Ignorance is Ultimate

Fri, 12 June 1977 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1
Chapter #:
am in Buddha Hall
Archive Code:
Short Title:
Audio Available:
Video Available:
107 mins

The first question:


THE TRADITION IS RIGHT. There is a synthesis which goes beyond foolishness, which goes higher than wisdom itself -- a synthesis in which wisdom and foolishness disappear into one unity.

Foolishness and wisdom are dualities, like all other dualities: man and woman, day and night, summer and winter, life and death. All dualities have to be transcended. Unless dualities are transcended you never come to know the one, the real, the universal.

In that sense a wise man is also a fool -- because in that transcendence both are included.

But he is not a fool in the ordinary sense -- he is not even wise in the ordinary sense. His wisdom is quite a separate reality, so is his foolishness. He is wise because he knows, and he is a fool because he knows that the mystery of life is such that it cannot be known. He is wise because his journey is finished and he is a fool because he now knows for the first time that there is nothing to know and there is no possibility of knowing, that ignorance is ultimate. He has come to know that ignorance is ultimate. There is no way to demystify existence.

We call a man who has got the answer, wise, but the real wise man has not got the answer. His questions have disappeared and so have all the answers -- he is in a tremendous emptiness. And he does not know in the sense of knowledge.

We call a man foolish because he lacks knowledge; we call a man knowledgeable, wise, because he is full of knowledge. But the really wise man=has come to see that there is no way to know the real. The real is there? you can live it, you can be it, but there is no way to know it. Knowledge presupposes division -- the division between the knower and the known; knowledge presupposes distinction; knowledge is based on duality.

A really wise man has come to the point where he is no longer separate, where he is no longer an island, where he has disappeared into the whole. He pulsates with the whole, he vibrates with the whole, he is no more. Only God is. This is the meaning of the Upanishadic seer when he declares 'AHAM BRAHMASMI' -- 'I am God'. This is the meaning when Christ goes on saying 'I and my father are one.'

When you look at existence as an object you remain separate, but when you participate with existence, when you become a participant, when you look at an object and it becomes your very subjectivity -- then there is no knowledge and then there is no ignorance. When there is no knowledge, how can there be ignorance? Ignorance and knowledge are aspects of the same coin and the wise man has thrown both. So a wise man is neither and both.


That is true. There is a tradition that says that Jesus was a fool -- and he was. There is a tradition that says that St. Francis was a fool -- and he was. In India the name of Buddha has taken a very strange form. It has become BUDDHU -- which means 'the fool'. The very name which means the most wise has taken another form, the polar opposite -- it has become BUDDHU. It means 'the fool, the utter fool'.

Yes, polarities meet. That's what I was talking about yesterday -- about what scientists call androgeny. Each man is both man and woman but you become identified with only one part of your being. You think you are a man but there is also a woman inside you, waiting to be recognised, received, accepted. And you go on denying it. You say, 'I am a man.' You will remain lopsided. If you are a woman there is also a man waiting within you, and you go on denying the man. Then you will never be one whole, you will always remain split.

There is a point of awareness, understanding, vision, where your man and woman inside meet and mingle and disappear into each other. That's what William Blake has called 'the inner marriage' when you have become both, androgynous, man and woman both. In India we have the perfect symbol for it -- ARDHANARISHWAR. There are statues of Shiva in which half of his body is man and half of his body is woman. He is both the lover and the beloved, the yin and yang. He is androgynous.

This same kind of meeting with the opposites goes on happening in many directions and many dimensions. Foolishness and wisdom are your two polarities. If you are wise and you deny your foolishness you are not fully wise, because a part of you has not yet been absorbed. A part of you is hanging around you; it has not yet become an integral part of you. If you are a fool and you think that you are a fool then your wise man inside you has been denied, suppressed. A wise man is both and yet neither. He transcends both so you can say he is neither, but because the dualities have disappeared in him and have come to become a new synthesis, you can call him both too.

IS A WISE MAN SIMPLE-MINDED? No. A wise man is no-minded -- not simple- minded, not complex-minded. Again there is the same duality: the simple mind and the complex mind. A wise man is a no-mind. The wise man has gone beyond the confines of the mind, he knows no mind at all. Mind divides. Mind is the barrier between you and existence. Mind exists like the great China Wall -- it is your armour.

A wise man has no armour. He is unprotected, he is vulnerable, he is open. He is not defending himself against nature in any way -- he is available, he is ready to go the whole way with it. He does not push the river, he flows with it. He need not have any mind because the mind of the whole is enough. He need not have a private mind of his own because he has no private goal. He is not going anywhere, he is not an achiever, he has no ambition -- that's what I mean when I say that he has no private goal. So what is the need of having a private mind? The universal mind is enough.

Either call it no-mind or call it Mind with a capital 'M'. Zen people do both. They call it 'no-mind' if they simply want to deny the mind that you have; and they call it the universal Mind, the cosmic Mind, Mind with a capital 'M', when they want to show its positivity.

What exactly is it? When we call it 'no-mind' we are simply saying that it is not what you have got; when we call it the universal, cosmic Mind, we are showing exactly what it is.

Calling it 'no-mind' says something negative about it -- it is not the mind that you are acquainted with. Calling it Mind, great Mind, indicates its nature. A wise man is no- minded or a wise man is a cosmic Mind.

Yes, he is simple like a child but he is not a simpleton. He is simple like a child but he is not childish, remember. There is a vast difference between being childish and being childlike. When Jesus says, 'Only those who are like small children will be able to enter into my kingdom of God,' he is talking about the simplicity, the innocence of childhood -- but he is not talking about childishness, he is not talking about immaturity. A wise man is not childish although he is like a child. He is not complex in the sense that a philosopher, a logician, a theologian is complex; he is not complex in the sense that he has many doctrines and ideologies and he goes on spinning theories -- he is not complex in that sense. His mind is at rest. There is no crowd. His mind is empty. He need not think.

Thinking is a substitute. When you don't know, you think. When you know, what is the point of thinking? You know it already. Thinking is a state of blindness. If you are sitting here and you are blind and you want to go outside, then you will have to think about where the door is. You will have to enquire of other people where the door is. You will be afraid to stumble, you will be afraid to knock against the wall and you will become worried about where the door is. But a man who has eyes does not enquire. He knows where the door is, he can see it, so he does not think about it. The question 'Where is the door?' is irrelevant because he sees it. A wise man has eyes, he can see, so there is no need to think. Only blind people think.

In the West the idea of a thinker is utterly different to the Eastern idea of the seer. You must have seen Rodin's statue of 'The Thinker', or at least a picture of it, a photograph.

We don't call it a thinker. Rodin's 'Thinker' seems to be ill, worried. You can look into the statue and you can see millions of thoughts rushing about in his mind -- it is rush-hour traffic. You can see them in the marble statue -- in the way he is sitting, his head in his hand, the lines of worry on his forehead. You can almost feel that if this man continues in this same posture he will go mad.

The concept of a seer is totally different -- that's why we call him a seer. A Buddha is a seer not a thinker; a Mahavir is a seer, not a thinker; Jesus is a seer, not a thinker. And these Zen people are seers. Why do we call them seers? They can see. When you can see there is no need to think. What is there to think about when you can see? When eyes are available, thinking is dropped. Thinking is like the stick of a blind man which he carries to grope his way along.

There is a parable. A blind man came to Jesus. Jesus touched the blind man's eyes and he was cured. And he was carrying a big stick which he had carried all his life. He thanked Jesus and started going away to his home -- very, very happy because he had obtained eyes and for the first time he had seen colours and the sun and the sunlight and the flowers and the people and the faces. He was thrilled. But he was still carrying his stick.

Jesus called to him and said, 'Sir, why don't you throw away your stick now? Why are you carrying it? 'And he replied, 'Throw it away? How can I throw it aWay? I cannot live without it.'

It is an old habit. He does not know that because he has now got eyes there is no need to carry the stick.

This happens when you get in tune with the no-mind for the first time. You still continue to think. It is just an old blind man's habit. But by and by you become aware that now there is no point in it -- you are simply repeating, you are in an old rut.

Thinking becomes irrelevant -- that is what I mean when I say that a wise man is simple but not a simpleton. All is available to him -- how can he be a simpleton? His consciousness has expanded, his consciousness has become divine, he is as rich as God himself -- so don't think that he is a simpleton. His richness is far more than the richness of a thinker, infinitely more, a million times more. But still he is simple; his innocence remains uncontaminated, his source of consciousness remains unclouded.

You ask: IS THE SIMPLIFICATION THAT COMES WITH AGE WISDOM OR FATIGUE? That which comes with age is fatigue. Wisdom has nothing to do with age. A young man can become wise and you can find as many old fools as you want -- if you try to find one you will find one thousand. Old age has nothing to do with wisdom. Yes, an old man is more experienced, but that doesn't make him wise. An old man is more knowledgeable, but that doesn't make him wise. He remains as foolish as ever.

Neither foolishness nor wisdom is a question of quantity. It is not that the foolish knows less and the wise knows more, no. It is a total shift; it is a new gestalt altogether. The ignorant, the so-called foolish person, and the so called knowledgeable person exist in the same dimension -- the difference is quantitative not qualitative. Maybe the foolish person knows only a few things and the knowledgeable man knows many things, but the difference is between few and many; the difference is not of quality it is only of quantity, the difference is only of degree.

A wise man is no longer on the same wavelength, he has moved onto another wavelength. The difference between a wise man and a fool is so tremendous that it cannot be called quantitative. And the difference between a wise man and a fool is exactly the same as the difference between the wise man and the knowledgeable man. He is as far removed from the knowledgeable man as he is from the ignorant man. He is as far removed from the educated man as he is from the uneducated man. It is a totally new gestalt. His quality of consciousness has changed -- it is not that he knows more, he is more. Listen to it... it is not that he knows more, he IS more. His being is more.

It is possible that you may know more than Jesus; in fact, it is absolutely certain. You know more than Jesus, you know more than Buddha. If Buddha comes here and suddenly has to pass an examination for a Bachelor's Degree or a post-graduate degree, he is bound to fail -- but the many who will pass will not be wiser than him. He will not know a thousand and one things. If you ask him what 'quantum' is he will not know. If you ask him what this theory of relativity that Albert Einstein has propounded is, he will not know. But that does not make him unwise.

The difference between you and Buddha is of quality. His presence is different, his awareness is different, his compassion is different. It is not that he knows much. Even in the days when Buddha was alive there were people who knew more than him. Great scholars were there, great pundits were there and they used to come to quarrel with him, to argue with him. But those days were beautiful. People were not so arrogant. They could see. Even scholars -- it is almost an impossibility -- even scholars could see that this man was totally different, that he existed on a different wavelength. And they would surrender to him. It was not that they knew less than him, they knew more, but he WAS more. It is not a question of his having accumulated more information, something has become transformed in him. There was no darkness in his being, it was full of light. That is the meaning of his enlightenment -- he had attained to light.

This light is wisdom. How can this light come just by age? Sometimes it has happened to children -- about Lao TZU it is said that he was born enlightened. The story is that he was born old, he was born so old that he was almost eighty-two years and his hair was pure white, snow white, and he had a beard. This beautiful story is a metaphor -- it is not true, it is not factual. It says that he was as wise as a man should be by the time he reaches eighty-two years of age.

In India Shankara died when he was thirty-three -- very near to the hippie age limit of thirty. He had not gone very far. But he was one of the most enlightened persons in the world. Even very, very old sages used to come and sit at his feet and were converted by him.

When Jesus was crucified he was also thirty-three. He could not have been very experienced, could not have been very knowledgeable. There were many Jewish rabbis who knew more, who could have quoted scriptures far more authentically. Jesus was almost uneducated, a carpenter's son. You could not expect much. But what was the difference? The difference was not in the information, the difference was in the being. He was full of light, full of joy, full of bliss. He had the aroma of having arrived -- there was nowhere to go, nothing to be achieved any more, all desires had disappeared.

When becoming disappears you are a being -- a wise man attains to being. An unwise man goes after becoming -- become this, become that, be rich, be powerful, this and that.

A wise man is simply happy the way he is, in the place he is, at the time he is. He has no hankering -- not even for God, not even for enlightenment. He hankers not. Desires have disappeared, desires have left him. This non-desiring state of consciousness is what we call wisdom.

No, wisdom has nothing to do with age. With age comes fatigue. But many old people start talking in terms of knowledgeability. They start preaching to young people. They start talking about things they have never done themselves; they are fatigued, tired, and in a very deep way, jealous. If you see a young boy climbing up a tree, don't you feel jealous? And immediately your jealousy is asserted in some very great advice -- you tell the boy, 'Don't go up there. You may fall down. Listen to me. Listen to age.' Look deep down and you will see that you are feeling jealous that those days are gone, that you cannot climb the tree and this boy is doing it.

When an old man sees a young man and a young woman moving hand-in-hand with a great vibe of love around them, he feels jealous. Now he cannot do it any more even though he would like to do it. But the jealousy takes a very beautiful form. It says that this is all foolishness, it is just momentary. 'Listen,' says the old man, 'this will disappear sooner or later. Don't be befooled by it.' Don't think that he has become wise. If he had really become wise he would understand the young people, he would not be against them.

Real wisdom is never against life; real wisdom has always a 'yes' for life, never a 'no'.

Wherever you find a 'no' which is very, very emphatic, remember, something else is pretending to be wise.

And, finally, you ask: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A WISE MAN AND A FOOL? The wise man knows that he is a fool and the fool does not know it.

The second question:


I die every moment, I don't accumulate death -- so it is not a problem. If you really live, then death is not a problem at all. You need not deal with it because it does not exist.

Death is a created problem. Try to understand it. Because you don't allow the past to die, it goes on being accumulated, it becomes heavy on you, it is a dead load. If you allow the past to die each moment as the time passes, if you finish with it, then each moment you are born again and you don't accumulate the dead past. Then you don't accumulate death and there is therefore no problem to tackle, there is no problem to deal with. Each moment you become fresh -- and you know that this freshness is eternal, timeless. Even when the so-called death will be happening, you will not be dying. In that moment life has become past, so you don't cling to it. You have learned one thing in life -- not to cling. So you don't cling to it and the problem does not arise. If you cling to life there is a fear of death. The clinging to life creates the problem.

Why do you cling to life? You cling to life because you don't know how to live it, you have never been told how to live it. You have been really completely damaged, you have been conditioned in such a way that you don't live. You don't live life, hence the fear.

You never go into anything totally. You don't love totally, you don't cry totally, you don't laugh totally -- you have forgotten the language of totality. You don't know what totality means -- you are always partial. Even while in love you don't go to the very end, you don't allow it to happen. You go on resisting.

First you go on accumulating the dead past -- that is accumulating death around you. That frozen past is going to become more and more heavy every day because it is growing every day. And your life is very delicate and vulnerable; with that dead past on top of it you are crushing it. And that dead past won't allow you to live any moment totally, it always pulls you back. You want to go ahead, but it pulls you back. Even if you go, you don't go the whole way. So nothing is fulfilled, nothing is ever fulfilled. You have never loved, you have never laughed. Yes, you have laughed many times but the laughter has never been total, it was always partial, fragmentary.

You are still not aware of what life is -- you have not yet danced that dance, you have not yet sung that song. When you live life in its totality, moment to moment, you don't feel afraid of death, there is nothing to be afraid of. You have lived your life, you have enjoyed this blessing, you feel grateful. Death will start appearing like a great rest, nothing else. Death will not be able to take anything from you because whatsoever can be taken has been dropped before death comes. You have never accumulated it. And death will not destroy anything because you know how to live each moment totally. When death comes, you will also live death totally.

When Socrates was dying after being poisoned, his disciples were crying and weeping.

He opened his eyes and said, 'What are you doing? Why are you crying? In such a beautiful moment what are you doing? Why are you missing this? Participate with me.

Death is happening. Don't miss this opportunity. Try to see death. That's what I am doing.'

And he went on saying to his disciples, 'Now my legs have gone numb. But it is mysterious -- my legs have gone numb, I cannot feel my legs any more, but my feeling about myself is still the same, it is not less.' Then he said, 'My hands are going numb.

They have disappeared. I cannot feel them.' He asked one of his disciples to pinch him.

He was pinched, but he couldn't feel it. And he laughed and said, 'This is strange. Now my body is almost dead but I am as alive as ever. My feeling of consciousness is as total as ever.'

Then he started feeling that his heart was sinking but to the very last moment he was saying, 'Remember, this is my last saying. I will not be able to say anything more because my tongue is getting frozen.' The last thing he said to his disciples was, 'I am as totally alive as ever; my consciousness has not diminished a bit. So the body cannot destroy me.

The body has gone, I am on the verge of disappearing, but my inner feeling, my feeling of subjectivity is as untouched as ever. In fact, it is more clear than ever before.'

Death gives a context; it becomes a blackboard and life becomes something written in white chalk on the blackboard. In life you may not be able to feel life so keenly, so acutely, so sensitively, but in death you can because of the contrast. It is just like seeing the stars at night, and when the night is dark the stars are more shiny. During the day they are there too, they have not gone anywhere, they cannot go anywhere. Where can they gO? They are there. But because of the sunlight you cannot see them. Their light is lost in the sunlight. In the dark night they are there -- so beautiful, twinkling. Exactly the same happens in death. Life becomes a star shining luminously.

You ask me: HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH DEATH? I don't know what death is because I go on dying, each moment I go on dying to the past. I don't live in the past. And because I don't live in the past I don't live in the future -- the future is always a projection of the past. A dead past creates a false future, and only this moment is true.

I am here, just now feel this moment. Where is the problem of death? How can you die in this moment? Death is always a projected problem: someday you will die. It is just an inference -- someday. Somebody has died, you have seen a person dying, and then you become afraid that you are going to die. But have you really seen that he has died? You have seen only the outward expression of his death, you don't know what has happened to him inside.

Nobody has ever died. Death is the greatest untruth; it does not exist. Only life exists.

Life is eternal. If you drop the past the future is also dropped. And in the present there is no death, in the present there is only life.

Listen to this beautiful story.

The college psychology class was studying human reactions to sexual stimulus and of special interest was the frequency of amorous relations.

'How many students here,' said the professor, 'engage more than once a week?

Five people raised their hands.

'And how many engage once a week?' Ten hands went up.

'How many twice a month?' Eight hands went up.

'Once a month?' Four hands were raised.

'And how many once a year?'

A little guy in the back waved his hand frantically and giggled hysterically.

'If you engage only once a year,' said the professor, 'I don't see what you are so overjoyed about.'

Flushed with excitement, the little guy said, 'Yes, but tonight's the night!'

Let this moment be the moment. Don't live in the past because nobody can live in the past. It is no more. And don't make your palaces in the future, it cannot be done. The future does not exist. Live in this moment.

Jesus says to his disciples, 'Look at these lilies in the field. How beautiful they are. Even Solomon, attired in all his costly garments, was not so beautiful.' And what is the secret of the lilies in the field? They live in the moment. Today is the day, tonight is the night and this moment is the only moment.

Once you start living in the moment you are constantly in touch with life. And life refreshes you, life goes on rejuvenating you.

Yes, the body will disappear one day, but that is not death -- it is simply a tired body going to rest. Yes, this mind will be lost, because this mind has been used. What do you want? Do you want to use this same mind forever and ever? Are you not fed up with it?

This mind works from the day you are born up to the day you die -- seventy, eighty, ninety years. It is a mechanism. Feel a little compassion for the mechanism -- by and by it gets old, by and by it does not function so well, so you need a new mechanism.

This body becomes old, this body becomes rotten, it is a mechanism. And it is a tremendously intricate and complex mechanism; science has not been able to invent anything else like it yet. It is so automatic. You think automation is new? Your body has been automatic for millions of years. When you eat food it is digested automatically. You don't have to digest it. When you breath in, the blood takes in the oxygen and releases carbon dioxide automatically -- you don't have to do these things. Just think if you had to do these things! You wouLd go crazy within one day, you wouLd not be able to survive.

It is all automatic. And for seventy, eighty, ninety years this mechanism functions perfectly well. Yes, sometimes you feel ill, sometimes you are not good, and this and that -- but that is nothing.With such a complex and delicate mechanism all illness are nothing.

It is a miracle that you exist at all. It is a miracle that sometimes you are healthy.

But all mechanisms get tired. Even metals get tired. Now scientists say that metals get tired. While I am speaking not only my body will be tired, this microphone will get tired also. Everything gets tired and everything needs rest.

Death is just rest, nothing else. You dissolve into the elements. The body goes back to the earth to rest. But it will be revived again in a thousand and one bodies, it will come back again. Can't you watch it everywhere? Spring comes, the trees are full of bloom, and then the flowers disappear back into the earth. Then the leaves fall down into the earth and become manure. Again they will enter into some other tree's circuLation, again they will become part of some other tree, again they will live under the sun, again they will enjoy the wind and the moon and the stars, again they will laugh, again they will smile, again they will sing a song and again birds will come to them and people will enjoy seeing them.

This goes on. Life is a continuous circle of action and rest, action and rest. Life is not only that which you call life -- death is part of life, death is not the end of life. Death is part of life; in fact, it is through death that life exists, because through death life goes to rest and again becomes full of energy and vitality and comes back. It is like going to sleep in the night. Yes, sleep is a mini-death. You die for a few hours. If you die rightly in your sleep then in the morning you are very fresh, you are again young, your eyes again have a sparkle to them, your feet again have a dance to them, again you are full of joy and juice. If you have not been able to sleep well then in the morning you are tired.

So learn to live well and learn to die well. When you die, die utterly so that when you are born again, again the juices will be flowing. And why be bothered about it? You are not bothered about one thing -- have you ever speculated about it? Have you ever thought where you were before this life, before this birth? You don't care. Why? Then why are you caring about death? You have passed through death many times but you don't care any more. You may have been the great Alexander, who knows? All kinds of mad people are here. You may have been Genghis Khan or Adolf Hitler... many Germans are here!

Who knows?

All kinds of things happen in this world but you are not worried. Even if somebody says you were Alexander the Great, you will say that you don't care. What does it matter? But when you were Alexander the Great it mattered much -- and you were thinking a lot about death.

You will die and yet you will not die. This is the combination. This body gets tired, this mind gets tired, this ego gets tired... and that which is real inside, the real master of your house, consciousness, takes a jump, tries to find another body, another womb, and goes on.

Then a moment comes when you get tired of these circles of life itself. First you get tired of one circle, then you enter into another, then another, then another, wheel upon wheel.

A moment comes in your life when you become more and more alert about what is happening. You get tired, not only of one life but of life as such, of this constant coming and going -- what Hindus call AWAGAMAN, coming and going.

The day you become tired of this very coming and going you become religious. Then a new element has entered into your consciousness, a new ray of light. Then you start thinking of nirvana. Ordinary death is getting rid of one life so that you can live again; nirvana is getting rid of all lives so you don't live as an individual, you start living as the universe, you start living as God. Then there is no need to come back to the body, to the mind, to the ego.

The third question:


Knowledge is always a bore. It is not that knowledge is a bore while you are young, knowledge is always a bore, knowledge is rubbish. Knowledge is not the real thing. So how can it be otherwise? It has to be a bore. It is not the real thing. It is as if somebody is hungry and you go on talking about recipes and food and this and that -- the person still remains hungry.

People need knowing not knowledge; people need understanding not knowledge; people need wisdom not knowledge. Knowledge is a bore. It does not matter how old you are.

And the second thing: religion has nothing to do with age. Sometimes it can happen when you are young, sometimes it may not happen when you are young. It depends on a thousand and one things. Sometimes a man is so alert that while he is young he becomes aware of the falsity of the world, and sometimes it happens that a man has become old and has not yet become alert of the falsity of the world. People are not alike. They are very different. So there can be no fixed and fast rule.

But as a general statement it can be said that people start becoming religious near about forty-two Don't take it as a fixed law, it is not. The higher the entity in existence, the less and less applicable are fixed laws. The lower the entity, the more applicable are fixed laws. You call say that water evaporates at a hundred degrees. This is fixed. Whether it is Tibet or India or Iran does not matter, water will evaporate at a hundred degrees wherever you are -- because the water is not yet individually conscious, it has no freedom.

Trees have a little more freedom so they become a little more unpredictable. Animals have a little more freedom again, they become even more unpredictable. Man is the most free agent in this existence, he is very unpredictable. But as a general statement it can be granted that near about forty-two, people start thinking of religion. There is a certain natural tendency at that time.

According to yoga and tantra, life can be divided into seven year fragments. A child enters the first change when he is seven. Then his childhood is over. A great change.

When he is fourteen sex enters into life. Another great change. Now he will have a different outlook, different desires. At twenty-one ambition enters into life. He becomes more political, rebellious, protesting, fighting -- ready to fight with anybody. He becomes a revolutionary. At twenty-eight he starts settling, he becomes more interested in comfort, a bank balance, a good salary, a good home, a wife, a child, a TV, a car -- things like that.

He starts becoming more square.

So hippies are right. Don't trust the man who has gone beyond thirty because after thirty everybody becomes orthodox. It is a natural trend. After twenty-eight a man becomes a house-holder. So you don't see old hippies. No, near about twenty-eight hippies disappear into the wide world against which they were fighting. By the time they are twenty-eight they start becoming more traditional, conventional, conforming. The days of revolution are gone. Now they have to settle, they have to make a nest on some tree, they start thinking of marriage, of children. And naturally, when marriage and children happen, you cannot be a revolutionary any more.

By the age of thirty-five a man becomes almost established -- whatsoever has happened he becomes established. If he has succeeded he becomes established in his success; if he has failed he becomes established in his failure. Then he knows that now nothing can be done; whatsoever has happened has happened. He becomes very, very fatalistic, he starts believing in KISMET; he says that now nothing can be done, whatsoever was written on his hand has happened. Now he is not in any way ready to fight; he relaxes.

By the age of forty-two he starts becoming a little bit aware.... What is he doing here, earning money, power, prestige? Death is coming. Death knocks at the door for the first time near about forty-two -- that is the age when you have heart attacks and blood pressure and cancer and things like that. That is the first knock. Beware of the age forty- two, it is the most dangerous age.

Then you start feeling a little shaky, then you start feeling a little trembling inside, you are no longer as certain as you used to be. You lose confidence. You have lived, you have known money, you have known wife, children, you have known sex and love, you have seen this and that, you have travelled around the world -- but nothing has satisfied you, it feels like something is missing. This is the moment when religion enters into your life.

Remember, death and religion enter together. The knock of death is the knock of religion too.

Now it depends on you. If you are very anti-religious you will miss the opportunity of being a sannyasin when death knocks. If you are very anti-religious, fixed in your attitudes, in your prejudices, then you will have only heart attacks, blood pressures, TB, cancer. Then you cannot have God. This is your choice.

But if you are an open person without any prejudices, this is the moment you start looking for God. When death is there you start searching for something eternal. Death is coming, now there is no more time left. You have to look into your life, you have to settle accounts with life. And this life which you have lived up to now suddenly becomes futile, meaningless.

But it happens to people at different times. To somebody it may happen at thirty-five, to somebody it may happen at fifty. I am talking only of an average: forty-two is the average. If you are very intelligent it can happen early, if you are very stupid it will not happen even at forty-two -- it depends. It is a question of intelligence. Stupid people go on remaining unreligious to the very end.

Intelligent people start turning to religion from the very beginning. Yes, it is a question of intelligence, not a question of age. But age plays a role because a hormonal change starts happening. By the age of forty-two sex is no longer such an obsession. You are finished with it.

You are finished with it unless you are a saint, unless you have fallen a victim to some mahatma -- then you are in trouble. Then you can go on being obsessed with sex to the very end. The more sexual freedom you have, the faster sex becomes meaningless. The more experience of sex you have, the sooner it loses all significance. It becomes very ordinary. Remember this: avoid mahatmas, ascetic people, because they will never allow you to go beyond sex.

This will look very strange to you, but listen to me. These are the people who have kept sex alive on the earth. If people like me are allowed to have their say, sex will soon disappear from the earth. It will remain very biological, it will lose all romance, it will lose all the nonsense that you go on putting into it. That nonsense arises out of repression.

If you repress sex then even at the age of forty-two you will not feel that sex is meaningless. In fact, the more you repress it, the more sex will attack you; it will come back with a vengeance again and again and again. It will haunt you in your dreams, it will haunt you in your fantasies.

That's why there is always the same story in the old scriptures: a great seer is sitting under a tree and APSARAS come from heaven -- beautiful women with golden bodies -- and dance naked around him. Now why? This poor old chap, he has not done anything wrong to anybody. He is sitting under his tree, doing his JAPA, turning his beads, he has left the world -- now why is heaven so interested in this poor man? Why disturb him?

But this happens in every age. This happens to Hindus, this happens to Christians, this happens to Jainas, this happens to Buddhists -- it seems to be a very, very universal phenomenon. Why does it happen? These people go on interpreting it as if it is the Devil who is trying to distract them. Nobody is trying to distract them, it is their repressed sexuality that is coming back Wit}l a vengeance. When you repress sexuality it drives you crazy. These so-called seers sitting under their trees and in their caves in the Himalayas are simply getting neurotic. They need psychiatric treatment. They don't need anything else, they need the psychiatrist's couch. They should go to some Freud, to some Jung, to some Adler. They should go into their dreams, they should be analysed.

If you don't repress sex, sex loses meaning in its own time. Just as it becomes very, very meaningful at the age of fourteen, so it becomes very, very meaningless at the age of forty-two.

Remember two things: when death knocks at the door, when death starts entering, sex starts going out. They are related. Sex is birth. Death and sex are the enemies, they cannot exist together. When death starts coming, sex starts moving out. They cannot live in the same house together. But one thing is very, very essential to understand -- sex goes only if you have lived it utterly, if you have known it, if you have experienced it, if you have not repressed it in any way, if you have been very, very expressive. Then it dies a simple death on its own accord. If you repress it then it clings. Any unlived desire clings, any unlived thing goes on hanging around you.

At the age of forty-nine again a great change happens. A man is not only interested in something greater than sex, he becomes involved, committed. At the age of forty-two he starts thinking, brooding, contemplating; by the age of forty-nine he starts being committed. He can become a sannyasin, he can become a BHIKKHU, he can become a monk, or, even if he does not take any outward form, he may start changing in his inside world. He will become a meditator, he will start praying. And this will be a commitment.

Now this will not be a feeling, just a feeling, he will devote his whole life to it. Devotion arises at the age of forty-nine, commitment arises at the age of forty-nine.

And if things go right, and you are not distracted by foolish people all around, by the age of fifty-six your meditation will start flowering -- the first satoris, the first glimpses of God will happen.

And at the age of sixty-three you will be established in samadhi, you would have become enlightened -- if things go rightly. Then for at least seven years -- if you were going to be seventy, I have divided according to seventy -- for seven years you can live a divine life, imparting divinity to others. You can become a Master.

This is the right process. Up to forty-two somehow it goes okay, because up to forty-two everything is in the world. But beyond forty-two things start going wrong because beyond forty-two you start moving beyond the world. And all the commitments and involvements and investments that you have made up to forty-two become a barrier.

For example, you loved a woman, you got married, and now suddenly you start becoming a meditator. The woman will be against it because she feels afraid -- and rightly so. She feels afraid that if you become a meditator you will lose interest in her. And she is right.

Now she will disturb you, she will be against you, she will not allow you to become a sannyasin. She will say, 'No, think of me, think of my children. What has happened to you? Have you gone mad? Then why did you get married to me in the first place? And why have you given birth to these children if you were going to become a sannyasin?'

That's why I say there is no need to leave the children and no need to leave the wife. You can be with them and yet you can be a sannyasin, because sannyas is an inward journey.

The wife will create trouble, the husband will create trouble, -- because a new interest is coming into your life which has never been there before. Naturally, this new interest will change your whole pattern; you will not be the same man again. If your wife comes to me and becomes interested, you will be disturbed. If you come, your wife will become disturbed, because a new interest is arising. And who knows where it will lead you? Fear, jealousy, defense, struggle... egos feel hurt. You have been earning money, you have made a great kingdom, you have made a big empire -- now suddenly at forty-two you start meditating. Now your whole empire will be against you. It is such a sudden change.

All changes are sudden. Up to forty-two the changes were within the world so there was no problem. But beyond forty-two the changes are higher than the world, they start moving towards God, closer to God. You are going back-home. It is a return journey.

This world is finished.

You ask: ONE PHILOSOPHER SAID: 'KNOWLEDGE IS A VIRTUE IN THE SECOND HALF OF LIFE BUT A BORE IN THE FIRST. Knowledge is always a bore but wisdom, wisdom is a virtue. And wisdom is a virtue all through your life, it is never a bore. I have never seen a man bored with wisdom.

If you are around a wise man you will never be bored. In fact, you will be surprised how much you are not bored. A wise man is very fresh and he goes on pouring his freshness into you. He is very young -- he may be old but still he is young because his consciousness is so young. He goes on flowering in new ways. He does not carry the dust of the past, he is always fresh, his mirror is clean. You can always look into him and see your face growing; you can always look into him and find nourishment through him.

Wisdom is never boring, wisdom is nourishment.

But knowledge is boredom. Knowledge immediately creates boredom -- because it is false, it is dull, it is borrowed, it is dead.

Have you seen a small child playing around you? You are not bored with him. He is so alive, so buoyant -- dancing, singing, running -- that you start feeling young with him.

And have you sat with an old man? He may not do anything, he may just be sitting there, reading his newspaper but you start feeling bored. He has not said a single word, just his very being is heavy.

Knowledge is heavy; wisdom is light.

The fourth question:


A Christian has arrived!

If you understand the Gospel then the question will not arise -- because whatsoever I have said is included in the Gospel, even the denial of the Gospel. All real scriptures have denied scriptures. All alive books have been against dead books.

If you have understood the Gospel this question will not arise. You don't understand your Gospel and you cannot understand it -- because the only way to understand the Gospel is to go withinwards. The Gospel cannot be understood directly; you cannot go and read the Bible and understand it -- that will give you knowledge but not insight. That knowledge you must have and that is why you became troubled. Whatsoever I have said, even if I sometimes say something against Christ, he will approve of it. Go to Christ and ask him.

How can I deny Christ? How can he deny me? It is impossible. It is a question of a different consciousness. Christ has nothing to do with Christianity -- just as Buddha has nothing to do with Buddhism, just as Krishna has nothing to do with Hinduism. These people live in a totally different consciousness. And if you want to understand them, their words won't help you. You will have to go into that world of consciousness, only then will you understand.

You think that we should go to the source, the Gospel. The Gospel is not the source; the source is within you. If you go to the source within you, you will understand the Gospel, not otherwise, not vice versa. It is not that you understand the Gospel and then you can go within yourself, no. The way is through your innermost core.

What is Jesus saying to people? 'The kingdom of God is within you.' He is not saying it is in the Gospel. He says, 'Look withinwards, the God is there.' He is not saying, 'Look heavenwards,' he is saying, 'Look withinwards.'

And that is exactly what Zen is saying. Jesus is a Zen Master. Zen is saying burn the scriptures. Don't feel offended, that is the way Zen speaks. It is one of the most profound ways to speak -- 'Burn the scriptures.' Why? So that you don't have anything to look at on the outside, so that the bridge to the outside is broken. Then you will have to move inwards. And the day you reach to your own consciousness you will see how true Jesus is. Then you become the Gospel.

You ask: ALL YOU SAID THIS MORNING IS INCLUDED IN THE GOSPEL. Yes, note this too -- the denial is also included in the Gospel. The very denial of the Gospel is included in it. Jesus' whole teaching is that God is an experience. Jesus is not a theologian, he is a mystic. But it always happens. All great mystics, when they are gone, are pounced upon by the theologians.

I have heard about Michelangelo. In a church he had done a painting of Jesus. When the Pope and a few Bishops came to see it they started criticizing it, they started finding fault with it. Michelangelo stood there listening and finally the Pope said, 'Okay, everything is okay, but you have painted Jesus' face too red.'

And Michelangelo said, 'No, sir, I have not painted his face too red. He is feeling ashamed because of you people. He is ashamed to see into whose hands his words have fallen.'

This happens always. This is going to happen to me too. Beware.

SO WHY DO YOU REJECT JESUS AND THE GOSPEL IN FRONT OF US...? I reject the Gospel, I reject Christianity, I sometimes even reject Jesus -- so that I can bring you to Jesus. To come to Jesus one has to go through total denial, otherwise you will go on clinging. Nothing should be left outside you -- the scriptures, the church, Christianity.

Everything should be destroyed so that you are thrown back to yourself -- that is the Zen method.

But I can understand. If you have lived in a certain kind of prejudice, if you are a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian, it is very difficult to get rid of it. It is not like clothes that you can drop easily, it is like your skin. It is difficult, it is painful. But without that pain there is no growth.

Reading the scriptures you remain a second-hand man because your God remains second- hand.

A spinster of forty had a brother at sea who sent her a pair of parrots in a double cage.

The spinster was intrigued to know which was the cock and which was the hen, as they were exactly alike. So she consulted a vet.

'Watch them,' said the vet. 'The one that gets on top is the male.'

'I do watch them,' said the lady, 'but they never do anything.'

'Then creep down at dawn and have a peep, and when you know which is the cock, be sure and mark it.'

The spinster obeyed instructions and caught the birds in the very act of mating. Thrilled to bits, she tied a white tape around the cock's neck.

The following Sunday the Vicar came to tea. As he removed his coat the cock parrot shouted, 'Hello, so you've been caught doing a woman as well, have you!'

All borrowed knowledge is like that.

Don't carry a second hand God. God will never be happy with you. Don't become a carbon-copy; God loves the originals because God is tremendously original God? does not want more than one Jesus otherwise he would have created another. And God does not want more than one Buddha otherwise he would have created another. He creates a Buddha only once, he never repeats.

So if you really want to attain TO God, be yourself. Don't be a Christian and don't be a Hindu and don't be a Mohammedan. Be yourself. Be an authentic being. And in being that you will know what Jesus is, in being that you will know what Buddha is, in being that you will know what God is.

The last question:


You have come to the wrong man. You should go to some so-called mahatma. You can read Mahatma Gandhi's books or Swami Sivananda's books -- they will be helpful. They function almost like aphrodisiacs.

A few suggestions: don't look at Playboy magazines, don't go to a movie, don't look at women. While you walk, keep to Buddha's rule: look only four feet ahead on the ground.

If you see a woman, escape. Soon you will not be bored with sex! APSARAS will start coming to you.

This question must have come from a Westerner, it could never come from an Indian.

Indians are never bored, they cannot be. They have so many mahatmas. When Indians come to me their question is how to get rid of sex. Just see how conditioning can make great differences! When a Hindu comes he is always worried about how to get rid of sex.

This question must be from an American. Yes, in America there is no future for sex, it is finished. If not now, then within twenty years it will be finished utterly. When sex is absolutely accepted it is bound to become boring. It is such a repetition; it is the same thing again and again. And when it is available, you don't fantasise about it. And when it is available too much, by and by you start wondering what you are doing, what this nonsense is. You start looking a little insane. What are you doing? The thrill, if you really want to keep it forever fresh, evergreen, can be maintained only through repression.

In all the past ages, East or West, sex was never a boring thing, never, because all religions have taken care of it. They have been preaching anti-sexuality and through anti- sexuality they were keeping sex alive.

The post-Freudian man is bound to feel one day or other that sex is a boring thing. It is. It is a very mechanical thing. All that you see in it comes out of your repression. It is not there.

It is almost like a man who has been fasting -- food becomes a great fantasy when you fast. If you are fasting and you go to the market, you will not see anything else except food stores, restaurants, hotels. You will not see other things. There are other things also, millions of things are being sold, but you will only see food everywhere, food will float everywhere.

Heinrich Heine has written that once he was lost in a forest. For three days he could not find the way out of it, and he was hungry. Then came the full moon night. He was a great poet, and he had always written about the moon, he was fascinated by the moon. He had always compared the moon to his beautiful beloved.

But that night he was surprised -- because he saw a loaf of white bread floating in the sky.

The beautiful woman had disappeared. He must have rubbed his eyes. What was happening? Had he gone crazy? But nothing was happening. When you see a beautiful woman in the moon it is the same thing, a projection. If you are fasting, food will become the projection.

In the past the so-called religious people took care of sex, so the past ages were very interested in sex. In the scriptures were against it, all the priests were against it, all the Popes were against it. They kept it alive. But now it is difficult.

And you are asking the wrong man.

Listen to a few stories.

The honeymooners were at Niagara Falls, where they went immediately to a hotel room and didn't leave it for five days. On the morning of the sixth day hubby remarked, 'Dearest, would you like to see the Eighth Wonder of the World?'

His wife replied, 'If you take that thing out again, I'll scream and call the police.'

That's what is happening. There is a limit. You are getting bored. You are at the moment when you will scream and call the police.

A boy of twelve went to his father with a little girl of ten, a neighbour's daughter.

'Dad,' he said, 'we want to get married.'

'Yes, son, in ten years.'

'No, Dad, now!'

'What are you going to live on?'

'We can manage on her pocket money and mine.'

Said the father (playing along with the joke), 'Oh, I see, and what if she has a baby?'

'Well, Dad, nothing's happened so far.'

From the age ten, and even before that, you start. How long can you remain unbored?

And all kinds of things have become available in America -- Vatsyayana's 'Kamasutras'

and pictures and picture books of Khajuraho, Konarak and Puri, and a thousand and one methods of creating beautiful bodies -- at least an illusion of beautiful bodies -- through photography, photographic tricks. Pornography has become so important that it is killing your sexual desire. Hefner is the enemy of sexual desire, and Playboy and all the other girlie magazines are killing and destroying it.

And then there are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and a thousand and one kinds of methods of making love. While reading Vatsyayana's 'Kamasutras' -- it is one of the great works -- I have always felt that in the days of Vatsyayana, India must have been in the same state of mind as America is in today. People must have got bored, otherwise who invents so many sex postures? Why? One posture has been always enough. And Vatsyayana goes on inventing. It seems that people must have become very bored -- then you have to invent something. This inventiveness simply shows boredom. Vatsyayana must have been helping people -- he was a great seer, a great wise man. He must have looked at people's misery. They were getting so bored that something had to be done.

Whenever a culture becomes too free about sex it becomes bored. India was once very, very free -- one of the most free countries in the world. When there is freedom, naturally you don't repress. When you don't repress, boredom arises. So many postures were invented -- many ways of trying to get the same pleasure through new channels. If you are bored, try it in some other way. Group sex must have been prevalent -- there are indications in the Khajuraho temples. When people are getting bored with a one man, one woman relationship, they start playing with groups. Wife swapping has become prevalent.

These are all signs that sex is dying, dying because of too much freedom.

A young hippie bookseller was arrested by a member of the Vice Squad for peddling pornographic photographs.

'But you're making a big mistake!' said the hippie. 'These aren't dirty pictures!'

The officer selected a particularly intricate study of several naked men and women, 'Now you can't tell me that this isn't a dirty picture!'

'Aw, c'mon man!' shrugged the hippie. 'Haven't you ever seen five people in love before?'

Things like that have become very common. These are signs of boredom.

But I will still say that you have come to the wrong man because I am very happy that you are bored. My whole effort here is to make you bored with sex. Because if you are bored with sex only then can you become interested in God, never otherwise. A repressed person remains interested in sex, that's why I am against repression. You will be surprised, but this is my logic, this is my mathematics. A repressed person remains interested in sex, remains obsessed with sex, so I say have all sex that you can have and soon you will be finished with it. And when you are finished with it and sex loses all meaning, that will be a great day, a great moment in your life. Then you can become interested in God, never before it.

Only a bored man -- bored with sex -- can really become a celibate. A BRAHMACHARYA ARISES, a pure BRAHMACHARYA arises -- out of sheer boredom. If you are not yet bored, then your BRAHMACHARYA will be a repression and I am not in favour of any repression because repression keeps the joy in sex alive.

People think that I teach sex. I am one of the persons who is teaching God. If I talk about sex there is a reason for it -- the reason is that I would like you to know it before it is too late. Know it, know it totally, go into it headlong and be finished with it. Go into it meditatively, alert, aware -- that is the approach of tantra, that's the tantra attitude. Go into it and see it. If you know something well you are free of it. Knowledge, understanding, liberates.

To me you are in a good state of mind, don't be worried. It is good, you are fortunate. Sex is finished. Now don't go to any mahatma otherwise it may start again. This is the moment when you can help your energy to move towards God without any hindrance.

Now there is no obstruction at all.

It is sex energy that becomes samadhi. When sex energy is freed from sexual objects it starts moving into meditation, it becomes prayer. Yes, Jesus is right when he says God is love. It is your love energy that flowers as God. Once it is freed from man and woman, once you are no longer interested in man and woman, then where will your energy go? It will start moving inwards. The man is outside, the woman is outside. If you remain interested in man and woman you remain interested in the other. When there is no sex left, when you are finished with the other, your eyes start closing. You become silent naturally.

But I can understand your anxiety -- the American anxiety. You think that only sex is life.

If sex is finished then what is left except death? I would like tO tell you that God is still left. When sex is finished, God begins. Don't be worried, don't be anxious, don't be in anguish. Relax into this state. And don't lose this opportunity because there is every possibility that you may fall into somebody else's hands and he may create your sex; desire again. Use this opportunity for meditation; it is a great opportunity. A door has opened a little bit, look through it.

Yes, it is the same door through which death enters and through which sannyas enters. It is the same door through which death comes and through which God comes. It is a God- given opportunity. Don't miss it.

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