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OSHO Dhammapada-Buddhism-Buddha

THE DHAMMAPADA: THE WAY OF THE BUDDHA, VOL. 2

Chapter 3: And travel on

 

Energy Enhancement         Enlightened Texts         Dhammapada         The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 2

 

WHO SHALL CONQUER THIS WORLD

AND THE WORLD OF DEATH WITH ALL ITS GODS?

WHO SHALL DISCOVER

THE SHINING WAY OF THE LAW?

YOU SHALL, EVEN AS THE MAN

WHO SEEKS FLOWERS

FINDS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL,

THE RAREST.

UNDERSTAND THAT THE BODY

IS MERELY THE FOAM OF A WAVE,

THE SHADOW OF A SHADOW.

SNAP THE FLOWER ARROWS OF DESIRE

AND THEN, UNSEEN,

ESCAPE THE KING OF DEATH.

AND TRAVEL ON.

DEATH OVERTAKES THE MAN

WHO GATHERS FLOWERS

WHEN WITH DISTRACTED MIND AND THIRSTY SENSES

HE SEARCHES VAINLY FOR HAPPINESS

IN THE PLEASURES OF THE WORLD.

DEATH FETCHES HIM AWAY

AS A FLOOD CARRIES OFF A SLEEPING VILLAGE.

DEATH OVERCOMES HIM

WHEN WITH DISTRACTED MIND AND THIRSTY SENSES

HE GATHERS FLOWERS.

HE WILL NEVER HAVE HIS FILL

OF THE PLEASURES OF THE WORLD.

THE BEE GATHERS NECTAR FROM THE FLOWER

WITHOUT MARRING ITS BEAUTY OR PERFUME.

SO LET THE MASTER SETTLE, AND WANDER.

LOOK TO YOUR OWN FAULTS,

WHAT YOU HAVE DONE OR LEFT UNDONE.

OVERLOOK THE FAULTS OF OTHERS.

LIKE A LOVELY FLOWER,

BRIGHT BUT SCENTLESS,

ARE THE FINE BUT EMPTY WORDS

OF THE MAN WHO DOES NOT MEAN WHAT HE SAYS.

LIKE A LOVELY FLOWER,

BRIGHT AND FRAGRANT,

ARE THE FINE AND TRUTHFUL WORDS

OF THE MAN WHO MEANS WHAT HE SAYS.

LIKE GARLANDS WOVEN FROM A HEAP OF FLOWERS,

FASHION FROM YOUR LIFE AS MANY GOOD DEEDS.

God is not really the center of religious inquiry -- death is. Without death there would have been no religion at all. It is death that makes man seek and search for the beyond, the deathless.

Death surrounds us like an ocean surrounding a small island. The island can be flooded any moment. The next moment may never come, tomorrow may never arrive. Animals are not religious for the simple reason that they are not aware of death. They cannot conceive of themselves dying, although they see other animals dying. It is a quantum leap from seeing somebody else dying to concluding that "I am also going to die." Animals are not so alert, aware, to come to such a conclusion.

And the majority of human beings are also subhuman. A man is really a mature man when he has come to this conclusion: "If death is happening to everybody else, then I cannot be an exception." Once this conclusion sinks deep into your heart, your life can never be the same again. You cannot remain attached to life in the old way. If it is going to be taken away, what is the point of being so possessive? If it is going to disappear one day, why cling and suffer? If it is not going to remain forever, then why be in such misery, anguish, worry? If it is going to go, it is going to go -- it does not matter when it goes. The time is not that important -- today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow. But life is going to slip out of your hands.

The day you become aware that you are going to die, that your death is an absolute certainty...in fact the only certainty in life is death. Nothing else is so absolutely certain. But somehow we go on avoiding this question, this question of death. We go on keeping ourselves occupied in other matters. Sometimes we talk about great things -- God, heaven and hell -- just to avoid the REAL question. The real question is not God, cannot be, because what acquaintance have you got with God? What do you know about God? How can you inquire about something which is absolutely unknown to you? It will be an empty inquiry. It will be at the most curiosity, it will be juvenile, childish, stupid.

Stupid people ask about God, the intelligent person asks about death. The people who go on asking about God never find God, and the person who asks about death is bound to find God -- because it is death that transforms you, your vision. Your consciousness is sharpened because you have raised a real question, an authentic question, the most important question of life. You have created such a great challenge that you can't remain asleep for long; you will have to be awake, you will have to be alert enough to encounter the reality of death.

That's how Buddha's inquiry began:

The day Buddha was born...he was the son of a great king, and the only son, and he was born when the king was getting old, very old; hence there was great rejoicing in the kingdom. The people had waited long. The king was very much loved by the people; he had served them, he had been kind and compassionate, he had been very loving and very sharing. He had made his kingdom one of the richest, loveliest kingdoms of those days.

People were praying that their king should have a son because there was nobody to inherit. And then Buddha was born in the king's very old age -- unexpected was his birth. Great celebration, great rejoicing! All the astrologers of the kingdom gathered to predict about Buddha. His name was Siddhartha -- he was given this name, Siddhartha, because it means fulfillment. The king was fulfilled, his desire was fulfilled, his deepest longing was fulfilled -- he wanted a son, he had wanted a son his whole life; hence the name Siddhartha. It simply means fulfillment of the deepest desire.

This son made the king's life meaningful, significant. The astrologers, great astrologers, predicted -- they were all agreeing except one young astrologer. His name was Kodanna. The king asked, "What is going to happen in the life of my son?" And all the astrologers raised two fingers, except Kodanna who raised only one finger.

The king asked, "Please don't talk in symbols -- I am a simple man, I don't know anything about astrology. Tell me, what do you mean by two fingers?"

And they all said, "Either he is going to become a CHAKRAVARTIN -- a world ruler -- or he will renounce the world and will become a buddha, an enlightened person. These two alternatives are there, hence we raise two fingers."

The king was worried about the second alternative, that he will renounce the world. "So again the problem: who will inherit my kingdom if he renounces the world?" And then he asked Kodanna, "Why do you raise only one finger?"

Kodanna said, "I am absolutely certain that he will renounce the world -- he will become a buddha, an enlightened one, an awakened one."

The king was not happy with Kodanna. Truth is very difficult to accept. He ignored Kodanna; Kodanna was not rewarded at all -- truth is not rewarded in this world. On the contrary, truth is punished in a thousand and one ways. In fact, Kodanna's prestige fell after that day. Because he was not rewarded by the king, the rumor spread that he was a fool. When all the astrologers were agreeing, he was the only one who was not agreeing.

The king asked the other astrologers, "What do you suggest? What should I do so that he does not renounce the world? I would not want him to be a beggar, I would not like to see him a sannyasin. I would like him to become a chakravartin -- a ruler of all the six continents." The ambition of all the parents. Who would like his son or daughter to renounce the world and to move into the mountains, to go into one's own interiority, to seek and search for the self?

Our desires are extrovert. The king was an ordinary man, just like everybody else -- with the same desires and the same ambitions. The astrologers said, "It can be arranged: give him as much pleasure as possible, keep him in as much comfort and luxury as is humanly possible. Don't allow him to know about illness, old age, and particularly death. Don't let him come to know about death and he will never renounce."

They were right in a way, because death is the central question. Once it arises in your heart, your life-style is bound to change. You cannot go on living in the old foolish way. If this life is going to end in death, then this life cannot be real life, then this life must be an illusion. Truth has to be eternal if it is true -- only lies are momentary. If life is momentary, then it must be an illusion, a lie, a misconception, a misunderstanding; then life must be rooted somewhere in ignorance. We must be living it in such a way that it comes to an end.

We can live in a different way so that we can become part of the eternal flow of existence. Only death can give you that radical shift.

So the astrologers said, "Please don't let him know anything about death." And the king made all the arrangements. He made three palaces for Siddhartha for different seasons in different places, so that he never came to know the discomfort of the season. When it was hot he had a palace in a certain place in the hills where it was always cool. When it was too cold he had another palace by the side of a river where it was always warm. He made all the arrangements so he never felt any discomfort.

No old man or woman was allowed to enter the palaces where he lived -- only young people. He gathered all the beautiful young women of the kingdom around him so he would remain allured, fascinated, so he would remain in dreams, desires. A sweet dreamworld was created for him. The gardeners were told that dead leaves had to be removed in the night; fading, withering flowers had to be removed in the night -- because who knows? -- seeing a dead leaf he might start asking about what has happened to this leaf, and the question of death may arise. Seeing a withering rose, petals falling, he might ask, "What has happened to this rose?" and he might start brooding, meditating, about death.

He was kept absolutely unaware of death for twenty-nine years. But how long can you avoid? Death is such an important phenomenon -- how long can you deceive? Sooner or later he had to enter into the world. Now the king was getting very old and the son had to know the ways of the world, so slowly slowly he was allowed, but whenever he would pass through any street of the capital, old men, old women, would be removed, beggars would be removed. No sannyasin was allowed to cross while he was passing, because seeing a sannyasin he might ask "What type of man is this? Why is he in orange? What has happened to him? Why does he look different, detached, distant? His eyes are different, his flavor is different, his presence has a different quality to it. What has happened to this man?" And then the question of renunciation, and fundamentally the question of death.... But one day, it had to happen. It can't be avoided.

We are also doing the same. If somebody dies and the death procession is passing by, the mother pulls the child inside the house and closes the door.

The story is very significant, symbolic, typical. No parents want the children to know about death, because they will immediately start asking uncomfortable questions. That's why we build the cemeteries outside the town, so that nobody need go there. Death is a central fact; the cemetery should be exactly in the middle of the city so everybody has to pass it many times in the day -- going to the office, coming to the home, going to the school, college, coming to the home, going to the factory...so that one is reminded again and again about death. But we make the cemetery outside the town, and we make the cemetery very beautiful: flowers, trees. We try to hide death -- particularly in the West, death is a taboo! Just as once sex was a taboo, now death is the taboo. Death is the last taboo.

Someone like Sigmund Freud is needed -- a Sigmund Freud who can bring death back into the world, who can expose people to the phenomenon of death. When a person dies in the West, his body is decorated, bathed, perfumed, painted. Now there are experts who do this whole job. And if you see a dead man or a dead woman, you will be surprised -- he looks far more alive than he ever looked when he was alive! Painted, his cheeks are red, his face bright; he seems to be fast asleep in a calm and quiet space.

We are deceiving ourselves! We are not deceiving him, he is no longer there. There is nobody, just a dead body, a corpse. But we are deceiving ourselves by painting his face, by garlanding his body, putting beautiful clothes on him, carrying his body in a costly car, and a great procession and much appreciation for the person who has died. He was never appreciated when he was alive, but now nobody criticizes him, everybody praises him.

We are trying to deceive ourselves; we are making death as beautiful as we can so that the question does not arise. And we go on living in the illusion that it is always the other who dies -- obviously, you will not see your own death, you will always see others dying. A logical conclusion -- that it is always the other who dies, so why be bothered? You seem to be the exceptional one, God has made a different rule for you.

Remember, nobody is an exception. AES DHAMMO SANANTANO -- only one law rules all, one eternal law. Whatsoever happens to the ant is going to happen to the elephant too, and whatsoever happens to the beggar is going to happen to the emperor too. Poor or rich, ignorant or knowledgeable, sinner or saint, the law makes no distinction -- the law is very just.

And death is very communist -- it equalizes people. It takes no notice of who you are. It never looks in the pages of the books published, like WHO'S WHO. It simply never bothers whether you are a pauper or Alexander the Great.

One day Siddhartha HAD to become aware, and he became aware. He was going to participate in a youth festival; he was going to inaugurate it. The prince, of course, was supposed to inaugurate the yearly youth festival. It was a beautiful evening; the youth of the kingdom had gathered to dance and sing and rejoice the whole night. The first day of the year -- a night-long celebration. And Siddhartha was going to open it.

On the way he met what his father had been afraid of him ever seeing -- he came across those things. First he saw an ill man, his first experience of illness. He asked, "What has happened?"

The story is very beautiful. It says the charioteer was going to lie, but a disembodied soul took possession of the charioteer, forced him to speak the truth. He had to say, in spite of himself, "This man is ill."

And Buddha immediately asked the intelligent question, "Then can I also be ill?"

The charioteer was again going to lie, but the soul of a god, an enlightened soul, a disembodied soul, forced him to say, "Yes." The charioteer was puzzled that he wanted to say no, but what came out of his mouth was, "Yes, you are also going to be ill."

Then they came across an old man -- and the same questioning. Then they came across a dead body being carried to the burning GHAT, and the same question...and when Buddha saw the dead body and he asked, "Am I also going to die one day?" the charioteer said, "Yes, sir. Nobody is an exception. Sorry to say so, but nobody is an exception -- even you are going to die."

Buddha said, "Then turn the chariot back. Then there is no point in going to a youth festival. I have already become ill, I have already become old, I am already on the verge of death. If one day I am going to die, then what is the point of all this nonsense? -- living and waiting for death. Before it comes, I would like to know something which never dies. Now I will devote my whole life to the search for something deathless. If there is something deathless, then the only significant thing in life can be the search for it."

And while he was saying this, they saw the fourth sight -- a sannyasin, a monk, in orange, walking very meditatively. And Buddha said, "What has happened to this man?" And the charioteer said, "Sir, this is what you are thinking to do. This man has seen death happening and he has gone in search of the deathless."

The same night, Buddha renounced the world; he left his home in search of the deathless, in search of truth.

Death is the most important question in life. And those who accept the challenge of death, they are immensely rewarded.

The sutras. Buddha says:

WHO SHALL CONQUER THIS WORLD

AND THE WORLD OF DEATH WITH ALL ITS GODS?

WHO SHALL DISCOVER

THE SHINING WAY OF THE LAW?

He is throwing a challenge to you. He is raising a question in your heart. He is asking: WHO SHALL CONQUER THIS WORLD AND THE WORLD OF DEATH WITH ALL ITS GODS?

This world is the world of death, and the gods that you have created out of your imagination are part of this world -- they are going to die. You, your world, your gods, they are all going to die, because this world is created by your desire, and the gods are also created by your desire and imagination.

You don't know who you are -- how can you know the real God? And how can you know the real world? Whatsoever you know is a projection, is a kind of dream. Yes, when a dream is there, it appears real. Every night you dream, and you know that while in the dream you never suspect it, you never doubt it, you never raise a question.

Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples, "Every night when you are going to sleep, when you are just on the verge and the curtain of sleep is falling on you, a little bit you remember still, not yet drowned in the darkness of sleep, a little bit of awareness, and sleep is coming...those moments, those intervals between waking and sleep," Gurdjieff used to say, "those moments are very significant. Raise a question in your mind and go on repeating it while you are falling asleep. A simple question: Is it real? Is it for real? Go on repeating the question while you are falling asleep, so that one day in dream you can ask: Is it real?" That day brings a great benediction.

If you can ask in a dream, "Is it real?" the dream immediately disappears. Here you ask, and there the dream is no more. Suddenly a great awakening happens inside. In sleep you become alert. The sleep continues; hence the tremendous beauty of its experience. The sleep continues; the body remains asleep, the mind remains asleep, but something beyond body and mind becomes alert; a witness arises in you. "Is it real?" -- if you ask it in your dream...very difficult to remember because when you are dreaming you have completely forgotten yourself. Hence the device -- while falling asleep, go on repeating this question: Is it real? Is it real? Fall asleep repeating this question.

Somewhere between three and nine months, one day it happens -- in dream suddenly the question arises: Is it real? And you have one of the most profound experiences of your life. The moment the question is raised, the dream immediately disappears, and there is utter emptiness and silence. Sleep is there and yet a small light of awareness has happened.

And then only will you be aware of this life and its illusoriness; then you will be able to see that the world of desires, jealousies, ambitions, is just a dream seen with open eyes. And if you can see that this world is also a dream, you are on the verge of enlightenment.

But remember, belief won't help. You can believe this world is illusory -- in India millions of people believe and repeat continuously, parrotlike: "This world is MAYA, illusion" -- this and that. And what they are saying is all rubbish, nonsense, because it is not their authentic experience. They have heard people say it, and they are repeating. They don't KNOW on their own, they are not witnesses to it; hence it never changes their lives. They go on repeating, "This world is unreal," and they go on living in this world as much as those who think it is real -- there is no difference, no qualitative difference.

What is the difference between the materialist and the so-called religious person? What difference? Because he goes to the church every Sunday? or because he goes to the temple once in a while? That is the only difference; otherwise, in actual life, you will find them exactly the same. Sometimes the irreligious person may be more honest, more authentic, more sincere, more truthful, than the religious -- because the religious person is already dishonest in being religious without any experience of his own. His religiousness is based on dishonesty; he has committed the greatest dishonesty a man can commit: he believes in God and he knows nothing of God; he believes in eternal life and he has no taste of it. He has not seen anything, and yet he goes on pretending. His religiousness is basically dishonest; hence it is not a wonder, not a surprise that in so-called religious countries like India, you will find the people more dishonest than in the so-called materialist countries of the West.

The Western materialist is more sincere. The Indian religious person is very mean, dishonest, deceptive, because if you can even deceive God, whom are you going to leave out? If your religion is pseudo, your whole life is going to be pseudo. The person who has the guts to say, "Unless I know God I am not going to believe," is tacitly sincere, honest. This is my observation: that atheists have more possibility of knowing God than the so-called theists.

WHO SHALL CONQUER THIS WORLD AND THE WORLD OF DEATH WITH ALL ITS GODS? WHO SHALL DISCOVER THE SHINING WAY OF THE LAW?

AES DHAMMO SANANTANO -- who is going to discover the eternal, inexhaustible law? AES MAGGO VISUDDHYA -- who is going to find the path of eternal purity, of eternal innocence? Who? Buddha throws you a challenge and then says:

YOU SHALL, EVEN AS THE MAN

WHO SEEKS FLOWERS

FINDS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL,

THE RAREST.

Yes, you can conquer this world of death -- because at the deepest core of your being you are part of eternity, you are not part of time. You exist in time, but you belong to eternity. You are a penetration of eternity into the world of time. You are deathless, living in a body of death. Your consciousness knows no death, no birth. It is only your body that is born and dies. But you are not aware of your consciousness; you are not conscious of your consciousness.

And that is the whole art of meditation: becoming conscious of consciousness itself. The moment you know who is residing in the body, who you are, in that very revelation you have transcended death and the world of death. You have transcended all that is momentary.

YOU SHALL, just AS THE MAN WHO SEEKS FLOWERS FINDS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, THE RAREST.

Jesus says: Seek and ye shall find, ask and it shall be given to you, knock and the door shall be opened unto you.

A great inquiry is needed, a great seeking is needed. Just as science inquires into the objective world, religion is an inquiry into the subjective. Science inquires into that which you see, and religion inquires into the seer itself. Religion, of course, is the science of the sciences.

Science can never be more important than religion; it is impossible that science can be more important than religion, because science after all is a human endeavor. It is what you do -- but who is the doer inside you? The doer can never be less than his doing. The painter can never be less than his painting, and the poet can never be less than his poetry. The scientist knows about the world but knows nothing about the scientist himself.

Albert Einstein in his last days used to say, "Sometimes I suspect my life has been a wastage. I inquired into the farthest of stars and forgot completely to inquire into myself -- and I was the closest star!"

Just because we are conscious, we take it for granted -- the meditator never takes it for granted. He goes in, he knocks at the door of his own inner being, he seeks and searches inside, he leaves not a single stone unturned. He enters into his own being. And great is his fulfillment, the greatest, because he finds the rarest. Yes, there are many flowers, but there is no flower like the flower of your consciousness. It is the rarest -- it is the one-thousand-petaled lotus, it is a golden lotus. Unless one knows it, one knows nothing. Unless one finds it, all riches are useless, all power is futile.

UNDERSTAND THAT THE BODY

IS MERELY THE FOAM OF A WAVE,

THE SHADOW OF A SHADOW.

SNAP THE FLOWER ARROWS OF DESIRE

AND THEN, UNSEEN,

ESCAPE THE KING OF DEATH.

The body is a momentary phenomenon. One day it was not, one day it will not be again. It exists only for the time being -- it is like foam; looks so beautiful from the shore, the foam, the white foam of a wave. And if the sun has risen, around the foam can be created a rainbow; looks so beautiful, looks like diamonds, looks so white and so pure. But if you take it in your hands, it starts disappearing. Only your hands are left wet, that's all.

So is the case with the body. It looks beautiful, but death is growing in it, death is hiding in it, old age is waiting there. It is only a question of time.

It is not that at a certain date you die. In fact, the reality is that the day you are born, you start dying. The child who is one day old has died a little bit, he has died one day. He will go on dying day by day. What you call your birthday is not really your birthday -- you should call it your deathday. The man who is celebrating his fiftieth birthday is really celebrating his fiftieth deathday. Death has come closer. Now, if he is going to live seventy years, only twenty years are left. Fifty years he has already died!

We are continuously dying as far as the body is concerned...it is foam disappearing. Don't be deceived by seventy years because seventy years mean nothing in the expanse of eternity -- what is the meaning of seventy years? It is foam, it is momentary.

UNDERSTAND THAT THE BODY IS MERELY THE FOAM OF A WAVE, THE SHADOW OF A SHADOW. It is not even the shadow, but the shadow of the shadow. Buddha wants to emphasize the unreality of it. It is the echo of the echo, very very far removed from reality. God is the real -- call it truth. Buddha would like to call it dhamma -- the law. God is the ultimate reality; then the soul is his shadow and the body is the shadow of the shadow. Move from the body to the soul and from the soul to dhamma -- to God, to the eternal law.

Unless you achieve the eternal law, don't rest, because nobody knows -- today you are here, tomorrow you may not be. Don't waste these precious days hankering, longing for futile things. People go on collecting junk, and then one day they are gone. And then all the junk that they collected their whole lives is left behind. They cannot take a single thing with them.

It is said that when Alexander the Great died, he asked his ministers that when his casket was being carried to the grave, his hands should be left hanging outside the casket.

"Why?" the ministers asked. "Nobody has ever heard of such a thing! It is never done! It is not traditional. Why this strange, eccentric idea? Why should your hands be left hanging outside the casket?"

Alexander said, "I would like to let people know that even I, Alexander the Great, am going empty-handed. I am not taking anything with me. My whole life has been a sheer wastage. I worked hard" -- and he really worked hard, he struggled hard, he was a really ambitious person, mad after power, wanted to become the ruler of the world, and had more or less succeeded, had more or less become the ruler of the then known world.... But even he says, "I am dying and I cannot take anything with me; hence the whole effort has been just an exercise in futility. Let the people know, let them become aware, let them understand my foolishness, my idiocy. It may help them to understand their own life patterns, their life-styles."

SNAP THE FLOWER ARROWS OF DESIRE AND THEN, UNSEEN, ESCAPE THE KING OF DEATH.

If you can become desireless, then death cannot have any sway over you. It is the desiring mind that is caught in the net of death, and we are all full of desires: desire for money, for power, for prestige, respectability -- a thousand and one desires. Desires create greed, and greed creates competition, and competition creates jealousy. One thing leads to another, and we go on falling into the mess, into the turmoil of the world. It is a mad mad world, but the root cause of madness is desire.

Once you sow the seeds of desire...desire means to have more. You have a certain quantity of money, you would like to have double that. Desire means the longing for more. And nobody thinks twice that any quantitative change is not going to satisfy you. If you cannot be satisfied by ten thousand rupees, how can you be satisfied by twenty thousand rupees? The rupees will be doubled. But if ten thousand rupees cannot give you any satisfaction, your satisfaction cannot be doubled; there has been no satisfaction in the first place. In fact, when you have ten thousand rupees you have a certain quantity of anxiety, fear -- those anxieties will be doubled when you have twenty thousand rupees, trebled when you have thirty thousand rupees, and so on and so forth. You can go on multiplying....

And whatsoever you have, somebody will always be having more than that -- it is a big world. Hence jealousy, and jealousy is the fever of the soul. Except meditation, there is no medicine for it. The physician can help you if your body is suffering from a fever, but only a master can help you, a buddha can help you, if you are suffering from the fever of the soul. Very few people are suffering from the physical fever, and almost everybody is suffering from the spiritual fever -- jealousy.

Jealousy means somebody else has more than you have. And it is impossible to be the first in everything. You may have the largest amount of money in the world, but you may not have a beautiful face. And a beggar may make you jealous -- his body, his face, his eyes, and you are jealous. A beggar can make an emperor jealous.

Napoleon was not very tall -- he was only five feet five inches. I don't see anything wrong in it; it's perfectly alright -- I am five feet five inches and I have never suffered because of it, because whether you are six feet or five feet your feet reach to the earth all the same! So where is the problem? If the five-foot person was hanging one foot above the earth, then there would have been a problem! But Napoleon suffered very much. He was continuously conscious of the fact that he was not tall. And, of course, he was amongst very tall people. The soldiers, the generals, they were all tall people and he was very short.

He used to stand on something higher.... Exactly the same was the case with the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. He was also five-five -- this five-five is something! And the last viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten, was very tall -- Lady Mountbatten even taller. Now, when Lord Mountbatten gave him the oath of the first prime minister...you can see in the picture, those pictures are available everywhere: Nehru is standing on a step and Mountbatten is standing on the floor, just to look at least equal, if not taller than Mountbatten. Then too, he is not taller than Mountbatten, even standing on a step...a deep sense of inferiority.

Napoleon was continuously self-conscious. One day he was fixing a clock and his hand could not reach it. The clock was high on the wall. His bodyguard -- and bodyguards are bound to be taller people, strong people -- his bodyguard said, "Wait, I am higher than you, I will fix it."

Napoleon was very angry and he said, "Stupid! Apologize! You are not higher than me, you are simply taller. Change your word. Higher? What do you mean?" He was very much offended. And the poor bodyguard was not meaning anything insulting to him -- he was not even aware that saying "higher" is offensive. Now, Napoleon had everything, but the height was the problem.

It is very difficult to have everything of the world and be the first in everything. It is impossible! Then the jealousy persists, it continues. Somebody has more money than you, somebody has more health than you, somebody has more beauty than you, somebody has more intelligence than you...and you are constantly comparing. The desiring mind continues to compare.

Goldstein and Weinberg were in business together and having a bad time. One day Goldstein, while taking a stroll through the woods, was all of a sudden surprised by a real fairy godmother who said to him, "I will grant you three wishes, but remember, whatever you wish for, Weinberg will get double."

On his way back Goldstein pondered, "I would not mind a spacious mansion." And before he realized what was happening, there it was -- his mansion. But at the same time he saw Weinberg across the road proudly viewing his two villas. Goldstein repressed his jealousy and went in to see his new home. As he walked into the bedroom, a second desire struck him: "I would not mind a woman like Sophia Loren." And sure enough, there she was -- a gorgeous piece looking just like Sophia Loren. But as he looked out of the bedroom window, he saw Weinberg on his balcony with two gorgeous women.

"Well," he sighed as he thought of the fairy godmother, "you can cut off one of my balls!"

Jealousy is jealousy.... If you cannot have all, at least you can stop anybody else having it. Jealousy becomes destructive, jealousy becomes violence. And jealousy is the shadow of desire. Desire always compares and, because of comparison there is suffering. People waste their lives in desiring, in being jealous, in comparing, and the precious time is simply lost. Even if God gives you three wishes, you will do the same as Goldstein -- because the Jew exists in everybody. Only a buddha is not a Jew; otherwise everybody else is.

The nature of desire is Jewish. It wants more, it is mad for more. And those who live in desire are bound to be victims of death. Only the person who understands the foolishness of desiring, of greed, of constantly longing for more, of jealousy, of comparison, one who becomes aware of all this nonsense and drops it, goes beyond death. He becomes unseen. Buddha uses a beautiful word. He says: AND THEN, UNSEEN, ESCAPE THE KING OF DEATH.

Death can only see a person who lives in the garments of desire. Death can only see desire. If desire is dropped, you become invisible to death; death cannot touch you, because without desire you are simply pure consciousness and nothing else. You are no longer identified with the body or the mind. You simply know one thing, that you are a witness. Death cannot see you -- you can see death.

Ordinarily, death can see you, you cannot see death -- because desire is gross, can be seen by death. Consciousness is invisible, it is not matter -- it is pure energy, it is light. YOU can see death, but death cannot see you. And to see death is again a great experience, a hilarious experience. One starts laughing when one sees death -- death is so impotent. Its power is not its own, its power is in your desiring mind. YOU give power to it. The more you desire, the more you are afraid of death. The more greedy you are, the more afraid you are. The more you have, naturally the more anxious you are -- death will be coming and everything will be taken away.

SNAP THE FLOWER ARROWS OF DESIRE AND THEN, UNSEEN, ESCAPE THE KING OF DEATH.

AND TRAVEL ON.

Remember this sentence: AND TRAVEL ON.

Then the real journey, the pilgrimage, begins. Before that you were just moving in circles -- the same desires: more money, more money, more power, more power...vicious circles, not going anywhere. Once you have dropped all desiring, your consciousness is freed from the grossness of desire. Now TRAVEL ON -- now you can go into the infinite existence, you can move into the eternity of existence. Now, mysteries upon mysteries go on opening in front of you. Now the whole existence is available to you, in its totality it is yours...now TRAVEL ON.

DEATH OVERTAKES THE MAN

WHO GATHERS FLOWERS

WHEN WITH DISTRACTED MIND AND THIRSTY SENSES

HE SEARCHES VAINLY FOR HAPPINESS

IN THE PLEASURES OF THE WORLD.

DEATH FETCHES HIM AWAY

AS A FLOOD CARRIES OFF A SLEEPING VILLAGE.

If you are too much distracted by desires, pleasures, gratifications, and if you are too thirsty in your senses for titillation, if you are searching foolishly for happiness in the outer world, then death comes and fetches you away like a flood which carries off a sleeping village.

The man who is searching for happiness in the outside world is a man fast asleep. He is not aware of what he is doing, because happiness has never been found in the outside. And whatsoever appears as happiness proves ultimately to be the source of unhappiness and nothing else. The outer world promises only, but never delivers the goods. When you are far away, things appear very beautiful. The closer you come, the more they start disappearing. When you have got them after long and arduous effort, you are simply at a loss. You can't believe what happened -- it was a mirage.

Things are beautiful only from the distance. When you have them, they have nothing in them. Money is significant only for those who don't have it. Those who have it, they know the futility of it. Fame is significant only for those who don't have it. Those who have it...ask them: they are tired of being famous, they are utterly tired of being famous. They want to be anonymous. They want to be nobodies.

Voltaire has written in his memoirs that when he was not famous his only desire was to be famous; he was ready to sacrifice everything for fame. And if you go on searching for a certain thing, you are bound to get it, remember. One day he became famous, and then he wrote, "I was so tired of my fame, because all privacy in my life disappeared, all intimate relationships disappeared -- I was so famous that I always was crowded by people, everywhere, wherever I would go. If I went for a stroll in the garden, then a crowd would follow. I was almost like a showpiece, a kind of walking circus."

His fame reached such peaks that it became dangerous for his life. Once when he was coming from the station to his house after a journey, he reached home almost naked, scratched all over the body, blood oozing from many places -- because in France in those days this was the superstition, that if you can get a piece of the clothes of a famous man you can also become famous. So people tore his clothes, and in tearing his clothes, they scratched his body.

He cried and wept that day, and said, "How foolish I was that I wanted to be famous. How beautiful it was when nobody knew me and I was a free man. Now I am no longer a free man."

Then he wanted to be a nobody. And it happened too that the fame disappeared. In this life nothing is permanent -- one day you are famous, another day you are nobody. The day he died, only four people followed him to his grave; and out of those four one was his dog -- so only three really. People had completely forgotten about him, they had forgotten that he was alive. They came to know only when the newspapers published the report that Voltaire had died. Then people became aware and started asking each other, "Was he still alive?"

If you have fame, you get tired of it. If you have money, you will not know what to do with it. If you are respected by people, you become a slave, because then you have to go on fulfilling their expectations; otherwise your respectability will disappear. Only when you are not famous do you think it is something significant. When you are not respected, you long for it. When you are respected, you have to pay for respectability. The more people respect you, the more closely they watch you -- whether you are fulfilling their expectations or not. All your freedom is gone. But this is how people are living.

Buddha says it is like a sleeping village -- the flood comes and takes over the whole village, the flood of death comes.

DEATH OVERCOMES HIM

WHEN WITH DISTRACTED MIND AND THIRSTY SENSES

HE GATHERS FLOWERS.

HE WILL NEVER HAVE HIS FILL

OF THE PLEASURES OF THE WORLD.

And nobody can ever be contented in the world -- that's impossible. You can become more and more discontented, that's all, because contentment happens only when you go inwards. Contentment is your innermost nature. Contentment does not belong to things. You can be comfortable with things -- a beautiful house, a beautiful garden, no worries about money -- yes, you can be comfortable, but you remain the same: comfortably discontented. In fact, when you have all the comforts and you have nothing to do to earn money, twenty-four hours a day you are aware of your discontent, because no other occupation is left.

That's why rich people are more discontented than the poor people. It should not be so -- logically it should not be so -- but that's how life is. Life does not follow Aristotle and his logic. Rich people coming from the West become very puzzled when they see poor Indian people with faces of contentment. They cannot believe their eyes. These people don't have anything -- why do they look contented? And the Indian so-called saints and mahatmas and political leaders, they go on bragging to the world that "Our country is spiritual -- look! people are so contented even though they are poor, because they are inwardly rich."

This is all nonsense. They are not inwardly rich. The contentment that you see on poor Indian faces is not that of inward realization. It is simply because they are so preoccupied with money, bread and butter, that they can't afford any time to be discontented. They can't afford to sit and brood about their miseries. They are so miserable that they have no time to feel miserable! They are so miserable and they have never known any pleasure, so they cannot have any comparison.

When a society becomes rich, it has time to think, "Now what next...?" And there seems to be nothing left. When all outward things are available you start thinking, "What am I doing here? All things are there, but I am as empty as ever." One starts turning inwards.

Beggars look contented because they don't have any taste of richness. But a rich person becomes very discontented. Because of his richness he becomes aware of the futility of all riches. DEATH OVERCOMES HIM WHEN WITH DISTRACTED MIND AND THIRSTY SENSES HE GATHERS FLOWERS. HE WILL NEVER HAVE HIS FILL OF THE PLEASURES OF THE WORLD.

You cannot have your fill. It is impossible. You cannot be satisfied with things; the mind will go on asking for more. The more you have, the more troubles you will create for yourself -- because you can afford troubles, you have time. In fact, you have so much time on your hands you don't know what to do with it. You will start fooling around. You will create more miseries, more anxieties for yourself. And finding no satisfaction outside, you can become so dissatisfied that you may start thinking of committing suicide.

Many more people commit suicide in rich countries than in poor countries. Or you may become so dissatisfied that you may go mad, you may go nuts. Many more people go mad in rich countries than in poor countries.

To be rich is in a way very dangerous: it can drive you towards suicide, it can drive you towards some kind of madness -- but it is also very significant because it can drive you towards religion, towards your inwardness, interiority, it can become an inward revolution. It depends on you -- alternatives are open. A rich person either has to become neurotic, suicidal, or he has to become a meditator; there is no third alternative available for him.

The poor man cannot be suicidal, cannot be neurotic; he has not even enough bread, what to say of the mind? He is so tired by the evening, he cannot think, no energy to think...falls asleep. In the morning again the old rut of earning bread. Every day he has to earn, somehow to remain alive, to survive. He cannot afford the luxuries of neuroses, he cannot afford the luxuries of psychoanalysis -- these are luxuries only rich people can afford! And he cannot be really a meditator either. He will go to the temple, but he will ask for something worldly. His wife is ill, his children are not getting admission into school, he is unemployed. He goes to the temple to ask these things. The quality of the religion of the poor is very poor.

There are two kinds of religiousness in the world: the religiousness of the poor -- it is very worldly, it is very materialistic -- and the religiousness of the rich -- it is very spiritual, very nonmaterialistic. When a rich man prays, his prayer cannot be for money. If he is still praying for money, he is not yet rich enough.

There was a Sufi saint, Farid. Once the villagers asked him, "Farid, the great king, Akbar, comes to you so many times -- why don't you ask him to open a school for poor people in our village? We don't have a school."

Farid said, "Good, so why should I wait for him to come? I will go."

He went to Delhi, he was received -- everybody knew that Akbar respected him tremendously. Akbar was praying in his private mosque; Farid was allowed in. He went in, he saw Akbar praying. He was standing behind Akbar -- he could hear what he was saying. With hands spread, Akbar was just finishing his prayer, his NAMAZ, and he was saying to God, "Almighty Compassionate One, shower more riches on me! Give me a greater kingdom!"

Farid immediately turned away. It was just the end of the prayer, so Akbar became aware that somebody had been and had gone away. He looked back, saw Farid going down the steps, ran, touched the feet of Farid and asked, "Why have you come?" -- because for the first time he had come -- "and why are you going away?"

Farid said, "I had come with the idea that you are rich, but listening to your prayer I realized that you are still poor. And if you are still asking for money, for more power, then it is not good for me to ask for money, because I had come to ask for a little money to open a school in my village. No, I cannot ask from a poor man. You yourself need more. I will collect some from the village and give it to you! And as far as the school is concerned, if you are asking from God, I can ask from God directly -- why should I use you as a mediator?"

The story is reported by Akbar himself in his autobiography. He says, "For the first time I became aware that, yes, I am not yet rich enough, I am not yet dissatisfied with all this money. It has not given me anything and I go on asking for more, almost completely unconsciously! It is time for me to be finished with it. Life has flown and I am still asking for rubbish. And I have accumulated much -- it has not given me anything."

But almost mechanically one goes on asking. Remember, the religion that arises when you have lived in the world and known the world and the futility of it, has a totally different flavor to it from the religion which arises in you because your physical needs are not fulfilled.

The poor man's religion is poor, the rich man's religion is rich. And I would like a rich religion in the world; hence I am not against technology, against industrialization. I am not against creating an affluent society, I am all for it, because this is my observation: that religion reaches its climax only when people are utterly frustrated with the worldly riches, and the only way to make them utterly frustrated is to let them experience them.

THE BEE GATHERS NECTAR FROM THE FLOWER

WITHOUT MARRING ITS BEAUTY OR PERFUME.

SO LET THE MASTER SETTLE, AND WANDER.

Buddha has called his monks "begging," MADHUKARI. Madhukari means collecting honey like a bee. The BHIKKHU, the Buddhist sannyasin, goes from house to house; he never asks from just one house because that may be too much of a burden. So he asks from many houses, just a little bit from one house, a little bit from another, so he is not a burden on anybody. And he never goes to the same house again. This is called madhukari -- like a honey bee. The bee goes from one flower to another, and goes on moving from flower to flower -- it is nonpossessive.

THE BEE GATHERS NECTAR FROM THE FLOWER WITHOUT MARRING ITS BEAUTY OR PERFUME. It only takes so little from one flower that the beauty is not marred, the perfume is not destroyed. The flower simply never becomes aware of the bee; it comes so silently and goes so silently.

Buddha says: The man of awareness lives in this world like a bee. He never mars the beauty of this world, he never destroys the perfume of this world. He lives silently, moves silently. He asks only that much which is needed. His life is simple, it is not complex. He does not gather for tomorrow. The bee never gathers for tomorrow, the today is enough unto itself.

SO LET THE MASTER SETTLE, AND WANDER. A very strange statement: ...SETTLE, AND WANDER. Settle inside, be centered inside, and outside be a wanderer:inside utterly rooted, and outside not staying long in any one place, not staying with one person for a long time, because attachments arise, possessiveness arises. So be just like a bee.

Just the other night I was reading a poet's memoirs. He says, "I have found one thing very strange: when I fall in love with a really beautiful person, I cannot possess him or her. And if I possess, I immediately see that I am destroying the beauty of the person. If I become attached, in some way I am wounding the other person, his freedom."

Poets are sensitive people; they can become aware of many things ordinary people never become aware of. But it is a beautiful insight, of profound depth: if you are really in love with a beautiful person you would not like to possess, because to possess is to destroy. You will be like a bee; you will enjoy the company, you will enjoy the friendship, you will share the love, but you will not possess. To possess is to reduce the person to a thing. It is to destroy his spirit, it is to make him a commodity -- and this can be done only if you don't love. This can be done only if your love is nothing but hate masquerading as love.

Buddha says: Just like a bee, move in life -- enjoying, celebrating, dancing, singing, but like a bee -- from one flower to another flower. Have all the experiences, because it is only through experiences that you become mature. But don't be possessive, don't get stuck anywhere. Remain flowing like a river -- don't become stagnant. Settle inside, certainly, become crystallized inside, but on the outside remain a wanderer.

LOOK TO YOUR OWN FAULTS,

WHAT YOU HAVE DONE OR LEFT UNDONE.

OVERLOOK THE FAULTS OF OTHERS.

The ordinary way of human beings is to overlook one's own faults and to emphasize, magnify, others' faults. This is the way of the ego. The ego feels very good when it sees, "Everybody has so many faults and I have none." And the trick is: overlook your faults, magnify others' faults, so certainly everybody looks like a monster and you look like a saint.

Buddha says: Reverse the process. If you really want to be transformed, overlook others' faults -- that is none of your business. You are nobody, you are not asked to interfere, you have no right, so why bother? But don't overlook your own faults, because they have to be changed, overcome.

When Buddha says, LOOK TO YOUR OWN FAULTS, WHAT YOU HAVE DONE OR LEFT UNDONE, he does not mean repent if you have done something wrong; he does not mean brag, pat your own back if you have done something good. No. He simply means to look so that you can remember in the future that no wrong should be repeated, so that you can remember in the future that the good should be enlarged, enhanced, and the evil should be reduced -- not for repentance but for remembrance.

That is the difference between the Christian attitude and the Buddhist attitude. The Christian remembers them to repent; hence Christianity creates great guilt. Buddhism never creates any guilt, it is not for repentance, it is for remembrance. The past is past; it is gone and gone forever -- no need to worry about it. Just remember not to repeat the same mistakes again. Be more mindful.

LIKE A LOVELY FLOWER,

BRIGHT BUT SCENTLESS,

ARE THE FINE BUT EMPTY WORDS

OF THE MAN WHO DOES NOT MEAN WHAT HE SAYS.

Those who go on repeating scriptures mechanically, their words are fine but empty. They are like flowers, lovely, bright, but with no perfume. They are like paper flowers or plastic flowers -- they can't have perfume, they can't have aliveness. The aliveness, the perfume is possible only when you speak on your own, not on the authority of the scriptures; when you speak on your own authority, when you speak as a witness to truth, not as a learned scholar, not as a pundit, but when you speak as one who is awakened.

LIKE A LOVELY FLOWER,

BRIGHT AND FRAGRANT,

ARE THE FINE AND TRUTHFUL WORDS

OF THE MAN WHO MEANS WHAT HE SAYS.

Remember not to repeat others' words. Experience, and only say that which you have experienced, and your words will have substance, weight; and your words will have a radiance, your words will have perfume. Your words will attract people; not only attract -- influence. Your words will be pregnant with great meaning, and those who are ready to hear them will be transformed through them. Your words will be breathing, alive; there will be a heartbeat in them.

LIKE GARLANDS WOVEN FROM A HEAP OF FLOWERS,

FASHION FROM YOUR LIFE AS MANY GOOD DEEDS.

Let your life become a garland -- a garland of good deeds. But good deeds, according to Buddha, arise only if you become more mindful, more alert, more aware. Good deeds are not to be cultivated as character; good deeds have to be by-products of your being more conscious.

Buddhism does not emphasize character but consciousness -- that's its greatest contribution to humanity and humanity's evolution.

Enough for today.

 

Next: Chapter 4: Spread the rumor!, Question 1

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