Base your Rule on the Rule

Fri, 5 October 1970 00:00:00 GMT
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Osho - Krishna - The Man and His Philosophy
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Question 1:



There is a good deal of similarity between Christ's concept of neutrality, Buddha's idea of indifference, Mahavira's transcendence of attachment, and Krishna's non-attachment. These are the ways of looking at and meeting the world. But there are some basic differences too. While their end-points are similar, their approaches are very different. while their ultimate goal is the same, they differ much in the ways and means they use to achieve their ends.

There is deep similarity between what Christ calls neutrality or non-alignment with the world at large, and what Buddha calls indifference to it. As the world is, with all its strange goings-on, its contradictions and conflicts, its struggles and trials, a seeker on the spiritual path will do well to keep a distance from it. But remember, neutrality can never be blissful; deep down it makes one sad and dull and drab. Therefore Jesus looks sad; even if he attains to some bliss he comes to it by way of his sadness. And his whole path is dull and dreary; he cannot walk it singing and dancing. Neutrality is bound to turn into sadness; Jesus cannot help it.

If I don't choose life, if I reject it completely, if I say I take neither this nor that, then I will soon stop flowing, I will stagnate. If a river refuses to move in any of the directions - east, west, north or south - it will cease to flow, it will stagnate. It will turn into a closed pool.

It is true that a stagnant pool of water too will reach the ocean, but not in the way the river reaches it.

It will first have to turn into vapor and then into clouds and then descend on the ocean in the form of rains. It will not have the joys of a river, pushing its way to the ocean singing, dancing, celebrating.

A pool of dead water, a pond, dries up under the scorching sun, becomes vapor, clouds, and then reaches the ocean through a detour. It is deprived of the delight, beauty and ecstasy a river has.

Such a pool of water is nothing more than a pond of listlessness and boredom.

Jesus is like a wandering cloud - somber and sad - not like a river, rejoicing, exulting, singing.

There is something common to the lifestyles of Jesus and Buddha, but the difference between them is as great. Buddha is very different from Jesus. While Jesus' neutrality looks sad, Buddha's indifference is silent, peaceful and quiet. Buddha is never sad, he is quiet, serene and silent. If he lacks the dance of Krishna, and the secret bliss of Mahavira, he is also free of the sadness of Jesus; he is utterly settled in his peace, his silence.

Buddha is not neutral like Jesus; he has attained to indifference, which is much different from neutrality. He has come to know that everything in life, as we know it, is meaningless, so nothing now is going to disturb his peace. Every alternative, every choice in life is the same for him. So his stillness, his peace, his calm is total.

Jesus is only neutral; every choice, every alternative is not the same for him. Jesus will say this is right and that is wrong; although he is non-aligned with the opposites, he is not that choiceless.

Buddha has attained to absolute choicelessness. For him nothing is good or bad, right or wrong, black or white. For him summer and winter, day and night, pleasure and pain, laughter and tears are the same. For him, choosing is wrong and only choicelessness is right.

Jesus, in spite of his neutrality, his holy indifference," takes a whip in his hand and drives away the money-changers from the temple of Jerusalem. He overturns their boards and whips them. In the great synagogue of the Jews, the priests indulge in usury when people come from all Over the country for the annual festival. Their rates of interest are exorbitant, and so it is a way of exploiting the poor and the helpless. It is a way of draining the wealth and labor of the people, while it makes the temple of Jerusalem the richest establishment in the country. So Jesus upturns their tables and beats them.

Jesus is indifferent, yet he chooses. He advocates neutrality in worldly matters, but if there is something wrong he immediately stands up against it. He is not choiceless.

We cannot imagine Buddha with a whip in his hands; he is utterly choiceless. And because of his choicelessness he has attained to a silence that is profound and immense. So silence has become central to Buddha's life and teaching.

Look at a statue of Buddha, silence surrounds it, peace permeates it, serenity emanates from it.

Silence has become embodied in Buddha; peace has come home with him. Nothing can disturb his peace, his silence. Even the pond is disturbed by the passing breeze, by the rays of the sun which turn it into vapor and carry it to the sea. Buddha is so still that he has no desire whatsoever to move to the ocean of eternity; he says the ocean will have to come to him if it wants. Even to think of the ocean is now a strain for him.

For this reason Buddha refuses to answer questions about the transcendental. Is there God? What is liberation? What happens after death? Questions like these Buddha never entertains; he gently laughs them aside saying, "Don't ask such questions that have to do with the distant future; they will distract you from the immediate present, which is of the highest. The thought of the distant future will give rise to the desire to travel to it, and to reach it. And this desire will create restlessness. I am utterly contented with what I am, where I am. I have nowhere to go; I have nothing to choose and find."

So Buddha is not only indifferent to this world, he is also indifferent to the other world of God and nirvana. Jesus is indifferent to this world, but he is not indifferent to the other, to God. He has for sure chosen God against the world.

But Buddha says, "Even to find God you will have to pass through the swamp of hopes and fears, attachments and jealousies. Why should a river yearn to reach the sea? What is she going to achieve if she finds the sea? There is not much difference between the two except that there is a lot more water in the sea than in the river." Buddha then says, "Whatever I am, I am; I am utterly contented, I am in perfect peace." So his indifference has no objective, no goal whatsoever to achieve. Look at Buddha's face, his eyes; there is not a trace of agitation in them. They are as silent as silence itself. It is like a still lake where not even a ripple rises.

Naturally Buddha's peace is negative; it can have neither Krishna's outspoken bliss nor Mahavira's subtle joy. It is true that a man of such tremendous silence, who has no desires whatsoever - not even the desire to find the ultimate - will attain to bliss without asking. But this bliss will be his inner treasure, this lamp of bliss will shine in his interiority, while his whole external milieu will be one of utter peace and silence. His halo will reflect only harmony, stillness and order. Bliss will form his base and peace will make his summit.

One cannot think of Buddha and movement together; he is so relaxed and rested. Looking at his statue you cannot imagine that this man has ever risen from his seat and walked a few steps or said a word. Buddha is a statue of stillness. In him all movements, all activities, all commotions, all strivings have come to a standstill. He is peace itself.

Buddha represents cessation of all tensions, of all desires, including the desire for liberation. If someone says to him he wants to find freedom, Buddha will say, "Are you crazy? Where is freedom?"

If someone says he wants to discover his self, his soul, Buddha will say, "There is nothing like a soul."

In fact, Buddha will say, "So long as there is the desire to find something, you can never find. Desiring takes you nowhere except to sorrow and suffering. Cease seeking and you will find."

But Buddha does not say in words that "You will find"; he keeps silent on this point. He is aware that the moment he talks about finding freedom or something, you will begin to desire it and run after it.

So he negates everything - God, soul, freedom, peace - everything. So long as there is something positive before you, you will want to find it and so long as you strive to find something you cannot find it. It is paradoxical, but it is true. It is only in utter stillness, in absolute silence, in total emptiness - where all movement ceases - that truth, nirvana, or whatever you call it, comes into being.

Desiring, which is tanaha in Buddha's language, keeps you running and restless. So desiring is the problem of problems for Buddha. And indifference, upeksha is the solution, the key that releases you from the bondage of desiring. So Buddha says over and over, "Don't choose, don't seek, don't run, don't make something into a goal, because there is nothing like a goal, a destination. Everything is now and here."

Jesus has a goal, a destination. This is why, while he talks of holy indifference toward the world, he cannot be indifferent to God. Indifference to God cannot be holy in the eyes of Jesus, he will call it unholy indifference.

Buddha is indifferent to everything; his indifference is complete. If you ask him how it is that there is nothing to find - neither the world, nor God, nor soul, he will say, "What we see before our eyes is not real, it is only a collage, an assemblage, something put together. It is something like a chariot which is nothing but a collection of four wheels and back seats, rods and ropes, and a horse that carries it.

If you remove all the parts one by one and put them aside, the chariot will simply disappear.

"Like the chariot you are a collage, the whole world is a collage, a collection, a composition of things, sights and sounds. And when the collage falls apart, then all that remains in its place is nothingness, emptiness. This nothingness, this emptiness is the reality, the truth which is worth attaining." Buddha calls it nirvana - the ultimate state of extinction, nothingness, which cannot be put into words. So Buddha does not say it in words, he says it with his being, his interiority, his silence.

For this reason only men and women of deep intelligence and understanding can walk with Buddha.

Those who are greedy and goal-oriented, who are out to achieve something - either gold or God - will simply run away from him. They will say, "This man Buddha is no good, he has nothing to give but peace. And what use is peace? We want heaven, we seek God, we yearn for MOKSHA." And Buddha will simply laugh at them, because he knows that what they call God or soul or moksha is attained only in the immensity of peace, of silence.

So one cannot make God into a goal. That is why Buddha consistently denies God, because if he accepts, you will immediately turn this into a goal, into an object of desire. And one who runs after a goal cannot be peaceful, he cannot be silent. So you can understand why Buddha insists on indifference, it is only indifference that can lead you into peace, into the silence where all journeying ends.

Mahavira's transcendence of attachment ac. cords with Buddha's indifference to some extent, because he too stands for indifference toward the world. In the same way Mahavira agrees with Jesus to an extent because he, like Jesus, stands for liberation. Mahavira is not choiceless in regard to the goal of freedom. Mahavira will argue that without liberation, peace is irrelevant; without freedom there is no difference between peace and lack of peace. Then restless ness is as good as peace and silence.

Mahavira says that someone gives up a thing so he can gain something else in its place. If there is nothing to be gained the question of renunciation does not arise. So Mahavira is not indifferent to moksha, or freedom. His transcendence of attachment is a means to help you go beyond the contradictions and conflicts of the world; so it is only an instrument of achievement.

Buddha's indifference is total. It has no goals to achieve, it is not goal oriented. Or you can say Buddha's indifference is a means to non-achievement, where you lose and go on losing till there is nothing but utter emptiness before you. And this emptiness is what reality or truth is in the eyes of Buddha. So in a sense Buddha's sannyas, his renunciation is complete, because it seeks nothing, not even God or nirvana.

Mahavira's sannyas is not that complete, be cause it has freedom as its goal. Mahavira thinks sannyas is irrelevant without a goal - the goal of freedom. Mahavira's reasoning is very scientific; he believes in causality, the law of cause and effect. According to him everything in this world is subject to the law of cause and effect. So he will not agree with Buddha that one should attain to peace for nothing, because there is a reason why one loses his peace and then seeks it once again.

Mahavira will not consent to Krishna's choiceless acceptance of that which is. If one accepts everything as it is, he cannot attain to his self, his soul, his individuality. Then one will simply vegetate and disintegrate. According to Mahavira, discrimination is essential to the attainment of the self, of individuality.

To be oneself one must know how to discriminate between good and bad, right and wrong, virtue and vice. Discrimination is wisdom, which teaches you not only to know the black from the white, but also to choose one against the other. He says both attachment and aversion are wrong, and one who drops them attains to the state of veetrag, which is transcendence of attachment and aversion.

And this transcendence is the door to moksha or liberation.

Therefore Mahavira is not only peaceful, but blissful too. The light of liberation not only illuminates his interiority, it also surrounds his exteriority. If you put Mahavira and Buddha together, you will notice that while Buddha's silence seems to be passive, Mahavira's silence is positive and dynamic.

Together with peace a kind of blissfulness radiates around Mahavira.

But if you put Mahavira and Krishna together Mahavira's bliss will look a shade paler than Krishna's.

While Mahavira's bliss looks quiet and self-contained, Krishna's is eloquent and aggressive. Krishna can dance; you cannot think of Mahavira dancing. To discover his dance one will have to look deep into his stillness, silence and bliss; it is engrained in every breath, every fiber of his being. But he cannot dance as Krishna dances; his dance is embedded in his being, it is hidden, indirect. So while Mahavira's transcendence outwardly radiates his bliss, Buddha's indifference reflects only silence and nothing else.

And this indifference is well reflected in their statues. Mahavira's statue reflects extroversion; bliss emanates from it. Buddha's statue reflects introversion; he seems to have completely withdrawn himself from the without. Nothing seems to be going out from him. Buddha's being looks as if it is a non-being.

Mahavira on the other hand seems to have come to his fullness; his being is complete. That is why he denies the existence of God, but cannot deny the existence of the soul. He says there is no God; God cannot be, because he himself is God. There cannot be yet another God, two Gods. Therefore he declares the self. the soul is God; each one of us is God.

There is no God other than us. In utter ecstasy Mahavira declares that he is God, there is no one above him. He contends that if there be another God, a superlord over him, then he can never be free. Then there is no way for anyone to be free in this world; then freedom is a myth.

If there is God, a governing principle, running the whole show, then there is no meaning whatsoever in freedom; then freedom is dependent on God. And a dependent freedom is a contradiction in terms. If someday God decides to withdraw one's freedom and send him back into the world, he can't do a thing. Freedom, which is the highest value, can only exist if there is no God; freedom and God cannot go together. Therefore Mahavira emphatically denies God and declares the supremacy, the sovereignty of every soul. According to Mahavira, the soul itself is God. So his bliss is clear and expressive, which is a reflection of his transcendence.

Mahavira is in agreement with Buddha so far as choicelessness is concerned; there can be no choice between attachment and aversion. But he does not accept the other part of Buddha's thesis - that there is no choice between even the world and moksha, freedom. Mahavira clearly chooses freedom against the world. And in this respect he is in accord with Jesus; he is closer to Jesus' neutrality. But since his God lives in some heaven, Jesus can be happy only after his death, when he will meet him in heaven. Mahavira has no God outside himself; he has found the highest, the supreme being within himself, and he is blissful now and here. So it sounds reasonable that while Jesus is sad, Mahavira is not.

Krishna's anasakti, non-attachment, in its turn has some similarity with Mahavira's transcendence, Buddha's indifference and Jesus' neutrality, but it has some basic differences too. It would not be wrong to say that Krishna's anasakti is transcendence, indifference and neutrality rolled into one, plus something more.

Krishna's non-attachment is different from Buddha's upeksha, or indifference. Krishna says indifference is a kind of attachment, inverted attachment. If I meet you in passing and don't look at you, it will be indifference on my part. But if looking at you is attachment then non-looking is equally attachment - attachment in reverse gear.

And furthermore, Krishna asks, "How can anyone be indifferent? Indifferent to what? If the whole world is nothing but the manifestation of God, then one is indifferent to God himself." And then Krishna raises another question: "How can one who is indifferent be free of ego? To be attached or to be indifferent one needs ego. If I am attached to God and indifferent to the world, it is my ego which is operating in both cases." So Krishna does not use a condemnatory term like indifference.

Similarly Krishna is against neutrality. How can we be neutral about anything when God is not neutral? He is utterly involved in everything that there is. Neutrality in life is unnatural and impossible, according to Krishna. We are in the midst of life, we are life. It is life and nothing but life all over.

Then how can we afford to keep ourselves aloof from life and be neutral about it? The Sanskrit word for neutrality is tatasthata, which means to leave the mainstream and stand on the bank. But so far as life is concerned, it is mainstream all over without any banks; how can we stand on the non existent bank of life? Wherever we are, we are in the mainstream of life, we are in the thick of life.

So to be on the bank, to be neutral is an impossibility. Krishna cannot be neutral and he cannot be indifferent.

Krishna does not accept Mahavira's concept of transcendence of attachment or aversion. He says if attachment and aversion are wrong then there is no reason for them to exist, but they do exist.

Looking at it in another way, we can say there are two forces in the world: one is the force of good or God, and the other is the force of evil or the devil. This is how Zoroastrians and Christians and Mohammedans all believe in the existence of both God and the devil. They think that if there is evil in the world then it has to be segregated from God, who represents goodness and goodness alone.

God can never be the source of evil; he represents light, he cannot be the source of darkness.

Neither Zarathustra nor Jesus nor Mohammed could think of God being associated with evil in any way. So they had to find a separate place for the devil, and they assigned an independent role to him.

Krishna strongly contends this assumption. He asks: if there is evil and it is separate, is it so with the consent of God or without his consent? Does evil, in order to be, need the support of God, or not? If there is an independent authority of evil, called the devil, it means it is an authority parallel to the authority of God. Then there are two independent and sovereign authorities in the universe, and there is no question of good or ever winning over evil or evil being defeated by good. Why should an independent and all-powerful devil ever yield? In that case there are really two Gods, independent of each other.

The concept of there being two independent Gods or parallel authorities in the universe is not only ridiculous but impossible. Krishna rejects this concept outright. He says there is only one sovereign force, one primal energy in the universe, and everything that is arises from this single primeval source. It is the same energy that brings forth a healthy fruit and a diseased fruit on the branches of a tree. It is not necessary to have separate sources of energy or power for the two - the healthy fruit and the sick one.

It is the same mind that gives rise to both good and evil, virtue and vice; two separate minds are not required. Both good and evil are different transformations of one and the same energy. Day and night, light and darkness are emanations of the same force. Therefore Krishna is against denial, renunciation of any of the dualities. He is all for acceptance, total acceptance of both. Life, as it is, has to be accepted and lived choicelessly and totally. That is what Krishna's anasakti or non- attachment means.

Krishna's anasakti does not mean choice of one against the other. It does not mean that you choose to be attached to virtue against vice, or to be attached to vice against virtue. No, neither attachment nor aversion - no choice whatsoever. He stands for acceptance of life as it is, total acceptance. He stands for surrender to life as it is, and this surrender has to be total. Anasakti means that I am not at all separate, I am one with the whole existence. And if existence and I are one, who will choose whom? I am like a wave in the ocean and I just float with it.

However, Krishna's anasakti has some similarity with Buddha's indifference, Mahavira's transcendence and Christ's holy indifference. Krishna can have the peace of Buddha because he has nothing more to achieve, he has achieved everything there is. He can attain to Mahavira's transcendence, because his bliss like Mahavira's is illimitable. He can, like Christ, declare the immanence of God - not because there is someone sitting on a throne somewhere, but because whatever there is in the universe is God, godly; there is nothing other than God.

Krishna's non-attachment is absolute surrender of the ego, total cessation of the "I".

It is just to know that I am not, only God is. And once I know that what is, is, there is no way but to accept it in its totality. Then there is nothing to be done or undone, altered or modified. Krishna sees himself as a wave in the ocean; he has no choice whatsoever. Then the question of attachment or aversion does not arise. If you understand it rightly, Krishna's anasakti is not a state of mind, it is really cessation of all states of mind, of mind itself. It is to be one with existence, with the whole.

Through this royal road of unity with the whole, Krishna arrives exactly where Mahavira, Buddha and Jesus arrive through their narrow paths and bypaths. They have chosen narrow short-cuts or footpaths for themselves, while Krishna goes for the highway. Both the footpath and highway take you to your destination, and they have their own advantages and disadvantages. And it depends on what we choose.

There are people who love to walk on unkempt footpaths which are narrow and lonely, which very few people choose to traverse, which are rough and hard and which present challenges at every step, on every crossing. It is like going through a dense forest where paths are difficult to find and follow. There are others who don't like narrow and deserted pathways, who don't want to go as lonely travelers, who enjoy going pleasantly with large groups of fellow-travelers, who want to share their happiness with others. Such people will naturally choose highways, great thoroughfares which have been used by hundreds of thousands of people.

Wayfarers on narrow and unknown paths can very well walk sadly if they like, but travelers on highways cannot afford to be sad. If they are sad they will be pushed out of the highways, they will be cast away. One has to go singing and dancing through highways where thousands and thousands move together; one can't go his own way there.

Travelers on footpaths can walk quietly, but one cannot escape the noise and tumult of the multitude if he chooses a highway for his journey. He will have to face the high winds of restlessness and uneasiness, which will in the long run usher him into peace and quietness. Those who choose to move off the beaten paths can have the joy of being alone and individual, but those on the highways have to share in the pleasures and pains of all others. There is this much difference between the two.

Krishna is a multidimensional, a multi-splendored person, and the highway is his choice.

The truth is, there is no one path, and no ready-made path to God. There are as many paths as there are people in the world. No two persons are alike, or in the same state of being. So each one of us will have to begin his journey just where he is and find his way to God all alone. Everyone will have to go his own way, in his individual way. Of course, all roads lead to the same destination, which is one and only one. Whether you follow the path of neutrality or indifference or transcendence or bliss, the goal remains the same.

While paths and roads are many, the goal is the same. And everyone should choose the way that is in tune with his lifestyle or type. Instead of debating endlessly on what is a right path or a wrong path, which is a waste of time and energy, one should carefully choose the path that accords with his individuality, his self-nature. That is all.

Question 2:


This statement of Krishna's is very profound and meaningful. He says sthitaprajna is one who remains unperturbed and steady in the midst of both happiness and misery. And your question is equally relevant: that if someone does not feel happy in happiness and miserable in misery will it not destroy his sensitivity?

There are two ways of remaining unperturbed in the midst of happiness and suffering. One way is to kill your sensitivity. Then you will cease to be happy in happiness and miserable in misery. If your tongue is burned you will cease to taste both the sweet and sour. If your eyes are blinded you will know neither light nor darkness. A deaf person is insensitive to every kind of sound - pleasant and unpleasant. Insensitivity is the simplest way of achieving evenness of mind in both pleasure and pain.

And it is not surprising that by and large Krishna's followers have chosen the way of insensitivity.

Most of those who are known as sannyasins, renunciates or recluses, do nothing but systematically destroy their sensitivity so they become dead to the experience of pleasure and pain, happiness and misery. But this is a travesty of what Krishna really means.

Krishna's meaning is very different. He says a sthitaprajna remains unperturbed in pleasure and pain - he does not say he is insensitive to them. He means to say that a wise man goes beyond happiness and sorrow, he transcends them - not by killing his sensitivity but by attaining to a higher state of consciousness, to superconsciousness. An unconscious person, one under the influence of drugs, is insensitive to pain and pleasure but he cannot be said to have transcended them. He has rather fallen below the normal state of consciousness. In that way every dead person is insensitive.

Transcendence is entirely different.

And I interpret this aphorism of Krishna's very differently. In my view, Krishna's way of transcending happiness and sorrow is different and unique. If someone experiences happiness fully, if he is utterly sensitive to pleasure, if he lives it so totally that no. thing remains to be lived, he will soon transcend it. Then he will be unperturbed and steady in every situation of pleasure and happiness.

Similarly if someone experiences pain and misery totally, if he goes into it with all his being, without trying to escape it in the least, he too will go beyond pain; he will never again be disturbed by suffering. Krishna does not ask you to kill your sensitivity; on the contrary, he wants you to heighten your sensitivity to its utmost, so it becomes total. Krishna stands for sensitivity, and total sensitivity at that.

Let us understand it in another way. What do I mean by total sensitivity? For example, someone insults me and I am pained. If I know, if I think that I am in pain, it means that I am not fully in pain.

I am yet keeping some distance from pain. In that case I say I am in pain, I don't say I am pained.

Even when I say that I am pained, I am not totally in pain, I am still keeping a distance from my pain.

I never say that I am pain itself. And unless I know and say it truly, the distance between pain and me will remain. The truth is that when I am pained, I am not separate from pain, I am pain itself. The distance that I keep from pain is my way of resisting it, escaping it, not meeting it totally.

This thing needs to be understood in depth. We divide everything in life, and this is not a right thing to do. Life is really indivisible. When I say to someone "I love you," the statement is linguistically correct, but existentially it is all wrong. When I am in love with someone I really become love itself in respect to that person. Then I am wholly love; no part of me remains outside of love. Even if there is a fragment in me that knows or says I am in love, it means I am not totally in love. And if I am partially in love I am not in love at all.

Love cannot be fragmentary, partial; either I love or I don't. Fragmented love is not love; fragmented happiness is not happiness. But the way we are, we divide everything into fragments. And that is our problem, that is our misery. When one says he is happy, know well that he has ceased to be happy.

Happiness might have visited him without his know. ing, and he might have been really happy in that split second. But the moment he comes to know he is happy is the moment when happiness has left him. Who is the one who knows he is happy? It is certainly the unhappy part of his being which knows and recognizes happiness. To know happiness some unhappiness is always needed.

If one is integrated and total in himself, then there will be no one to know or say that he is happy or unhappy. Then he will not be happy, he will be happiness itself. Then he will not be unhappy, he will be unhappiness itself. Then and only then his sensitivity will be alive and total. Then sensitivity will be at its highest, at its peak.

In such a state of total sensitivity, every fiber of my being, my total being will be happy or unhappy, loving or hating, quiet or restless. Then there will be no one to be disturbed about it, or even to know it. If I am totally in happiness or unhappiness, if I am happiness or unhappiness itself, then I don't evaluate it or compare it. I don't identify myself with it or condemn it, I don't cling to it or resist it.

Then I don't even name it.

When sensitivity is total, the question of being agitated or disturbed does not arise. Then there is no reason why I should not be settled in my intelligence, steadied in my wisdom.

A friend visited me the other day and said that he was very worried about his addiction to smoking. I told him, "It seems you have divided yourself into two parts, one of which is addicted to smoking and the other addicted to worrying. Otherwise how is it possible that you smoke and worry together? You either smoke or worry. But since you smoke and worry together, it is obvious there are two 'yous', two selves in you - one of whom goes on smoking and another who keeps repenting it, condemning it, cursing it. And the problem is, the one that smokes will continue to smoke till the end of life and the other part of you will continue to repent all along the line. The repenter will go on taking vows and pledges again and again to quit smoking, and the smoker will go on breaking those vows and pledges with impunity one after another.

So I said to him, "You should do only one thing: either smoke without repenting, or repent without smoking. If you do both things together you will always be in hell. If you smoke, become a total smoker, don't be a partial one. Be totally involved in smoking without sparing an iota of your being.

Don't allow even a small fragment of your being to stand aloof like a judge condemning smoking or justifying it."

And then I said, "If you can become integrated and whole in smoking, then a day will come when the whole man in you can quit smoking, and quit it effortlessly and completely. The one who smokes totally can quit smoking as totally. He will never live perpetually in conflict whether to smoke or not to smoke; to be or not to be. And he will enjoy both smoking and non-smoking."

A fragmented person is neither here nor there. He is neither fish, flesh nor good red herring he is perpetually in conflict, in misery, in hell. He is miserable when he smokes, because his other part condemns him as a sinner. And when he quits smoking, the smoker in him asserts, saying he is missing a great pleasure and luxury. There is no need for this man's misery; he is disturbed, restless and miserable in every condition. Whatever he does he cannot escape conflict, restlessness and misery. He can never be unperturbed and steady.

He alone can be unperturbed and steady who is integrated and total. Because then there is no part of him left to be disturbed and unsteady. One who is complete, who is total, who becomes one with any and every situation that comes his way, such a person ceases to be a witness; he transcends witnessing. Witnessing is a means, not an end. Krishna is not a witness, although he exhorts Arjuna to be a witness. Krishna is total, he has arrived. Now there is no alienation between the subject and the object, between the observer and the observed. Now there is only observing, a process of observation. And this observation is total The witness, the observer, divides the world into subject and object, into the witness and the witnessed. Therefore as long as there is a witness, duality will continue. Witnessing is the last frontier of the dual world, after which the non-dual begins. But one cannot reach the non dual without being a witness. To be a witness means that I now give up dividing the world into many.

Instead I will divide it into two - the witness and the witnessed. And when I have reduced the many fragments of the world to two, it will not be difficult to come to the complete unity of existence when duality will disappear, when the observer and the observed will become one and the same. If one succeeds in becoming a witness he will soon have glimpses of the one without the other, when there is neither the witness not the witnessed, but only witnessing.

For example, if I love someone there is one who loves and another who is loved. But if love is real, then moments will come when both the lover and the loved one will disappear, and only the energy of love will abide between the two, connecting them. There will be moments when lovers disappear and only love remains. These are the moments of adwait, the non-dual, moments of unity - the one without the other.

In the same way there are moments of unity in witnessing too, when subject and object disappear and only the witnessing consciousness remains, like an ocean of energy bridging two formless entities - the witness and the witnessed - like two distant sea-shores. The near shore is called the "I" and the distant shore the "thou", one is the observer and the other the observed. Such moments will come and go.

And when this state achieves its fullness it will abide forever, and then even witnessing will disappear.

Then one is settled in intelligence, steadied in wisdom; one is whole. He is the awakened one, Krishna is not a witness. Of course he asks Arjuna to become a witness, but he is all the time aware that witnessing is only a means, a transitory phase. So he also talks of moments when even witnessing will cease to be. Krishna explains both to Arjuna - the means and the end, the path and the goal. And when he speaks about being unperturbed and steady, he does not speak about the means but the end, the goal itself - although most interpreters of the Geeta think that he is talking about the means, the witness. They think if someone remains a witness in happiness and pain without experiencing it, without indulging it, he will attain to the state that is unperturbed and steady.

But in my view, this is a wrong approach. If someone only witnesses without living it, this witnessing will become a kind of tension, disturbance, restlessness for him. Then he will always be on the defensive, trying to protect himself from happiness and pain.

To be undisturbed, to be relaxed and peaceful, it is essential that one is not at all conscious of happiness and pain. If one is conscious it means a kind of disturbance is happening, a kind of agitation is alive and there is a separation between the two - the observer and the observed. This consciousness, this separation is subtle, but it is there. So long as one continues to know this is happiness and that is pain, he is not integrated and whole. And he is not settled and steady in himself; he has not attained to equilibrium and peace and wisdom. He is not a sthitaprajna.

To me, the state of unperturbed and steady intelligence and the way to it are altogether different.

My approach is one of total involvement in the experiencing of pleasure and pain, love and hate, or whatever it is. I don't want you to be a distant watcher, a mere spectator. I want you to be an actor, fully involved in your role, in your acting, I want you to be totally one with it.

All duality, every division between the actor and the act, between the experiencer and the experienced, the observer and the observed, has to disappear. I say that if a river drowns you it is because you are separate from the river. If you become one with the river, if you become the river itself, then the question of being drowned by the river does not arise. Then how can the river drown you? Who will drown? And by whom? And who will shout for help? Then you are one with the moment - totally one. If you can be totally one with the moment at hand you will have learned the art of being one with another moment that is on its way. Then you will be one with every coming moment.

And then a miracle will happen; both pleasure and pain will chasten you, enrich you, add to your beauty and grandeur. Then both happiness and misery will be your friends and they will have equal share in making you. And when your time to leave this world will come, you will thank both in tremendous gratefulness.

The truth is that it is not only light that creates you, darkness has an equal hand in your creation. Not only happiness enriches you, pain and suffering have an equal share in building your richness. Not only life is a moment of rejoicing and celebration, death also is a great moment of bliss and festivity.

It is possible only if you can live each moment totally, if you can squeeze out every drop of juice the moment possesses. Then you will not be able to say that happiness is friendly and pain is inimical.

No, then you will gratefully accept that happiness and misery are like your own two legs on which you walk, and that now they are together available to you. Then you will realize how you have tried impossibly all your life to walk on one leg alone - the leg of happiness.

It is interesting to know that when you raise your right leg you are wholly with your tight leg, and when you raise your left leg you are completely with the left leg. In the same way you have to be whole when you speak, and you have to be whole when you are silent.

Disorder begins when we choose. And when the chooser is separate the world of choices is unending. Therefore witnessing is not a very lofty stage of being, it is just in the middle. It is, however, a higher thing than the doer, because a doer cannot take a jump into the non-dual - the one without the other.

Witnessing is like a jumping board from where a plunge into the rivet of oneness becomes possible.

But in one respect the doer and the witness are alike: they are holding on to the rivet's bank, neither of them is in the river yet. It is true that while the doer is away from the rivet, the witness is at a point close to it from where he can easily take a jump. But as long as they are out of the rivet, they are on the same land, in the same trap - the trap of duality. Only after a leap into the rivet can you be out of duality, you can be one with the one.

When Krishna talks about an unperturbed and steady state, he really talks about adwait, the non dual state, where there is no one to be disturbed. So I hold that Krishna's vision does not violate sensitivity; on the contrary, it is the attainment of total sensitivity.

So fat as Krishna's reference in the GEETA to the northward and southward movement of the sun is concerned, I think it has been grossly misconstrued always. It has nothing to do with the sun who makes our days and moves northward and southward the year round, and who presides over our solar system. It is not that one dying during the sun's northward move. ment attains to liberation and another dying during his southward trip misses it. The whole thing has nothing to do with our planet and the sun; it is a different matter altogether. It is really a symbolic statement, a metaphor.

Like the sun on the outside, there is an inner sun, a sun of consciousness inside us which has its own ways and spheres of movement. And as we divide our earth into northern and southern hemispheres, so we divide our inner sky into similar hemispheres. Inside us too there is a movement of the sun, or light or truth or whatever you call it, and a network of centers which can compare with the stellar system on the outside.

If in this inner world a particular space is lighted at the time of one's death, he attains to liberation, otherwise not. This subject is important, but needs to be explained at length, so it is better to take it up another time. For the present, it is enough to know that Krishna's reference to the sun's movement in the Geeta is not concerned with the outer sun.

Each one of us, in our interiority, is a miniature universe with our own inner suns and moons and stars and their movements. It has its own spatial movement of light or consciousness or truth or whatever you call it. The Geeta says that if someone dies when his inner sun is on its northward movement he is freed from the cycle of birth and death. It is like we say that water turns into vapor when it is heated to one hundred degrees temperature. Short of a hundred degrees - even at ninety-nine degrees - water remains water.

To understand it we will have to go into the whole matter of inner bodies and their centers. So I leave it here for the present.

Question 3:


You want to understand how a sthitaprajna compares with a devotee, a bhakta. A sthitaprajna is one who has ceased to be a devotee and becomes Bhagwan, God himself. And a devotee is one who is on his way to becoming God. So while a devotee is one who is on the path, a sthitaprajna is one who has already arrived. In other words, devotion is the path and steadied intelligence or wisdom is the destination. One who has arrived at the goal is called a sthitaprajna, and a traveler to this goal is called a devotee.

As such there are many similarities between an awakened man, a wise man and a devotee, because the path and the goal are inescapably united. A goal, a destination is nothing other than completion of the path; when the path ends the goal arrives. There is a lot in common between a devotee and a man of settled intelligence, because one who is on the path is also on his way to the goal; there is just a small distance between the two.

It is only a matter of some distance, some time, which a devotee has to cover so he becomes a sthitaprajna. It is always the traveler who arrives at the goal; so the difference is one of journey and destination. The devotee is journeying; the sthitaprajna, the wise man has arrived. The aspirations and expectations of a devotee turn into the achievement of the enlightened, the awakened one - the traveler turned sthitaprajna, wise man. They are inextricably linked with each other.

The last stage of a devotee's journey is the stage of his disappearance as a devotee and his emergence as God. And so long as a devotee does not become God himself, he will be thirsty, he will be discontented. Even if a meeting between them takes place and they are in the embrace of each other, the devotee is not going to be satiated and satisfied, No matter how intimate an embrace is, a subtle separation remains between two lovers. Even if I squeeze you tightly in my embrace, a distance, a separation will be there. This distance can disappear only when two lovers disappear as egos and merge into each other and become totally one. Otherwise every distance is a distance, whether it is a distance of an inch or of a million miles.

Even if you reduce the distance to a thousandth part of an inch, it re mains a distance nonetheless.

So a devotee cannot be satisfied even if he remains locked in God's embrace. He can be fulfilled only when he disappears as a devotee and becomes God himself.

This is the sorrow and pain of every lover. No matter how close and intimate he is with his loved one, he remains discontented and unhappy. His problem is that unless he becomes one with his beloved, not only physically but spiritually, at the level of love, of being - there is no way for him to be satisfied and happy. And this is really, really difficult. To be one at the level of love and being is one of the hardest things to achieve.

This is not going to happen even if two lovers remain tied to each other like faggots for the fire. And the irony is, the nearer they are to each other, the greater their disillusionment and misery. When there was a distance between them they had hoped for the heavenly happiness and joy that would come when they became close to each other. But when they are really close, even closest to each other, they feel disillusioned, almost cheated by their own hopes.

Nothing is lacking in their relationship, in their intimacy and trust, yet the hoped-for happiness remains a distant dream. Then the lovers begin to fret and fume at each other, they begin to suspect each other. Each of them thinks that while he is doing his best, the other has his reservations, or is deceiving him. Now they are besieged by worries and anxieties that they never had before. But the real reason is that unless lovers become totally one, they can never be content and happy.

For this reason I say the lovers of today are devotees of tomorrow; they have no way but to turn to devotion. When they know for themselves that it is impossible to be one with an embodied person, they will turn to God, who is bodiless, because it is quite possible to be really one with him. So sooner or later every lover is going to turn into a devotee, and every word of love is going to turn into a prayer.

This is how it should be. Otherwise there is no escape from the torture and misery of love. A lover who refuses to be a devotee is bound to be in everlasting anguish. Ironically, while his longings are those of a devotee, he is trying to fulfill them through ordinary love. His aspirations are running in one direction and his efforts in another, and so frustration is inevitable. He so longs to be one with another that nothing should come in between them, not even the thought of "I" and "thou". But he has chosen a wrong medium for the fulfillment of his longings.

No two persons can come so close to each other that the thought of "I" and "thou" cannot come in between them. It is impossible. Only two non-persons, non egos, can achieve this unity and oneness. And since God is a non-person, a devotee can be one with him the day he ceases to be a person, an ego. As long as a devotee remains a separate entity, fusion with God is impossible.

God is not an entity as a devotee is; God's being is like non-being, his presence is like an absence.

This aspect of God is significant! and needs to be understood rightly.

We always ask, all devotees have asked why God does not manifest himself. We forget that if he becomes manifest, meeting with him in the sense of fusion, unity, oneness, will be impossible. Such fusion is possible only with the unmanifest. Devotees have always said to God, "Where are you hiding? Why don't you manifest yourself?" This is an utterly wrong question. If he really becomes manifest, then a great wall will rise up between the seeker and the sought, and oneness will be simply impossible.

Because he is unmanifest, a merger with God is possible. Because he is invisible and infinite like the sky, the devotee can drown himself in his being, which is as good as non-being. He is visible nowhere, and so he is everywhere. If he becomes visible, union will be impossible, Eckhart, a seer of extraordinary vision, has expressed his thanks to God in a strange way. He says to God, "Your compassion is infinite that you are so invisible no one can see you, no one can find and meet you. One reaches for you everywhere and you are nowhere to be found. And this is your singular compassion for man, because this way you teach him a lesson. The lesson is that unless a person becomes as invisible as you are, unless he becomes a non-being, an absence like you, union with you is impossible." God is formless, and so when a devotee becomes as formless, when he becomes a non-entity, an absence, he becomes one with the ultimate.

If there is any obstruction in the way of meet. ing and merging, it is from the side of the devotee, not from God.

A sthitaprajna is a devotee who has disappeared, who has become nothing. Now he does not even cry for God, because there is no one who will cry. Now he does not pray, because who will pray to whom? Or we can say, in the words of Kabir, that whatever he does now is worship, whatever he says is prayer. We can say it both ways: he is nothingness and he is all. A sthitaprajna is a man who has become God-like.

A devotee is one who has set himself on God's path, who is a pilgrim, but he yet remains a man; all his hopes and aspirations are those of a man. Meera's songs are a case in point. She cries for God, she dances for God. Her songs are superb in the sense that they are so human. Her cries are the cries of a lover, a devotee. She says, "I have made a beautiful bed for you, please come and grace it. I have opened the door and I have been waiting long for you." These are all human feelings. So a devotee is one who is yet human aspiring to be God, to melt in him, be lost in him.

A sthitaprajna, one steadied in his intelligence, has ceased to be a man, an ego. He has ceased to be a pilgrim; he has stopped all movements. He is not going anywhere. Now the question of going anywhere does not arise; he is where he is. Now he knows God is everywhere and only God is. He knows God is eternal, he is eternity itself. But unless we become as invisible as he is, unless we become nobodies, we cannot find him. Jesus says, "He who saved himself will be lost; he who loses himself will be saved." The sthitaprajna has lost himself, and he is saved, he has arrived.

A devotee is only an aspirant, a seeker. So he is yet an ego, his ego is intact. By and by, his ego will be burnt in the fire of experience and understanding. Kabir says, "As I wandered around searching for God I lost myself." This is the miracle of the spiritual search: the day one loses himself the search is complete. As soon as the seeker disappears, God, the sought, appears.

In fact, the seeker is the sought. Lao Tzu's words in this context are of tremendous significance.

He says, "Seek and you will not find. Do not seek and you will find, because Tao is here and now."

One really misses God or truth or whatever you call it, just because he seeks him. How can you seek something which is here and now? Seeking means that what you seek is not here, it is there, somewhere else. Because of seeking you drift away from reality.

Someone goes to Kashi, another goes to Mecca, some others go to Gaya, Jerusalem and Kailas; one can even come to Manali. But they are all deviating, drifting away from reality or truth, which is here and now. But so long as a seeker goes on seeking and searching, he also goes on losing himself. And the day he is dead tired, the day he loses himself completely and falls down to the ground, he finds he is in reality; It does not matter whether he falls down in Manali or Mecca, in Kashi or Jerusalem, in Girnar or Gaya - wherever he falls he finds him present. God is ever-present, he is present everywhere, but our own presence prevents us from meeting him. The moment the seeker becomes absent, God or truth is present. God is always present, he is eternally present.

The devotee is one who is present, who is an ego. The sthitaprajna is not, he is absent as an ego, a self.

It has to be clearly understood: so long as the devotee is present, God is absent. For this reason the devotee creates a substitute God, a proxy God. He makes a statue of God, or he builds a temple of God; this is proxy. But this is not going to help, because it is the devotee's own creation, it is his own projection. Soon he will be fed up and disillusioned with such games. How can a God of his own making satisfy him? He will realize the unreality of the whole game; he will throw away the statue, the proxy, and he will now seek for the real.

But reality comes into being only when I die as an ego, when I am not. Reality has a single condition:

that I should disappear. My being is the wall; my non being is the door.

This is the difference between a sthitaprajna and a devotee. While a devotee is a wall, the sthitaprajna has become a door. In fact we are all walls, but a devotee is a wall with a difference.

While we are comfortably settled in our position as walls, the devotee has begun to move away from the wall to the door.

Question 4:



We have already gone into the matter at length, and so I will answer this question only briefly.

Krishna's attraction for thousands of women can be compared to a stream of water that leaves the mountains and rushes to the plains and settles in some lake. You never ask why water from the mountains rushes down to the lake. If you ask, the answer will be: because a lake is a lake and it is the way of water to collect in a lake. Water leaves the high mountains and collects in lowly lakes because mountains cannot hold it - the lake can. It is in the nature of water to seek hollows and lakes where it can reside restfully.

Similarly it is in woman's nature to seek man; she can feel at home only by being with man. And it is in man's nature to seek woman; he can feel at home only by being with woman. It is his or her nature, as everything else in life has its own nature. As fire burns, water flows downward, so man seeks woman and woman seeks man.

In fact, they don't seek the other, they seek their own completion, their own fulfillment. To put it rightly, man is the one who seeks himself in woman and woman is the one who seeks herself in man. In themselves man and woman are incomplete and discontented. And unless they meet and merge into each other, they can never be complete and content. For this reason they constantly seek each other, and they feel frustrated when this search is frustrated; they have to go through untold pain and suffering. When this search is thwarted for any reason, it amounts to a violation of nature. And it causes both man and woman severe anxiety, misery and anguish.

The fundamental reason for Krishna's tremendous appeal for woman is that he is a complete man, a total man. The more complete a man, the greater his appeal for woman. In the same way the more complete a woman, the greater her attraction for man. Completion of manhood has found its full expression in Krishna.

As a complete man Mahavira is not less than Krishna; he is as complete as Krishna. But Mahavira's whole discipline consists in going beyond the law of physical nature, transcending the world of yin and yang. It is strange that in spite of this, there are thirty thousand nuns and only ten thousand monks among his disciples - three women for one man. It simply means Mahavira has great attraction for women. The ratio of women and men among his renunciates is three to one.

It is significant that one whose whole discipline aims at transcendence of sex, who negates his own male nature and refuses to accept the femininity of woman, who treats the whole matter of sex as mundane, as unspiritual, who puts the spiritual quest far beyond these worldly pursuits should continue to attract women in such a big way. The irony is that women are prohibited from touching Mahavira or even sitting in his close proximity, and yet they are so mad after him.

By the way, I should say this aspect of Mahavira's life and teaching has never been looked at in this way. It should be. Let alone his thirty thousand female disciples, if we probe deep into the psyche of his ten thousand male disciples, we will find an element of femininity in their nature. It cannot be other, wise. It is not necessary that every man has a male mind and every woman a female mind.

The mind is not always in harmony with the body, or it is in much less harmony than we think. It has often been seen that while one has a male body, his mind has a feminine inclination. If ever it is possible to investigate the minds of Mahavira's monks, then we will know they were predominantly feminine in nature. It is bound to be so. Mahavira - or anyone for that matter - who is the epitome of masculinity, cannot attract you unless there is a strong woman inside you. Attraction is like two- way traffic. Mahavira's attraction does only half the job, the other half comes from the one who is attracted.

In this respect Krishna's position is uncommon and rare. Krishna has not renounced the world or anything; he accepts life in its totality. It is not that women can be near him only as nuns and ascetics or can only watch him from a distance. No, they can freely dance and sing with Krishna; they can make maharaas, a prodigious dance with him in the center. So it is not at all surprising that thousands of women have gathered round him. It is so natural, so simple.

So is Buddha a complete man. There is an extraordinary story associated with his life. When after his enlightenment he turns the wheel of Dhamma, he declares that he will not initiate women into his commune, his sangha. He does so because the danger inherent in admitting women is obvious.

The danger is that around a luminous man like Buddha, women can flock like moths and they can overwhelm the sangha merely with the weight of their numbers.

It is not necessary that women will come to him just for spiritual growth. Buddha's charisma, his masculine attraction will have a big hand in drawing them to him. it is not that the large number of gopis, cowmaids, who surround Krishna are there for God realization; Krishna is enough of an attraction for them. To be with such a complete man is a bliss in itself. For them he is nothing less than God. And because Krishna is choiceless, he is not in the least concerned why they come to him; he accepts them unconditionally. But Buddha is not that choiceless; he has his constraints and conditions for admitting anyone into his fold.

So Buddha stubbornly refuses women admission in his commune, and he resists every pressure brought to bear upon him on behalf of women who strongly protest his decision. It is only after intense pleadings and pressure from the women that Buddha yields to their demand to be initiated into his fold. It is understandable why Buddha long remains unyielding to their numerous entreaties for being initiated. He knows that ninety-nine women out of a hundred will come to him not for Buddhahood but for Buddha himself. It is so obvious, that Buddha goes on resisting till a woman comes and finally disarms him. This woman is rare, as rare as Buddha, and the story is beautiful.

One morning a woman named Krisha Gautami comes to Buddha and says to him, "Why are we women being deprived of Buddhahood? You are not coming to this world once again to redeem us. What is our crime? Is it a crime to be born as women? And remember, all the guilt, all the responsibility for depriving women of this gift of Buddhahood will lie singly at your door." This Krisha Gautami is the hundredth woman - the one who comes for Buddhahood, not for Buddha. And so Buddha has to yield to Krisha Gautami. She leaves Buddha defenseless.

She says to him in very clear words, "I come to you, not for you, but for the rarest gift of Buddhahood that you bring to this earth. It happens once in millennia. Why should it be the sole preservation of men alone? Why should women be deprived of this blessing just because they are women?

This is the most unkind and harshest of punishments that you can inflict on them; in a way you are punishing womanhood. And it seems you too are partial, you too pick and choose; it seems not even a Buddha is choiceless."

Buddha yields to Krisha Gautami; he initiates her as his first woman disciple. And then the gate is thrown wide open for women. And the story of Mahavira repeats itself: women disciples come to predominate over men disciples in the same ratio of three to one.

Even today more women visit temples and buddha-viharas and gurudwaras than men do. Unless statues of women Buddhas and incarnations and tirthankaras adorn these temples, men will continue to keep away from them, because ninety-nine always go for natural reasons; only the hundredth goes there for the trans-natural reason.

With Krishna the matter of men and women is as simple as two and two make four. Krishna has no difficulty whatsoever with women; he accepts them as naturally as anything. Krishna takes life and everything about life playfully and in its totality. He accepts a woman being a woman just as he accepts himself being a man. The truth is that Krishna has never said a word of disrespect for woman, even inadvertently.

Jesus can be found guilty of being disrespectful to women; so can Mahavira and Buddha, because they are trying to eliminate their male nature and go beyond it. They have nothing to do with women. Mahavira, Buddha, and Jesus want to wipe out the sexual part, the biological part of their beings, and so they are aware if they allow women to be around them the women will come in their way. Surrounded by women, their male nature will begin to assert itself, because women provide nourishment to manhood.

Curiously enough, women gather round Mahavira, Buddha and Jesus, who are not favorably inclined to them. Jesus is withdrawn and sad and is said to have never laughed. But those who take down his dead body from the cross are all women, not men. The most beautiful woman of her times, Mary Magdalene, is one of them. All his male disciples have escaped. Only three women are there to take care of his dead body. And Jesus never said a word of respect for women.

And Mahavira says that woman cannot achieve moksha or liberation unless she is reborn as a man.

Buddha refuses to initiate them into his religion. And when Krishna Gautami persuades him to admit them in his sangha he makes a strange statement. He says, "My religion was going to last five thousand years, but now that women have entered it will last only five hundred years."

Question 5:


This is not the question. This is not the question at all. There is a relative truth in this statement; it is true from the side of Buddha. It is true from his side, because his path - or for that matter, Mahavira's path - is not meant for women. Women don't have much scope on Buddha's path, which is male-oriented. Nonetheless women rush to them because they are so charismatic. So Buddha's statement is relatively true in the context of his path, but it is not an absolute truth.

There is no difficulty for women in achieving moksha; they can achieve it as much as men can, but certainly their path will be different. They cannot make it on the path of the Jaina tirthankara. It is like there are two pathways for going to a mountain, one of which is straight, steep and short with a sign on the entrance: Not For Women. And another is long, circular and flat with a sign at the beginning: For Women. This much is the difference.

So the statement that women cannot achieve liberation is true in the context of Mahavira's path or Buddha's for that matter. If some woman insists on treading these male-oriented paths, she will surely have to wait for another incarnation as a man.

Mahavira's path is particularly steep and precipitous and hard, and there are good reasons for it.

One important reason is that you have to go it alone, there is neither God nor any companion to lean on in times of difficulty. And the psychological make-up of a woman is such that she needs someone's shoulder - even a false shoulder - to lean on when in difficulty. She has a sense of assurance when a shoulder is available to lean on, a hand to hold. This is the way she is.

But man's way is different; he loves to be on his own. Dependence on others is alien to his nature; it fills him with self-pity. When a woman puts her hand in the hand of a man she feels assurance, strength, and dignity. Left alone she pities herself and feels forlorn and miserable.

Question 6:


It is a different thing altogether, and I would like to discuss it later. This particular aspect of Gandhi, walking with feminine support, deserves special consideration. He is perhaps the first man to do so.

No man in the past had walked leaning on the shoulders of women.

Question 7:


No, not because he was old. Even when ke was not old he walked that way. This gesture of Gandhi's is symbolic and significant. In this country where woman has always been leaning on man, where she is taken to be the weaker sex, where she is treated as a second-class citizen in society, Gandhi is the first person to go against this long-established tradition.

Gandhi, by leaning on the shoulders of two women, declares that the woman is not the weaker sex, she is as strong as man and man can equally lean on her shoulders. It is a step against an old tradition; it is a protest. It is nothing more than a protest.

However, Gandhi does not look right when he walks leaning on women, nor do the two women feel good about it. They must be feeling awkward, heavy and crushed under Gandhi's weight - physical and psychological. In fact, it looks unnatural and ugly, because it goes contrary to the nature of both man and woman.

Gandhi does not seem to have a right under standing of their nature and relationship. He is just opposing an old tradition - but this is a different thing. It also shows how poor is Gandhi's understand ing of male and female minds.

I don't think Gandhi's remedy has done any good for the community of women. He turned any number of women into men, which has done them immense harm. Woman cannot be made into man; she has her own way of being. Leaning comes naturally to her. What is significant when she leans on a man is that not only she feels honored but the man feels equally honored. It is a matter of give and take: by leaning on man she makes man lean on her. He is a very poor and miserable man on whom no woman has ever leaned.

So as far as Mahavira, Buddha and Jesus are concerned, the negation of biology forms part of their spiritual discipline. But Krishna's vision is altogether different. He accepts the whole of life without discrimination; biology or sex is as much acceptable to him as soul or God. Body, mind and soul are equally welcome; one is no less significant than the other; nothing is denied.

In Krishna's eyes he who denies, who says no, is more or less an atheist. In fact, to deny, to say no is atheism. Denial is the way of the atheist; it makes no difference whether he denies matter or God, body or soul, hunger or sex. He who denies sex or the body is as much an atheist as one who denies the soul. Similarly, acceptance, yes-saying is the way of theism.

So in my view, neither Mahavira nor Buddha nor Jesus is as complete a theist as Krishna is; he is really a total yes sayer. There is not an ounce of denial or condemnation of anything in Krishna's life. Total acceptance is his way. Whatever is, has a place in existence. Krishna's trust in existence is indomitable, invincible. And it is rare too.

It is not accidental that thousands and thousands of women surround Krishna. And there is no reason for this other than what I have just mentioned. If they gather round Mahavira they have to keep a formal distance from him, they have to observe some formality, certain conventions with him.

They cannot hug him; it would be considered highly impolite and improper. Neither Mahavira will tolerate it nor will the women concerned feel happy about it. They may even feel humiliated.

Question 8:


Mahavira will not tolerate it in the sense that he will not accept it, he will not respond to it, he will remain unmoving like a rock. He will refuse a woman's hug with his whole being. He will not say in words, "Don't touch me," but the woman will know it; she will feel as if she is hugging a piece of rock.

A woman will not feel humiliation if you ask her not to touch you, but she will really feel hurt if you don't respond to her hug. Not that Mahavira has any disrespect for women, but the way he is he cannot do otherwise, he cannot take hugs and embraces from women. Therefore women have to keep a respectful distance from him; they can never be on intimate terms with him. There is a limit, a boundary line beyond which they cannot come near him.

It is entirely different with Krishna; even if a woman wants to keep a distance from him she cannot.

He is so open, so receptive, so accepting, and so charismatic that no woman can resist him. Once a woman goes to him she will be pulled by him, she will soon be as close to him as is physically possible. Krishna is like an open invitation of love; he is like a clarion call of friendship, intimacy and love. He is, in this respect, the antithesis of Mahavira who, as I said, will be as still as a rock if someone goes to embrace him.

Emerson has said about Henry Thoreau that if someone shook hands with him he had the feeling that he had a dried up stem of a tree in his hands. In response to someone's hand he just extended his hand without a word or warmth or feeling, as if it was a dead hand. He was so stoical, indifferent to emotions of joy and grief. Henry Thoreau can well be paired off with Mahavira.

Krishna is the opposite of Thoreau; even if you are at a distance from Krishna, you will feel he is touching you, calling you, he is on the verge of embracing you. His whole being is so sweet, so inviting, so magnetic, so musical, that it is no wonder thousands of women become his gopis, girlfriends. It is utterly natural in his context. And it is all spontaneous.

You further ask if it is possible for Krishna to enter into sex, if he can make love. Nothing is impossible for Krishna. For us sex is a problem, not for Krishna. It is strange that we ask if Krishna has a sex life; we never ask if flowers have sex. We never ask if birds and animals indulge in sexual intercourse.

The whole world is immersed in sex; it is all a play of sex abounding. The whole of existence is engrossed in love-making. And we never ask why.

But when it comes to man we raise our eyebrows immediately, and we ask how can Krishna have sex? For man as he is, tense and anxious, full of condemnation for life, drowned in self-pity, even an act like sex - which is utterly inbuilt and natural and simple - has become a most tangled problem.

He has made such a simple, innocent gift of existence into a hornets' nest. He has made sex a prisoner of principles and doctrines.

What is the meaning of the sex act or sexual intercourse? It simply means coming together of two bodies in as intimate contact with each other as nature has ordained. Sex is two bodies coming together in biological intimacy with each other in the way nature wants it to be. It is nothing more or less. Sex is the ultimate intimacy between two beings, male and female, at the level of nature.

Beyond it nature has no reach. Beyond it the jurisdiction of God begins.

Krishna gives nature all its due; he accepts the biological intimacy provided by nature as gracefully as he accepts unity with God or the soul. He says nature belongs to God, it is all within God. For Krishna, sex is not at all a problem; it is a simple fact of life.

We find it so difficult to understand how one can take sex so simply, innocently. For us it has ceased to be a fact of life; we have made it into a seemingly intractable problem of life. Thank God we have not yet done so with many other simple things of life, but who knows the way we are, if we will not do it tomorrow?

Tomorrow we can say that to open one's eyes is a sin. And then we will ask if Krishna opens his eyes too. Tomorrow we can turn even such a simple thing as the opening and closing of eyelids into a philosophical problem, a matter of theology and doctrinaire debate. Then we will endlessly ask what to do or not to do with our eyes, just as now we ask about sex.

In my view Krishna's life is utterly uninhibited, unconstrained, unlimited; he does not admit constraints and limitations. And that is his beauty and grandeur, his uniqueness. For him all constraints, all limitations are bondage; for him real freedom is freedom from constraints and limitations. Unconstraint is his freedom.

But Krishna's meaning of unconstraint is different from ours. By unconstraint we mean violation of constraints; for Krishna it is just absence of constraints, limitations. If you bear this in mind, you will have no difficulty in understanding Krishna's life in the context of sex, or anything for that matter.

Sex is not a problem for him as it is for us; we keep thinking and re-thinking endlessly about it. For him sex is just biological. If sex happens it happens, if it does not, it does not.

So far as we are concerned, sex has become much more psychological, cerebral, than biological; it is much more in our minds than it is in its own right place - the sex center.

Psychologists say that modern man has sex on the brain. Krishna does not have to think about sex; we do. We think when we enter into sex and we think even when we don't. Krishna does not have to think and come to a decision about it, it is not at all a matter of mentation for him. If a moment of love arrives which calls for sex, Krishna is available to it. It is just a happening. If it does not happen, Krishna does not crave for or care about it. For him sex is just sex; he neither justifies it nor condemns it.

Justification or condemnation is our education, our opinion, our prejudice. It has nothing to do with the fact of sex, which is pure biology. That which is, is; it is neither good nor bad. And Krishna accepts that which is and even that which is not.

I repeat: Krishna's meaning of acceptance is not the same as ours. When we accept something we do so against our denial of it; we do so by suppressing our denial. The denial is there but we suppress the denying part of our mind and somehow manage to accept it. This acceptance is fragmentary, it is done reluctantly. It is acceptance with reservations, with some ulterior motive. For us it is never unconditional and total acceptance. When Krishna accepts he just accepts, there is not a trace of denial in it.

For this very reason it has been tremendously difficult to understand Krishna. It is easy to understand Mahavira, Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed, but Krishna is one person in the whole world who is the most difficult to understand. That is why we have done Krishna the greatest injustice, and we have done it with impunity.

Most of our ideas, concepts, and thoughts come from Mahavira, Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed.

All our moral tenets and dogmas, all our values of good and evil, virtue and vice - all our ideals and high-sounding principles - have been determined by men like Manu, Mohammed and Confucius.

So it is easy to understand them, because we are, in the world of thoughts, their creatures. Krishna has no hand in creating us that way. The truth is that Krishna refuses to circumscribe life with ideas and ideals, doctrines and dogmas, because life is larger than all ideas and ideals put together. Life is illimitable, infinite. Ideas are for life; life is not for them. Life is the ultimate value. So Krishna says that which is, is right.

Because of this, Krishna has been widely misunderstood. Even if we try to understand him, we see him through the eyes of Manu and Moses, Christ and Confucius. And all these people are conventional. They have their constraints and limitations, while Krishna is utterly unconventional, without any constraints and limitations.

Krishna does not accept any limitations on himself. He says, "If you want to understand me, remove all kinds of glasses from your eyes, and see me with your bare eyes " It is very arduous to see something with bare eyes, with clarity, to see something as it is without judging it. But as long as you see Krishna through the eyes of others you ate bound to find fault with him. But these faults will come from your glasses, not from Krishna. Put aside your prejudices and Krishna is the most simple and natural, innocent and authentic person ever. Then his life is an open book, he has really nothing to hide. He is naturalness embodied; he is innocence personified.

It can be asked why there has been no woman yet as natural and innocent as Krishna. At least one should be there who, like Krishna, could attract thousands of men toward her. There has been none so fat. Why?

It is not enough to say that women have been suppressed down the ages, that they have been denied liberty and freedom in a male-dominated world. In this context this argument is irrelevant and absurd. Everyone can have as much freedom as he or she needs, otherwise he or she will refuse to live. So the reason why there has not been a single woman as natural as Krishna - and there is no likelihood of her coming into being for another thousand or more years - is quite different. The reason is that the whole biological make-up of woman is intrinsically monogamous; she is dependent on one man psychologically, emotionally.

Question 9:


No, I will take it later. Woman is by nature monogamous; she can lean on a single person for her whole life. Her mind is made that way. I don't say that she will always be so, it is not necessary.

On the other hand man is polygamous by nature; he cannot remain tied to one woman. Living with one woman, a man is invariably bored; living with one man a woman is not so bored. A woman longs to live with a man she loves for life after life; she often prays for the same man to be her life-partner in her life after death.

The institution of monogamy - togetherness of one man and one woman - is woman's gift to society, not man's. She has always insisted that a man or woman should have only one spouse. And this insistence is justifiable both on biological and psychological grounds. It is always woman who has to depend on, to lean on man, and she cannot be dependent on many men. That would create uncertainty and unreliability.

For instance, a creeper can lean on or e tree alone, it cannot lean on many. But a tree can accommodate more than one creeper, and it will be the richer for it. Similarly many women can lean on one man, and he will be the richer for it.

As I said, the reason for a woman's preference for depending on one man and not more is both psychological and biological, but on well-grounded reasoning it can be said that it is more biological than psycho logical. Woman alone has to bear and rear children and will need someone to care for them and for their future. And if there is more than one person in this position there will be confusion and difficulties. That is why I say that it will take a thousand or more years for women to get rid of the idea of monogamy.

With the growth of scientific knowledge it is quite possible in the future when woman will not be required to carry children in her womb; soon laboratories will take over this job from the mother. And the day woman is free of child-bearing she can be as natural and spontaneous as Krishna is.

This matter of being natural and spontaneous is crucial to humanity and its future. This is the only way for us to free ourselves from the age-old clutches of gnawing anxiety and anguish. Most of our stress and strain stems from our struggle against our own nature. All our anxieties and miseries arise from our fight with ourselves. Ever since man has gone against himself he has been perpetually in pain and misery, anxiety and anguish. And the tragedy is that while we can easily fight with ourselves, we can never win against ourselves. In fighting with ourselves we can only be defeated and destroyed.

Once in a long while, someone, a Mahavira, a Gorakh, wins in a fight with himself. It is rare. But in emulation of this tare person, millions fight with themselves only to end up in defeat and despair.

In my vision, one in a million can succeed on the path of Mahavira, but unfortunately a vast majority of seekers choose this path. On the other hand while ninety-nine out of a hundred can succeed on Krishna's path, rarely one takes to it. As I said, the paths of Mahavira, Buddha and Jesus are narrow and hard, because one has to go the whole way fighting with himself. So one in a million succeeds.

On the other hand, Krishna's highway is wide and easy, but very few choose it.

It seems man has by and by lost his capacity for being natural; to be unnatural has become natural for him. It seems he has forgotten altogether what it is to be healthy and whole. So a thorough re-thinking on his part is the need of the hour. And as I see it such a re-thinking is already on its way.

After Freud, Krishna is going to be more and more relevant for our future. For the first time - because of Freud - man has come to realize the utter importance of naturalness and spontaneity in life. Now a social milieu is coming into being in which acceptance of a simple and natural being will be easier.

Man as he is will be accepted and allowed to grow the way he is.

Up to now, almost every culture has rejected man as he is and insisted on the creation of an imaginary ideal man - man as he should be. The ideal has been all-important and man has all along been urged to struggle to reach that ideal, that utopia.

Freud is the forerunner of a worldwide intellectual awakening, an upsurge, a renaissance, a cultural revolution which has come to realize that man has utterly failed in his efforts to reach utopia and that he has suffered immeasurably in its pursuit. If once in a while someone reaches utopia, he is the exception, not the rule. And the exception proves the rule. So for the first time after Freud, honest thinking is being done which seeks to understand man as he is. What we have to really understand is that which is, not that which should be. What is, not what should be is the crux.

For instance, every wife wants that her husband should not be interested in any other woman. This desire, which is natural for a woman, runs counter to the male nature which is basically polygamous.

The problem is that if social laws and conventions are laid in obedience to the male nature, women will suffer, and if they are laid to conform to feminine nature, men will be unhappy. And the core of the problem is that neither can be happy if one of them is miserable. But until now we have followed this zigzag course alternately and as a result the whole of mankind has perpetually been in misery and anguish.

So the only way out is that both man and woman try to understand and know each other as they basically ate. When a husband gets interested in some woman, let the wife understand that this is in the nature of man, and she need not suffer on this score. Similarly when a wife is depressed and unhappy about her husband taking interest in other women, let the husband understand her with love and sympathy instead of flying into a rage over it. If we want to create a humanity free from anxiety and anguish, there is no way but to go into and understand the basic nature of man and woman to its very roots.

And if we have to change our nature, its roots will need to be changed - moral teachings and moralist discipline will never go deeper than the surface of the problem. The woman will continue to be jealous as long as she is economically dependent on man. She will be jealous so long as she has to bear the burden of children alone, so long as she remains a second-class citizen, an inferior human being.

When the society gives her a place of equality with man, when she is economically on her own, when she does not suffer from the biological handicap of bearing and rearing children alone, she will not take a day longer to drop jealousy. And then she too will take interest in other men besides her husband. Then she will not insist on monogamy.

It was not possible in the past, but now that man's understanding of himself has grown, a transformation of both the individual and the group is quite feasible. All of our old order was based on the needs of man, not on the understanding of his nature. We made laws according to the needs of our society, not according to needs of human nature. But after Freud, a revolution is taking place in man's mind, and I believe the return of Krishna is in the offing.

And Krishna will return through the door of Freud, who has prepared the ground. But a lot more remains to be done; Freud is only the beginning. The ball has been set rolling however. In the coming future, more and more people will be inspired by Krishna's life and philosophy. His way of life, his affirmation of life, his naturalness and spontaneity, his openness and authenticity are going to have increasing impact on our life and time.

I think we have failed to create a healthy world following Mahavira, Buddha, Jesus and Confucius.

So a venturesome experiment to pattern the world after Krishna will be worthwhile. And I think it will be much better than the one we have created so far. In the past we did everything to make the exception into a rule, and we failed miserably. It is time we base our rule on the rule itself.

I repeat: Base your rule on the rule.

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