Chapter 4: Don't Compare

Question 1



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The first question


Question 1



Deva Ashoka,

THE TEMPLE OF GOD has many doors. Each door has its uniqueness, and one should not compare one door with another door. Silence is one of the doors to the divine, just as bliss is, truth is, love is, freedom is, awareness is, meditation is prayer is. Man can enter into the divine through as many ways as there are types in the world. And each type will have its own joys, experiences on the way.

But finally, when one has entered the temple, all those experiences melt and merge into one experience which is not possible to express. The ways can be expressed, but the goa, remains unexpressed. Nothing can be said about it -- it is nameless experience -- but the ways have names.

Silence is totally different than bliss. If you start comparing with others you will be putting into unnecessary difficulty. Comparison creates anxiety. No need to compare what is happening to others, just see what is happening to you. Is it healthy? Is it nourishing? Without any comparison just watch what is happening to you. Are you becoming more centered, more rooted, more grounded? Are you feeling at home?

And this has to be without any comparison, otherwise everybody here will be in difficulty, because somebody is moving through the door of bliss: he will start comparing, "Why I am not so silent as Ashoka? Something is wrong. I dance and I sing and I feel great joy, but where is that profound silence which Buddha speaks of? Something is wrong. I am not on the right track."

The same is happening to you, and each path has its own language. I have given you the name Deva Ashoka. It would be helpful to be reminded that Ashoka was the man who transformed the whole face of Asia. It was he and only he who made Buddha the light of Asia. Ashoka was one of the greatest emperors in the world. In many ways he was far greater a man than Alexander the Great, because even being a great emperor, the only emperor who ruled over the biggest map of India possible... Since then India has never been so big; many chunks of it have fallen away. Still it is a vast country, but Ashoka was the emperor of the greatest India possible, almost half of Asia.

And when HE became a meditator, when HE became surrendered to the Master, Gautam Buddha, such a transformation happened to him that he remained an emperor and yet he possessed nothing. He lived like a man who has nothing. He had everything, but he lived like a man who has nothing. He never RENOUNCED the kingdom -- on the surface, still an emperor apparently, but inwardly he was no more part of this world. It has rarely happened in any other emperor's life in the whole history of man.

I have given you the name Deva Ashoka -- divine Ashoka -- feeling the possibility that silence will be your path. Silence means the path of VIA NEGATIVA. Bliss is very affirmative; it is VIA POSITIVA. It affirms that the whole existence is divine, hence rejoice. It says YES to all that is. It does not renounce, it does not eliminate, it does not negate. It learns to enjoy, to experience, to sing, to dance, to celebrate. It is the way of a beautiful garden path. Many flowers bloom, birds sing.

But the path of silence is just the opposite of it: it is like a beautiful desert. Remember, the desert has its own beauty, only gardens re not beautiful. They have THEIR beauty, but the desert has also its own beauty: the immensity of it, the unboundedness of it, the silence of it, the undisturbed, virgin peace that prevails in a desert -- that has its own beauty. Beauty is not found only in one color and one size; it comes in all shapes, an sizes, all colors. There have been people who have loved deserts more than gardens.

I live in Lao Tzu House and my garden is a forest. Mukta, my gardener, was very reluctant to make it that way -- obviously, she is a Greek and thinks logically, and this is very illogical. No symmetry, no pruning is allowed. She prunes, though, when I am not looking! She tries to make something out of the mess.

Vivek HATES the whole forest around the house. She says it has destroyed all perspective; you cannot see. You cannot see the vastness of the sky; you cannot see anything from the room -- it is so covered! In fact, I don't need to see anything -- I have seen everything! But for poor Vivek it is difficult -- she still needs to see a few things. I can understand her difficulty.

A desert you can go on and on seeing; it ends nowhere. All the horizons are available. Its vastness and its profound silence have their own song, unheard, unspoken. The same is true about the path of silence.

Buddha cannot dance, cannot sing. Of course he has his own song, but that song is not of sound. It is not the sound of running water; it is the song of a desert. You can feel it, you can live it, you can be it, but it is not tangible. You cannot touch it, you cannot hold it in your hands. How can you hold nothingness in your hands?

Buddha attained to the ultimate by negating " I am not the body, I am not the mind, I am not the heart even." He went on negating: "I am not a self. I am just nothing." He went on negating tin nothing was left to negate. His method is like peeling an onion: you go on peeling layer by layer, layer by layer. The onion starts becoming smaller and smaller and smaller, and finally the last layer has been taken off and the onion has disappeared. Now there is nothingness. This is Buddha's path. When you have become absolute nothing, you have entered. But don't compare.

Buddha cannot compare himself with Meera, with Chaitanya, with Kabir. He cannot compare. If he looks at Meera dancing with her veena, singing ecstatically, of course he will feel something is being missed. If Meera looks at Buddha, the silence...

The first statues of Buddha in the whole world were made of marble, and it is not accidental that they were made of marble. Buddha had some quality, the same coolness as the marble and the same stillness as a statue.

You cannot make a statue of Meera -- impossible, because how is the statue going to represent a dance? Meera is fluid, flowing. If you want to make a statue of Meera you will have to make a statue out of a fountain. You will have to give a shape to the fountain of Meera because she is volatile, dynamic. The dance HAS to be there. If the dance is not there... yes, you can catch a posture of Meera dancing, but the moment dance stops it disappears. Dance is a process, not a thing.

Buddha can be caught beautifully in a statue; hence it is no wonder that he has the most beautiful statues in the whole world. His silence can be caught in a marble statue very easily.

Ashoka, never compare. Comparison simply creates unnecessary problems. Go on moving into this silence and don't call it empty -- because when a Westerner calls anything empty it means something else and when the Easterner calls something empty it means something almost diametrically the opposite. In no Western language has emptiness the connotation of something that really exists. Emptiness simply says that nothing exists, but nothing is simply nothing. But in Eastern languages, SHUNYATA, the word that Buddha used for emptiness, does not mean nothing exists; it means nothing REALLY exists. Nothing is NOT simply nothing: it is all, it is overflowing.

In English you have the word "room"; room simply means space. I lived in Raipur for six, eight months once, and I had a totally empty room, not even a chair, just a bamboo mat; that was the all that the room contained. Anybody entering the room would say, "Nothing in the room?" And I would say to the person that "Room simply means space; nothing else is needed. This is a room! It is spacious. You are looking for 6things and because there are no things you say"nothing." That's where the word "nothing" comes from -- "no-thing." But you are not seeing the roominess, the spaciousness which is VERY positive. The room is full of space, it is not empty -- empty of things but full of space."

The desert is empty of trees and people and animals, but is full of space.

The Eastern languages have also a positive sense about nothingness, emptiness. So remember when you feel nothing, when you feel empty, drop the Western idea. It is a change of gestalt.

You must have seen pictures in children's books... a very famous picture, almost everybody must have seen it it exists in almost every psychology book: just a line drawing of an old woman, but if you go on looking at it a moment comes when the gestalt changes. Suddenly the old woman disappears and there is a beautiful young woman. Those lines contain both figures. If you go on looking at the young woman, soon again the gestalt will change and the old woman will appear, because the eyes cannot remain static; they become tired of one thing so they change the gestalt. If you try to find the young woman while your eyes are focused on the old woman you will not be able to find the young woman, or vice versa: when you are seeing the young woman in the picture and you try to find the old woman you cannot find her. And you have seen her, YOU KNOW she is there, but you cannot find her. You cannot see both together, remember. You can try, but your failure is absolutely certain. You cannot see both together because the same lines have to be used and those lines can either show you the old woman... If you have exhausted the lines in the old woman, then the young woman is nowhere; she has no more lines left for her. If you have exhausted the lines in the young woman then the old woman disappears. But if you go on looking you will have shifts: sometimes the young woman appears and then the old woman disappears as if she has never existed. You search or her and you will not find her.

The same is true when you look at an empty room: it is a question of gestalt. If you are focused too much on things -- looking for the furniture and for the paintings and for things that are almost part of a room -- then you will say, "There is nothing in it," and your "nothing" will be Western. If you are focused on the space of the room, on the roominess of the room, you will see it is full, overflowingly full -- full of itself. Then your nothingness will have an Eastern meaning.

The Eastern and the Western mind really differ in many ways; they have become focused on different gestalts. The West thinks of things; the East thinks not of things, it thinks of "nothings." Its whole gestalt is different.

Ashoka, your gestalt is changing from the Western to the Eastern, and it will be a little difficult for you to drop the old habit. Hence it looks as if it is empty and there is no bliss in it. This is your old habit; otherwise it will not look empty.

Nothing is as full as the empty hand: it has the whole sky in it. And nothing is as empty as a fist: it has nothing in it. The fist has nothing in the Western sense, and the open hand has nothing in the Eastern sense.

Once Ananda asked Buddha, "Bhagwan, what is your teaching, in short?"

And Buddha opened his hands and he said, "My teaching is like open hands, not like fists."

A very significant statement. When your hands are open, in one sense you are empty, in another sense you are holding the whole world, all the stars, the whole sky. How much can you hold in a fist? -- almost nothing. But to change from the Western gestalt to the Eastern is a little bit difficult.

In the West via negativa has never been the predominant gestalt. Nothing like Buddhism has ever happened in the West, nothing like Zen. It could not have happened, it was not possible. The whole Judaic tradition out of which Christianity and Islam are born is basically affirmative: "God is." And Buddha says: "God is not."

Remember the Eastern meaning. When Buddha says "God is not" he is not an atheist. He is simply saying that the nature of God is nothingness. He is not denying God at an; he is not agreeing with Epicurus or with the Charvakas. When he says "God is not" you have to remember, you have to be constantly aware that his "not" is not your "not"; his "not" does not say that God does not exist. His "not" simply says that God exists as nothingness. Hence we cannot say God is, because that will make your gestalt change to the positive. Either you can say God is nothingness or you can say God is not. And of course saying God is nothingness will not come closer to the truth. "God is not" comes very close, so close that one step more and you will disappear into nothingness. But that nothingness is overfull, it is pregnant. It is the nothingness that is found inside the seed.

If you cut a seed, what you will find? Nothing. But you know perfectly well that nothing contains millions of flowers, invisible, but they are there: all the colors, all the fragrance. Nothing can be felt right now, but the potential is there.

Enjoy this silence and don't compare, and don't call it empty. You are absolutely on the right track; this is the way for you.

I cannot conceive of Ashoka dancing; that will look very ridiculous. When you next see Ashoka... just think... Ashoka dancing. It will look absurd, it is not possible. Ashoka singing... impossible. He tries because he sees so many people dancing and singing.

He writes jokes to me many times, but I have never chosen a single joke, because he has no sense of humor at all! But he tries, poor man, tries his best!

Once he wrote to me, "Osho, what do you think about it? I have an idea that I would like to start a magazine from the ashram just full of humor." I said, "My God! And Ashoka will be the editor of the magazine!" If he wanted to start a magazine on boredom or something like that it would have been perfectly logical, but he wants to start a magazine full of humor! And he has no sense of humor at all, no possibility even! But there is no need.

Go on falling deeper and deeper into your silence. And never never compare yourself, your experiences, with others, because everybody has to go in his own way. Of course in the end, the one who has come dancing to God and the one who has come in silence meet and merge into one experience.

Bliss is not right now the thing for you. It may happen as a by-product at the final stage.

A joke for you, Ashoka. Think it over. Perhaps you may get it!

Garrity's member was twenty-five inches long. The poor man could not find a woman who could hold him. The doctors could not help, so he went to a little side-street sex shop.

The clerk showed Garrity a stick of peppermint candy and said, "This has a secret medication inside. As you suck, your stump shortens. In your case about five minutes ought to do the trick. But let me warn you, the drug makes you very sleepy and drowsy, so you must have someone there to pull it out of your mouth when the time is up."

Garrity could not wait to try the miraculous treatment. He dashed into the nearest men's room, handed the Italian attendant twenty bucks and said, "I am popping a medicated rod into my mouth and it might make me doze off. It is extremely important that you pull out the dopestick after five minutes."

Garrity woke up several hours later, saw the attendant watching him and asked, "Did you remove the stick after five minutes?"

The man replied, "No speak-a da English."

Bliss is not your language -- you forget all about it. Silence is your language. And don't try to be blissful, because that will be simply false. Don't try at all to be something that you are not; just be that which you are. And whatsoever it is, it is right, because you have to find yourself and nobody else. And remember another thing, don't condemn others either: "What are you doing, dancing, singing and wasting your time? Sit silently." Because that is also a possibility.

Either people compare and then feel that THEY are missing or they become aggressive and they start destroying other people's lives; they start condemning, "This is wrong." That is a kind of defense, and they say that the best way to defend is to attack. They start attacking others, "You are wrong," just in order to feel that "I am right. " That aggressiveness is also wrong because that may distract somebody from his or her path.

The religious person has to understand that people differ, they are unique. In fact, EACH individual comes to God in his own way, in his own unique way. Nobody else before him has ever come to God in the same way, exactly the same way; and nobody else in the future is ever going to come to God in the same way.

And this is one of the calamities that has befallen humanity. The Christian goes on condemning the Hindu, the Hindu goes on condemning the Christian, the Mohammedan goes on condemning others. Everybody is condemning everybody else: "You are wrong." The basic thing is, they are all defensive, they feel deep down, "Perhaps we are wrong."

Naturally, Jainas are only such a small minority that a deep defensiveness is natural. There are millions of Christians in the world; almost one half of the world is Christian. There are only three hundred thousand Jainas. The natural, the obvious logic is, "How can so many people be wrong? We must be wrong." Hence they become very aggressive.

If you meet a Jaina monk, he is more aggressive than anybody. Of course he believes in non-violence, so he is non-violently aggressive! But I have looked in Jaina scriptures: they have been criticizing everybody and vehemently, for the simple reason that they are so few, they have to defend themselves. They are trembling inside, "How can we be right? It is impossible for us to be right, we are so few. If we were right we would have been victorious all over the world. And Christians are so many and Mohammedans are so many and Buddhists are so many, they must be right." But they cannot concede that, so they try to destroy them as much as possible. If you cannot do anything else, logically in your own scriptures you can condemn them.

Either a person starts feeling "I am wrong" or he starts hankering to make the other feel wrong. Both things are absolutely unnecessary. No need for you to feel wrong; no need for others to be made to feel wrong. Allow everyone's own individuality to flower in its own way. Roses are roses, marigolds are marigolds, lotuses are lotuses. There is no need to compare and there is no need to say "You are wrong."

Just watch inside. If you are feeling good, if you feel well-being arising in you, then you are on the right path. If you feel your misery disappearing, if you feel your anxiety falling away, if you feel your anguish evaporating, you are on the right track. Don't be bothered about anybody else; that is none of your business.


Next: Chapter 4: Don't Compare, Question 2


Energy Enhancement                Enlightened Texts                Desiderata                 Guida Spirituale



Chapter 4






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