Nirvana means nothingness
ALL MY LIFE I HAVE BEEN INTRIGUED BY POWER AND THE RECOGNITION I CAN TAKE FROM IT. NOW, THAT SEEMS VERY CONFINED AND PETTY. YET, I SENSE ALSO THAT THERE IS A MORE AUTHENTIC TYPE OF POWER, NOT DEPENDENT ON OTHER PEOPLE OR THEIR REACTIONS - MORE WITHIN MYSELF.
CAN YOU PLEASE TALK ABOUT MY ATTRACTION TOWARDS THIS?
Deepak, your question needs deep scrutiny, because I can say yes to it and I can also say no to it.
Yes I will not say; the greater possibility is for the no. And I will explain the reasons to you.
This is how mind goes on playing games with you all. You are saying, "All my life I have been intrigued by power and the recognition I can take from it." This is a truthful recognition, sincere.
Many of the power-oriented people are not even aware of it; their will to power remains almost unconscious. Others can see it, but they themselves cannot see it.
As I said last night, this will to power is the greatest sickness man has suffered from. And all our educational systems, all our religions, all our cultures and societies, are in absolute support of this sickness.
Everybody wants his child to be the greatest man in the world. Listen to mothers talking about their children, as if they have all given birth to Alexander the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Joseph Stalin, Ronald Reagan....
Five billion people are rushing towards power. One has to understand that this tremendous urge to power is arising from an emptiness within you. A man who is not power-oriented is a man fulfilled, contented, at ease, at home as he is. His very being is an immense gratitude to existence; nothing more is to be asked. Whatever has been given to you, you had never asked for. It is a sheer gift out of the abundance of existence.
And these are the two separate paths: one is will to power, the other is will to dissolve.
You are saying, "Now that seems very confined and petty..." Not only confined and petty, but also sick and ugly. The very idea to be powerful over other people means taking their dignity, destroying their individuality, forcing them to be slaves. Only an ugly mind can do that.
You continue the question, "I sense also that there is a more authentic type of power, not dependent on other people or their reactions - more within myself." There is some truth in what you are saying, but it is not your experience. There is certainly a power which has nothing to do with domination over others. But the power of a flower opening its petals... have you seen that power, that glory?
Have you seen the power of a starry night? - not dominating anybody. Have you seen the power of the smallest leaf dancing in the sun, in the rain? Its beauty, its grandeur, its joy? It has nothing to do with anybody else. It does not even need somebody to see it.
This is true independence. And it brings you to the source of your being, from where your life is arising every moment. But this power should not be called power, because that creates a confusion.
The very word 'power' means over somebody. Even people of great understanding have not been able to see the point. In India, one religion exists, Jainism... the word jaina means "the conqueror."
The original meaning certainly must have been what you are talking about: the power that arises within you as a petal opens and the flower releases its fragrance. But I have looked deeply into the tradition of Jainism. When they call a man a conqueror, they also say about him that he has conquered himself. Somebody has to be conquered.
They changed the name of Mahavira - his name was Vardhamana. Mahavira means "the great conqueror," the great, victorious man. But the very idea that Mahavira has conquered himself, if reduced to simple psychological terms, means that he can stand naked in the rain, in the cold; that he can remain hungry in the name of fasting, continuously, for months. In twelve years of discipline and preparation, he ate for only one year; for eleven years he was hungry. Not in a continuity - one month he would remain hungry, then one day he would eat; two months he would remain hungry, then for a few days he would eat - but in twelve years the number of times that he ate comes to a total of only one year. For eleven years he tortured his body.
It needs a deep insight to understand that whether you torture others or you torture yourself, there is no difference at all - except that the other can defend himself. At least there is that possibility. If you start torturing yourself, there is nobody to defend you. You can do anything with your own body. This is simply masochism. It is not, in my understanding, finding the source of your inner being. Hence I would not like to call it power, because that word is contaminated.
I would like to call it peace, love, compassion... you can choose the word. But power has been in the hands of violent people; whether they were violent with others or with themselves does not matter. I think the people who were violent with others were more natural and the people who were violent with themselves were absolutely psychotic. But the people who have tortured themselves have become your saints. Their whole contribution to the world is a discipline of how to torture yourself.
There are saints who have slept on a bed of thorns. They are still there; in Varanasi you can find them. It may be good showmanship, but it is ugly and has to be condemned. These people should not be respected. These are criminals because they are committing a crime against a body which cannot even go to the court.
So the second part has to be understood very well; otherwise your first desire, of being intrigued by power, will be there again in a different disguise. Now you will start making efforts to find power over yourself. And that's what it seems to be.
You say, "... a power not dependent on other people or their reactions - more within myself." Even the reference to other people and their reactions implies that you are not thinking in a very different way. First you were interested that people should give you recognition; you should be a powerful man, a world conqueror, a Nobel Prize winner, or some other kind of stupidity. But everybody cannot be Alexander the Great. Neither can everybody become a Nobel Prize winner, nor can everybody be greater in some sense than others.
This takes a turn: finding yourself in a situation where this is not possible - or perhaps there is too much competition and you will be crushed; there are far bigger people, far more dangerous in the competition - it is better to withdraw within yourself and try to find a power that has no reference to other people, that is independent of other people. Even this much connection is enough for me to conclude that now you are going on another trip of the same kind. First you were trying to dominate others, now you will try to dominate yourself. That's what people call discipline.
I am reminded of Aesop's very famous fable. The season of mangoes has come, and a fox is trying to reach the ripe mangoes but they are too high. The jump of the fox is not high enough to get them.
She tries a few times; then seeing the impossibility she looks all around to see whether anybody is watching or not. A little rabbit has been watching the whole scene. The fox walks away, not showing her defeat, but the rabbit asks, "Auntie, what happened?" The fox says to the rabbit, "My son, those mangoes are not yet ripe."
If you change your desire for power, it should not be like Aesop's fable. You should first understand from where the desire to power has been arising. It has been arising from your emptiness, inferiority.
The only right way to be freed from this ugly desire to dominate is to enter into your emptiness, to see exactly what it is. You have been escaping from it through your power trips. Now put your whole energy not into torturing yourself, not into making any discipline of masochism, but simply into entering your nothingness: what is it?
And there blossom roses into your nothingness. There you find the source of eternal life. You are no more in the grip of an inferiority complex and you don't have any reference to other people.
You have found yourself.
Those who are intrigued with power are going away and away from themselves. The farther away their minds go, the more empty they will be. But words like emptiness, nothingness, have been condemned, and you have accepted the idea. Rather than exploring the beauty of nothingness....
It is utter silence. It is soundless music. There is no joy that can be compared to it. It is sheer blissfulness.
Because of this experience, Gautam Buddha called his ultimate encounter with himself nirvana.
Nirvana means nothingness. And once you are at ease with your nothingness, all tensions, conflicts, worries, disappear. You have found the source of life which knows no death.
Still, I would like to remind you: don't call it power. Call it love, call it silence, call it blissfulness, because that "power" has been so much contaminated by the past that even the word needs tremendous purification. And it gives wrong connotations.
This world is dominated by people who are basically inferior but are trying to cover up their inferiority with some kind of power, any kind of power. They have created many ways. Certainly everybody cannot be the president of the country - then divide the country into states. Then so many people can be governors, chief ministers. Then divide the work of the chief minister - then many people can be cabinet ministers, and just lower than them, many people can be state ministers. This whole hierarchy consists of people suffering from an inferiority complex. From the lowest peon to the president, they are sick with the same disease.
Indira Gandhi remained in power for a long time. When she was in power, she told my secretary many times that she wanted to see me and meet me, and she had a few questions. At least six times the date was fixed and just one day before, the message would come that "some emergency has arisen and she will not be able to come this time." When it happened six times - that emergency arises, exactly! - I asked my secretary to ask her, what was the real thing? This emergency is not the real thing. And she was honest enough to say, "The problem is that my cabinet ministers, my colleagues in the parliament prevent me. They say, 'Going to Shree Rajneesh can be disastrous to your political power.'"
Then she was defeated and my secretary said to her, "Now there is no problem. Use this opportunity.
You are no longer prime minister of the country, you can come."
She said, "It is even more difficult. Now my people are saying, 'If you go there, then forget forever about becoming a prime minister again.'"
Her son Rajiv Gandhi was a pilot and he told my secretary many times that he wanted to meet me and to have my guidance about his future career, whether he should enter politics or remain a pilot.
Since he became the prime minister, he has not asked for any guidance. Now the same fear....
I have become such a danger that if you come to me, all those who are against me will be against you! I have such a great company of enemies around the world - I enjoy it really - a single man without any weapon is at war with twenty-five countries! And those great countries, having all the power, seem to be absolutely powerless.
In Germany, my people have filed a case against the government because in the parliament they were calling Christianity a religion and my movement a "cult." In the Christian theological world, the word 'cult' is condemnatory. In two courts we appealed that either they should also call Christianity a cult or they should call our movement a new religious movement, but they cannot call it a cult. And two courts have given their verdict in our favor, saying that the government has no right to condemn and use condemnatory words for people who have not done any harm in the country. It is a religious movement. But the government goes on continuing to use the same word, "cult."
I am informing my people that those two courts should make it clear to the government that they are destroying their constitution, their law, themselves. And against the court's ruling, if anybody in the parliament again calls my religious movement a cult, he should be treated as a criminal. It may be the chancellor of Germany itself, it does not matter.
These people are all trembling inside, worried that they can collapse; just a push is needed. They know that inside there is nothing, and outside a great competition for power.
It is not a coincidence that twenty-four tirthankaras, the masters of Jainism, were all coming from royal families. Gautam Buddha was a prince. What happened to these people? Rama and Krishna, the Hindu incarnations of God, are also in the same category, belonging to royal families. It seems nobody else can become enlightened! Only royal blood is needed for enlightenment....
The point that I want to make clear to you is that these people were at the top already. They had power and that power they experienced did not destroy their inner emptiness. They renounced power to find out what was their interiority. Finding it, they blossomed - in a beauty, in a truth, in a statement to the whole world that "I have come home."
People have not recognized the fact of why these people renounced their kingdoms. They had all the power that they needed, but JUST THAT SITUATION... all the power that they need, all the money that they need and still, inside there is nobody. The house is full of money, comforts, luxuries, but the master is missing. It was out of this urgency that they renounced power and went in search of peace.
Ordinary people, naturally, don't have the power. They only look at powerful people from far away and think, "If I was also given the same honor, the same recognition, I would also be somebody. I would leave my footprints on the sands of time." They become intrigued with power. But look at the people who were born in power and renounced it, seeing that it is an exercise of absolute futility. You still remain the same inside. Even if you have billions of dollars, it will not make any change within you.
Only the change, the transformation within you, is going to give you peace. Out of that peace will come your love; out of this peace will come your dance, your songs, your creativity. But just avoid the word 'power'.
Right now you are only thinking about it. Thinking will not help. Thinking is perfectly good if you want to compete in the world for power, for money, for prestige, for respectability. But as far as settling in your being, mind is absolutely useless. Hence, the whole effort here is to help you get out of the mind into meditation, out of thoughts into silence.
Once you have tasted your inner being, all greed, desire for money, power, will simply evaporate.
There is no comparison. You have found God himself within you; what more can you desire?
WHAT IS THIS UNIVERSE MADE OF, BESIDES THIS SILENCE WHICH I DON'T KNOW, AND WITH WHICH THE SAGES ARE OVERFLOWING?
Nivedano, this universe is certainly made of silence. But the silence is not dead, it is not the silence of a cemetery. It is the silence of a temple. It is alive! It is a song without words.
It has gestures... in a thousand and one ways those gestures show what this universe is made of.
Look at the roses, look at the lotuses, look at the birds on the wing. Look at the stars and the trees and the mountains. These are all gestures of silence.
It is the dance of silence, this whole existence. It takes unique forms, it melts from one form into another form, but silence is its fundamental constituent.
These words you listen to, they are not saying anything. Just gestures of silence, alive.
You have asked a beautiful question: "What is this universe made of besides this silence which I don't know...?" How can you know the silence? You can be the silence, but you can never know it.
For knowing, a distinction, a distance is needed. You have to be the knower and the silence has to be the known.
You are also made of silence.
It is just that you have not looked deep enough into your own being. Then it is not a question of knowing, it is a question of being.
And you are saying, "... the silence which I don't know and with which the sages are overflowing." You are also overflowing. Only you are intrigued with all kinds of stupid things, so you remain unaware of your overflowing silence. Sages drop all nonessential things and then only the silence remains - and the overflow of it.
The whole world is flooded with silence.
Now even the scientists are turning into mystics because they are saying that stars disappear into black holes, symmetrical to our death. We also don't know the dark tunnel of death. But scientists have also observed that not only do old stars simply disappear, new stars are continuously being born. And stars are not small things. The idea has entered into the scientific world that everything arises out of nothing and finally collapses back into the nothing to rest. Perhaps it may arise again...
It looks illogical - how, from nothing, can the whole existence with such variety come out? But it is not a question of logic. What can I do? It is the way things are.
And to make it logical we have made things unnecessarily idiotic. We could not conceive how this world, this universe, can come out of nothingness. We created a fictitious God to console our hearts and our logic: "God created the world." That gives a little satisfaction to mediocre minds.
Those who are a little more intelligent will find the question remains the same: From where does god come? Finally you have to accept the fact that out of nothingness, God comes. Why bring in poor God unnecessarily? Then he gets so many hits - for centuries he has been hammered by all sides.
There is no problem. From nothing, everything comes.
For example, I am speaking to you and I am fully aware from where these words are coming: they are coming from my nothingness. I don't find any other place from where they are coming.
Nothingness is not nothing.
Nothingness is all. And to recognize nothingness as all, as an experience, is the only way to find your unity with the universe. In life, in death, there is no fear.
You have been here many times and then rested. Rest is needed, one gets tired. Every day you work and in the night you rest, hoping that in the morning you will wake up again.
I know a man who does not go to sleep and keeps the whole house awake, knocks, and asks people, "Are you asleep?" Now if they answer, their sleep is disturbed. If they don't answer, he will shake them: "What happened, are you asleep?"
I was a guest in that family and everybody said, "Somehow, this man is driving us crazy. Neither he sleeps nor he allows anybody else to have a restful night."
I said, "What is his logic?"
They said, "He used to be a professor of logic, and you cannot argue with him because he says 'What is the guarantee that if I go to sleep I will wake up? I will not go to sleep.' And he quotes ancient UPANISHADS which say that death is like sleep."
I talked to the man. I said, "Death is certainly like sleep. And sleep is such a restful period; after every day you need a small period of rest. After your whole life, you need a longer period of sleep.
"You have been here - where else can you be? This is the only universe there is. So when you are rested, you can wake up again, fresh, rejuvenated. Don't be worried about death. Death is a tremendous relaxation into the universe, into its nothingness."
Only a meditator can understand. As his meditation becomes deeper, he comes to explore the whole world of nothingness within himself. But it is a nothingness to be rejoiced in - so restful, so peaceful, so cool. So alive, so overflowing....
Nivedano, you will have to enter into your nothingness. That is the only real temple.
Gautam Buddha, in his tremendous compassion, said to his disciples, "If you meet me on the way, while you are going deeper into yourself, cut my head immediately! I should not become a barrier.
Your nothingness should remain absolutely yours; it cannot be shared, cannot be divided."
You have to go in absolute aloneness. Just the very idea of being totally nothing brings a shower of flowers. Just being alone, utterly alone, brings such a fresh breeze, such fragrance. But the experience is a million times more than you can conceive of with the mind.
If this world needs anything, it is an experience of nothingness. Not an experience of a God, not an experience of a Jesus Christ, not an experience of Gautam Buddha. It needs only one experience:
of a purity, uncontaminated, unpolluted even by the presence of anybody else. A pure presence, of your own being.
To me, that is the liberation. To me, that is the ultimate flowering of your being. Your eyes will show it, your hands will indicate it, your dance may become the part of the overflow. You will be a transformed human being.
And at this juncture of time we need millions of transformed beings who can fill the whole world with joy, with roses of consciousness. With the light of awareness, with music of the soul. Because only that can prevent the idiotic politicians from destroying this world.
Perhaps you may have not noted: destruction also gives a certain power. Just as creation gives a tremendous well-being, a dignity... those who cannot be creative have all become destructive - in the name of politics, in the name of religion, in the name of education.
I want my sannyasins to stand against the whole ugly past of humanity. Only then can we see a new sunrise, a new world overflowing with love. Otherwise, we have come to the point where the greatest criminals of the world are joined together to destroy it. They may destroy it in the great names of democracy, equality, communism, socialism, but these are just names. Behind is the reality that these uncreative people are taking revenge against those who have created. They could not be a Mozart, they could not be a Wagner, they could not be a Michelangelo. At least they can be an Adolf Hitler. They can be in some way destructive because they could not convert their energies into creativity.
Only a man of inner silences becomes a creator. And we need more and more creative people in the world. Their very creativity, their very silence, their very love, their very peace will be the only way to protect this beautiful planet.
Yes, Nivedano, this existence consists only of silence and laughter.
One day, Jesus wakes up in a bad mood. He is feeling depressed and lethargic. In fact, a typical Monday-morning feeling. He wanders around heaven looking for someone to cheer him up and finally arrives at the Pearly Gates where Saint Peter is interviewing the new arrivals.
Suddenly he sees an old man with a long white beard whose face looks familiar. He goes up to him.
"Excuse me sir," says Jesus, "but your face seems familiar. I am sure we have met. What did you do on earth?"
The old man smiles. "As a matter of fact," he says, "I am a carpenter and lived a full and happy life until my son left home and became world famous. I never saw him again."
Jesus looks at him with astonishment and says with delight, "Dad!"
The old man opens his eyes wide and rushes forward with outstretched arms, crying, "Pinocchio!"
Little Ernie accompanies his parents to a nudist beach for the first time. After looking around for a few minutes, Ernie asks his father why some men have big ones and some men have small ones.
Rather than go into a long explanation, his father replies, "The men that have big ones are smart and the men that have small ones are stupid."
Accepting this explanation, Ernie goes off to explore the beach. Time passes and he finally comes across his father again, "Have you seen your mother, son?" asks his dad.
"Yes," says Ernie, "she is behind the bushes talking to some stupid guy who is getting smarter by the minute."
Yes, Beloved Master.