever truth happens it has to be communicated. It is its intrinsic necessity. Just as when a flower blooms the fragrance is spread; in the spreading of the fragrance is the beginning of a tradition.
Krishnamurti says he does not want to create a tradition. His saying this is not of any use; the tradition will be created. Buddha never wanted to create the tradition but the tradition was created.
When the Master does not want to create the tradition because he is afraid of ninety-nine wrong things - and there are ninety-nine percent wrong things possible - and he is afraid of that ninety- nine percent of things, and he does not want to create a tradition, the tradition is created. And the tradition will have only that ninety-nine percent of things the Master was afraid of, because the one percent could have only been provided by him, and he never provided it.
If Krishnamurti creates a tradition he will be able to provide that one percent. Only he can provide it. The tradition will be created by the disciples, they can provide the ninety-nine percent. That has been happening. This is one way.
Another way is: the Master decides to create the tradition on his own. More possibilities are there that the tradition will remain close to the essential, because the Master will supply the one percent.
Now, look at it.
If I don't give you the mala, then too, a few people will have my picture, but they will have them according to themselves. I give myself, the mala is a gift from me. I have sanctioned it. It has been touched by me, it is my gift to you. I have not left it to you to create it, I have created it. My whole effort here will be this: to create the tradition as clearly as possible so nobody can confuse you easily, so you don't get confused easily.
It is a CONSCIOUS work. It is a conscious creation of a tradition. There is more possibility that more people will be benefitted by it. But I am not saying that nothing will go wrong; that risk has to be taken.
Life is always a risk. You say something and the risk is there: somebody may understand wrongly, somebody may interpret in some other sense. The moment you speak, that risk is there. That risk has to be accepted, that is part of the whole game of life, that is the challenge.
So Prem Dassana, you say, "I fear that I am participating in the creation of a tradition." There is no need to be afraid. It is exactly what is happening. Either PARTICIPATE IN IT CONSCIOUSLY, or get out of it. It is going to be a tradition. It is going to be one of the most consciously created traditions.
But if you are afraid too much, afraid of those ninety-nine things and you are not interested in the one percent, then please get out of it. There is no need to be getting into unnecessary trouble. Be free of it.
And I want to sort my people out, because I would like to work only on those who are REALLY with me. I would not like to waste my time and energy for those who are only here so-so, lukewarm, by the way, accidental. Up to now I have been giving sannyas to anybody and everybody who comes, but soon it will not be so. I will start choosing, and I will help people who are sannyasins but are not really sannyasins to drop it. I don't want any unnecessary luggage to be carried. I want only those who are REALLY here, totally here. And those people are here.