CHUANG TZU WITH HIS BAMBOO POLE WAS FISHING IN THE PU RIVER.
THE PRINCE OF CHU SENT TWO VICE CHANCELLORS WITH A FORMAL DOCUMENT: WE HEREBY APPOINT YOU PRIME MINISTER.
CHUANG TZU HELD HIS BAMBOO POLE. STILL WATCHING PU RIVER, HE SAID: 'I AM TOLD THERE IS A SACRED TORTOISE OFFERED AND CANONISED THREE THOUSAND YEARS AGO, VENERATED BY THE PRINCE, WRAPPED IN SILK, IN A PRECIOUS SHRINE ON AN ALTAR IN THE TEMPLE. WHAT DO YOU THINK? IS IT BETTER TO GIVE UP ONE'S LIFE AND LEAVE A SACRED SHELL AS AN OBJECT OF CULT IN A CLOUD OF INCENSE FOR THREE THOUSAND YEARS, OR BETTER TO LIVE AS A PLAIN TURTLE DRAGGING ITS TAIL IN THE MUD?'
'FOR THE TURTLE' SAID THE VICE CHANCELLOR, 'BETTER TO LIVE AND DRAG ITS TAIL IN THE MUD!'
'GO HOME!' SAID CHUANG TZU. 'LEAVE ME HERE TO DRAG MY TAIL IN THE MUD.'
Every child is born sane, but every man becomes insane - the whole of humanity is neurotic.
Neurosis is not a problem for only a few people, the human being as such is neurotic. And this neurosis is created through such a subtle mechanism that you cannot even become aware of it. It has become an unconscious thing, it goes on influencing you, your behaviour, your relationships, your whole life is coloured by it. But it has gone so deep into your roots that you cannot find from where your misery, conflict, anxiety and neurosis have arisen. A few things have to be understood then this story will become clear, and very helpful.
First, if you condemn yourself you are creating a division, and that division will be your misery and your hell. If you condemn yourself, it means you condemn nature, and there is no victory against nature, there cannot be. You are just a tiny part in a vast ocean of nature, you cannot fight it.
And all so-called religions teach you to fight it. They condemn nature and they acclaim culture.
They condemn nature, and they say: This is behaving just like animals, don't be like animals! Every parent is saying don't be like animals. What is wrong with animals? Animals are beautiful! But in your mind animals are something to be condemned, something bad, something evil, something not worthy of you. You are superior, you are not an animal, you are born of the angels.
And animals.... They are just to be used, exploited, you don't belong to them.
That is why when Darwin first declared that man has come out of the same heritage as animals, that he belongs to the animal world, the whole of humanity was against him. From every church pulpit, from every temple, from every mosque, he was condemned as a heretic. They said that he was teaching something absolutely wrong and if he were believed then the whole culture will be lost.
But he was right. Man is as natural as other animals, trees and birds; and trees and birds and animals are not neurotic, they never go mad - unless you put them in a zoo. In a zoo it happens, animals do go neurotic. Even to be in contact with man is dangerous. Man is infectious. Sometimes dogs go mad, but never when they are wild, only when they are domesticated. Domestic animals go mad; living with man is living with something unnatural. In the wild no animal commits suicide, no animal goes mad, no animal murders. But with man even animals turn unnatural, they start doing things they have never done in the wild; they become homosexual, they become neurotic, they murder, and sometimes they have even tried to commit suicide.
What happens when you bring a dog to your home? You immediately start teaching him, as if he lacks something. He is perfect! Every dog is born perfect. Nature has given him everything that is needed, he is already equipped, you need not teach him.
What are you doing? You are trying to make him a part of human society, and now the trouble starts.
Now even the dog will learn to condemn himself. If he does something wrong, inside he feels guilty; condemnation has entered.
I have heard that it happened once that a bum, a beggar, caught hold of a rich man and asked for a dime, just for a cup of coffee. The rich man said: You seem to be healthy enough, why are you wasting your life? Why don't you go to work and help yourself? The bum said, with very deep condemnation in his eyes: What! To help a bum like me?
You are continuously not accepting yourself. From the very beginning you have been taught that nature is not enough, you have to be more than nature. And you have tried, and that effort has failed - it is impossible, you can never be more than nature. And if you try too much you will be less than nature. You can never be more than nature because nature is perfect: nothing more is needed, no polishing is needed, no effort is needed to make it better - it cannot be made better. But if you try too much you will fall from the perfection of nature and you will become a neurotic animal.
Man comes from animals, but he is not a higher animal, he has become a neurotic animal. And the problem is that nobody teaches you to accept yourself and to accept your nature. Worship it, be thankful to the Divine for it, be grateful to the Whole!
Whatsoever has been given to you has a meaning, it is significant. You cannot cut it down and change. If you try, you will be in trouble. And you are in trouble - everybody on this earth is in trouble.
Why does man condemn himself? Why can't he accept nature? Because through condemnation the ego is created. There is no other way to create the ego.
To create the ego, you have to fight; to create the ego, you have to condemn something as bad, and applaud something as good; to create the ego, first you have to create a god and a devil. And then you have to fight with the devil and try to reach the god. A conflict is needed for the ego. If there is no conflict, there cannot be any ego. Just think... if there is no fight within you, if you accept yourself totally - you are happy as you are, deeply content, deeply satisfied, not even a single note of complaint, thankful - how can the ego exist? How can you say 'I am'? The more you fight, the more 'I' is created.
That is why if you go to your so-called saints you will find more neurotic people there than anywhere.
And this is something to be observed, that wherever there are many saints there are many more madmen. Madness exists less in the East, it exists more in the West. But if you simply do ordinary arithmetic you will be surprised: in the East many mad people are worshipped as saints, so they are not in madhouses. In the West, the same people who should be in the madhouses are on the couch of the psychiatrist; they are not thought to be mad, but they are, because ego is mad.
Look at your saints. They have such subtle egos - refined of course, polished, very cultivated, decorated, but they are there.
If you fight with somebody else you cannot have a very subtle ego because with the other the possibility of being defeated always exists. Even if you have won, the other is there; any day there is every chance he they gather strength and you may be defeated. A victory cannot be absolute and you can never be certain; the enemy is there. And there is not only one enemy outside, there are millions of enemies, because with whomsoever you compete, he is your enemy. You will always be shaking and wavering, your ego cannot be on solid ground, you have made your house on sand.
But if you are fighting with yourself, then you are working on solid ground, you can be certain; you can be a more subtle egoist.
To have the 'I' you have to kill nature, because in nature no ego exists. Trees are there, but they don't know the 'I'; animals are there, but they don't know the ego - they live unconsciously. They simply live without any fight or struggle. When they are hungry they search for food; when they are satisfied, they go to sleep. They make love, they eat, they sleep, they just exist, they don't say, 'We are.' They are just waves in the vast ocean of life, they come and go without leaving any trace. They have no history, no autobiography; they come and go as if they had never been there.
Lions have existed, elephants have existed, but they don't have any history, they don't have any autobiography. A lion comes like a vast big wave and then disappears; no trace is left behind.
Ego leaves traces, footprints. If the ego wants not to die, autobiographies are written, history is created. And then comes the whole foolishness - neurosis. To create the ego, man has created a conflict, and this conflict has two aspects: one aspect is with outer nature - that is how science is created. Science is a fight with nature outside, nature without. That is why even a person like Bertrand Russell goes on talking in terms of conquering nature. How can you conquer nature? How can a wave conquer the ocean? It is patent foolishness! A part cannot conquer the whole; and if the part tries, the part will go mad. The whole will not lose anything, the part will lose everything because the part exists with the whole, never against it. Science has become destructive because of this conquering attitude.
And there is another aspect of conflict: that aspect you call religion.
One aspect is to fight nature outside; science is created, it is destructive. The ultimate goal can never be anything other than Hiroshima, and it will be reached - the whole earth will become a Hiroshima. Fighting leads to death, conflict ultimately leads to ultimate death; science is leading towards that.
Then there is the other conflict: the inner conflict, to fight with oneself. That is what you call religion - to conquer oneself. Again the fight, and it too is destructive. Science destroys nature from the outside, and so-called religion destroys nature from the inside. Chuang Tzu is against both types of conflict. So-called science and so called religion are not enemies, they are partners, they have a deep affinity.
To understand Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu, to understand Tao, you will have to understand that they don't believe in fighting of any sort. They say: Don't fight, live Just be in a let-go, so nature can penetrate you and you can penetrate nature. They say: Just be ordinary, don't try to be extraordinary, don't try to be somebody, just be nobodies. You will enjoy more because you will have more energy left, you will be full of energy.
There is tremendous energy, but it is dissipated in fighting; you divide yourself and you fight from both sides and the energy is dissipated. The same energy can become ecstatic if allowed to move in an inner harmony, not fighting.
Acceptance, accepting whatsoever is, is the basis of Tao. Tao does not create any 'ought'. Chuang Tzu says: Don't say to anybody that you ought to do this, you should do this, you ought not to be like this. Chuang Tzu says these things are dangerous, you are poisoning. There is only one thing to be followed and that is your nature: wherever it leads, trust it.
But we are afraid to follow nature, not because nature is bad, but because of the moral teachers, because of the poisoners of the very source of life. They have taught you so many things, so many toughts', that you cannot look directly at the 'is' - that which is, you always look for the 'ought'. Even if you look at a rose you immediately start to think how this rose ought to be; it could be a little more red, it could be a little bigger, you could inject chemicals into it and it will become bigger, you could paint it, it will become more red - but you cannot accept it as it is. Small or big, red or not so red, it is there. Why not enjoy it at this very moment? First make it more red, make it bigger, and then you will enjoy it.
You don't know that you are postponing - and the postponing becomes a habit. When it has become bigger the same mind will say: Still more is possible. And the same mind will go on postponing until death knocks at your door. Then you will be surprised: I have been wasting my whole life with 'oughts' and the 'is' was there. And the 'is' is beautiful. The 'is' is the only religion for Chuang Tzu.
The conflict between 'is' and 'ought' is very foundational. If you can drop your 'ought' you may not be as respectable as you are right now. Because of your 'ought', people respect you. They say, 'This man is beautiful, he is never angry, he always smiles,' and they don't know that those smiles are false because a man who can never be angry cannot be truly smiling. This is the problem - if he is not authentic in his anger, he cannot be authentic in his smile.
Children are authentic; when they are angry they are really angry. You look at them - their anger is beautiful. They become just like wild animals, jumping and screaming, their faces completely red.
They are like lions, they would destroy the whole world at that moment. Their anger is true, and whatsoever is true is beautiful.
Look at a child when he is angry, just watch him and you will see a beautiful flowering, a flowering of strength, power, energy - energy moving. And the next moment the child is happy, smiling. Now the smile is also true, now his smile is also beautiful; whatsoever is natural is beautiful. Your kiss will be just a poison, it will be poisonous. How can you love? How can you enjoy sheer being? No, you cannot do anything. Now you can only follow - oughts, shoulds, and should nots.
You are afraid to live, you go on postponing - somewhere in the future you will live; and because of this postponing you have created heaven and hell. Heaven is your final postponement of everything that is worth living for.
You say that in heaven there is eternal beauty; the eternal beauty is here and now, not in heaven. If you smile - just stand before a mirror and smile - you will see that behind your smile there is anger, there is sadness, there is lust; it is not pure. It cannot be, because the very source is poisoned.
Nothing is pure - not only are things in the market adulterated, you are adulterated. Then you cannot smile, and if you cannot smile, how can you kiss? But you say to the child: Don't be angry, suppress your anger. This is not good, you are not supposed to be angry. But who is this who is supposing these things? Is there any possibility to go beyond nature? Who are you?
At the most, you can do this one thing - you can force him.A child is helpless, if you force him he will have to follow you. He is weak, he depends on you because you can withdraw your love. He needs your love, he will have to follow you. When he feels angry he will not express it, now the anger will move into the blood. And because anger is chemical, his whole body will be poisoned. Expressed, it was a beautiful phenomenon; suppressed, it is disease. Now, when he smiles, this smile will carry that anger, the poison; now it is in the blood. And you have suppressed so much that whenever you want to smile, something withholds you, something is afraid in any sort of let-go, because a smile is a let-go.
The eternal beauty is here and now, not in heaven. You say that in heaven love is pure and eternal - love can be pure and eternal here and now, there is no need to wait for heaven. Wherever love is, it is eternal and pure, because for love, time does not exist.
Eternal does not mean permanent: eternal means non-temporal, eternal means there is no time.
Even if a single moment of love is there, it is eternal. In that moment is such depth that in that moment time ceases, in that moment there is no future, no past, in that moment you are simply so much that you spread all over existence - the whole existence belongs to you and the whole of you belongs to the existence. That moment is eternity unto itself. Wherever love is, there is eternity, and then there is the possibility of prayer. If your smile is false, your kiss will be false, your love cannot be true; and all your prayers will be just words and nothing else.
How can you find a god, how can you become god like if you are not true? You seek truth but in your life you are always untrue. How can an untrue person meet the truth? This seems an almost impossible thing. The truth will knock at your door, you need not go anywhere; just be true. And when I say just be true, I am saying just be natural.
Nature is truth, and there is no other truth than nature. This is the message of Chuang Tzu, one of the greatest messages in the world.
Now we will try to enter this beautiful story.
CHUANG TXU WITH HIS BAMBOO POLE WAS FISHING IN THE PU RIVER.
Can you conceive of Buddha fishing in the Pu River? Can you conceive of Mahavir fishing?
Impossible. CHUANG TZU WITH HIS BAMBOO POLE WAS FISHING IN THE PU RIVER. What does this mean? It means Chuang Tzu is an ordinary man, he does not claim anything whatsoever, he just enjoys being ordinary. He does not live by principles, he lives by instinct. He does not superimpose his ego on his nature, he simply flows with it - he is just an ordinary man.
This is the meaning of his fishing in the Pu River; only an ordinary man can do that. Extraordinary people how can they do it? They have much 'ought' in them: this should be done, that should not be done. They live by morality, they live by principles. What are you doing? A man of knowledge, fishing? Impossible to conceive you are killing fish!
Chuang Tzu believes in nature, he says whatsoever is natural is good. He is just an animal and he will not create any morality just to feel superior. The story says just be ordinary and enjoy being ordinary, only then can you fall by and by into the natural; otherwise you will become unnatural. This fishing is just symbolic. Whether Chuang Tzu fished or not is not the point, but he is that sort of man who can fish, who can sit with his bamboo pole.
That is why you cannot make a statue of Chuang Tzu, it is difficult. A Buddha is perfect, you can make a statue of him; it is as if he were born just to have statues made of him; you cannot find a better man, so statue-like. That is why, naturally, millions of statues exist of Buddha, more than of anybody else. He looks perfect, the perfect model for a statue; sitting under the Bodhi tree with closed eyes, not doing anything. He looks the perfect ideal, the perfect 'ought', as man should be - absolutely non-violent, absolutely truthful, absolutely meditative. He is just like marble, not a man at all.
You cannot make a statue of Chuang Tzu, you will find him in such wrong places. He is just an ordinary man and this is the beauty of it, this is the whole message of it. Just be ordinary, with a bamboo pole, fishing, and Chuang Tzu says that this is enlightenment.
I also say to you that Buddha may have attained enlightenment - it may have been easy for his nature to sit under a tree - but if you follow Buddha you will become just stones, Chuang Tzu will be better for you.
Just be ordinary. For Buddha that may have been ordinariness... to sit. Hence he attained. But as I know you, and the common human man, the common humanity, the vast humanity, Chuang Tzu is better. And when I say better, I am not making any comparison, I am simply saying that he is so ordinary that you can easily be with him without becoming neurotic. If you follow Buddha you may get neurotic. If you follow Chuang Tzu you will become more and more natural.
CHUANG TZU WITH HIS BAMBOO POLE WAS FISHING IN THE PU RIVER. THE PRINCE OF CHU SENT TWO VICE CHANCELLORS WITH A FORMAL DOCUMENT: WE HEREBY APPOINT YOU PRIME MINISTER.
Politics is of the ego, it is the ego-trip, the ego-game. But Chuang Tzu was known far and wide as a wise man, there was no need to advertise it. When wisdom exists it is such an illumination that you cannot hide it, even a Chuang Tzu cannot hide it. You cannot hide ordinary love. If a young man falls in love, or a young woman falls in love, you can tell just by their very walk that love has happened.
You cannot hide it because every gesture changes, becomes illuminated; a new quality enters, you cannot hide it.
How can you hide being in love with the whole existence? When prayer exists, how can you hide it?
Even a Chuang Tzu - who says hide it - cannot hide it, it is impossible, people will suspect.
How can you hide light? If your house is lighted, the neighbours will come to know because the light will show from your windows. No, you cannot hide it, but the effort to hide it is good.
Why does Chuang Tzu say hide it when the inner lamp is burning? He says it just to bring you from exactly the opposite pole, because you would like to advertise it. There are people whose light does not yet exist, whose flame is not yet there, whose house is dark, empty, but they would like to advertise that they have become wise. Ego would like to pretend even about wisdom. Hence, Chuang Tzu says: Don't say anything about what you are, who you are; just hide yourself. Those who have eyes, they will seek and follow you themselves; they will come to you. You need not go and knock at their doors, the very phenomenon will attract them, and seekers will follow you and seek you, wherever you are. And those who are not seekers, don't bother about them, because their coming is of no use. They will just be a disturbance, and they will create hindrances for those who are seeking. Hide the fact. But still people will come to know.
The Prince must have come to know that Chuang Tzu had become enlightened.
THE PRINCE OF CHU SENT TWO VICE-CHANCELLORS WITH A FORMAL DOCUMENT: WE HEREBY APPOINT YOU PRIME MINISTER.
In the old days prime ministers were not chosen by the vote of the people, because how can you choose by the vote of the people? How can people choose their leaders? They would like to, but they are not capable. Democracy is just a dream, it has not happened anywhere, it cannot happen.
And wherever it happens, it creates trouble; the medicine proves more dangerous than the disease itself.
In the old days a prime minister was not chosen by the people. A prime minister was appointed by the king, and the king had to seek out a wise man. A Brahmin had to be sought, searched for, because a wise man would not stand in an election, he would not go knocking at doors to ask for votes - rather he would hide himself. Kings would go and seek, and wherever there was a wise man he had to be brought to the world so the world could have the benefits. The Prince must have come to know that Chung Tzu had become enlightened. He sent two messengers and appointed him as the Prime Minister. CHUANG TZU HELD HIS BAMBOO POLE. Nothing changed. The vice- chancellor was standing there with a formal document saying: You are appointed Prime Minister. It was the greatest post but Chuang Tzu remained as he was. Chuang Tzu held his bamboo pole still watching the Pu River. He didn't even look at those vice chancellors. He didn't look at the document, as if it was not worth it.
STILL WATCHING PU RIVER, HE SAID: I AM TOLD THERE IS A SACRED TORTOISE OFFERED AND CANONISED THREE THOUSAND YEARS AGO VENERATED BY THE PRINCE, WRAPPED IN SILK IN A PRECIOUS SHRINE ON AN ALTAR IN THE TEMPLE.
That turtle is still there; the turtle is covered with gold and precious stones. In the forbidden city of Peking, the imperial city, which is not open for everybody, it is still there. Now it is almost six thousand years old - a dead turtle, covered with gold and very precious stones, enshrined, worshipped by the Prince himself.
Asked Chuang Tzu: WHAT DO YOU THINK? IS IT BETTER TO GIVE UP ONE'S LIFE AND LEAVE A SACRED SHELL AS AN OBJECT OF CULT IN A CLOUD OF INCENSE FOR THREE THOUSAND YEARS, OR BETTER TO LIVE AS PLAIN TURTLE DRAGGING ITS TAIL IN THE MUD?
Chuang Tzu asked: What is better - just to be a plain turtle and live, or to be dead, covered with gold, and be worshipped? This is the problem with everybody, before everbody, and these are the two alternatives. People can worship you but they cannot worship you if you are alive, because life is amoral - it is neither moral nor immoral. Life does not know any morality, it is amoral; life knows no oughts, it simply lives from the unconscious. If you are simply alive it is very difficult for anybody to worship you. If you simply live plainly, enjoying, you cannot expect incense to be burnt around you, and a temple to arise, and a cult, and a sect, and people to worship you for thousands of years.
They worship a Jesus not because he was enlightened, they worship a Jesus because he was crucified. Just think about the story of Jesus: if the crucifixion had never happened there would have been no Christianity. It is not because of Jesus that there is Christianity, it is because of the cross; that is why the cross has become the symbol of a Christian.
Why the cross? The human mind, the neurotic mind, worships death not life: the more dead you are, the more you can be worshipped. If you are alive then you are not worth worshipping because you are not sacrificing anything! Sacrifice can be worshipped because sacrifice means sacrificing life, a gradual crucifixion. If others crucify you, people will worship you and if you crucify yourself, people will worship you more. People worship death; Jesus is worshipped because he was crucified.
If you just drop that part of the story, then who is Jesus? Then it will be difficult for you to even remember because Jesus was a vagabond just like Chuang Tzu. The only difference in the story is that Chuang Tzu was never crucified and Jesus was crucified - otherwise he is the same man.
You could have found him on the riverbank with a bamboo pole, fishing - he was very friendly with fishermen. He must have fished around the Sea of Galilee, fishermen were his followers. You would have been able to find him staying with a prostitute because the prostitute loved him, worshipped him, and he knew no distinctions. He moved with gamblers, drunkards, people rejected by the society - and that was his crime! He was crucified because this was his crime: he was moving with ordinary people living an ordinary life. That cannot be tolerated by the respectable world, that cannot be tolerated. This man who moves with prostitutes, gamblers, drunkards, who is found in wrong company, this man says that he is the Son of God! This is heresy!
This man is claiming too much, he has to be punished, because if such things are left unpunished then the whole morality will be destroyed; and this man lives against all rules, he has no rules except life. Jesus and Chuang Tzu are similar, just one thing differs: Jesus was crucified. Jews are very much rule-oriented, they live by rules, they are Confucians, and it is difficult for them to concede that somebody who lives without rules can be good Jews are very moralistic and their conception of God is very revengeful. The Jewish God is very revengeful, he will throw you in fire if you don't obey him.
Obedience seems to be the greatest rule. And this Jesus, the son of a carpenter, an ordinary man, is moving with suspicious people and claiming that he is a prophet, the prophet for whom the whole Jewish world has been waiting. No, he has to be punished.
China was more tolerant. Chuang Tzu was not punished because China had no conception of a ferocious God; in fact there was no conception of God. Confucius never believed in God, he believed in rules; and he was the basis for China. But he said that rules are human, there is no divineness about them and they are arbitrary, relative, you can change them. One has to follow them but there is nothing divine about them, no absoluteness about them. That is why Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu could live without being crucified.
But one thing you have to remember. If Chuang Tzu had also been crucified, there would have been a great following. There is none. Chuang Tzu has no followers, he cannot have, because people worship death. And he refused to be a turtle, canonised, because the condition is: Be dead! Don't do this, don't to that; just go on cutting and sacrificing yourself; just sit, not even breathing is allowed.
Then people will worship you, then you will have become a dead turtle.
ASKED CHUANG TZU: WHAT DO YOU THINK? IS IT BETTER TO GIVE UP ONE'S LIFE AND LEAVE A SACRED SHELL AS AN OBJECT OF CULT IN A CLOUD OF INCENSE FOR THREE THOUSAND YEARS, OR BETTER TO LIVE AS A PLAIN TURTLE DRAGGING ITS TAIL IN THE MUD?
'FOR THE TURTLE,' SAID THE VICE CHANCELLOR, 'BETTER TO LIVE AND DRAG ITS TAIL IN THE MUD.'
Of course, it is logical for the turtle: better to live and drag its tail in the mud! Chuang Tzu said: Go home, leave me here to drag my tail in the mud! Let me be just a plain turtle. Please, don't you try to canonise me, because I know your condition - first I have to die and leave a shell, a dead shell, then you can canonise me, then you can make a cult of me, then you can have a temple around me, and incense, and clouds of incense, and then you can worship me for three thousand years. But what will I gain out of it? I am the turtle, what will I gain out of it? What does a turtle know about gold and precious stones? They are human foolishnesses, a turtle never believes in them. The turtle believes in the mud, the turtle drags its tail in the mud and enjys it.
The symbol is very meaningful because mud for us is something dirty. But mud is nature; dirty or not dirty - those are your interpretations. Mud is nature, and a turtle dragging its tail in the mud and playing the game for the time it lasts, enjoying the mud, is a good symbol. This is how a natural man should be: not condemning the mud, not saying this body is nothing, dirt unto dirt, dust unto dust, this body will fall back into the mud, this is just mud.
... DRAGGING HIS TAIL IN THE MUD. Nature is muddy, it is there. You are made of it and you will dissolve into it. But if you want to be worshipped for thousands of years then there is no problem.
If you want a cult around you, if you want to become a deity, placed in a temple shrine, enshrined, canonised, then it is okay, but then you have to give your life. Is it worth it? Is it worth it to give your life and gain respect? Is it worth it to lose a single moment of life and gain the respect of the whole world? Not even then is it worth it, no. If the whole world worships you, that too is not enough to lose a single moment of being alive. Only life is precious, there are no precious stones, only life is gold, there is no other gold, only life is the temple, there is no other temple. Only life is the incense, the fragrance, there is no other fragrance. This is what Chuang Tzu says: Let me be alive. You may condemn me, because I am just a turtle dragging his tail in the mud, but for the turtle this is the best.
Even you agree with me, so go home. I am not coming to the palace, I am not going to become a prime minister, that is not for me, because you will kill me.
There are many ways to crucify a man, crucifixion is only one. You can also put him on the throne, then too he is crucified, and in a subtler way; very non violently you kill him. Whenever you start respecting a person you have started killing him, because now he has to pay; he has to look at you - what to do, what not to do.
I once stayed in a home with a Jain family. They had never met me but they had read my books and through books they had much respect for me. Then they invited me to stay with them as I was in their town, a very rich family. So I stayed.
At evening time, a few people had come to see me, and Jains take their food before sunset, they are very traditional. The woman came and she said: it is getting dark, you must finish with these people, otherwise you will be late for your food. I said: I can take my food a little later, there is no hurry.
But these people have come from very far, from a far-off village, and they are really seekers, so I must tell them something; before they go I must give them something. She wouldn't believe me and by the time those people left it was already late, the sun had set, it was dark. So again the woman came and said: Now you cannot eat, or are you ready to eat even at night? So I said: For me there is no difference, because hunger knows no day, no night. I am hungry and I will eat.
As if her whole image of me was shattered, she said: We thought that you were an enlightened man but now you have shattered the whole image. How can an enlightened man eat at night?
It is impossible for a Jain to conceive, because they live by rules and they go on living by dead rules.
If you want their respect you have to follow their rules. If you follow their rules, you are imprisoned.
So I said: It is better not to be enlightened, because I would not like to go to sleep hungry, that is too much. I can leave enlightenment.
And that day I told them this story: Let me drag my tail in the mud, it is not worth it. Somebody thinks that I am enlightened and just to keep his image, am I to kill myself?
But this is how things go.
Never ask for respect, because respect is asked for by the ego. Never seek respect from others because that is a subtle bondage and you will soon be imprisoned and enclosed in it. Just live plainly, just live as you feel, natural, and don't bother about anybody else. Nobody else is responsible for your life except you. Be responsible only to yourself and nobody else, then it will be difficult for you to create a cult around yourself. But if people come, they will be the right seekers. If you seek respect, wrong people will come around you; if you don't seek their respect, if you don't bother about them, if you simply follow your natural course, then only the right seekers will come and they will not be an imprisonment to you. And only those people who are not an imprisonment to you can be helped, otherwise followers lead their leaders; disciples impose rules on their masters. What nonsense?
They both remain in darkness.
Remember one basic thing always: there cannot be anything more than nature, nature is the whole.
So you have to find a way to fall back from the cultured pattern of your life into the natural flow.
You are as frozen as you are cultured. How to melt again and become a river? It is arduous, because frozen ice is worshipped and the ego will say: What are you doing? Now nobody will respect you, now you will not be a respectable person! What are you doing? The ego will say: Just follow the rules, what is the harm? There is so much investment in the rules. If you follow ordinary rules, everybody will worship you. But what is gained by worship? It is not a substitute for life. What is gained by respect? It is not a substitute for existence.
Be existential, let things happen.
If somebody respects you, even then it is for him to decide, it should not be your concern. If it is your concern then you will get neurotic, that is how everybody has gone neurotic. And there are so many people around and they are all expecting you to do this and to do that. So many people, so many expectations, and you are trying to satisfy all of them? You cannot satisfy all of them. The whole effort will end in your own deep dissatisfaction, and nobody else will be satisfied. You cannot satisfy anybody, the only satisfaction that is possible is your own. And if you are satisfied then a few will be satisfied with you, but that is not your concern.
You are not here to fulfill anybody else's expectations, their rules, their maps. You are here to fulfill your own being. That is the whole of religion, the all of religion; you are here to fulfill your own being!
That is your destiny, don't waver from it, nothing is worth it.
But there are many allurements an around and they seem so innocent, the allurements seem very innocent. They are not so innocent, they are very cunning. Somebody says: What is wrong if you don't eat at night? People will give you their respect. Eating or not eating is not the point. If you don't feel like eating, it is good, don't eat. People say that if you get up early in the morning at five o'clock, then Hindus will respect you. Nothing is wrong with getting up then; if you feel good, get up, but don't think of the Hindus. If you get up because of them then you are missing yourself and by and by you will get more and more entangled. Because there are some people who will be unhappy the whole day if they get up at BRAHMMUHART, at five o'clock.
There is a particular time which has to be passed in sleep, two hours every night. Now scientists have discovered that out of twenty-four hours there are two hours every day when the temperature of the body falls; those two hours are the deepest for sleeping. If you miss them, then for the whole day you will feel that something is missing. If you can sleep during those two hours then there is no need to sleep for five or seven hours, they will be enough. But those two hours are different for everybody and rules are not different for everybody - this is the problem. If somebody has those two hours when his temperature drops between three and five, then at five he can get up absolutely fresh - that is his BRAHMMUHURT. But somebody else who really falls asleep at five, whose temperature falls between five and seven, if this man follows Hindus, his whole life will be lost.
You have to seek your own, and it differs from individual to individual; everything differs from individual to individual. There is no rule that you have to fix and fit into, you have to find your own rules.
Just try to understand - whatsoever gives you happiness and blessings and peace and silence, seek in that way, more will be coming soon. And that is the criterion: if you are happy, I say you are a religious man although you may not be going to the temple. If you are unhappy and you go continuously to the temple, I don't call you a religious man. If you are happy, blissful, if your whole being exudes ecstasy and peace, at homeness in existence, you are a religious man - whether you believe in God or not. Those are just words, don't bother about them.
Find your peace, find your mud where you can drag your tail and be alive; that is your temple.
Nobody else's temple will suit you - cannot suit you, because every temple was made by somebody for somebody.
Buddha lived in his own way, then a temple was born, then thousands followed and they started living like Buddha; they missed their goal. Buddha never followed anybody, his way was his own, he was happy - then it is okay. But you will be unhappy following him.
Don't follow anybody, otherwise you will be unhappy. And you are unhappy enough because you have been following your father and mother, teachers, religion. You have been following so many, and all those voices are different, contradictory, inconsistent. You are being pulled in all directions; how can you be together? You are a disintegrated phenomenon, a crowd, one part going to the East, another part going to the West; the lower body has gone to the South, the upper body has gone to the Himalayas, North. You are a disintegrated phenomenon, not together.
Be together! And I tell you, if you remain together, if you don't listen to anybody, if you only listen to your own voice, even if you have to err sometimes, even if you go wrong sometimes - don't bother.
You will go wrong, because you have become accustomed to following others so much that you have lost your inner voice. You don't know what the inner voice is. Many voices are there and they are all from others. Sometimes the mother speaks - do this! Sometimes the father speaks - don't do this!
Sometimes somebody else, a Buddha, a Jesus, a Christ, a Chuang Tzu... drop all those voices.
Meditation is a deep listening, listening to the inner voice. As you become silent, voices cease.
Chuang Tzu goes to his home, Buddha goes to his home, Jesus is no longer there, your father and your mother are really gone; everybody goes, only you are left, alone in your emptiness. Then your nature asserts itself - and that is a flowering. As a seed breaks and comes out, sprouting, so your inner voice comes out, sprouting. And then follow it: wherever it leads, follow it. Don't listen to anybody; that is your way to God. And all that a master can do is to bring you to your inner voice.
The master should not become the substitute, otherwise you will become even more crowded than you were before.
Don't make me your voice, I am not your enemy. Don't listen to me! Only this much is enough: that you go deep within yourself and listen to your own voice. If I can help you towards that, then I am a master to you, otherwise I am an enemy. And once you have started listening to your own voice I am not needed, you can discard me. Listen... just as there is a third eye, there is a third ear, it is not talked about in the scriptures. There is a third ear, and as the third eye will give you glimpses of your being so the third ear gives you glimpses of your inner voice. When these two outer ears stop functioning - when you are not listening to anybody, you have become completely deaf, no voice penetrates and you have thrown all the voices from the inside outside, when you have thrown all the rubbish out, you are just empty, settling within - you will feel the voice. It is always there. Every child is born with it, every tree is born with it, every bird lives with it - even a turtle is born with it. And you cannot confuse a turtle, you cannot convince him by saying: Come and be dead and we will enshrine you. The turtle will also say: Go home, leave me here to drag my tail in the mud. Once you can feel your voice then no rules are needed, you have become a rule unto yourself.
And the more clear the voice, the more your steps fall in the right direction. It becomes a progressively stronger and stronger force, every step leads nearer to your destiny and you feel more at ease. You will feel a deep contentment that nothing is wrong and you can bless and you can be blessed by all.
Religion is rebellion, rebellion against the others, rebellion against the well-wishers, rebellion against the do-gooders. It is the greatest rebellion because you are alone, nobody else is there and you have to travel the path alone. It is the rebellion of the individual against the crowd. The crowd is very, very powerful. It can crush you, it has already crushed you. You are crippled and crushed, you are almost dead. To leave you alive is dangerous for the crowd because then you will follow your own path, and the crowd has its own path - it wants you to follow it. The crowd wants you to become a clerk in a post office, a teacher in a primary school, a nurse in a hospital, and your inner voice may not be ready for it. Your inner voice may be moving you to become a Buddha or a Chuang Tzu, but the society does not need a Buddha - it needs a perfect executive. What is a Buddha needed for?
He is useless economically, a burden.
Once it happened that Mulla Nasrudin went to a psychiatrist wearing a beret, a smock, a flowing beard. The psychiatrist asked: Are you an artist? Nasrudin said: No, not at all! The psychiatrist said: Then why this beret, smock and beard? Nasrudin said: That's what I am here to enquire, why?
I never wanted it; this is my father, he wanted me to be a painter, a great artist. That is why I am here to enquire.
You are in such bad shape because so many people have wanted so many things out of you. If you fulfill them you will remain unfulfilled, because nobody can expect the thing that you are here for - for that you have to search, it is an inner enquiry. That is the soul! You may call it God, you may call it truth, names differ, but the real thing is to find the authentic destiny that you are here for; otherwise one day or other you will have to go to the psychiatrist and ask. And everybody is getting nearer the door of the psychiatrist! Even the psychiatrist himself is in bad shape; because he goes to some other psychiatrist for his own analysis - they do each other's psychoanalysis too. And this is really something: more psychiatrists commit suicide than anybody else, twice as many as any other profession. Twice as many as in any other profession go mad, and they are here meaning to help others!
Everybody is in bad shape because nobody has listened to his authentic being. Listen to it! And don't listen to anybody else.
It is going to be arduous, you will have to lose much, many investments will be lost. This is what I mean by SANNYAS: it is renunciation of false investments, it is a renunciation of others and their wishes and their expectations, and it is a decision to be authentically oneself.