You are not on the bridge, you are the bridge. This has to be understood. If you think that you are on the bridge, you have missed the point -- this is the ego misinterpreting the whole thing. You are the bridge. You have to be surpassed, transcended. You, as you are, are the bridge. You have to be left behind; you have to go beyond yourself.
If you understand this rightly then one thing can become very clear: if you are too much, you will become the animal; then too the bridge disappears. If the ego is crystallized too much, then too you are not a bridge, the bridge is no more -- you have become the animal. If you are not at all, the bridge again disappears -- then you are the divine. If only ego is left, you are a dog; the ego is the dog. If you have completely disappeared, then the remaining silence is divine, is God.
The remaining emptiness, the remaining void, the remaining space, infinite, with no boundaries -- that's what Buddha has called nirvana. The word "nirvana" means: when you have ceased to be. Literally the word "nirvana" means: when you extinguish a flame -- the flame has disappeared, vast darkness, no light.
When the flame of the ego has disappeared -- you have become infinite, you cannot find yourself anywhere now -- then you have become the divine.
Between these two points -- the ego and the egolessness -- is the bridge. You are that bridge. It will depend on how much ego you have: if you have too much you are leaning towards the animal; if you have not too much you are leaning towards the divine. A rope stretched between the animal and the divine -- but you are the rope. So don't ask where you are on the bridge, because that is the ego asking. Just try to understand that you are the bridge. It has to be transcended, surpassed; you have to go beyond yourself.
Don't try to be free, because that may be a subtle ego motivation. Try to be free from the ego -- because even freedom can become a motivation for the ego, but then you will never be free because the ego is the bondage. The freedom is not going to be yours; the freedom will be there only when you are not.
Allow this feeling of "I" to disappear, and you need not do anything else. Just allow it to disappear... because it is such a false thing it has to be continuously created, only then it remains. You have to cooperate with it every moment. It is
just like a cyclist goes on pedalling the bicycle: if he stops, the cycle will stop. The cycle needs continuous pedalling. The ego needs continuous cooperation. You need not do anything against it; you simply become alert and don't cooperate. Be alert, go on watching how the ego arises, how subtle are its ways. Just watch, don't cooperate -- that's enough: ego dies of starvation, the cycle stops. Without your pedalling, it cannot continue.
When you come to me and ask how to stop the ego you are like the cyclist who goes on pedalling and goes on screaming and asking people on the road, "How to stop!" and goes on pedalling. Don't pedal. The cycle cannot continue on its own; your help is needed.
Your misery exists because you help it. Your suffering exists because you are behind it, feeding it. Your hell exists with your cooperation. Once you understand it, the cooperation dissolves; you are no longer part of the whole miserable game; you stand aside and watch. Sudden explosion -- there is no longer any ego, no longer any cycle, nothing to pedal. That is the moment when the bridge has been crossed.
Yes, it is difficult to explain. All explanations are difficult, because in the first place the problems are false. How to explain a problem when it is false? You are asking something absurd; the explanation becomes difficult. So it is right -- all problems are difficult to explain. In fact, when you understand, there is no problem; when you don't understand, there is a problem. So a problem cannot be solved,;and I am not trying to solve your problems here; I am not a party at all to your foolishness. I am trying to impart understanding to you, not trying to solve your problems. They cannot be solved, because they are absolutely absurd.
All your problems are like a person who has a high fever -- one hundred seven degrees -- and goes on asking foolish things. He says, "Why is this chair flying in the sky?" How to explain it? His fever can be brought down, that's the only way.
That's what I am doing; that's what my whole effort is about: to bring your fever a little down. If you understand, when the fever comes down, the chair flies no more. Then you start laughing at yourself, at how foolish you were.
It is difficult, it is almost impossible to explain, because in the first place whatsoever you ask is going to be something absurd. You cannot ask a right question, because if you can ask a right question there is no need to ask it. A right question is always carrying the right answer in it -- because the real thing is to be right. If you can be right in your question you have already understood. But, still, I will try; I will try to bring your fever a little down. It is not an explanation.
"Sometimes you say that it is possible for a Master and disciple, for two lovers, to meet being to being. And sometimes you say that we are totally alone and it is impossible to ever be together." Both are true. We are absolutely alone and it is impossible to be together -- this is absolutely true. And the other statement is also as absolutely true as this: that two lovers can meet being to being, Master and disciple can meet being to being. The contradiction arises because you don't have any experience of it.
When two lovers meet there are not two lovers -- only love exists. The two have disappeared, lovers have disappeared, because if lovers are there love cannot be.
When two lovers are there, there are not two and there are no longer lovers: only love exists. The two have become just like two banks of a river: in fact the river flows and touches both the banks. Without the river the banks are alone, separate, cannot meet. When the river flows the banks are meeting through the river, in the river.
When Master and disciple meet there is no Master, no disciple. There are not two; the duality is no longer there. Again one exists in its total loneliness, in its total aloneness. Two cannot meet, but if the two disappear then there exists that moment.
It is difficult, what to call it. If I call it a moment of meeting, you will misunderstand, because all meeting presupposes the existence of two. If I don't call it a meeting then it will be impossible for me to call it anything else. This is the trouble with language. But you can understand: if you listen to me sympathetically -- and there is no other way to listen -- if you are in deep sympathy with me, not trying to discuss a problem with me but rather trying to feel my difficulty in expressing that which cannot be expressed, a deep sympathy, that's what trust is, then you can understand. Then words won't betray, then they don't become a hindrance. Then they can become pointers, then they can have a certain significance -- not meaning, significance -- because you can have a glimpse through them.
You know they are gross, all words are gross, language is gross -- silence is subtle -- but if you understand sympathetically, in deep trust, in deep faith, then words also carry something of the quality of silence.
Listen to me: two cannot meet -- that is impossible; and, two can meet, but then the quality of twoness has disappeared. When I say a meeting being to being, I mean now there is neither the lover nor the beloved... they are lost, disappeared, something else as a oneness has penetrated into their beings. In that deep silence love exists, not lovers.
When a disciple and Master are together, if the disciple is ready to be lost....
Because the Master is that who is lost already, who is an emptiness. If the disciple is also ready to float with the emptiness of the Master -- with no demand, with no desire, because they won't allow you to disappear; with no
doubt, no uncertainty -- if the disciple is ready to become part of this emptiness, the emptiness surrounds both. It becomes encompassing. In the cloud of that emptiness both are lost: that is the meeting between being to being. It is a meeting, in a sense, the greatest meeting; it is not a meeting at all because there are not two to meet.
It looks contradictory that one time I say you are totally alone, another time I say there is a possibility to meet. When will that possibility open? When you are not trying to meet the other, only then. If you are trying to meet the other being to being, the very effort will spoil the whole thing -- because who will make the effort? If you are making the effort to meet somebody being to being, to dissolve, the very effort to dissolve will be the barrier; the very effort to meet, the desire to meet, will create the discordance.
That's why I say you are absolutely alone. Don't try to meet the other. Just be totally alone, and if the other is also totally alone there will be a meeting -- not that you prepared for it, not that you made any effort, not that you manipulated it. It is so vast you cannot manipulate it. It is so great you cannot catch hold of it.
You can only allow it to catch hold of you. You can only allow it to possess you.
God cannot be searched for. You can only allow God to possess you. You can only allow him to seek and search for you. Love or God are very great phenomena. You are very small. If you try you will fail, in your very effort is the failure. Don't try.
Just be crystal clear in your aloneness, pure in your aloneness, silent, settled, rooted, centered. Suddenly something jumps in you and you are there no more.
The bridge has disappeared; the ego is there no more. For the first time, it always takes you unawares. When the Master jumps into the disciple, or the lover into the beloved, or the beloved into the friend -- whenever this happens you are taken unawares. It is always a surprise. You cannot believe it, that it has happened. It is the most unbelievable, the most impossible thing, but it happens.
You, please, forget about all beings. You don't know. I'm not suffering. You may be suffering; don't talk about all beings. You don't even know yourself. How can you know the other? Just talk about yourself, because things are already much too complicated. When you start talking about all, you will make it almost impossible for yourself to understand the thing. Just you will do. Say only this: "Why am I suffering? If life is a blissful cosmic play, then why am I suffering?" -- only this much will do. Forget about all beings -- that is none of your business. If they want to suffer let them suffer. You, please, decide only for yourself. Even that is too much, not easy.
Why are you suffering? Because you are. To be is to suffer; not to be is not to suffer. The ego suffers. The whole is a cosmic play; it is beautiful. It is a tremendous celebration -- moment to moment, moving to higher and higher peaks. You are suffering because you are not part of it. The ego is never part of the whole; the ego tries to be separate. The ego tries to have its own plans, to have its own ideas, to have its own goals. That's why you are suffering.
If you become part of the whole there is no suffering. Suddenly you start floating with the stream. You are no longer moving upstream. You are no longer even swimming, because then too there is effort. You are just floating with the stream: wheresoever it leads, there is the goal. You have dropped private goals; you have accepted the destiny of the whole. Then you live easily, you die easily. There is no resistance.
Resistance is suffering -- and you cannot win against the whole. So every moment you resist you fail, you suffer. It is frustration of failure, and then you become helpless and hopeless and everywhere you feel, there is a saying, that "man proposes and God disposes." You cannot find more stupid a saying anywhere else.
God never disposes, but the moment you propose you have created trouble for yourself because all propositions are private. That means the Ganges wants to fall not in the Bay of Bengal but in the Arabian Sea. It will have to fall into the Bay of Bengal, that is how the whole has proposed it already. Now the Ganges proposes, "I would like to fall into the Arabian Sea," and when it is not succeeding to move towards the west and it goes on feeling that all efforts are futile and she is moving towards the east, the idea arises in the mind that man proposes and God disposes. Why should God bother to dispose? God has never disposed anything, but the moment you propose, you have created the possibility to be disposed.
Try to live without a goal, and then see: suffering disappears. Try to live without your ego, and there is no more suffering. Suffering is an attitude; it is not an actuality. You fall ill: you immediately start fighting with illness; suffering arises.
If you accept it, suffering disappears. Then you know that God wills this; there must be some point in it. It must be needed for your growth. That's what happened on the cross with Jesus: just a moment before he was killed, the whole human mind arose in his being. He looked at the sky and said, "What is this?
What are you trying to do? Why have you left me alone?" The human mind.
Jesus is beautiful. He is man, he is God, both -- with all the frailties of humanity and with all the perfection of God: a meeting point, where the bridge disappears and the goal appears, the last point where the bridge drops. He was angry. He complained. He was saying, "You have betrayed me." At this last moment everybody was waiting for a miracle -- even Jesus deep down must have been waiting for a miracle-that the cross will disappear, angels will descend, and the whole world will know that he is the only begotten son of God.
The ego: "Why have you betrayed me? Why are you forcing me to see this? Your son is being crucified -- where are you?"
In that moment, a disbelief must have entered in his mind. And I say this is beautiful -- this shows that Jesus is both son of man and son of God. And that's the beauty of Jesus and the appeal. Why has so great a part of humanity become Christian? If you look at Buddha, he looks to be simply a god, without any frailty of human beings. If you look at Mahavir, he looks superb, absolutely perfect. If you look at Krishna, you cannot find a single thing that can create disbelief in you. But Christ? -- frail, weak, trembling, with all the doubts, uncertainties, hesitations, with all the darkness that human mind is prone to. And then a sudden burst and he is no longer the ordinary human being.
At the last moment he was still Jesus the son of Joseph and Mary; all doubts arose -- naturally. I don't say anything against him -- natural, absolutely natural, it should be so. But then he understood the point: "What am I doing? It is not God who has denied me, it is I who am denying him. My expectations are not fulfilled." In a flash of light he suddenly understood, "I am clinging to my ego. I am asking for miracles. I am asking to be saved! Who am I, and why should the whole bother about met" A smile must have come on his face, the clouds disappeared, he relaxed. And he said, "Thy will be done. Please, don't bother about me. Don't listen to my foolish mind. Who am I to suggest what should be done? Who am I to expect? And when you are there, why should I bother about it?"
In that relaxation of resistance, Jesus became Christ. He is no longer the son of Miryam, Joseph, he has become the son of God. Transfigured, transformed, a new being is born who accepts totally. Now there is no problem. If God wants him to be crucified, that is the way things are going to be -- and that is the miracle! And, in fact, the cross proved the miracle. Christianity exists because of the cross, not because of Christ. If he was saved on that day we would have remembered him as a great magician or something like that. But in that deep surrender, where all complaints disappear, the meeting from being to being happened: he allowed God to take possession. That's how -- through death, through surrender -- he is resurrected. He is no longer the same being -- totally new, a virgin quality has entered. The old is gone, the new is born, and there is no continuity between the two.
You ask me if life is a blissful cosmic play, then WHY... then why is there suffering. There is suffering because you are still not part of the cosmic play. You have your own small drama, and you want to play it. You are not part of the whole; you are trying to create a small world of your own. Every ego creates its own world, that's the problem.
Float with the whole, and suffering disappears. Suffering is symptomatic: it shows you must be fighting the whole, that's all. You are not suffering for your sins committed in the past; you are suffering for the sin that you are continuing right now, committing right now. The sin is simple: to fight, not to accept.
The word "sin" is beautiful. It comes from a root which means "to separate." The word "sin" itself comes from a root which means to separate: you are separated, that is the only sin. Once you are joined the sin disappears. The whole of Christianity depends on the concept of sin -- that man is separated from God, then he is a sinner. Just the opposite is the concept of Patanjali -- opposite, but complementary. He insists on "yoga," to be joined together. Sin and yoga: sin means to be separate; yoga means to be joined together again. If you are joined together again with the whole, there is no suffering. The more you go far away from the whole, the more you suffer. The more you are, the more you will suffer.
That's true. Now you have to deepen the feeling so sometimes you can feel that you yourself are a dream. Go on deepening the feeling. A moment comes when you know that everything that is, is a dream. Once you know that everything that exists is a dream, you are freed.
That's the meaning of the Hindu concept of maya. It does not say that everything is unreal; it simply says everything is a dream. It is not a question of real or unreal. How will you define a dream -- real or unreal? If it is unreal then how can it exist? If it is real then how can it disappear so easily -- you open your eyes and it is no longer there? A dream must be somewhere in between reality and unreality. It must have something of the reality and it must have something of the unreality also. Because it exists it has to be real. A dream is a bridge -- neither on this bank nor on that bank, neither here nor there.
If you take the dream as real you will become worldly. If you take the dream as unreal you will start escaping towards the Himalayas, you will become unworldly. And both viewpoints are extreme. Dream is just in the middle: it is real and unreal, both. There is no need to escape from it -- it is unreal. And there is no need to cling to it -- it is unreal. There is no need to devote your whole life to dreams -- they are unreal. And there is no need to renounce them -- because how can you renounce an unreality? They are not worth that.
And that's how my concept of sannyas arises: you live in the dream knowing it, that it is a dream. You live in the world knowing it, that it is a dream. Then you live, but the world doesn't live in you. You move into the world, but the world doesn't move within you. You remain part. In fact, you enjoy it more -- because it is a dream, you have nothing to lose. Then you are not guilt-ridden. In fact you start playing like children -- because it is a dream! You can enjoy it; you can delight in it. There is nothing to feel guilty about. A life of celebration, a life of renouncement in the world, living and yet aloof; because when you know something is a dream you can enjoy it with no guilt, and you can move away from it with no problem.
You go to a theater, you go to see a movie: it is all a dream. For three hours you enjoy it. Then, lights are on -- you remember that it was just a play, a game of light and shadow on the screen. Now the screen is empty. You come home; you forget about it. The whole world is a movie on a vast screen. When you understand, your eyes are opened. You know that it is a dream -- nothing wrong in enjoying it, a beautiful dream at that, but now you are at home.
This is difficult. To be worldly is easy, because you take it as real. To be unworldly, become a hermit in the Himalayas, is also easy because you leave it as unreal. But to live in the reality, knowing it well, that it is unreal, knowing it, that it is a dream, is the most difficult thing in the world -- and to pass through that most difficult thing helps you to grow.
Worldly people are cunning, but not intelligent; unworldly people are simple, but not intelligent. Those people who live in the market are very cunning but not intelligent, and those people who have left the world and moved to the temples and the Himalayas -- they are simple, not cunning, but they are also not intelligent, because intelligence grows only when you move in all sorts of situations -- but aware. You go through hell, but with a fully aware mind, then intelligence grows. Intelligence needs challenge to grow. If you leave the challenge, you simply rot, you don't grow. That's why I insist: be in the world, and don't be of the world.
Nobody can answer that question for you. You are lost; you must be knowing.
You must be playing hide-and-seek. I know that you know. You want to be lost, that's why you are lost. The moment you decide not to be lost, nobody is hindering you, nobody is blocking the way. But you would like to have a little more of the dream: your whole prayer is, "God, let me be enlightened, but not right now." That is your prayer: "Let me be awakened, but wait a little more."
It happened in Ceylon: A great mystic was dying; he was a Master to millions of people. Knowing that he was dying, they all gathered. His whole life -- and it was a long life, he lived almost a hundred years -- he had been teaching about enlightenment. The day he was to depart, he came out of his hut for his last darshan, and he said, "Now I am leaving. Is there somebody who is ready to go with me? Today I will not teach; today I am ready to take you with me. If somebody is ready, he should stand."
People started to look at each other... thousands and thousands of people, but nobody standing. The Master waited and he said, "It is getting late and I have to leave. Should I think that my whole life has been a wastage talking to you about enlightenment? And now I am giving it to you! You need not make any effort; I can take you with me. Anybody ready?"
One man stood halfheartedly and he said, "Wait! Please, tell me how to be enlightened, because you are leaving and I am not yet ready to follow you. There are many things to be done in the world. My son has just gone to the university, my daughter has to be married, my wife is ill and somebody has to take care....
When everything is finished, I will also come. So, please, just give me the method."
The Master laughed and he said, "The whole life I have been giving methods."
Why do you hide behind methods? People always ask for methods because in a method you can postpone easily, because a method has to be done -- it will take time. And it is up to you to do or not to do, or do halfheartedly or postpone. A method is a trick. When you ask about a method you are asking for something to hang on to so you can postpone, because the method has to be done.
There have been two schools all over the world. One school says enlightenment is sudden; another school says enlightenment is gradual. The people who have said enlightenment is sudden have never been listened to much. They don't have much following because how can you be with these people? They say it can happen right now if you are ready. People have always been following the other way, the gradual, because with the gradual you have enough space to postpone, enough time. There is no emergency and there is no urgency. It is not a question of here-now. Tomorrow, tomorrow will take care, and the other life, next life...
you can go on.
That Master was ready to take somebody, but nobody was ready to go. And you ask me, "How is it that I am still lost?" You know. If I tell you that right now there is the possibility -- you can jump out of your being lost -- you will immediately ask me how. You will ask about a method.
It is just like your house is on fire and somebody tells you, "Come out of it; the house is on fire. You will be burned." If really you see that the house is on fire, if the flames are visible to you, you will not ask how. Will you ask how to come out? You will jump. You will jump from the balcony, you will jump from the window, you will jump from anywhere -- you will find the way. Because it is not a question now to find the right way -- any way is right. It is not a question of etiquette, that one should come out of the front door. When the house is on fire, you jump from the window. You risk your life because one moment more in the house and you will be burned. It is better to jump from the third story and be crippled for life than to be burned. You will jump out of it.
But if you say, "Yes, I know the house is on fire, but I will consult the scriptures and I will ask the gurus and I will seek and find a methodology how to come out," what will this show? This will show that you are not aware that the house is on fire. You may be agreeing with the person that the house is on fire, but deep down you don't see any fire anywhere. You are comfortable in this house; the fire is not yet an experience to you.
Buddha left his palace. His old servant, very faithful to him, his name was Chhanna, drove him out of the town, out of the capital, not knowing where he was going. Then, out of the kingdom, Buddha said, "Take my ornaments, my valuable clothes." He cut his hair, beautiful curls, and he said, "Take all these.
Give all these to my wife. I am renouncing the world."
Chhanna started crying and weeping, and he said, "What are you doing? You are young. You don't know the world as much as I know it. Everybody desires to have a palace, everybody desires to become a king, and you have a kingdom and you are leaving! Don't take it wrongly, but I feel that you are behaving stupidly. I am an old man, older than your father. Listen to me! Come back. Are you mad?
What are you doing?"
Buddha said, "Chhanna, you can't see that that palace is nothing but flames, and you can't see that the whole kingdom is on fire. I am not leaving it, I am escaping! I am not renouncing it, I am just saving myself, that's all."
Chhanna looked back. He couldn't see the fire anywhere -- the kingdom is absolutely silent. It was midnight, full moon night, everybody fast asleep...
where is the fire? In sleep you cannot see it, only when you start awakening a little.
So don't ask me why you are still lost. This is how you want it to be. You want to be lost, that's why you are lost. If you don't want it to be, there is no question -- immediately, this very moment, you can be out of it. But nobody else can bring you out of it. I cannot bring you out of it. And it is good that nobody can bring you out of it, that's why your freedom is intact. You want to continue the game? - - continue. If you don't want to continue the game, you will jump out of it.
Nobody is hindering the path; nobody is blocking the way.
The moment you decide, the moment the decision matures, the moment you become ripe in awareness and you see the whole falsity of it, you will be out of it -- the very same moment. Not even a single moment more will be needed. It is not a question of time; it is a question of understanding.
If you step out of it you will become a dog. If you are lost, completely lost -- nobody is left who can step out of it -- you will become a god. So don't ask me how to step out of it. This is the ego asking how to step out of it. You are in a limbo? Beautiful, good. Get a little more lost -- become the limbo. Get a little more lost! You are lost a little: the half of the dog is lost.
In India we have beautiful parables about the whole path of humanity. One of the most symbolic and meaningful stories is of the incarnation of God known as Narsiha -- half man/ half lion. One of the incarnations of the Hindu gods is Narsiha -- half-man/half-lion. This is the state of limbo. When you start feeling that you are half-dog/half-god; when you start feeling that you are neither god nor dog, everything is lost, boundaries blurred; when you feel yourself in the middle of the bridge; this is a Narsiha state: half-man/half-lion.
If you try to get out of it, you will be fully lion, because you will be more condensed then. You will fall back. Getting out of it means falling out of it, falling back. That will not be a progress, growth. No need. Get more and more lost. Why are you so afraid of the limbo? Because you are feeling a little lost, the identity is no longer clear; you cannot see your own image perfectly, the boundaries blurred; your face is no longer fixed. Your life has become more fluid. It is no longer like a stone. It is more like a water, without any shape, formless. You are afraid.
The one who is afraid within you is the dog, because if you go a few steps more the dog will be lost completely.
First, when one starts on the journey, one is like frozen water, ice, cold, stonelike.
When one moves, the frozenness melts, the ice becomes water. This is the state of the limbo, the state of Narsiha, half way. If you go further ahead you will evaporate. Not only that you will be liquid water, you will become evaporation.
You will be seen no more; you will simply disappear. If you become afraid of the disappearance, you will fall back. You will try to get frozen again so that you can get a shape, a form, a name -- nama-rupa: name and form. Hindus have called this world the world of nama-rupa, name and form. Then you will have an identity; you will know who you are.
Only a dog knows who he is -- everything settled, relaxed. If you move on the path, everything is unhinged -- mountains are no longer mountains, rivers no longer rivers. Great confusion arises, chaos; but remember, only out of chaos, dancing stars are born. Remember, only out of chaos God is found. Then, the third stage is: evaporate, disappear completely without leaving a trace behind.
Not even a footprint is left. You are nowhere. You have become a nowhere -- and this is the state I call the state of God.
That's why you cannot see God. You go on searching and searching: you will be lost one day, and that will be how God is found. God will not be found. You will not encounter God standing somewhere, because who will encounter? If you are still there to encounter, God is not possible. When you are no longer there who will encounter? You will not encounter God as an object. You will encounter him as your innermost core. But that is possible only when you melt, you become fluid like water, then you evaporate -- you become a cloud moving in the sky, with no address, no name, no form, a hidden cloud, whereabouts unknown.
That is the fear: because it is a great death. It is dying to the whole past. All that you are has to be left, crucified. Die before death, that's the only way to become a god. Don't be afraid of the state of limbo; otherwise you can fall back. You will crystallize again like ice. You will have a nama-rupa, a name-form, identity, but you have missed.
There is a way: you become master of yourself. Then you are the slave and you are the master. Then in a certain sense you are the slave -- your body, your senses, your mind -- and in a certain sense you are the master -- your consciousness, awareness. Wherever a master exists the slave has to exist.
Up to now you have tried to become a master and create slaves around you.
Everybody is trying that, to become a master and to create somebody as a slave.
The husband tries to become the master and to force the wife to become a slave, and the wife is also trying in her own subtle, feminine ways to become the master and force the husband to become a slave. A subtle politics continues. All your relationships are subtle maneuvers: how to force the other to become the slave so that you can become the master. The whole effort is politics. I call a mind political who's trying to become the master himself and trying to force others to become slaves.
Religion is a totally different dimension: you don't force anybody else to become a slave; still, you become a master. You become both. Your body, your gross parts, your earth element, becomes the slave; your sky element becomes the master. A Buddha is both: master -- superb; and slave -- also superb. It is a meeting of your own slave and your own master, and then there is no conflict, because the body is your shadow. Once you say, "I am the master," the body follows you. It has to follow; it is natural for it to follow.
In fact, when the body is allowed to become the master and you become the slave, it is a very unnatural state of affairs. It is as if the shadow is leading you.
You will fall in a ditch because the shadow has no consciousness; the shadow cannot be aware. The shadow is nonexistential, really. Your body is leading you: this is suffering. When you lead your body, suffering disappears; you start feeling blissful, at home, at ease.
Yes, the opposite is everywhere. If light is there darkness is there. If love is there hate is there. If a master exists a slave has to exist; otherwise how is the master possible? So the greatest thing that can happen to a man is: he becomes both -- master and slave together. It is the greatest harmony possible.
It depends, because bondage is never in a situation, it is in the attitude. If you want to go away and cannot, then it is a bondage. If you don't want to go away, the question doesn't arise. The reverse is also true: you want to be here near me and you cannot, then going away is also a bondage. If you want to be near me
and you can be easily, there is no problem; the question doesn't arise. Bondage or freedom are attitudes. They are not in situations.
Do you follow me? If you want to be near me and some inner obsession goes on forcing, "Go away! Don't be here," you would like to be here but some demon inside goes on forcing, "Go away!" -- that's a bondage, going away is a bondage.
If you want to go away and some fear within you goes on insisting, "Don't go away! If you go away you will lose the contact, you will lose the Master, the contact with the Master... don't go away!" -- a certain fear goes on forcing you to be here, and you want to go away -- then it is a bondage.
So what is a bondage? Bondage is something which you have to do as an obsession, as a compulsion: you never wanted to do it and you have to do it. You have to go against your self, then it is a bondage -- whatsoever it is. If you are just floating, it is what you always wanted to do and you are doing it with your total heart, your total being, it is freedom. Now let me state it as a paradox: if you are free as an obsession, in your freedom is bondage; if you are a slave with total acceptance, in your bondage is freedom. It depends. It is the attitude, not the situation. So only you can know about it, what it is.
If you want to go away, simply go away, float away. Don't create any trouble. If you want to be here, be here. Then don't create any trouble. But you are confused; you are always in conflict. You are not one, you are a crowd -- that is the trouble. One part of you wants to be here; another part of you wants to go away. And when you are away, one part would again want to come back. And this goes on.
You have to decide something within you. You have to drop the conflict, the crowd. You have to be one. In your oneness is freedom; in your split state is bondage. When you are one, nobody can make you a slave -- nobody! You can be thrown in an imprisonment, you can be chained, but you cannot be made unfree.
Your body may be chained: your soul will soar high. There will be no problem for it. How can your prayer be in bondage? How can your meditation be in a bondage? How can your love be in a bondage? How can your spirit be in bondage? In fact the very definition of the spirit is that which cannot be forced to be a slave.
But you don't have any spirit. You are just a crowd, so many people inside with no unity. That's the trouble. If you are here you will feel in bondage; if you go away you will feel in bondage. Wherever you go you will carry your inner conflict with you. So the question is not of being near me or away from me, that is not the question at all. The question is: to be here as a unity, or, to be away as a unity.
And I don't say anything, that you should be here or you should go away -- I have no "shoulds." It is for you. If you can float with me, float. If you feel floating away from me will be beautiful, float away. Don't pay any attention to me, just pay your whole attention to your inner being. Wherever it can float easily, wherever it can have its movement without any hindrance, let that be your goal.
There is no need to learn recognition, because all problems are unreal. Problems as such are unreal. When you are real, all problems disappear. When you are unreal, a thousand and one problems arise.
It used to always be the case that whenever a man would come to Buddha he would say, "Please, for one year don't ask any questions. One year remain silent with me, flow with me. Allow me to work within you. Just open your doors and let the sun rays go in. For one year no problems, no questions; remain silent, meditate. After one year, you can ask."
A certain man, a great seeker, had come one day. His name was Malingputta, a great brahmin scholar; with five hundred disciples he had come to Buddha. He had many questions, of course. A great scholar has to have many questions, problems and problems. Buddha looked at his face and said, "Malingputta, this is the condition -- if you can fulfill it, only then can I answer. I can see layers and layers of questions all around your head. Wait for one year. Meditate, be silent.
When your inner talk stops, when you are no longer chattering in the head, then you ask anything and I will answer. This is a promise."
Malingputta was a little worried -- one year, just to be silent, and then this man is going to answer; and who knows if those answers are right or not? So one year may be wasted completely. His answers may be just absurd. What to do? He was puzzled. He was hesitant to make the contract; it was risky.
And then, another disciple of Buddha, Sariputta, he started laughing (he was just sitting by the side) -- a loud, mad laugh. Malingputta became more puzzled; he said, "What is the matter? Why is he laughing?"
Sariputta said, "Don't listen to this man. He is a deceiver. He deceived me also.
When I had come -- you have only five hundred disciples -- I had five thousand."
He was a great brahmin, well known all over the country, a great teacher in his own name. "You may have a few thousand questions -- I had millions. This man tripped me; this man said,'Wait for one year. Be silent, meditate, and then ask and I will answer.' And after one year there was no question left, so I never asked, and he never answered. If you want to ask, ask right now! I have been in the same game. He befooled me."
Buddha said, "I will stick to my promise. If you ask I will answer. If you don't ask, what can I do?"
After one year, Malingputta meditated, meditated... became silent and silent and silent... inner talk disappeared, the inner chattering no more. He forgot completely about the year, that the year was finished. Who bothers? When the questions are not there, who bothers about the answers? One day, suddenly, Buddha asked, "Malingputta, this is the last day of the year. This is the day you had come here one year ago. And I had promised you that after one year whatsoever you ask I will be ready to answer. Now I am ready! Are you ready?"
Malingputta started laughing, and he said, "You befooled me also. That Sariputta was right. Now there are no questions; I cannot find any. The more I go in, the more I find there are no questions. So what can I ask? I have nothing to ask."
In fact, if you are unreal there are questions and problems. They come out of your unreality -- your dream, your sleep, creates them. When you become real, authentic, silent, total, they disappear.
This is my conclusion: that there is a state of mind, only questions exist, and there is a state of mind, only answers exist -- and they never exist together. If you are still asking, you cannot receive the answer. I may go on giving it, but you cannot receive it. If the question has dropped within you, no need for me to give it: you have already received it. No question can be answered. A state of mind has to be achieved which is without questions. A nonquestioning state of mind is the only answer.
That's what meditation is all about: to drop the questions, to drop the inner chattering. When the inner talk stops, infinite silence.... In that infinite silence, everything is answered, solved -- not verbalized, simply solved. No problem exists. Problem was the attitude of a neurotic mind. Now the mind is no longer there, the neurosis gone... there are no questions. Everything is simple. There is mystery, but there is no problem. Nothing is solved, but nothing remains to be solved also. Everything is a mystery, a great wonder surrounds you; wherever you look, depth upon depth open in mystery. Not that you have the answer! No, you don't have the question, that's all. When you don't have the question, the whole of life is available in its total mystery -- and that is the answer.
Don't ask how one can learn to recognize unreal problems as unreal. How can you recognize unreal problems? You are unreal. As it is, you are not yet. In your absence, all sorts of problems arise. When you become present they disappear.
Awareness is without problems and without questions. Unawareness is with questions and problems -- and infinite questions, infinite problems. Nobody can solve them. Even if I answer you, you will create more questions out of the answer. It won't be an answer, it will be simply an excuse to ask more questions.
Drop the inner chattering, and then see. In Zen they have a saying that nothing is hidden from the very beginning, everything is clear, but your eyes are closed.
The first part of the statement is absolutely true, I am crazy, but the second is not true yet. I may be driving you crazy, but you are not being driven, because you are much too sane -- that's your trouble. A little more insane, and things will be different. You are much too fixed in the so-called sanity. You have to be unhinged from it.
Look. Jesus looked crazy to people when he was alive. Buddha looked crazy.
They were crazy in the sense that they denied the sanity of the society. It is simply craziness to leave a kingdom and escape from it -- everybody is going towards the palace and Buddha is leaving. Crazy. And he drove many people crazy.
That has always been the work of a Buddha -- to drive people crazy -- because the society has made you so much sane that in your sanity you are almost insane.
You have become so ordinary, so rotten, routine, stale, and you only think of such foolish things; but because the whole society thinks they are sane efforts....
For example, a man continuously thinks of money and you call him sane. He is insane, because how can a really sane person think about money continuously?
There are greater things to think about. Somebody else continuously thinks about prestige, power, always looking for people's approval: insane -- because a sane person is so happy with himself, why should he bother about what others say about him? He lives his own life and he lets others live their own lives. He does not interfere in anybody's life. He does not allow anybody else to interfere in his life.
Great things are possible, and you go on collecting stones. Great things are possible -- God is possible -- and you go on thinking in terms of money, power, prestige. You waste your whole life for absolutely nonsense things, and you think you are sane. You are not sane. In fact the whole society is so insane that to be sane you have to be insane; otherwise you will go away from the society.
All Buddhas, Christs, have been trying to drive you crazy. They are trying to make you really sane, but it looks like craziness. When Jesus said to his disciples, "When somebody slaps you on the face, give him the other cheek also," it is perfectly crazy. Who will listen to this man? What is he saying? He says, "If somebody takes your coat, give him your shirt also." Crazy. But he is saying it is not worth bothering about. He takes your coat: maybe he is not very rude -- he wanted your shirt also but couldn't take it -- a polite man. Give him your shirt also, so let it be finished. Somebody slaps you on the face: maybe some little violence is still lingering in him; let him be freed from it. Give him the other cheek also so he is finished and free -- and you are also free. Otherwise he will come back. So let it be finished and closed. He's talking absolute sense but looks insane.
Yes, I am driving you crazy. I am crazy -- that is certain -- but the other part is uncertain. You are still clinging to your sanity, but I will go on making all the efforts possible. And if you go on hanging around me, some day or other, you will fall. You will have to surrender to craziness, that's all religion is about. To become insane in this so-called sane world is the only way to become sane, because the world is insane.
They are doing so all the time, but you need some deeper eyes to see it.
You never ask the real question. People go on asking, "Where is God hidden?"
They never ask whether their eyes are open or not. They ask, "Where should I seek him?" They never ask, "How should I become available to him so that he can seek me?"
You ask why Buddha, Mahavir, Rajneesh are not dancing. They are dancing all the time. Their whole being is a dance, but you need some other eyes to see it.
You don't have the right eyes. Create them.
I can sign this easily. This is perfectly true -- and better than the first.