Chapter 11: Beliefs are Lies

Question 1



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The first question

Question 1




NOTHINGNESS CAN EITHER BE just emptiness or it can be a tremendous fullness. It can be negative, it can be positive. If it is negative it is like death, darkness. Religions have called it hell. It is hell because there is no joy in it, no song in it, there is no heartbeat, no dance. Nothing flowers, nothing opens. One is simply empty.

This empty nothingness has created great fear in people. That's why in the West particularly, God has never been called nothingness except by a few mystics like Dionysius, Eckhart, Boehme; but they are not the main current of Western thinking. The West has always conceived nothingness in negative terms; hence it has created a tremendous fear about it. And they go on saying to people that the empty mind is the Devil's workshop.

The East has known its positive aspect too; it is one of the greatest contributions to human consciousness. Buddha will laugh at this statement that emptiness is the Devil's workshop. He will say: Only in emptiness, only in nothingness, does godliness happen. But he is talking about the positive phenomenon.

For Gautam Buddha, for Mahavira, for the long tradition of Zen Masters and the Taoists, nothingness simply means no-thingness. All things have disappeared, and because things have disappeared there is pure consciousness left behind. The mirror is empty of any reflection, but the MIRROR IS there. Consciousness is empty of content, but CONSCIOUSNESS IS there. And when it was full of content, so many things were inside you could not have known what it is. When the consciousness is full of contents, that's what we call mind. When consciousness is empty of all contents, that's what we call no-mind or meditation.

To create nothingness in you is the goal of meditation, but this nothingness has nothing to do with the negative idea. It is full, abundantly full. It is so full that it starts overflowing. Buddha has defined this nothingness as overflowing compassion.

The word "compassion" is beautiful. It is made out of the same word as "passion." When passion is transformed, when the desire to seek and search for the other is no more there, when you are enough unto yourself, when you don't need anybody, when the very desire for the other has evaporated, when you are utterly happy, blissful, just being alone, then passion becomes compassion. Now you don't seek the other because you are feeling empty and lonely; now you seek the other because you are too full and you would like to share.

The enlightened person also seeks the other just as the unenlightened person seeks, but there is a qualitative difference. The unenlightened person seeks the other because he feels a negative nothingness in him. Left alone he does not feel aloneness, he feels loneliness.

Remember, loneliness and aloneness are not synonymous, notwithstanding what the dictionaries go on saying. It is not a question of language; it is something existential. Loneliness is negative -- you are missing something; aloneness is positive -- you have found something.

The unenlightened seeks the other because it is his need; he is needy and greedy. He grabs the other, he clings to the other. He is always afraid the other may leave. Husbands are afraid, wives are afraid, parents are afraid, children are afraid, everybody is afraid. Even your so-called religious teachers are afraid their disciples may leave them, so they have to concede and compromise with the disciples. Can you see the irony of it?

Jaina monks send messages to me saying, "We want to see you, but we cannot because our followers don't allow it. They become angry, they become antagonistic." Now the teachers are afraid of the followers! What kind of teachers are these? They need the follower because without the follower they are nobody -- and that is the power in the hands of the follower. The follower really dictates the rules. He says, "Do this, say this, behave like this -- only then am I going to respect you. Of course I will respect you if you follow all the rules prescribed by me." It is a contract.

The so-called religious leaders go on following their own followers! And the followers, of course, in return pay great homage, respect. Both are satisfied. The follower needs somebody whom he can follow and the leader needs somebody to follow him. Both are fulfilling each other's needs, but both are dependent; both are clinging, possessive.

Just the other day I was reading a statement... one Christian organization in England has asked Sheldon Press -- because Sheldon Press belongs to that Christian association, it is one of the branches of the association -- why they have published my books. Sheldon Press has published seven of my books; the director seems to have fallen in love with me. The director has replied, "We have published the books because they are beautiful, and we have published the books because they come closest to the teachings of Jesus." But the head of the association and the members who possess the association are very angry; they may even throw this director of Sheldon Press out of his job.

They have asked one of my sannyasins who is a chaplain in Cambridge University, "Why do you, being a Christian priest, go on wearing orange?" And in the church Dynamic Meditation is being done! They have asked for an explanation; naturally they are afraid.

But the sannyasin is not afraid. He has written a beautiful letter to them saying, "I am doing the work of Christ -- and I am doing the work of a living Christ! And I don't see any difference." But ordinarily... now he can be thrown out, is bound to be thrown out. No organized religion can tolerate such individuals, such rebels.

The followers want you to behave the way THEY decide, the way the tradition decides, and if you need their respect you are bound to follow them. They will follow you, you follow them. Hence I say, religious or political, it does not matter: leaders are the followers of their own followers.

And that is the criterion of whether a man is really a Master or not. The Master is one who does not follow the followers, who does not compromise in any way, because he has no need. Whether there are people or not doesn't matter; there is no question of greed.

The unenlightened seeks the other because he feels lonely. It may be the teacher-disciple thing, it may be the husband-wife trip, it may be friendship... it may be any kind of relationship. You seek the other out of your loneliness, and the other is also seeking you out of her or his loneliness. And two lonelinesses are bound to create hell, great hell, because both are negative. And when two negatives meet it is not a simple addition, it is a multiplication. The same is true about two positives: when they meet it is not simple addition, it is multiplication.

The enlightened also seeks the other. Jesus moved from one village to another -- for what? Mahavira traveled thousands of miles on foot -- for what? For forty-two years Buddha was going... he was always on the go. Even when he was very old, eighty-two, he was still moving from village to village, for the simple reason that somebody had to be found with whom he could share. But now it was not a need, hence he will not compromise. It is not a need, hence he will not possess. It is not a need, in fact it is just the opposite of it: it is abundance.

He is like a raincloud full of rainwater: it wants to shower somewhere. If it can find a garden, good; if it cannot find a garden, then too it has to shower. It may shower even on the rocks; it does not matter, but it has to shower. When the flower opens up, the fragrance has to be released. Whether anybody comes to know of it or not is immaterial. It is not a need, it is overflowing joy. When there is overflowing love it is compassion.

Passion arises out of negative nothingness and compassion arises out of positive nothingness.

Buddha says that the real man of wisdom can be judged only by one thing: his compassion, his love. He will be radiating compassion. He wi!l be always ready to help people on the path. The people will be insulting him, the people will be in every possible way against him, the people will be angry at him, because the people are fast asleep and to put them on the path he has to wake them up. And nobody likes to be awakened because people are dreaming beautiful dreams. And you shake them and you wake them and you destroy their dreams, and that's all that they have got. Otherwise they are lonely, otherwise they are empty. So they are somehow filling their inner spaces with dreams, projections, imaginations.

And the function of the Master is to destroy all your dreams, to make you empty of all content. But when you drop all content consciously, deliberately, you are not lonely: you become alone. And aloneness is beautiful, loneliness is ugly. Loneliness is like a wound, aloneness is like a flower. Loneliness is sick -- Soren Kierkegaard has called it "sickness unto death" -- and aloneness is life, abundant life. It is health.

The Sanskrit word for health is very beautiful; the English word also has its own beauty. "Health" means the wound is healed; it comes from healing. The person is no longer sick; the wound of negative nothingness is no more there it has healed It is beautiful, but nothing compared to the Sanskrit word for health. The Sanskrit word for health is SWASTHIA; it means becoming centered. It means coming to one's own self, realizing one's own self. SVA means self; SWASTHIA means getting rooted in the self.

People are not rooted in their own selves, hence they are clinging to others. All clinging is an indication that you are afraid that if you are left alone you will not be alone, you will be simply lonely, miserable.

The West has yet to recognize this tremendously significant fact. The Western religions have remained confined to prayer. They have not touched even the periphery of meditation, for the simple reason that meditation means nothingness, and to them nothingness has only one connotation: that of loneliness, emptiness. And they start feeling that if you are nothing then you will start falling into an abyss, you will be lost.

But we have tasted a totally different quality of nothingness. We have tasted the hidden godliness in it, we have known the uttermost of bliss in it, we have known its benediction.

It is my own experience that there is no greater joy than to be alone; the joy of love is secondary. And the joy of love is possible only if you have known the joy of being alone, because then only do you have something to share. Otherwise, two beggars meeting each other, clinging to each other, cannot be blissful. They will create misery for each other because each will be hoping, and hoping in vain, that "The other is going to fulfill me." The other is hoping the same. They cannot fulfill each other. They are both blind; they cannot help each other.

I have heard about a hunter who got lost in the jungle. For three days he could not find anybody to ask for the way out, and he was becoming more and more panicky -- three days of no food and three days of constant fear of wild animals. For three days he was not able to sleep; he was sitting awake on some tree, afraid he may be attacked. There were snakes, there were lions, there were wild animals.

After the third day, the fourth day early in the morning, he saw a man sitting under.a tree. You can imagine his joy. He rushed, he hugged the man, and he said, "What joy!" And the other man hugged him, and both were immensely happy. Then they asked each other, "Why are you so ecstatic?" The first said, "I was lost and I was waiting to meet somebody." And the other said, "I am also lost and I am waiting to meet somebody. But if we are both lost then the ecstasy is just foolish. So now we will be lost together!"

That's what happens: you are lonely, the other is lonely -- now you meet. First the honeymoon: that ecstasy that you have met the other, now you will not be lonely any more. But within three days, or if you are intelligent enough, then within three hours... it depends on how intelligent you are. If you are stupid, then it will take a longer time because one does not learn; otherwise the intelligent person can immediately see after three minutes..."What are we trying to do? It is not going to happen. The other is as lonely as I am. Now we will be living together -- two lonelinesses together. Two wounds together cannot help each other to be healed. Two blind people leading each other..." Kabir says, both are bound to fall in a well sooner or later, and more possibly sooner than later .

But, Anudeya, nothingness, meditativeness, no-mindness is a totally different phenomenon. Loneliness is natural. You are born lonely, and immediately the child starts searching and seeking for the other; for the mother he starts searching, he starts groping. He clings to the mother; he does not want to be left alone even for a few moments. He starts crying, he starts screaming; he makes much fuss so the mother comes back. He learns the language of how the mother can be manipulated. It is a very strange world! Even small babies become politicians. They know how to manipulate. They will start crying. they will start weeping.

Once it happened:

I went to see a friend with one of my friends driving me. His small son had come with him -- not more than three years old. The friend went into some other person's house to enquire whether he was there or not. I was sitting in the back of the car and the child was sitting in front. The child somehow fell over and hit his head against the wheel. I closed my eyes, as if I had not seen. He looked at me, remained silent. After ten minutes when his father came back he started crying.

I said, "This is not right! This is not fair! Why are you crying now?"

He said, "And then what to do? What was the point of crying? You were not even looking at me!"

I said, "Now it cannot be hurting. At that time it must have hurt, I know."

But he knows the politics because he understood immediately: "This man will not take any note of it. Even if I cry or weep it is useless. When my father is back, then!"

The child behaves differently when his mother is there. When the mother is not there he is far more grown-up, far more mature, because he has to be alert and cautious -- he is alone, the mother is not there. When the mother is there he can do anything; he can take risks.

From the very childhood we know the negative aspect, but the positive aspect has to be discovered. It is a lifelong discovery; one has to go on discovering it.

Meditation is nothing but the method of discovering the positive aspect of nothingness, the positive quality of it. Meditation means dropping the content of the mind very consciously, knowing that you are dropping it. And when you have dropped everything, suddenly you realize that everything has disappeared but you ARE and you are more full than ever because all those things, all that junk that you have been carrying all along was simply taking your space. Now the whole space, the whole sky is available, and your heart can open its petals. We call it in the East "the one-thousand-petaled lotus." Now there is space. With all the junk that you carry in your mind, where is the space for the one-thousand-petaled lotus to open? You are not spacious enough. You are so full of junk, rubbish, that only weeds can grow in you, not roses. It is impossible for the roses to grow; they need a little spaciousness.

Nothingness is spaciousness, and to be spacious mean to be vast. The moment you feel nothingness in its positive quality you feel vastness, you feel infinity. You don't see any limit anywhere; you are unlimited. Even the sky is not the limit! That experience makes you enlightened. That experience makes you full of light, life, love, so full That you start overflowing, that sharing is now possible.

Only a meditator can be a lover. In the past, people have tried to be lovers or to be meditators; both have failed. The whole history of humanity is a history of failures, and th greatest failure has been this: lovers have failed because they were not meditators, and without meditation you don't have anything to share; before you can share something you HAVE TO HAVE IT. And the meditators have failed because instead of being nothing, instead of being nobodies, instead of being the experience of utter emptiness, SHUNYATA, they were full of mantras, chanting, praying, repeating any word constantly. But they were not nothing, they were not in a state of nothingness. Maybe they were not thinking of the market, not thinking of money, not thinking of politics -- but they were thinking of God. It does not matter what you are thinking: thinking as such keeps you away, far away from experiencing the beauty of nothingness. Whether mantras fill you or film songs fill you, it is all the same -- you are too full of rubbish. Whether that rubbish has been collected through scriptures or through magazines like PLAYBOY, it does not matter; it is the same rubbish.

One has to be utterly empty of all PLAYBOYS, all Bibles, all Gitas. One has to be completely empty of all Korans, all Vedas. When you are in that beautiful space you will know what God is, what truth is, what freedom is. In fact knowing this, love is bound to happen as a shadow of it, as a consequence of it.

Meditators have failed because they were not real meditators; they were doing something else in the name of meditation. Concentration they were doing, contemplation they were doing, prayer they were doing, chanting they were doing, and a thousand other things they were doing, but not meditation. In fact they were avoiding meditation -- in a religious way. Ordinarily people avoid meditation in worldly ways, and your so-called saints avoid meditation through other-worldly ways, but it is the same: avoiding.

One has to discover the positive quality of nothingness. One has to be courageous enough to go into it. Once you have known it you have known everything that is worth knowing. Then you can share. Not only then can you share, but only then will you be able to understand the Koran, the Bible, the Gita, because those are expressions of people who had known the same positive emptiness, the same beautiful nothingness. You cannot understand Christ unless you are a Christ, you cannot understand Buddha unless you are a Buddha. Before being a Buddha you will be simply a parrot repeating the Dhammapada. Before being a Mohammed you cannot understand a single word of the Koran. That is impossible, because unless you have the same consciousness and the same connection with the ultimate source of things, how can you understand Mohammed? No Mohammedan understands Mohammed, no Christian understands Christ, no Buddhist understands Buddha, no Jaina understands Mahavira. They are simply imitators, repeaters, just going on parrotlike, mechanically. And their whole effort is how to fill the negative nothingness. The negative nothingness has not to be filled; you have to be consciously aware of it, that "yes, it exists there."

The moment negative emptiness is joined with awareness, it becomes positive, the miracle happens. That very moment the alchemy transforms you. Let me repeat: negative nothingnesss plus awareness is equal to positive nothingness.


Next: Chapter 11: Beliefs are Lies, Question 2


Energy Enhancement                Enlightened Texts                Desiderata                 Guida Spirituale



Chapter 11






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