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OSHO Dhammapada-Buddhism-Buddha

THE DHAMMAPADA: THE WAY OF THE BUDDHA, VOL. 3

Chapter 4: I am a drunkard

Question 2

 

Energy Enhancement         Enlightened Texts         Dhammapada         The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 3

 

The second question:
Question 2
BELOVED MASTER,
WHY DOES JESUS TELL HIS DISCIPLES: BE AS CUNNING AS THE SERPENTS AND AS INNOCENT AS THE DOVES?

Anand Jayesh, the serpent is the symbol of wisdom. In all the ancient cultures of the world -- Hebrew, Hindu, Chinese -- the serpent is the only symbol which is common.
By 'cunning' Jesus does not really mean cunning as you understand it. In the ancient Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke, there is only one word for both 'wisdom' and 'cunning', hence the wrong translation.
But why have Christians chosen to translate it as 'cunning' and not as 'wisdom'? -- because of the biblical story that it is the serpent who seduced, corrupted the mind of Eve, persuaded her to go against God's commandment and to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Because of this biblical story the serpent has become the original source of sin. It is the serpent who persuaded Eve, then Eve persuaded Adam and humanity fell from the grace of God. Adam and Eve were turned out of the Garden of Eden; hence the serpent became a condemned phenomenon.
But in reality the parable has a totally different meaning. Christians will not concede to that meaning. What meaning do I give to that immensely significant parable? It has many meanings. That is the beauty of ancient parables: they have many-dimensional richness. They are not one-dimensional, they are multidimensional. They can be interpreted in a thousand and one ways; that is their richness. They have many facets; they are like a diamond -- and the more facets a diamond has, the more valuable it is.
When the kohinoor was found for the first time it was a very big stone, the biggest diamond the world has ever known. Now it is only one third of its original weight, because down the ages the jewelers have been polishing, cutting, and polishing and cutting; they have been giving new facets to the diamond. Now it is one third of its weight but millions of times more valuable. So are ancient parables: they are kohinoors. But the problem with the so-called religions is that they become addicted to one meaning. Then they become afraid of other meanings, other possibilities.
The serpent is not cunning, the serpent is wise in the parable. It is because of his wisdom that humanity was born. If there had been no serpent, you would not have been here -- not even Jesus would have been, nor Buddha. The world would have lacked humanity. It is the serpent and his wisdom that creates this great journey of humanity -- and it has been of immense value; otherwise there would have been trees and animals and birds, but no Lao Tzu, no Zarathustra, no Krishna, no Buddha, no Mohammed, no Christ, no Kabir, no Nanak. Yes, trees would have been there and birds and animals, but the existence would have missed something of immense importance; it would have missed humanity, it would have missed human consciousness, which is the ultimate growth point up to now. It is the serpent and his wisdom! The serpent was far more wise than Eve and Adam, because he taught them rebellion.
Wisdom is always rebellious. In fact, if you ask me, God was giving an opportunity to Adam and Eve to rebel; hence the commandment not to eat from the tree of knowledge. This is a simple psychological fact. The garden was so big that Adam and Eve, left to themselves, would never have discovered the tree of knowledge; it was only one tree and there were millions and millions of trees.
But God pointed out the tree and said, "Don't eat the fruit of THIS tree." By saying this he is provoking. In fact, the first seducer is God; the serpent is the second seducer. The serpent is simply an agent of God, a messenger of God. God must have waited for long after he prohibited.... Now Adam and Eve are bound to eat the fruit of knowledge.
You can try it. Prohibit the children, "Don't eat ice cream. Don't go near the fridge!" -- and then they are bound to go. They might not have gone if you had not told them NOT to go. Prohibition becomes invitation. You are challenging them; you are challenging them to assert themselves.
God has challenged Adam and Eve, and then he must have waited for long. The challenge didn't work; Adam and Eve must have been very obedient people. They were the first people on the earth; hence they may not have tasted of rebellion and the joys of rebellion and the growth that rebellion brings. The agony and the ecstasy of rebellion were unknown to them. Hence the serpent was used as a messenger; in the whole animal kingdom, the serpent was chosen to be the messenger of God. The serpent is a symbol of wisdom -- and it is because of the serpent that you are here. The serpent is really the father -- the father of humanity.
The original statement of Jesus means: Be as wise as the serpents and as innocent as the doves. But the word 'cunning' is also beautiful. Gurdjieff used to say that unless you are cunning you cannot escape from the bondage of the world -- because the bondage is so complex that you have to be very sly. Gurdjieff used to say that if you want to learn from a master you have to be very sly, cunning. That's how he learned. He moved for at least twenty years from one master to another master -- but masters take their own time, they are not in a hurry. They don't live in time, they live in the eternal, so there is no hurry. But Gurdjieff was in a hurry, so rather than waiting until whenever the master feels the time is right and he will impart his knowledge, he will impart his wisdom, he started stealing wisdom from the masters.
Gurdjieff says he learned by stealing, by being cunning. It looks strange to use the words 'sly', 'cunning', in reference to spirituality, but Gurdjieff is a rare man. If you understand him rightly, what he means simply is: be clever, be intelligent, be utterly alert, be wise.
In the East, the serpent has become the symbol of the energy that is dormant in you. In yoga we call it KUNDALINI -- the serpent power. It is dormant in your sex center, like a coiled serpent, fast asleep, snoring. At the lowest center of your being your energy is asleep; it has to be awakened. And once the serpent starts rising in you, you will be surprised that you are not so small as you appear from the outside. From the inside you are as vast as the sky; even the sky is not the limit.
The serpent is a beautiful symbol. It has no legs, still it moves so fast; its movement is a miracle. Zen people say: God cannot be explained, truth cannot be defined.
To define truth is like putting legs on a snake. The snake moves without legs, there is no need of any legs. If you put legs on the snake you may stop its movement totally; it may not be able to move at all.
So is the case with wisdom: it moves without legs. It moves without information, without knowledge. It moves without intellectuality; it moves intuitively.
The serpent dances listening to music. Scientists were very much puzzled in the beginning, because the snake has no ears at all, it cannot listen. But how can you deny it? -- everybody knows that the serpent becomes absolutely hypnotized by music; it sways, dances. How does it become possible? -- because it has no ears. Then after great inquiry and research it was found it has no ears but it hears from every cell of its body. Its whole skin functions as an ear; it is all ears.
And that's how a disciple has to be: all ears; not only listening from the ears but listening from the feet to the head, listening from each cell of one's being so that each fiber of your existence starts pulsating, falls in rhythm with the master.
The serpent is of great significance. Jesus is right. You became puzzled, Jayesh, because of the word 'cunning'. It simply means wise.

Sheikh Mustapha needed one more horse before setting off on a trip into the desert. Two steeds were brought to him from a nearby village, but the owner of each horse, not wanting to give up his animal, insisted his nag was worthless, brokenwinded, old and crippled.
"It is a simple thing to settle," said the sheikh. "We will stage a race. The winning horse will be taken."
An advisor stepped forward and whispered, "It won't work, Your Highness. Neither man will let his horse run fast."
"They will," said Mustapha. "Let each man ride the other's horse."

You can call it cunningness, you can call it wisdom. The sheikh is wise, is cunning, is sly. He says, "Let each man ride the other's horse." Then there is not going to be any difficulty to decide who comes first, because each will try the hardest possible to bring the horse first -- it is the other's horse.
Jesus says: Be wise, be cunning, be sly -- because life is complex, very complex, and your bondage is very ancient. You have become accustomed to your slavery. Unless you behave very intelligently, there is no possibility of your ever getting out of this imprisonment. You will have to focus all your energy on a single point: how to attain freedom.
It is like a prisoner: if he wants to get out of the jail he will have to be really cunning, wise, sly. He will have to watch from where to escape, he will have to watch continuously what side of the prison is less guarded. He will have to watch very carefully which guards can be bribed. He will have to make some connection with outside people; only if he can get some help from the outside -- a rope, a ladder, certain informations: at what time of the night he should escape, at what time the guards are changed, at what time the guard falls asleep, how to get the rope, how to get a ladder.... If he behaves stupidly he will be caught, and he will be far more in danger than before. It is better not to try to escape if you are not intelligent enough.
Hence each master sharpens your intelligence. Wherever you find that your intelligence is being dulled, escape from that place as fast as possible.
And that's what is being done in almost all the so-called spiritual places. The so-called ashrams and the temples and the mosques and the churches, they dull you, they console you. They tell you that you are already free, there is no need to go anywhere. They tell you that the prison does not exist -- this is your home. They tell you the guard is not your enemy, he is your friend. He is not guarding you so that you cannot escape, no; he is guarding you so that nobody can enter in and harm you. They say decorate the prison. They give you all kinds of suggestions and advice how to decorate it and how to make it beautiful. They console you. And the more you are consoled, the more you are lulled into sleep, the less becomes the possibility of your ever becoming a buddha, ever becoming awakened, ever becoming really free.
Your so-called saints go on singing lullabies; they help you to sleep better. And you will be surprised that the so-called mantras are nothing but a way to fall deeply asleep. That's what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Transcendental Meditation is. If you repeat ANY word... it does not matter what word you repeat -- Rama, Rama, or Krishna, Krishna, or Christ, Christ, or Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola -- anything will do. If you go on repeating a certain word continuously it will help you to fall deep asleep, because the mind becomes bored with it. When the mind becomes bored it starts feeling dull, sleepy. When the mind becomes bored there is only one escape from the boredom -- to fall asleep.
Mothers have known it for centuries. Transcendental meditation has been used by all the mothers all over the world. Whenever the child is not going to sleep they start repeating a single line, a lullaby. Anything will do; just go on repeating the same again and again and the child starts falling asleep.
And that's how hypnosis functions: any repetition -- a mantra is not necessarily needed -- ANYTHING. You can make a black spot on the wall and go on looking at it, looking constantly at it, and within minutes you will be fast asleep, because consciousness needs flow, consciousness needs something new to keep alert, consciousness needs movement. Consciousness is a stream.
In fact it is because of this that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Transcendental Meditation -- which is neither transcendental nor meditation -- has become so significant in America. America is the country which suffers most from sleeplessness, the only country which can sleep only through tranquilizers, sleeping pills -- and even those are no longer working -- the only country which has become so restless that sleep has become almost impossible. New methods are needed, more subtle methods are needed.
But to fall asleep is not meditation, it is consolation. It will give you a little rest and tomorrow you will find yourself a little more fresh. It is good -- I am not against it. It is a nonmedicinal tranquilizer. If you use tranquilizers you can use transcendental meditation -- far better. At least you are not stuffing yourself with chemicals which may have any side effect. It will not harm you, but it is not meditation at all -- because meditation means sharpening of intelligence. Meditation means becoming more alert, more bright, more brilliant, becoming more luminous, becoming more wise.
Jesus is right when he says: Become as cunning as the serpents. Have you watched a serpent -- how alert he is, how watchful? A slight disturbance, just a dry leaf in the wind, and the serpent escapes. You walk, your footsteps are enough... just a little sound and the serpent is gone like the wind. He is so alert, so watchful.
Learn that watchfulness, learn that alertness. Learn that beautiful movement, that flexibility, that fluidity of a serpent. And be as innocent as doves.
Jesus is bringing both the polar opposites: be wise, intelligent, but not knowledgeable, and be innocent. You may misunderstand wisdom as knowledge; hence he adds: be innocent as doves. If you are innocent and wise you cannot be knowledgeable; you will be intelligent, but you will not be knowledgeable. You will not go on accumulating knowledge, you will not become a walking ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA. Those kind of people are almost always stupid.
I have come across a man who was really a walking ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA; that was all that he was reading. Now, the ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA is not something to read; once in a while you can consult it. But this man was continuously reading it. You could have asked any question; if it is in the ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA then that man was able to answer it exactly like that. For a few days he stayed with me; I have never seen such a stupid man -- very knowledgeable and very stupid.
This happens because his knowledge has not given him more consciousness, his knowledge has given him only information. Information becomes accumulated in the memory part of your brain -- and memory is not consciousness; consciousness is a totally different phenomenon. Consciousness is the witness in you, it can witness your memory.
Sometimes you see a person, you remember that you remember him, but still the name is not coming. You say it is just on the tip of the tongue, you KNOW it is just on the tip of the tongue, and still it is not coming. What is happening? Your consciousness says it is in the memory, but somehow the memory is blocked, somehow the memory is not in a state to deliver what you need. There may be some obstacle; maybe you are so much in a hurry that the memory has become tense. You try hard; the harder you try, the more difficult it becomes. Then in tremendous frustration you drop the whole project. You go into the garden, you sit under a tree, you start smoking... and suddenly it bubbles up, it surfaces.
Your consciousness is a totally different phenomenon. Your consciousness was saying, "It IS in the memory..." but somehow you have not been able to find it. And then sitting under the tree, smoking relaxedly, it surfaces. Now your consciousness watches it surfacing; now you know it has come in front of you. You are seeing it coming up; you are the seer, you are never the seen. You are never the content of consciousness, you are consciousness.
The knowledgeable person gathers content, and the meditative person sharpens consciousness. The meditative person becomes wise; the knowledgeable person remains simply knowledgeable. But if some situation arises in which his knowledge is not applicable, he will behave very stupidly. He will not know what to do, he will be completely at a loss. If the answer is in the encyclopedia he will repeat it like a gramophone record, but if the answer is not there in the encyclopedia then he will be simply dumb; he will not be able to respond spontaneously.
Wisdom is a spontaneous response; knowledge is depending on the past. Knowledge is mechanical; it can be done by a computer. And sooner or later it is going to be done by computers, because memorizing is a wastage of time, an unnecessary wastage of time. A small portable computer can do everything: you can keep it in your pocket and it can remember the whole ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA; just pushing a button any information can be available.
In the coming century the whole education system is going to be totally transformed and changed because of the computer. It will be stupid to teach children history, geography -- unnecessary, there is no need. All that can be done by a computer; the child can carry the computer.
And my own observation is: the less you depend on memory, the more intelligent you become. That's why it happens that in the universities you will not find very intelligent people. Professors, chancellors, vice-chancellors -- I have seen many, but it is very difficult to find some intelligent person there. You can find more intelligent people in the farmers, in the gardeners, in the villagers. And the reason is clear: because they are not knowledgeable they cannot depend on the memory. They have to respond to reality, they have to respond to challenges, they have to bring their consciousness to respond -- their consciousness remains more sharp. A farmer, a villager, is far more wise than a professor in the university. The professor can depend on the memory, the farmer cannot depend on the memory.

I have heard:
A woman purchased some canned fruits, but it was a new type of can and she did not know how to open it. So she told the cook, "You wait. I will look in the literature -- the literature has come with the can. Let me see: they must say how to open it."
She went to look in the literature. After half an hour when she had studied the whole literature she came back, but the cook by that time had opened the can. She asked, "How did you manage? It was even difficult for me to find out in the literature how to open it! How did YOU manage?"
The cook said, "Because I can't read I have to depend on my intelligence. You can read; you need not use your intelligence."

Be wise -- that means be more conscious. And be innocent -- that means be more like a child, full of wonder and awe. If these two qualities are there, wonder and awe, intelligence and wisdom, you cannot miss God; it is impossible to miss God.

Then you will not ask where God is, you will ask where God is not. He is everywhere, within and without.

 

Next: Chapter 4: I am a drunkard, Question 3

 


    Energy Enhancement         Enlightened Texts         Dhammapada         The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 3     

 

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