The sweetness of silence on your tongue
I HAVE OVERCOME THE GOSSIPS, PLEASE JUST GIVE ME SOME SUTRAS TO MEDITATE UPON.
Devageet, it is next to impossible to overcome gossips, particularly in such a juicy, holy place! Gossips are so intrinsic to a cheerful life that they need not be overcome. They should be enjoyed. They also contain a certain fragment of truth. That should be discovered. No gossip is just a lie. It is a strange phenomenon that all gospels are simply lies; and no gossip is just a lie, there is some element, some fragment of truth in it.
The serious people are addicted to gospels. And if nonserious people start overcoming gossips, what will be left for you? Gospels you have overcome already; now all that remains for you is gossiping. Life has always been taken seriously, and that has produced a miserable mankind. Life should be taken as fun! Only then can we create a paradise on the earth.
Life is neither profane nor sacred; those are words used by the serious people. Either they condemn it, or they make it divine; either this extreme or that extreme -- but the truth is always in the middle, in the exact middle you are standing on the truth. Life is neither profane nor divine. It is simply a tremendous opportunity to rejoice. The moment you call it profane, you start feeling guilty. You become crippled on your own, you cannot dance - - dance becomes profane and condemned -- you cannot sing, you cannot celebrate.
One Zen master, Ta-Kuan, was on his deathbed. He asked for some paper and his calligraphic brush. It has been a longstanding tradition in the world of Zen that masters when departing from life give their last statement, written. Ta-Kuan wrote on the paper a Japanese word which means dream. He laughed, closed his eyes, the brush dropped from his hand.
But before writing this last statement he had instructed his disciples, "Bury me just in the mud behind the temple, because I am part of the earth and the earth wants to reclaim me, to rejuvenate, to create me anew. I am tired and it wants to take me to rest. And don't mourn when I die, but celebrate. Don't make a monument on my grave, because I am going home. It is not a grave to me, it is only entering into eternal rest. So rejoice, sing, dance, celebrate and carry on your daily work as if nothing has happened."
People like Ta-Kuan understand that life, although it is a dream, does not need to be condemned. It is a beautiful dream. You can sing it, you can dance it, you can make it more beautiful, you can decorate it.
To call it a dream is not a condemnation. He has instructed that they should celebrate and they should continue their daily work as if nothing has happened. The people who know never feel guilty about life and never put life on a high pedestal beyond their reach, so that they can only kneel down, lose their dignity, their pride and their self-respect and pray to a hypothetical divine life -- to someone who does not exist, far away in the stars.
All the religions have done both these things. On the one hand they have condemned your ordinary life, and they have created a tremendous sickness of guilt all over the world. For centuries man has been drowning in guilt. All his pleasures are poisoned. The condemnation goes so long and so deep that you cannot enjoy your food, you cannot enjoy your love, you cannot enjoy your clothes, you cannot enjoy at all. Something inside you goes on condemning: you are doing something wrong.
A small boy in the school was saying, "It took me twelve years to understand that 'don't' is not my name! Whatever I was doing -- 'Don't do it!' Everything that I was doing was wrong, and everything that I had no interest in was right."
The impossible is made right and the possible and the real is made a sin. Between these two -- the sin and the virtue -- every man is crushed, sandwiched between two rocks. You don't see the naturalness, acceptability of whatever you are, without any ideals.
Devageet, nothing is wrong in gossiping; just gossip in an enlightened way. Beautify your gossips; let your gossips also be part of your understanding, of your love, of your compassion. Even your gossips will show who you are. They are your signatures.
Gossiping becomes evil when it is out of jealousy, meanness, violence, when it is just to pull somebody down, when it comes out of a revengeful mind -- but it is not the fault of gossiping. Gossiping can come out of a meditative mind. Gossiping can come out of love, out of peace. Gossiping is an art in itself. Everybody is not capable of gossiping. There are born gossipers!
Devageet, you cannot overcome it; it is intrinsic to your nature. You are a born gossiper.
You gossip against yourself.
You are asking me for some sutras to meditate upon. Before I give you some sutras, it has to be understood that you can contemplate on them, but you cannot meditate on them.
That is the difference between contemplation and meditation. That is the difference between mind and no-mind. That is the difference between philosophy and philosia.
Contemplation needs an object. Without an object to contemplate on, you cannot contemplate -- contemplate on what? Some content, some object is needed for your mind to focus upon it; hence, contemplation never goes beyond mind.
Philosophy is contemplation.
Science is concentration.
Religion is meditation.
But meditation means you don't have anything, any object to think about. You are just in a state of absolute aloneness. You don't have anything on which you can focus yourself -- not a sutra, not a mantra, not any great value of life, just pure space all around you. Then you are in meditation.
Meditation is never about something.
Meditation is a state.
You can be in it; it is not something that you have to do -- not even thinking, not even contemplating.
There are beautiful ways of contemplation, and I will give you sutras to contemplate. But it has to be made absolutely clear that there is nothing in the world that you can meditate upon.
Meditation is simply going beyond mind, beyond the functioning of the mind, beyond all the fetters of the mind, and just entering into this silence, unmoving, unwavering -- just a pure awareness, a silent flame, a great joy... but nothing to see. A great clarity of seeing, a vast openness... the whole sky is yours, but nothing objects to you, nothing prevents you.
For the first time the nothingness has opened its doors to you. You simply are, utterly centered, without even a single thought flying across your mind. Then you are in meditation.
There are many moments here when you are in meditation in spite of yourself. I am not an orator, I speak only to create silence for you. I speak only so that between two words you can feel the gap... that between two words you can fall into the silence. The speaker, the orator, the philosopher, the teacher, they emphasize the words; I emphasize the silences between the words. They emphasize the lines; I emphasize between the gap between two lines. It is a change of gestalt from word to wordlessness.
If you make an effort, you miss the whole point, because making an effort your mind comes in. Perhaps nobody has ever spoken the way I am speaking to you. They had a message to give to you; I have an experience to share. They had a certain philosophy to convince you, to convert you; I don't have any philosophy, any nonsense. I have simply a device: I am not saying anything to you, I am just giving you chances of being in silence without any effort on your part. Once you have learned these moments and their beauty, and their benediction and their blessing, it will not be difficult to find the same spaces anywhere. Just the first experience is the most difficult.
An ancient Chinese proverb says, The first step is the only problem, because the whole journey is complete in the first step. You don't have to take another step.
For thousands of years there have been masters telling people to be silent, to go beyond mind. People have listened to them and they have tried also -- but they go on failing again and again, because effort will not lead you to it. The master's function is not to give you a certain technique. The master's function is to give you a glimpse, just a little taste: the sweetness of silence on your tongue. Then you will be able to find it on your own.
Meditation cannot be taught, it can only be caught.
I am meditation.
If you are available you can catch it.
It is just as contagious as any disease -- it is not a disease, it is a cure of all diseases; it is the ultimate health. But nobody has thought that health can also be contagious. The whole of medical science goes on thinking about infections, about diseases. Nobody bothers to make health infectious, to create healthy people who move anywhere and make other people healthy, just by their presence.
My own experience is -- I am not a physician, the body is not my world -- that spirituality, religiousness, is certainly contagious. I give you moments to feel the presence, to feel the nothingness surrounding you. This is meditation; it does not need any object.
But for your contemplation I can give you a few sutras....
... An atomic war will not determine who is right, but who is left.
... A pessimist is someone who is afraid that the optimist is right.
... Take care to get what you like, or you will be forced to like what you get.
... Say it with flowers, say it with sweets. Say it with kisses, say it with eats. Say it with jewelry, say it with drink. But always be careful not to say it with ink.
... Philosophy is the discovery that you might be worse off than you are.
... If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs... maybe you have not heard the gossip!
... Keep quiet and people will think you to be a great philosopher.
... A reformed politician is one who did not get enough votes.
... A neurotic is a person who worries about things that did not happen in the past, instead of worrying about something that won't happen in the future, like normal people.
... The difference between capitalism and communism: in capitalism, man exploits man; in communism it is vice-versa.
... Women are the kind of problem most men like to wrestle with.
... To have the last word with a woman -- apologize.
WHEN YOU ARE TALKING EVERYTHING FEELS FINE, BUT WHEN YOU STOP, IT FEELS LIKE THE CARPET HAS BEEN PULLED FROM UNDER MY FEET.
Dhyan Anekant, that's the very purpose of my stopping: to pull the carpet from under your feet, to give you a chance to become aware what you are without me. So once in a while, I pretend to be sick. I have to; otherwise you start forgetting your reality. You start becoming more and more my music, my poetry, my painting, and I don't want that. You have to be your own music and you have to be your own poetry.
You have to be just yourself.
What happens when I stop speaking? You are saying, "Everything feels fine when you are talking, but when you stop it feels like the carpet has been pulled from under my feet." Suddenly you become aware of all the garbage that you had forgotten you are carrying within you. All that crap -- centuries old -- starts rising within your mind; it is really stinking. You forget all the fragrance I was talking about; you don't see any flowers anywhere. You don't see the beautiful sunrises, the beautiful sunsets; you don't hear anymore the songs of the birds. You are so full of your own garbage, you become completely closed to the world.
I open you, your windows, your doors, your eyes, your ears. I give you a chance to be unafraid, fearless, and open your doors.
The unknown is not your enemy.
The unknown is your friend.
The stranger is your guest.
Allow the strange, allow the unfamiliar.
With me you gather courage, you open up; you start listening to the silences, you start seeing the beauties of existence. But left alone you immediately rush to close your doors and windows, and start hiding in your dark hole which you think is your security and safety.
It is not safety, it is not security, it is your grave -- although the grave has a certain kind of security. For example, you cannot die again. You can rest at ease, no death is ever going to disturb you -- but do you want that kind of security? The dead are so safe, they will not even fall sick, not even the common cold -- no problems, no anxieties, no responsibilities.
While you are alive, don't create a grave for yourself. As I see it, everybody is a gravedigger; he digs his own grave continuously, in search of security, safety, protecting himself from the unknown, the unfamiliar, the strange -- who knows what it is. It is better to live with your known sadness, misery, darkness -- but at least you know them, you have been with them long enough, you are acquainted.
So the moment you are not listening to me, you start listening to yourself. That is the problem. You have to come to a point when you don't have anything to say. Then without me you will have even greater experiences, even greater ecstasies, even greater moments of splendor.
I am simply showing you the path.
It leads to faraway stars.
But when I am not with you, you have to understand that what starts surfacing in you is your reality -- and you have to get beyond it.
Two martians crash land their flying saucer in a piano shop. Dusting themselves off they approach a grand piano. Says one, "Take me to your dentist."
The other commands, "Wipe that grin off your face."
Now the Martians have their own understanding of things. They don't belong to your world. They are coming from a different world, different language, different ways of seeing things.
The little boy comes back from his first day at school.
His mother greets him and says, "Well, Tommy, did you learn much on your first day?"
"Not enough I guess," said Tommy sadly, "I have to go back again tomorrow."
Children have their own understanding. When you are alone, you speak your language; you speak from the space where you are, and you become frightened -- what happened to great ecstasies? Only agonies are arising in you, miserable, tidal waves. What happened to all that was so beautiful? What happened to that music? You hear only noises -- maddening.
It was the first day of the factory football match and the polacks were playing the Italians.
Nobody managed to score, and at five o'clock the factory siren blew, so the Italians left the field and went home. Half an hour later, the polacks scored a goal.
Now, nothing can be done about it! You have to face your reality. Only by facing it and remembering those glimpses that you had with me, in communion, in a deep harmony with me, you have now a certainty that your reality is not the whole reality, that there is much more, that the real richness is missing. You are living at the minimum -- a poor life, spiritually. I drag you to the very sunlit peaks. But when I leave you, you immediately start rolling down, back into the valley in search of your security, because on the hilltop you feel so alone. In the valley is the whole crowd, all your friends, all your enemies....
After two years in a salt mine in Siberia, Ivan was unburdening himself to his sweetheart.
"Oh, darling, how I have suffered without you these past two years!" he babbled.
"Nothing to do all day except dig salt... salt... salt. In all that time what do you think was on my mind?"
"Tell me, dearest," she breathed as she snuggled closer.
"Pepper!" he answered.
Salt and salt and salt -- naturally, only one thing was in his mind, pepper.
You have to face your mind.
You cannot just avoid it and escape from it. Wherever you go, you will find it; it is within you. It is you.
So this is my way of working. I will be with you and I will take you to unknown spaces.
But once in a while I will disappear, just to give you a sense of where you are and where you ought to be, and to know the distance.
And it is not difficult to bridge the gap, but you have to be aware. Once you know the gap, the bridge is not difficult. But people are not even aware of the gap; they think this is all that life is meant to be. It is not all.
Life is infinite.
Life is beyond your wildest dreams.
It is an eternal romance, a great love affair which begins but never ends.
A suave executive seemed disappointed after lunching with a gorgeous blonde.
When his friend asked what went wrong, he replied, "She said yes."
"Yes sounds good to me!"
"Not," the other said, "when the question is, 'Are you married?'" When you are alone, watch what kind of questions are arising in you, and what kind of answers you are capable of giving to those questions -- because every question that arises in you has an answer somewhere within you. Without an answer no question arises. So just watch. Dig deeper into every question and you will find your answer. It will be ordinary, mundane and you will feel hurt, wounded. But I want you to know where you are, because the journey begins from where you are.
I can give you glimpses of the faraway experiences, but you have to move from the space where you are. You have to go on a pilgrimage. Being with me you can either use this opportunity for your growth, or you can misuse it. If you are simply being entertained, you are misusing the opportunity. Unless you are becoming enlightened -- even if slowly and gradually but steadily -- then you are not using the opportunity to its fullest.
I am not here to entertain you. Other than your enlightenment, nothing will make me celebrate you. I would like to celebrate for all of you, but you have to blossom to your uttermost potentiality.
One evening in a bar in New York, a woman with a nasal, raspy voice was singing, "My Old Virginia Home."
An old man in the corner bowed his head and wept quietly. A lady leaned over to him and whispered, "Excuse me, but are you a Virginian?"
"No, lady," said the man, "I am a musician."
Jake Lavinsky decided to return to Russia, the land of his birth, after living in America for thirty-five years. "I want to help make a success of the workers' paradise," he gave as his excuse.
But he was back in the States three months later. "In the Soviet Union it is just impossible to do anything right," he complained. "If you arrive for work five minutes early, you are betraying your fellow workers. If you are five minutes late, you are betraying socialism.
And if you arrive on time -- God forbid -- the commissar calls you into his office and shouts, "So where did you get the watch?"
Here, it is a totally different situation: everything is right. Five minutes earlier, five minutes late, or at the right time -- nothing is wrong if you are just alert.
If you are going deeper in your alertness, if you are aware, and your awareness is becoming more and more crystallized, everything will go on becoming more and more right. A moment comes when you cannot conceive how to commit a mistake; you cannot conceive how to be cruel, how to be unkind, how to be violent, how to be inhuman.
The day you cannot conceive all that is animal in you... then from your very mud the lotus has grown, has gone beyond the waters, has reached and opened its petals to the sun. The day of dance has arrived -- the moment of celebration.
We are all born in the mud, but there is no need to remain there. This place is not to condemn you for being born in the mud, but to provoke you, to challenge you, to invite you, to welcome you.Although you were born in the mud -- all lotuses are born in the mud -- you have the potential of becoming a lotus, the most beautiful flower in existence.
With me, drink your future as deeply as possible. I am your future. When you are alone, watch quietly and silently your present. From your present, from your muddy mess, will arise a flower. Where you are today, I was exactly there yesterday, so I know what a great future you have. Where I am today, you are going to be there tomorrow -- or at the most the day after tomorrow.
The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here