Into the open sky
WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN YOU DON'T ANSWER A QUESTION?
Kala Shreeman, not answering a question is also answering it -- but you have to be more intelligent to understand it. People don't understand even the answered questions, but my approach is hope for the best and expect the worst! Whether you get it or not, I will haunt you until you get it.
There are questions which can be answered only by not answering them; they are real questions. Only unreal questions can be answered, only questions arising out of the mind can be answered.
But there are also questions which arise not out of your mind, but our of your very being.
They are not questions of curiosity, but questions of deep longing, searching, seeking.
They are not accidental -- you have not asked them just "by the way." Their meaning is as precious as life itself. Those questions can be answered only by silence.
Jesus spoke continuously for three years; that was his whole period of work. He started his work at the age of thirty, and people crucified him at the age of thirty-three. His period of work was very short, while Buddha worked for forty-two years, Mahavira worked for forty years.
There is only one question that Jesus did not answer. In those three years, thousands of questions were asked, and he answered them. He answered the way people have very rarely answered -- with such sincerity and such authority that even his enemies used to say, "We have never heard a man speak this way! The same language, the same words, but from an authentic individual their fragrance is different, their music is different. Their penetration is deep; they touch your very heart."
Jesus' words are not just words, empty and contentless; his words are his very being. He is pouring himself in his words -- and that makes the difference, the great difference.
But one question he has not answered, and that was the question asked by a sympathizer who wanted to save him. It was asked by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate. Judea was a slave country under the Roman Empire, and Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea. He was not a Jew, hence he could not understand why the Jews were so mad against an innocent young man. Jesus may have been saying things which they don't agree with, but that does not mean that a person should be crucified. It shows really the weakness of you who cannot answer his arguments.
The Jews had a great number of learned rabbis -- they could have challenged Jesus. Jesus was an uneducated carpenter's son; he knew nothing of scriptures, but he knew something more valuable. It seems he knew himself. And that is the only holy scripture there is.
The learned rabbis were angry because an uneducated man was speaking with such authority. They were hesitant about their own beliefs... they were also talking great things, but all those great ideas were borrowed. He was speaking directly, spontaneously, according to his own experience -- not within quotes.
Pontius Pilate's wife was a very educated woman; she heard many stories about Jesus, and many times she went in disguise to hear him. She was immensely impressed, and it was she who convinced Pontius Pilate that what is going on -- this insistence of the Jews, of the crowd, of the masses, to crucify a young man -- is simply ugly, inhuman..."and you have to do something."
Pontius Pilate called Jesus to his palace. The man was so beautiful and so simple, so poor, so humble, that there was immediately a rapport between Pontius Pilate and Jesus.
Pontius Pilate was a very learned Roman scholar. He could see at least that the young man had something in his being which was radiant, which those learned rabbis didn't have. But they had power....
He wanted to save Jesus, although it was risky... risky because if the whole Jewish population of Judea -- and they were the only people in Judea -- were against Pontius Pilate, he might lose his tremendously powerful position. The Roman government, the Roman emperor would not want a governor in Judea who is not liked by the people, so it was against his own position. But still he wanted to do everything to save him.
The last question he asked was not answered by Jesus. The question was, "What is truth?" Jesus looked into his eyes, utterly silent, and did not say a single word.
Pontius Pilate understood the meaning of the not answered question, and he felt even more sorry and in a dilemma -- what to do? Still he tried.... As he went into his house, the first thing he did was to wash his hands. That act -- of washing his hands -- remained uncommented on for two thousand years.
It was Sigmund Freud in the early part of this century -- strangely, himself a Jew -- who first made the statement that Pontius Pilate washed his hands because he wanted to be clear, at least before God, that he was not responsible for the crucifixion of this beautiful young man. "I wash my hands, I don't have his blood on my hands."
He tried to put up three people for crucifixion. It was an ancient tradition in Judea that the people could ask for at least one person to be released from being crucified, and he was hoping that by putting up three persons, the Jews would certainly ask for Jesus to be released.
Jesus was a Jew; he was not a Christian -- he had never heard the word Christian. He was born a Jew, he lived a Jew, he died a Jew. The word Christian came into existence three hundred years later.
But when Pontius Pilate came and asked the people -- and thousands of people had gathered -- "According to the convention, I can release one person from crucifixion. He will be made completely free..."he was shocked that they all shouted only one name. That name was not Jesus; that name was of a murderer who had murdered at least seven people. I say at least because that was on the record of the government; he may have murdered more, he was a born murderer and criminal. His name was Barabbas -- and the whole Jewish crowd, without exception, asked that Barabbas should be released.
No man of any intelligence could have believed it, and even Barabbas could not believe it. He was also thinking that this young man -- he has not done anything wrong, he has not harmed anybody, he has not committed anything criminal -- is bound to be released.
He could not believe his own ears when he heard that people were asking for Barabbas.
Even when he was released, going out in the crowd, he looked again and again with unbelieving eyes: What is happening...? All these people know him; he is a drunkard, he is a murderer, he is a robber -- there is not any crime that he has not committed. These are the people who know him, and these are the people who have put him into the hands of the government. Strange, why have they asked...?
And Jesus was crucified.
It is a very strange story: his whole life he answered every question, and at the last, when a significant question was asked, he remained silent. Do you think he did not answer? He answered by his silence. Nothing can be said about truth, and anything that is said about truth is not truth.
You can be truth, but you cannot say anything about it.
A truth uttered immediately becomes a lie.
So when sometimes it happens that I don't answer a question, Kala Shreeman, it means the question is of the category which can be answered only in silence. But I don't want you to be so serious...! Truth, or untruth -- but don't be serious! If you want me to answer any question... I am ready to lie, but I will answer.
I care more about you than any truth.
Eunice came home with a brand-new mink coat.
"Where did you get that?" asked her husband, Bernie.
"I won it in a raffle," she replied. The following night, Eunice walked in with a beautiful diamond bracelet.
"Where did that come from?" asked Bernie.
"I won it in a raffle," said Eunice. "I'm going to another raffle party tonight, and I'm in a hurry. Would you mind drawing my bath?"
Bernie did as instructed, but when Eunice came in to take her bath, she found that there was only a half-inch of water in the tub.
"Bernie," she asked, "Why didn't you fill the tub?"
"Well, darling," he answered, "I didn't want you to get your raffle ticket wet!"
WILL YOU PLEASE SAY SOMETHING ABOUT HOW YOU WORK ON US?
Swami Antar Aseem, have I to say even that too? Can't you figure out how I work on you? You are asleep, that is true, but not that much asleep! And why have you written behind your name, "Indian"? Because here, in this temple, there is no one who is Indian, and there is no one who is German. This is the only gathering in the whole world where there are only human beings. Perhaps it is because of your Indian mind that is still hanging around you that such a question arises.
I am working on you from morning to evening, from evening to morning... even in the night, even in your dreams I am working on you -- and you don't understand how I am working? That means I will have to say a few things about Indians!
Indians are all alike, but they have different faces so you can tell them apart.
There are two types of people in this world: those who come into the room and say, "Well, here I am!" and those who come in and say, "Ah, there you are!"
The first ones are the Indians; they are the most egoistic people on the earth -- "Here I am." Their "I" perhaps is the most subtle and strong and ancient "I." Every Indian thinks he is spiritual; it is very difficult to find an Indian who is not a great saint! At least, I have not found one yet.
There is an Indian saying, "Opportunity always knocks at the least opportune moment."
That is true for India. This reminds me of Carnegie, one of the richest men in America.
He was delivering a talk in a university, and he said something about opportunity, and a student asked, "You are right in saying, 'If you use the opportunity you can also become as rich as I am' -- but how to know when the opportunity comes? As far as I am concerned, I become aware only when it is gone, and then I say, 'My god, it was an opportunity' -- but it is too late. So what do you suggest I should do?"
Carnegie said, "As far as I am concerned, I keep on jumping. I don't wait for the opportunity; whenever it comes I will ride on it -- but I go on jumping. I am always ready... it will come. But if you are not ready, then you will become aware only when it has passed, because opportunity passes in a single moment."
India has been losing all kinds of opportunities because people go on waiting, as if it is God's responsibility to do things for you. People go on repeating that when things will become worse -- and I am amazed how things can be worse than they are! -- then God will come in an incarnation and save people. This means: Try to make your opportunities and life worse, so God comes sooner. And they are trying hard! They are becoming more poor, they are becoming more retarded, they are becoming more addicted with the past, they don't think of the future.
These are the signs of a country which is too old: in the future there is only death and nothing else.
Indians must have one of the best countries in the world, with all kinds of climates, with all kinds of different cultures, people. But it has not used any opportunity; it is a fatalist country, it believes in fate. If things are going to be better, they will be better; if they are going to be worse, they will be worse -- you cannot do anything. This impotence has become symbolic of the Indian mind.
There is another Indian saying -- and these sayings show the wisdom of centuries -- "If the shoe fits, it is ugly." A strange statement! Whenever things are good, Indians don't feel good: if the shoe fits, it is ugly. The shoe is good only when it pinches....
Mulla Nasruddin was purchasing a pair of shoes, and the shopkeeper was saying, "Mulla, you are trying an almost impossible job. You are trying to force your foot into a shoe which is one size smaller than you need."
Mulla said, "You keep quiet! I know what kind of shoes I need."
The shopkeeper was very much puzzled, but Mulla managed to force his foot into a small shoe, and tears came to his eyes. The shopkeeper said, "What are you doing?"
Mulla said, "You don't understand the philosophy of it."
The shopkeeper said, "There is some philosophy in it?" -- in India everything is philosophical!
Mulla said, "Yes, this is not an ordinary philosophy, but a great philosophy. This is the only thing that keeps me happy."
The man said, "And tears are coming to your eyes...."
Nasruddin said, "That's why I cry the whole day: it is pinching so much that I forget all worries, all difficult problems -- the wife that is waiting at home, the difficult children, the ugly neighbors, business failures -- everything is forgotten when the shoe is pinching.
And when I reach home and I take the shoes off, it is such a relief! This is the only relief in twenty-four hours. I feel so good and so grateful to God that one day has passed....
Now the problem will arise again the next day, in the morning; I can rest the whole night, and my sleep is really deep, because of the whole day's torture."
But this is the philosophy of this country. People are living in self-inflicted torture.
Torture has become something of a religious discipline: the more you torture yourself, the more religious you are and the closer to God.
Another proverb for you:
The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.
That's how Indians go on remaining in utter misery, but still contented. It is simply a case of bad memory; they forget that it was the same yesterday, and it was the same the day before yesterday. Every day seems to them to be new -- and it has been so old and so dirty. It has been for centuries the same slavery, the same poverty, the same suffering, but every day the Indian gets up and thinks that everything seems to be new. Just a case of bad memory... but very advantageous: you will not find anywhere in the world people so contented and so miserable at the same time.
You should look into Indian proverbs and you will find the very heart of the Indian personality. Another proverb says:
Don't worry over what other people are thinking about you. They are too busy worrying over what you are thinking about them.
He who laughs last is most likely a German. The Indian never laughs.
For an Indian, cleanliness is next to impossible!
To an Indian, to err is human, but it feels divine!
To the Indian mind, it is absolutely clear:
Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether!
There is no time like the present for postponing what you don't want to do!
A small ad in a Poona newspaper: "Young farm worker wishes to marry beautiful girl with a tractor. Please send photo of the tractor!"
For an Indian, it is a simple task to make things complex, but a complex task to make them simple.
Why have you written "Indian" after your name? Such things provoke me!
EVEN THOUGH IT SEEMS THAT LIFE FOR ME IS WONDERFUL, I SEE THIS HAPPENING ONLY ON THE SURFACE. WHEN I MOVE A LITTLE DEEPER, MY REALITY IS OF A RESTLESS BEING WORRYING ABOUT ALL SORTS OF THINGS.
I FIND THIS CIRCLE BORING WHERE I AM STUCK NOW. MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE OF MY LACK OF MEDITATION; STILL I DON'T SEEM TO FIND THE WAY IN, DEEPER -- EVEN WHEN THE DOOR IS WIDE OPEN.
OSHO, I HAVE HEARD YOU SAY, "BEFORE YOU DIE, DESTROY THE EGO." I AM GRATEFUL TO EXISTENCE FOR EVERYTHING, INCLUDING THIS EGO, BUT NOW IT FEELS TO BE THE RIGHT TIME TO MAKE ROOM AND BE FINISHED WITH IT.
BELOVED OSHO, IS THIS HAPPENING BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW MEDITATION?
Nivedano, you will always remain crazy! What are you doing here if you don't know meditation? You have perhaps got lost and forgotten your way, and somehow ended up here -- because here everybody is doing meditation.
I have been telling you to be thankful to existence, but I have never told you to be thankful for the ego. Ego has not been given to you by existence. It is your own great creation! And now you feel that it is the right time to make room and be finished with it.
Great idea! -- but the problem is that you don't know whether this is happening or not, because you don't know meditation.
Nivedano, if it is happening then you must be knowing meditation without knowing it.
There are many people who have qualities they are not aware of, but this is a very rare case! I have never heard of anybody who is in meditation and does not know that he is in meditation -- because meditation is such a tremendous difference, such a qualitative difference from your ordinary life that you cannot miss it. It is almost impossible; that's why I said you are going to remain crazy. This is possible only if you are crazy.
Contemplate over this small story:
A man decided one day that he was not paying enough attention to his family, so that evening he went home, kissed his children, gave flowers to his wife, shaved, showered and changed before dinner, and told lots of funny stories during the meal. Afterwards he whistled while he cleared the table, and insisted on washing and drying all the dishes.
When he had finished he went into the living room and found his wife in tears.
"Everything has gone wrong today," she sobbed. "The vacuum cleaner broke, Ernie threw his ball through the bedroom window, Polly fell and tore her best dress -- and now you come home so drunk, you don't know what you are doing!"
Nivedano, you are doing meditation. I look at you, and I feel you more grateful than anybody present here -- more prayerful, more humble, more simple, more silent.
Just this morning, passing by Buddha Hall, I saw your little child. He looked so beautiful.
I enquired whose child he is, and Nirvano told me, "He is Nivedano's child." For a moment I thought Nivedano must have looked exactly like this child -- so simple... but he still looks just like a child whenever I look at him.
He may not be the same with others, that is almost certain, but as far as I am concerned, when I look at him, he looks so silent, so saintly.... Although he does not know what he is doing, he is doing well.
AGAIN ON THE SUBJECT OF DESTROYING EGO, ANOTHER QUESTION APPEARS TO BE RELEVANT TO ME RIGHT NOW, AND THAT IS THE FACT THAT WHEREVER I GO, SOONER OR LATER, TROUBLE BUBBLES UP.
USUALLY IT HAPPENS WITH AUTHORITIES OF SOME KIND.
OSHO, I WONDER IF THIS HAPPENS BECAUSE, BEING UNAWARE, I GO ON PUSHING THE EDGES? OR IS IT AN OLD HABIT OF THE EGO? OR....?
Nivedano, no matter where you go, there you are!
The bank robbers arrived just before closing time, and promptly ordered the few remaining customers, as well as the clerks and guards, to take their clothes off and lie face down on the floor.
One nervous blond pulled off her clothes and lay down on the floor, face up.
"Turn over, Maybelle," whispered the girl lying beside her. "This is a stickup, not the office party."
Nivedano, it must be just the old habit -- you think it is the office party! If you feel that wherever you go sooner or later trouble bubbles up, just be a little aware! And don't thank existence for the ego, because that is the cause of the whole trouble. If you are carrying your ego, wherever you go trouble is bound to bubble up.
Ego is the only trouble in the world.
If everybody in the world just for one hour decides to put the ego aside -- just for one hour -- there will be no trouble, no problem; there will be such great peace and silence and love that we have not known before. This whole planet has not known that.
But the ego is nourished on troubles. If it cannot create trouble, it will starve to death. It needs continuous nourishment, and that nourishment comes from trouble. So if you understand that the trouble is a pain in the neck, and you are tired of it... If you are not tired of it, then I am not saying you have to drop it; first get really tired, then there is no need for me to tell you to drop it. You will just drop it.
Trouble is your spiritual cancer; it is better to get rid of it. It is the only agony of the human soul, the only hell that really exists. And it is within your hands to get out of it.
I have told you a story that I love.... A Japanese king went to see Master Lin Chi. He touched the feet of the master and before he could say anything, Lin Chi said, "You idiot!
You don't know even manners."
The king completely forgot for what he had come. He pulled out his sword, and Lin Chi laughed. He said, "You have forgotten your question. Now I remind you" -- because the king had sent his prime minister before him to inform Lin Chi that he is coming and his question is, "What is hell and what is heaven?" Now, when the sword was just about to fall on his neck, Lin Chi said, "Wait a minute! This is the door of hell."
The king was shocked. His hand stopped. He put back the sword in the sheath, and Lin Chi said, "That is the door of heaven. You had forgotten your question, but your prime minister told me. It was good that he told me before, otherwise you would have killed a poor man unnecessarily, and you would have suffered hell -- because hell is not anywhere else but in your ego. When I said, 'You idiot!' what was the trouble? Why did you become so angry? Who was hurt? It is your ego that was hurt."
If you don't have any ego, it doesn't matter whether somebody says you are an idiot or somebody says you are a genius. It does not matter... they are their opinions. You know who you are -- you don't depend on other people's opinions. Your ego depends. Your ego keeps you a slave of the society in which you live. Ordinarily people think that their ego is something very precious. It is nothing but their slavery.
A man becomes independent and free and individual only when he has dropped his ego, when he is just a silent being, without any idea of "I" -- just a pure silence... THIS silence. And if in this silence you look inward, you will not find any "I," any ego, any self, but just a pure space.
This pure space is your spirituality.
This pure space is your enlightenment.
This pure space is your ultimate ecstasy.
The ego is preventing everything. Ego is making you a beggar, while you are an emperor of a great empire. Of course, that empire does not belong to the outside world; it is in your own being, but its vastness is as big as the universe itself.
Your ego is keeping you encaged, imprisoned. Don't nourish it... and I am saying it because I know it is everybody's possibility not to nourish the ego and to get out into the open sky.
One day at the London zoo two Jewish ladies, both blond and middle-aged, were standing in front of the cage of Guy the gorilla, and no doubt passing remarks on aspects of his physique.
Suddenly Guy, who was kept alone and whose life was very boring, was possessed by a tremendous urge. He gripped the bars before him, and, such was the force of his lust, wrenched them apart. He leaned out, seized the blonder of the two ladies, drew her into the cage and pulled the bars together. The hapless, screaming, blonder lady was dragged towards the inner sleeping quarters, screened from public view.
Some days later, recovering in a Harley Street clinic, the lady was visited by her friend.
"Oy Veh, Rachel," the friend commiserated. Then, whispering hoarsely "... and tell me how you feel?"
Came the reply, "How do you THINK I feel?... he hasn't written, he hasn't phoned."
Nivedano, learn to laugh at your own ego. The moment you are gripped by your ego, relax and have a good laugh.
And don't be worried... and I know you are crazy, you will not be worried what people think about you. But if you can laugh at your ego, that is the best way to kill it. Don't be serious about your ego, because that is very nourishing food for the ego. That's why all egoists are serious people.
The people who can laugh and enjoy and be playful are never egoists. It is on this particular point that I disagree with all the religions of the world. They have made people's egos very strong by teaching them to be serious about life.
My effort is to erase the tremendous impact of millions of years of religious training. On the one hand they say, "Drop the ego," and on the other hand they don't allow the childlike playfulness.... On the one hand they go on insisting, "Drop the ego," and on the other hand they don't have any sense of humor.
No religion in the world has accepted a sense of humor as one of the fundamental religious qualities. I accept it, and I want that no religion can possibly exist in the future unless it has as a fundamental quality the sense of humor.
A religion without laughter... a God who cannot laugh and dance and sing is not worthy of being God. Send him to hell!
BECOMING MORE AWARE OF MYSELF, I HAVE OFTEN BEEN FEELING MORE INTENSELY "UP AND DOWN," AND SINCE BEING IN THE ASHRAM THIS FEELING HAS GROWN.
WHENEVER I ASK SOME SANNYASINS "HOW DO YOU FEEL?" THE MOST POPULAR ANSWER IS, "UP AND DOWN."
I CAN RECOGNIZE A TRICK OF THE MIND IN THIS FEELING, BUT A DOUBT ARISES: ISN'T THIS (UP AND DOWN) THE SHAPE OF THE VERTICAL GROWTH LINE AND THE RHYTHM OF HUMAN BEINGS, GIVEN THAT HUMAN LIFE STARTS FROM AN "UP AND DOWN"?
Maurice came home from work early one day and found his wife in the arms of his best friend, Max.
He staggered back and said, "Max! I am married to her, so I have to do that. But you?
You are a free man!"
Old Finkelstein was seventy-five when he decided to marry a young girl of twenty. His friends were scandalized, and one of them said, "Finkelstein, do you realize that a man of your age having sex with a young girl could be very dangerous -- even fatal?"
Finkelstein considered for a while, then shrugged and said, "Oh, well, if she dies, she dies!"
Life is such... it is up and down! It is up and down everywhere, not only here. And the moment it stops being up and down, you are dead! So let it go as up as possible and as down as possible.... The higher it goes, the deeper it goes, the better. Why are you worried because everybody says, "Up and down"? They know... and you know also.
Paddy was known for his foul language by everyone in his congregation. The parson took him aside on Sunday and said, "Every time you swear you must give five dollars to the nearest stranger. That will cure you soon enough."
As Paddy left the preacher, he stubbed his toe and then silently handed the five dollars to a woman just entering the church.
"Okay," whispered the woman, "But can you wait until after the service?"
The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here