There is no way to compare me with anybody
OUR BELOVED MASTER,
YAKUSAN HAD NOT GIVEN A DISCOURSE FOR SOME TIME WHEN, ONE DAY, THE HEAD MONK CAME AND SAID, "THE CONGREGATION OF MONKS ARE THINKING ABOUT YOUR PREACHING A SERMON."
YAKUSAN SAID, "RING THE BELL!"
THE SUPERIOR BANGED AWAY AT THE BELL, BUT WHEN ALL THE MONKS GATHERED, YAKUSAN WENT BACK TO HIS ROOM. THE HEAD MONK FOLLOWED HIM AND SAID, "THE MASTER WAS GOING TO GIVE A TALK, AND THE MONKS ARE ALL READY; WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY ANYTHING TO THEM?"
YAKUSAN SAID, "THERE ARE SUTRA PRIESTS FOR THE SUTRAS, SHASTRA PRIESTS FOR THE SHASTRAS; WHY DO YOU QUESTION MY GOINGS-ON?"
Friends, I have received today from Germany a very scholarly and honest book, written by Peter Priskil; a comparison between me and Jesus.
The man who has written the book is very rare, because he himself is a Christian but without any prejudice. He has been almost a witness while writing the book. He rates me above Jesus - his conclusions on every point are in my favor, against Jesus - and he himself is a Christian.
Such honesty is very rare, almost impossible: to keep aside one's upbringing, one's mind, and to say straight out the truth of the matter, risking every ideology that you may have carried with you from childhood.
Even a man like Bertrand Russell wrote that he has denied Christianity, he has come out of the fold of Christianity and he knows in his mind, in his intelligence, that Gautam Buddha is far higher than Jesus Christ - but he cannot write it. Something in his unconscious simply prevents him. He knows it perfectly well - there is no doubt about Gautam Buddha being far superior to Jesus Christ - but he feels helpless, he cannot put it down in writing because then it will become a historical fact that the greatest intellectual of this century has decided not only against Christianity, but against Jesus.
But this man, Peter Priskil, seems to be of a far higher superiority than Bertrand Russell.
In the first place, to praise a living contemporary is very difficult. He is so visible, he is so tangible, his whole life is an open book. As time passes, mythologies grow around the person; his real life disappears and a fictitious life arises - very consoling, very much according to the masses.
It has been practically impossible, in the whole history of man, to praise a contemporary. It is very easy to praise someone who lived two thousand years before, five thousand years before. The man has become a myth.
But Peter Priskil has shown such honesty in comparison that at first I felt perhaps he is not a Christian, because he goes on condemning Jesus when comparing him with me, and goes on praising me.
I liked his tremendous honesty, love of truth, his capacity to put his mind aside - his whole programming of being a Christian. He has not allowed it to come between me and Jesus. His unconscious would have liked to have put Jesus above me. That's why I say it is a rare phenomenon that he has not listened to the unconscious. He has been perfectly conscious, without any prejudice; he has been absolutely just.
But I want Peter Priskil to know that I don't like to be compared with anybody.
What comparison can there be between me and Jesus? He is the only begotten son of God. I don't have any God. He believes in heaven and hell; I don't have in my vision, my philosia, any place for heaven or hell. Jesus believes that he is the savior. The very concept of saving others is ugly to me, it is insulting, humiliating. Who are you to save anybody? And how can you save anybody? If you can save yourself that's more than enough.
But people are in great need of the consolation that they will be saved. They are ready to become sheep and allow Jesus to become the shepherd. This is the ugliest slavery. There are many kinds of slavery, but spiritual slavery is the ugliest. You have sold your very soul.
Jesus thinks himself to be the last prophet of the Jews. I am neither a savior nor a prophet. I am simply a man amongst you. I am not talking to you from a high peak, from the point of view that I know and you don't know. I am talking to you man to man.
All that I am saying to you is that there was a time when I was asleep, just as you are asleep, and there is nothing wrong in it. It is perfectly okay with existence - you can sleep for eternity; but it is not good for you.
What you are seeing in your sleep is only dreams, hallucinations. If you want to know the reality and its beauty you have to wake up. And only you can do it, nobody can help you in any way.
I can go on shouting till my last breath. That will not help unless you are ready to hear and be receptive. And even if you hear, you are receptive, then too you have to walk the path from the circumference of your life to the center of your being. Nobody can do it on your behalf.
It is just like love. Can somebody else love on your behalf? There is one existentialist novel in which, in some future century, people become so rich that they start sending servants to make love to their beloveds. They can afford it; why bother yourself with all that huffing and puffing? The servants can do it.
Perhaps that may be possible some day, but nobody, in any future, can walk the path inside you on your behalf. You are going to be your own savior.
I teach the individual. Jesus tries to convince the masses; I don't care about the masses at all.
Religion is the greatest creative art, in which you create yourself again. You become the womb and you give birth to yourself once more. The birth from the mother's womb is only physical. You have to give yourself a birth which is going to bring your spirituality with all its flowers, with all its mysteries, with all its roses, with all its freedom, its truth, its beauty, its godliness. But you have to do it!
I am absolutely against Jesus Christ because he is saying to people, "I will do it for you; you just believe in me!" I am against all belief systems.
How is any comparison possible? On no point do I agree with any founder of any religion. I have my disagreements, and they are so fundamental and essential that there is no possibility of any compromise.
Peter Priskil has done a great scholarly job, but perhaps he does not know me intimately. He may have read my books, but he has not been in my presence, he has not looked into my eyes, he has not heard my silence. His scholarship is based on the Bible and my books.
Jesus is dead, and there is every possibility he may never have existed at all because no contemporary source even mentions his name. George Gurdjieff used to say that Jesus Christ never existed; it used to be a drama. Every year people played the drama, until by and by they forgot that it was a drama, they started thinking that it was a reality.
I don't think so. I say Jesus was at least one percent real, ninety-nine percent fiction. All his miracles, all his nonsense talk about God and the Son and the Holy Ghost, and the devil and hell and heaven - it is all fictitious. It was created after his death. A long time passed, almost one hundred years, before the first gospels were written.
The man who really founded Christianity was not Jesus, it was one of the arch-egoists, Paul. His real name was Saul. He was a fanatic, a fanatic Jew; he wanted to kill all the Christians. He was going from his home towards Jerusalem to kill all the Christians and destroy all the ideas that these people were propagating.
But he was not only a fanatic, he was also suffering from schizophrenia - a split personality. He used to fall into fits of unconsciousness, epileptic fits; he was utterly sick.
On the road to Jerusalem .... It was a hot summer and the sun was burning like a fire, showering on the earth. For days he went on and on, just on foot. One day, under the hot sun, he fell on the earth in an epileptic fit, he became unconscious. And in that unconsciousness his split personality changed: that which was on top went under, and that which was underneath came on top. When he opened his eyes he saw in the burning sun the face of Jesus.
He changed his name from Saul to Paul. He became the most fanatic Christian; instead of killing Christians, he started preaching. He was the man who created Christianity: a schizophrenic, an epileptic, a fanatic, a split personality - a man sick unto the soul.
But every religion needs a fanatic in its foundation. Without fanatics you cannot create religions.
I am not creating a religion. I cannot create a religion because I am against all religions. My whole process is that religion is an individual affair, it is nobody else's business. No organized church can be in the service of the individual. Every organized church becomes dictatorial, and individuals are subdued, made to surrender, destroyed and made into slaves.
Just today I received the message that this Pope the Polack is turning into an absolute dictator.
Throughout the past, bishops have been chosen by the local clergy. He has, for the first time, started nominating bishops. There is no more election, but imposition from above; and he is putting his own bishops into all the important positions, removing the bishops chosen by the people, by the clergymen of the locality. Now there is a great uproar, and it is conceivable that in the coming months thousands of bishops are going to march to the Vatican against this dictatorial change in the very policy of the church.
But even before the procession reaches there ... it is not going to help. He is putting his own people, who are absolutely conservative, orthodox, in every important city. And he has come up with a very beautiful meaning for the word 'conservative'.
It is an ugly word, but he has come up with the idea that everything needs to be conserved; conservative means one who conserves. He has taken it completely out of context. It has always meant orthodox, reactionary; now he is saying a conservative is one who conserves.
A conservative is one who conserves lies.
A conservative is one who conserves all kinds of murderous institutions. The church has been one of the most murderous institutions in the history of man. It has murdered more people than Adolf Hitler. Its whole history is bloody. You want to conserve this?
What does the Catholic church have to conserve? all kinds of nonsense without any logic, without any rationality, without any evidence? What are you going to conserve - the concept of God?
You don't have a single argument for it. You don't have anything like enlightenment, which can be an inner experience. Your God is far away above the clouds.
I look again and again, and I see only Jayesh and his great tent. Sometimes I think perhaps God is sitting on Jayesh's tent - but we have looked; our engineers have been searching all over the tent, and they have never found any God anywhere.
On which cloud is God sitting?
The physicists have explored as far away as possible. Just empty space and stars, but no God.
God has been moving farther away. Wherever man reaches, the theologians, the religious organizations move God away.
In India, first he used to live on Everest in the Himalayas. Shiva, the great god, used to live in the Himalayas. His wife, Parvati - it means one who is born of the mountains, parvat means mountain - was the daughter of the Himalayas. But when man reached and discovered all the peaks of the Himalayas, not even a footprint was found.
The first question Edmund Hillary was asked when he came down from Everest was, "Have you seen God?"
He said, "God? I did not see any sign of him. On the very peak there is not even enough space; only one man can stand there." If God was living there he would have been standing throughout eternity.
You cannot sleep there.
Hindus moved God to the moon; but soon people were there on the moon, and there was no sign of God.
Religions go on moving their God, because it is only a lie. You are never going to find God. And a man like Jesus must be a crackpot - without any hesitation I say it; he simply hallucinated that he himself was the only begotten son of God. No man has lived in such a deep hallucination.
You cannot compare me, Peter Priskil, to Jesus. In fact, you cannot compare me to any founder of religion. I am not a founder of any religion. I want all religions to be destroyed so that the individual is free to look for himself into his own being; not focusing himself on some objective God, but searching into his subjectivity. That is the only real spirituality - to go inwards.
The churches are out, God is out, heaven and hell are out; they are not part of your inner being, and your inner being is your only existential truth.
I don't want to create a religion. I want religious individuals, seekers, searchers - not Christians, not Hindus, not Mohammedans. And when I am gone, I don't want any organization to go on persisting around my teachings.
Find out yourself.
The earth is never without a few enlightened people; it needs search. And only a living master can give you a taste, only a real rose has fragrance. A plastic rose is a deception, and all the religions are relying on plastic roses, all their scriptures are plastic roses.
My effort is so totally different and diametrically opposite to all the founders of religions, that there is no way to compare me with anybody. I am a majority of a single individual, and I want all of you to be a majority of single individuals.
You are enough unto yourself. You don't need anything. You need only a deep inner search. You need only become a meditative genius.
A little biographical note:
YAKUSAN, ALSO KNOWN AS YUESHAN, WAS BORN IN 750. HE BECAME A PRIEST AT THE AGE OF SEVENTEEN. LATER, WHILE WITH SEKITO, HE REALIZED HIS ENLIGHTENMENT.
ONCE A MASTER WITH DISCIPLES OF HIS OWN, YAKUSAN ESTABLISHED A MONASTERY, WHICH PROSPERED WELL.
What does it mean - WHICH PROSPERED WELL? Does it mean it accumulated great wealth?
No, it means it accumulated thousands of seekers for truth. It means many became enlightened under the guidance and presence of Yakusan. It is a totally different kind of prosperity. It is totally a different world. It belongs to your innermost splendor.
When so many people became enlightened under Yakusan, the whole mountain where he was collecting all these seekers must have become a paradise. So many enlightened people ... the whole mountain must have been rejoicing and dancing. That is what it means: his monastery prospered well.
OUR BELOVED MASTER,
YAKUSAN HAD NOT GIVEN A DISCOURSE FOR SOME TIME WHEN, ONE DAY, THE HEAD MONK CAME AND SAID, "THE CONGREGATION OF MONKS ARE THINKING ABOUT YOUR PREACHING A SERMON."
What has happened? He used to give a daily discourse, and then suddenly for some time he did not turn up to the discourse place. Every day thousands of seekers gathered to listen to him, but had to return back very sad and in despair: "What has happened to the master? Why is he not coming to give his sermons?"
It was not that he was ill, he was perfectly healthy; he was chopping wood - the disciples saw him - he was carrying water from the well, he was doing everything except the sermons. What could have been the cause?
As far as I am concerned, I know the cause. The cause was that so many people had become enlightened that the master thought, "When there are so many enlightened people in the congregation, they will share. There is no need for me to go on and on telling people. Enough people are enlightened: they can share their enlightenment, their illumination, their light, their life.
What is the need for me?"
But the chief monk of the monastery ... that is an administrative post, it does not mean that the chief monk is enlightened. On the contrary, the chief monk is never enlightened, because he has to do some work; he has to take care of thousands of monks.
Look at Tathagat! I will not allow him to become enlightened. Once he becomes enlightened, who is going to run to the courts, to the police? I have given him the name Tathagat - it means the buddha.
Be patient and be at ease. When the time is ripe, when I see that now there is no need to run to any court, to the police .... I have given you the name to indicate that if you are patient enough you will become a buddha. But right now, you are in charge of the commune.
Head monks, chief monks, whatever their name, are not allowed to be enlightened. They have to do other things too. If everybody becomes enlightened, I will be in trouble. Who is going to cook food for you all?
So many things are needed for ten thousand people. Certainly a few people have to be patient and wait till others have reached to enlightenment. Their waiting is a virtue. Their waiting for others to become enlightened is a great quality of compassion, of love. So they are not the losers.
THE HEAD MONK CAME AND SAID, "THE CONGREGATION OF MONKS ARE THINKING ABOUT YOUR PREACHING A SERMON."
They could not understand why Yakusan had stopped giving his sermons. They could not see that even the rocks of the mountain are giving sermons. So many people have become enlightened that the whole mountain is aflame. Now others who are not enlightened should sit by the side of the enlightened ones.
YAKUSAN SAID, "RING THE BELL."
That calls all the monks to the congregation place.
THE SUPERIOR BANGED AWAY AT THE BELL, BUT WHEN ALL THE MONKS GATHERED, YAKUSAN WENT BACK TO HIS ROOM. THE HEAD MONK FOLLOWED HIM AND SAID, "THE MASTER WAS GOING TO GIVE A TALK, AND THE MONKS ARE ALL READY; WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY ANYTHING TO THEM?"
The fact is, that which needs to be said cannot be said, and that which can be said is not the truth.
Every enlightened person has come across the difficulty of how to transfer the experience.
Words are impotent and dangerous. Much is lost the moment you convert your experience from the no-mind into your mind; almost ninety-nine percent is lost, but still there is some fragrance left. But when you speak it, and it reaches the ears of the listeners, that one percent very rarely survives because the listener goes on interpreting it.
Unless the listener stops interpreting - that means, unless he becomes a no-mind .... Mind is interpretation; it is commentary, it is constant commentary. It is continuously telling you what it means.
When you simply listen in silence, with no commentary, no interpretation, that one percent fragrance will become a seed. And as you go on meditating that seed will one day become a flowering bush.
But it is very difficult, because the disciples have to be ready, rooted deep in meditation. Only then that one percent, perhaps, may enter their being and become a seed.
The master came to the congregation. All the monks had gathered because for many days he had not spoken. But when the gathering was complete, when everybody had come, the master returned to his room without saying a word.
In fact, he is not saying but showing. He is saying, "Return to your innermost room."
He is not saying it in words, he is showing them: "Don't waste time in words; just go inside, into your inner room, into your inner shrine. There you will find me, there you will find my message. There you will find your buddha."
His returning to his room is a gesture, an indication, that "You also return to your rooms, close your eyes, go inwards as I am going. Don't waste your time in words."
The head monk, very disappointed, followed the master and said, "THE MASTER WAS GOING TO GIVE A TALK.
You have told me to ring the bell, and to call all the monks together to listen to your sermon - AND THE MONKS ARE ALL READY; WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY ANYTHING TO THEM?"
This is the beauty of Zen, that it always remains a mystery. When the master says "Ring the bell,"
that does not mean that he is going to say something.
If the people were meditative, just the bell ringing and then becoming more silent, more silent, more silent ... the sound disappearing into silence .... If people were ready, meditative, they would not have come to the congregation. They would have listened to the bell, its sound disappearing into silence, the sound of their own mind disappearing into the silence of no-mind.
That was the message: not to come to the congregation place but to go inwards. As the sound disappears, you disappear. Let a great silence descend on you. But the head monk could not understand, nor the other monks.
Perhaps the enlightened ones may not have come to the congregation, and perhaps the master has come just to see who has gathered.
The head monk thought, "He is coming, so he will give the sermon." But he simply came and looked around. He saw that none of the enlightened ones had come. They must have been meditating outside under some tree, by the side of a river, on the top of the hill. They must have heard the bell ringing and the sound disappearing into silence. That must have given them the sermon.
The master looked at the people who had gathered. These are the people who don't know anything about meditation. What to say to them? Anything said to them will be misunderstood, and no master wants to create any misunderstanding in the disciples.
Let the masses misunderstand; it does not matter, they are already living in all kinds of misunderstandings. They are unconscious people, groping in the dark. A little more understanding or misunderstanding is not going to help them either this way or that.
But for the people who are trying to meditate, the master showed them a gesture. Silently and gracefully he walked back, went into his room.
The head monk followed because he could not understand this irrational, unreasonable behavior.
"First you call the monks by ringing the bell, and when they have all gathered from different places on the mountain, hoping that you are going to speak, you do not speak. What is the matter with you?"
YAKUSAN SAID, "THERE ARE SUTRA PRIESTS ...."
There are priests all over the world whose only knowledge comes from the scriptures, from other people's experiences. He calls them "sutra priests" - those who don't know anything on their own.
They simply repeat like parrots ancient sutras, ancient maxims of spirituality.
AND THERE ARE SHASTRA PRIESTS ....
Sutras are very small maxims, aphoristic. The reason why sutras were used in the past was that until writing came into existence, everything had to be memorized. You cannot memorize a big book, but you can memorize small sutras in the seed.
So all the ancient awakened ones have spoken in sutras, so that those sutras would reach the coming centuries just by memory. There was no other way of conveying to the future generations.
Hence all old languages are very poetic, for the simple reason that poetry can be memorized more easily than prose. You can sing it.
I am reminded of a very strange phenomenon .... Alexander the Great came to India three hundred years after Buddha had died. He had heard about Buddha. His master was the father of Western logic, Aristotle.
Aristotle had asked him to bring back two things. One I have told you about: a sannyasin - because the West had not known a sannyasin. What kind of a person is a sannyasin, what kind of individual?
What is his style of life? What is so special about a sannyasin that the whole East touches his feet?
"So bring a sannyasin, with great respect, as a guest of the emperor."
And the second thing Aristotle said was, "I have heard so much about the ancientmost scripture of the Hindus, RIGVEDA, so you bring a copy of RIGVEDA."
Printing had not started yet, but writing had started. There were only a few families in the whole of India who had handwritten Vedas. There are four Vedas.
Alexander inquired wherever he went in India, "Is there someone who can give me, at any cost, a copy of RIGVEDA?"
In one place they said, "Yes, there is a brahmin family which has a copy of all the four Vedas, but we don't think they will give it to you. That is their treasure."
It was very rare to have all four Vedas, particularly in those days. Now you can purchase them from any bookstall. The Hindus had insisted not to print their RIGVEDA or the other three Vedas, knowing perfectly well that they are ninety-nine percent rubbish; once they are printed they will lose their glory.
But at the time Alexander came here there were a few families which had the four Vedas. Those families were called chaturvedis: chatur means four, vedis means having the Vedas. Those who had three Vedas were called trivedis - tri means three. Those who had only two Vedas were called dwivedis - dwa means two. The English word two has come from dwa. First it became twa in certain languages passing towards the West, then it became two. But it is the same root, dwa.
These families were very much respected; nobody knew what the secret of those Vedas was.
Finding a family with four Vedas, Alexander was immensely happy.
He went to the family and he said, "I am ready to pay anything you want. And if you don't give me the four Vedas ... you should know who I am!"
The old man of the family said, "By custom, I cannot give you those four Vedas right now, but in the morning when the sun rises I will give you all the four Vedas."
Alexander had come in the evening. He said, "That's okay, I can wait. What will be the price?"
The old man said, "There is no question of price."
But Alexander took every care, he surrounded the house with his army. There was every possibility that in the night this old man might escape - because he was so willing to give, and Alexander had heard that it was very difficult to get; that they will give their lives, but they will not give their Vedas.
Seeing that the old man was so willing - he was just asking a little time. "Let the night be over. We cannot give them in darkness; they are the source of light. We will give them to you when the sun is rising. You come then," - Alexander said, "I am not going anywhere. I will camp here in front of your house. And my army is surrounding your house. Don't try to deceive me."
The old man said, "There is no reason to deceive. You wait." And he closed his doors, all the windows.
In those days brahmins used to be fire-worshippers, so inside their house there was always a fire which had been continuous for hundreds of years past; it had never died out. They were giving it fuel, wood, continuously keeping the fire going.
In the night he gathered his four sons, and he brought all the four Vedas, and he said to each, "You listen to the RIGVEDA, you listen to the YAJURVEDA, you listen to the ATHARVVEDA, you listen to the SAMVEDA" - these are the four names of the Vedas - "and remember them! And I don't have much time. Only once you will hear it, and you have to remember it. There will be no question of saying that you have forgotten something, because once I read it, I will drop that page into the fire. I cannot give my ancient heritage to Alexander, but I can give my sons."
So he went on reading and dropping the pages into the fire. By the morning all the four Vedas were burnt, but the four sons were ready. He opened the door; Alexander immediately came out from his camp and said, "The sun is rising."
The old man said, "The Vedas are ready." He brought his four sons.
Alexander said, "Where are the Vedas?"
He said, "These are the Vedas. This is the first Veda, this is the second, this is the third, this is the fourth. Whenever you want, they will repeat them. Whichever page you want, they will repeat.
Whichever line you want, they will repeat and explain to you."
Alexander said, "But what happened to the books?"
He said, "Look at the fire."
There in the fire he saw the four ancient books; they were still burning.
Alexander could not believe it. He could not conceive that this would happen. He was thinking that this man may escape, so he had put his army around the house and he was camping in front of the house. He had never thought even in his dreams, his wildest dreams, that this would happen. But it had happened: the four Vedas were burnt.
The old man was laughing. He said, "You can take the living Vedas. I am giving you my four sons in my old age. They are my only support - but it is no problem, take them to your land. Let your master and others know what is in the Vedas."
But Alexander said, "Why did you burn your books?"
He said, "There was no other way; I could not give them to you. That was my father's order when he was dying. When he handed them to me, he said, 'Never give these books to anybody at any cost.'
You could have given me your whole empire, and still I would not have given those books to you. It was a promise given to a dead father, a promise given when he was dying."
Alexander was at a loss. He did not take those four boys, because how would he know whether they were saying the right thing? "If this man, this old man, can be so clever, so intelligent, how to know whether these boys are reciting RIGVEDA or something else? We don't have anything to compare with. If he had given the books, we could have compared whether they were reciting the same thing.
Now there is no point."
Back home he told Aristotle, "You have to forgive me. I could not bring a sannyasin because the sannyasin refused. He said, 'I am a master of myself, you cannot order me. You may be a great emperor, that does not matter; to a sannyasin it is absolutely immaterial who you are.'
"I threatened the sannyasin," Alexander said to Aristotle, "that I would cut off his head. He laughed.
He said, 'You can do that because I have cut off my head long ago. You cut it! Take your sword out of your sheath!'
"I have never been so afraid. I have never seen such a ferocious man! Very fragile, very silent, very graceful, but he said, 'Bring out your sword and cut off my head! Just as you will see the head falling on the ground, so I will also witness. I have left the head long ago so it is empty, don't be worried.
You cut it off.'
"I could not cut off the head of such a man, such a beautiful man, so fearless. How can you cut off the head of someone who is inviting you ...?
"And I am sorry I could not bring the four Vedas, because that old man deceived me. He burnt the four Vedas, and in his very old age he gave his four sons. They were his only support. He said, 'Don't be bothered about me. You take these four sons.' But I decided not to bring them, because how would we know whether they were right or wrong?"
When there was no way of writing, sutras came into existence; very small, aphoristic, two lines at the most - and that too written in a poetic form, so you can hum, recite, sing, and let them settle in your memory.
So there are sutra priests, and when writing came into existence, shastras, scriptures, were written.
Now there was no need to write aphoristically, because in an aphoristic style there is the possibility of misinterpretation.
You will find in India a strange phenomenon which has not happened in any place outside India.
Every sutra book has been interpreted in thousands of ways, because the sutra is so small, so condensed, so full of meaning, that you can take any viewpoint. It opens in all dimensions; you can interpret it in such a way that nobody has ever thought of.
So there are interpretations of sutras, but these interpretations are also sutras. So then there are interpretations of the interpretations .... Sometimes it goes on until one sutra has been interpreted, then the interpretation has been interpreted - twelve times, fifteen times, thirty times. I have come across one thousand interpretations of SHRIMAD BHAGAVADGITA.
Such a thing has never happened anywhere else in the world, because never were such condensed sutras given. Seeing the difficulty of sutras, that they can be interpreted in millions of ways contradictory to each other and create many schools of thought .... This was not the purpose. There was a single meaning, but who knows which is the right meaning? When there are a thousand meanings available, how are you going to choose which was the original meaning?
Hence, shastras came into existence. 'Shastras' mean prose scriptures. You don't have to interpret.
Every detail is given; not just a condensed aphoristic form, but everything that the person wanted to say has been explained by himself. You don't need any interpreter.
YAKUSAN SAID, "THERE ARE SUTRA PRIESTS AND THERE ARE SHASTRA PRIESTS" - and what is their function? They don't know anything as their experience.
The sutra priests exist for sutras; they are just biological computers carrying sutras. You ask them for sutras, they will give you sutras. And there are shastra priests; they don't know anything on their own authority, but they can give you the whole shastra with all the interpretations possible. But it is all games, gymnastics of intellect and language.
Yakusan said, "I am neither, so WHY DO YOU QUESTION MY GOINGS-ON?
Why do you question that I have left the congregation? Neither am I a sutra priest, nor am I a shastra priest. I am myself. I expound my own experience, and I have expounded enough.
"I have said the unsayable in as many ways as it was possible to say it. I have expressed the inexpressible in thousands of ways, and so many people have become enlightened. Now all these meditators should sit by the side of those who have become enlightened. I have done my work, now I want to retire. Seeing the utter futility of saying anything, I wanted to retire from the very first day when I became enlightened. But because of my compassion, my love, and thousands of people coming with such thirst, I remained; I did not go into retirement, into silence. I hoped that perhaps their thirst may help them. The deeper their thirst ... I will be able to reach them with my words, with my silences, with my gestures. Perhaps if a thousand people come, one person may become enlightened. For that every effort is worth doing.
"And now that so many people are enlightened .... I am getting old, you should start sharing with the enlightened ones. This is my last gesture to you: Go into your innermost shrine. That's why I have come to my room." And he closed his doors.
Yakusan never opened his doors again. He died inside his room.
Zen masters die in different ways. They live individually, they die individually. Their every expression is so authentic, so original, you can never predict it.
The monks, the disciples, even the enlightened ones, were sitting around his house crying, shouting, "Please open the door." But there was nobody to open the door. Finally they had to break the door down. Yakusan was sitting in a lotus posture - just the body; his being had melted like ice into the cosmos.
It is a very beautiful ending; the last sermon of the master just before his death.
COME, LET'S GO
TILL WE ARE BURIED.
It is absolutely graphic.
COME, LET'S GO SNOW-VIEWING, TILL WE ARE BURIED.
What he is saying is: if you become acquainted with the beauty of existence, your breathing will stop. The beauty is so overwhelming, you will be buried in it. It will become not only your inner enlightenment, it will also become your outer samadhi.
Maneesha has asked a question:
OUR BELOVED MASTER,
I HAVE HEARD YOU SAY THAT IF WE LOSE CONSCIOUSNESS - THROUGH FEAR - AT THE POINT OF DEATH WE RE-ENTER THE CIRCLE OF BIRTH AND DEATH.
IS WITNESSING ALL WE CAN DO AT THIS CRUCIAL MOMENT OR IS THERE ANY SPECIFIC TECHNIQUE?
Maneesha, there is nothing except witnessing, and witnessing is not a technique.
Witnessing is your nature, your very nature.
You are nothing but witnessing.
Witnessing is the purest consciousness.
And it is not only fear that makes you unconscious. Fear is only one element. When you are dying, it is not only fear that makes you unconscious; you already have too much unconsciousness - fear only takes away the thin layer of consciousness. One-tenth is conscious, nine-tenths is unconscious.
Fear takes away the thin layer of consciousness and you are drowned in your own unconsciousness.
It is so deep. It does not come from outside.
In meditation, when you are witnessing, you are by and by, without your knowing it, dispelling unconsciousness. You are becoming more and more conscious. The thin layer of consciousness becomes thicker and thicker and thicker, and a moment comes when your whole being is full of consciousness. This is witnessing.
So when death comes, you witness death. When life was there, you witnessed life. It is nothing new: death is only an object, just as life was an object. If you have learned how to witness, there is no question of being afraid. You will be a witness in your death too.
And if you are a witness in your death, you will never be born again into any other prison of the body.
You will not suffer nine months in a mother's womb, in deep darkness, completely encaged. You will not suffer coming out of the womb - because the passage is very narrow and the child suffers immensely.
In fact, the scientists say that every child is born before his time; nine months are not enough for the child to become mature. At least eighteen months are needed, but eighteen months will kill the mother. In eighteen months the child will be so big, you will not believe it: the mother is bursting.
To save the life of the mother, nature balances in such a way that it cuts it to nine months, which is exactly when the child can come - although it is difficult and painful, the passage is very narrow.
That's why the human child is so helpless; no other animal's child is so helpless. For just a few days perhaps the animal mother looks after them, then they are on their own.
But a human child has to be looked after for twenty-five years until he comes with a Ph.D. from the university! Twenty-five years is one third of life, and even then there is no certainty that he is mature.
Most of them are retarded. They may have a Ph.D. but a Ph.D. is nothing, it is a very clerical job. You just go on cutting pieces from different books and pasting them and soon you will have a doctorate, a Ph.D.
It is such a clerical job that I refused to do it.
After my postgraduation, when I was offered a scholarship for three years to do a doctorate, I refused.
My vice-chancellor called me. He said, "You are mad."
I said, "That's true. You know me. Why have you called me?"
He said, "Listen, for three years you are given the biggest scholarship we have in the university and all facilities - residence, food, teachers to help you for your doctorate."
I said, "My understanding about doctorates is this - because I have seen many doctorates in the library. All my teachers are doctors; I have seen their doctorates and I have told them all that it is a simple job. You need only scissors."
They said, "What?"
I said, "You go on cutting from different books and go on pasting and soon ... it won't take more than six months. Three years is a waste. In six months you can produce a new book out of fifty books."
The head of my department had a doctorate from Oxford. Obviously he had written it in English.
He wanted it to be translated into Hindi and wanted it to be published. It was a beautiful book: THE NATURE OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN HINDU PHILOSOPHY. He could not find the right person to translate it. For almost twenty years he had been looking. I was his student, and he told me, "I am tired of looking, but I think you can manage it. You will just have to devote to it at least one summer vacation - two months."
I looked at his thesis and I said, "It won't take that long. I will translate it, but looking at your thesis I can say which passage has been taken from which book."
He said, "That you keep secret; you just translate it. You are not to bother which passage has come from which book. I know you can manage it, because you are living in the library the whole day. You know all the books that I have consulted."
I told him, "You have not consulted them, you have cut pieces. You needed only scissors and German glue!"
I translated his book. He was immensely happy. But I had marked on each passage "From this book, from this page to this page ...."
He said, "You have spoiled everything! I will have to have it typed by someone and I will have to cut all these references. Why did you do it?"
I said, "I know this passage is not yours, you have taken it from Badrayana." I had brought Badrayana, and I opened the page and I said, "Look! Word for word. You have been stealing."
He said, "That's true. It is difficult to argue with you."
So I told my vice-chancellor, "I don't want to do a clerical job. I would prefer to die than to be a clerk!"
He said, "Don't be angry at me; if you don't want to do it, don't do it." He said, "I have another offer for you. A commission of twelve students from all over India, who have come top this year in their universities, is going to visit Afghanistan. I have proposed your name, without asking you."
I said, "You have done absolutely wrong. You withdraw my name."
He said, "But why do you want to withdraw your name?"
I said, "You don't know, these names will reach to the politicians; they will have to approve them. My name can never be approved by the politicians."
Even in my university I was hitting the politicians right and left. Even the first prime minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, I was criticizing continually from the platform of the Students' Union of the university. He was Rajiv Gandhi's grandfather.
When he came to visit the university, he particularly asked the vice-chancellor, "Where is that young man who has been criticizing me continually on everything?"
The vice-chancellor called me. He said, "Nobody except you could be doing this. Why have you been criticizing him?"
I said, "I am ready to answer if he has any question to ask, or if he has any answer to give I am ready to criticize."
Pandit Jawaharlal looked at me. For a moment there was silence. He must have thought that if he criticizes me before everybody .... And he had read all my criticisms, because I was sending the university magazine every month to the prime minister with all my criticisms of his policies. So he was wise enough, he just hugged me.
I said, "Remember, this is not an argument!"
But we laughed. He understood the situation.
I told my vice-chancellor, "Take my name off the list."
He said: "I have already sent it and it will look very awkward."
I said, "Then it is up to you. I say to you that just to stop me, they can even cancel the whole commission." And that's what happened. The whole commission was dropped. Nobody was to go because they could not drop me alone and send the eleven others to Afghanistan to study, to see the country and its people and report to the government. The whole commission was canceled.
The vice-chancellor called me and he said, "You were right. You are always right!"
Maneesha, there is no technique as such. Your being, your consciousness, has to transform all the dark corners inside you. The light has to reach into every nook and corner.
That's what we call meditation.
Witnessing penetrates to every nook and corner - slowly slowly, all darkness, all unconsciousness disappears. And if you die consciously, witnessing death, you are freed from the imprisonment of the birth and death circle. Then you can melt into the cosmic whole, into absolute silence, into great ecstasy. That is the only authentic religiousness.
It is time for Sardar Gurudayal Singh.
Duckworth Bird and Whitney Whacker find themselves sitting next to each other at the poolside of the Screwing Sands Hotel in Jamaica. Duckworth leans back in his beach chair, takes a long sip on his iced Pina Colada, and sighs, "Ah! Life is good!"
"Yes," replies Whitney, sipping on his Tequila Sunrise. "It is true."
"You know," says Duckworth, "I am here on my insurance money. I collected ten thousand dollars for fire damage."
"Me too!" exclaims Whitney. "But I got twenty thousand dollars for flood damage."
There is a long silence. Then Duckworth sits up straight in his chair, and turns to look at Whitney.
"Tell me something," says Duckworth. "How do you start a flood?"
Paddy and Seamus are having a beer in the pub, and are talking about Sean, their absent-minded friend.
"He's getting worse," says Paddy, shaking his head in dismay.
"Yes, I know what you mean," agrees Seamus. "Just last week he took his dog for a walk around the park and got lost."
"Well that's nothing," explains Paddy. "It was really embarrassing just last night in this pub. He started kissing a woman by mistake!"
"My God!" exclaims Seamus. "Did he think it was his wife?"
"No!" replies Paddy. "It was his wife!"
There is a loud clamor of screaming and the noise of smashing dishes coming from the Kowalski house. This goes on for fifteen minutes, when finally Kowalski comes storming out of the house.
"Ah, you'll be back!" screams Olga, standing in the doorway waving a teapot in the air. "How long do you think you will be able to stand happiness?"
Close your eyes, and feel your body to be completely frozen. This is the right moment to look inwards.
Gather your life energy, collect your whole consciousness, and with an urgency as if this is the last moment of your life, go deeper and deeper like an arrow piercing to the very center of your being.
The deeper you move, the closer you are coming to yourself. The deeper you move, soon you will be facing your hidden buddha, your hidden witness.
At this moment you are the most blessed people on the earth. A great silence has descended upon you, and flowers of peace and the fragrance of love and the climate of compassion surrounds you.
You can see the buddha clearly.
It is your very being.
It is you.
Witness that the body is not you, the mind is not you, the astral body is not you. You are the buddha.
You are the pure witness.
To make it clear, Nivedano ...
But go on witnessing whatever happens inside.
A great ecstasy may come to you, almost a feeling of drunkenness, and as you become settled in the witnessing, your body starts melting.
Gautama the Buddha Auditorium becomes an ocean of consciousness, without any ripples.
Collect as many flowers, as much fragrance, as much joy as you can contain - the blissfulness, the benediction of this moment. And persuade the buddha. He has been hiding at the center for many many lives. The spring has come, now he has to come out. He has to become one with you, not only in the center but in your day-to-day ordinary activities.
Unless a buddha can sing a song with you and dance a dance, unless a buddha can participate in your very mundane affairs, you have not got it. But it is your very being, so you can pull him out; when Nivedano calls you back, hold his hand. I myself have brought him out by holding his neck!
He will come with you.
Come back, but be silent, be graceful.
Sit for a few moments remembering the golden path you have traveled, remembering all the experiences at the center, and watch.
The shadow of the buddha is behind you.
Every day, inch by inch, the distance between you and your buddha is becoming less and less.
This is what I have called:
Straight to the point of enlightenment!
Yes, Beloved Master.