SUFIS PEOPLE OF THE PATH WISDOM STORIES
THE ESSENTIAL CORE OF ALL RELIGIONS
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The first question:
HAS SUFISM ARISEN AS A REBEL AGAINST THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ISLAM? OR IS IT PRE-ISLAM?
It is both. Anything that is alive is both. It is very ancient and it is very new -- together, simultaneously.
Sufism is pre-Islam and yet it is a unique new phenomenon too. It is the essential core of Islam and yet it is a rebellion against the establishment of Islam too. That's how it is always. Zen is also both -- it is the essential core of Buddhism and a rebellion against the establishment.
It has to be understood. Whenever a man like Buddha or Mohammed happens, the essential flowers. But sooner or later the human mind will make an establishment out of it. That too is natural because man needs something to cling to. And man needs something pseudo because the real transforms him. The real is dangerous. He needs something which only looks real but is not real. He needs a toy to play with. That's what the Church is, the establishment is; it gives the appearance of doing the real thing. So you can enjoy doing it and you can enjoy the ego trip and yet you remain the same. It does not penetrate you, transmute you, at all. Nothing is at stake.
If a man really goes into prayer he will die. He will never come back the same again. He will come back, but as a totally different person. The one who has gone into prayer will never come back. Something new, something that has never existed before, something that is discontinuous with the past, will arise. You will be lost and then only will you find the real you. Real prayer is dangerous; it is a death and a resurrection.
So man is very tricky -- he creates a false prayer. He makes a ritual out of prayer, he pretends to pray. He only goes through the gesture, through the empty gesture -- his heart is not in it. He goes to the mosque, to the temple, to the church; he prays. And he knows that he is deceiving, he knows that he is not in it. Yet it gives him a certain respectability. People think of him as being a religious man. That gives him a certain credibility. It is a formal gesture, it makes his social life smooth, it creates a kind of lubricant -- but it doesn't change him.
So whenever a Mohammed or a Buddha happens, the real is brought into the world. But the real drives you mad, the real starts killing you. only very rare people, courageous people, can have that date with the real. What about the cowards? They would also like to enjoy... at least the idea that they have seen God, they have also been into prayer, at least the idea that they are also religious. What about these cowards? And they exist in great numbers. The majority of humanity consists of cowards. These cowards sooner or later create a false religion. Christ is real religion, Christianity is false religion. Mohammed is real, Mohammedanism is false. When this false religion, this established religion, becomes too much, again and again there will come people -- courageous people -- who will assert and who will say that this is all wrong. So these people will look rebellious. In fact, they are asserting the very spirit. The spirit of Mohammed is asserted by Mansoor; the spirit of Mohammed is asserted by Omar Khayyam; the spirit of Mohammed is asserted by a thousand and one Sufi mystics again and again.
But now you can see what the problem is. Whenever somebody asserts the same spirit he is bringing the essential religion back, but he will go against the establishment, against the false religion. And the false religion has great power -- the mass madness is behind it. The mass neurosis supports it. It can kill, it can destroy. It cannot create but it can destroy a Jesus, a Socrates, a Mansoor. That is very easy for it.
These people are like flowers, very fragile, and the mass neurosis is like a rock. If you throw a rock at a flower nothing is going to happen to the rock, only the flower will be destroyed. The higher is always destroyed whenever there is a clash with the lower, remember it. If there is a clash between poetry and prose, poetry will be destroyed, not prose. If there is a clash between God and the world, God will disappear, not the world. If there is a clash between lust and love, love will be poisoned, not lust.
When the unknown descends, when the superior comes into this world, it comes like a flower.
Yes, it is very rebellious. It is rebellious because it is essential. The essential is always rebellious. Mohammed was a rebellious man -- his whole life he was haunted by enemies. Many times he was just on the brink of being killed. He had to fight his whole life -- a mystic had to become a warrior, a mystic had to waste his whole life in being a warrior. He had to carry a sword. And you can see the contradiction, the paradox -- on his sword he had written the words: peace, love. Love had to carry a sword because of mad people. Peace had to carry a sword because of neurosis.
Mohammed had to wage war continuously; he was fighting and fighting. His whole life was wasted in fight. He could have brought more flowers from the unknown, he could have brought more of God into this world, but there was no opportunity.
And once Mohammed has become established, sooner or later the enemy wins again... the enemy who was fighting against Mohammed will become the priest. Watch it! The priests were fighting against Mohammed -- the priest of the old establishment. Mohammed brings the essential religion back again, the eternal. Then the priest who was with the older establishment fights with him. If Mohammed wins, then the priest changes party. The priest is always with those who are victorious; the coward is always with those who are victorious. The priest changes party. He says, 'I am converted by you.' He moves into the camp of Mohammed.
But he has his old tricks, he has his old mind. He starts playing the same game. Maybe while Mohammed is alive he will not be able to do it, but once Mohammed is gone it will be very easy for him to have the same kind of establishment in the name of Mohammed. Then again whenever another Sufi mystic brings God back, he will be a friend of Mohammed and an enemy of Mohammedans. That's why there is this paradox.
It is both; religion is always both. Look at me. Whatsoever I am saying to you is the essential religion. It is the religion of Buddha, Christ, Moses, Mohammed, and yet all the priests are against me, all the priests. They may not agree on anything else but they agree on one thing -- on being against me they all agree. The Mohammedan priest agrees with the Hindu. They will not agree on anything else, but about me being wrong they both agree. The Christian agrees with the Jaina. They have nothing similar, not a single iota of doctrine which is similar, but on one thing they will agree: if they have to condemn me they will all be together. Whatsoever I am saying to you is the essential core of all their religions, but they are against it. They pretend to be for it, they pretend to be the protectors -- they are the enemies. The establishment is the enemy of religion. But it happens in the natural course of things because man is stupid. The establishment is bound to happen again and again. And again and again somebody has to assert and rebel.
There is a beautiful parable in Dostoyevsky's BROTHERS' KARAMAZOV.
Jesus comes back to the world after eighteen hundred years to see how things are going now. He is very hopeful. He thinks, 'Now almost half the earth is Christian, now I am going to be welcomed and received. The first time I was there on the earth people were against me because there were no Christians, there was nobody to receive me. There were Jews, and they killed me.' Now he comes with great hope. He descends into Bethlehem on a Sunday morning. Naturally he chooses Sunday -- Christians will be free and they will be coming out of the church and he will meet them just in front of the church.
People are coming out and he is waiting with great hope. Then people come around him and they start laughing, they start ridiculing him. They say, 'You are pretending perfectly well. You look just like Jesus.'
And he says, 'I am Jesus!'
And they laugh and they say, 'Jesus is only one. This is sacrilege to call yourself Jesus. You look like him, but how can you be him? It will be better if you escape from here before the priest comes out. If he catches hold of you, you will be in trouble.'
But Jesus says, 'He is my priest. If you cannot recognise me, it's okay -- you are lay people. But he is my priest, continuously reading my scriptures, thinking, meditating on whatsoever I have said before, continuously talking about me. At least he will recognise me. You wait!'
And they laugh and they say, 'You are wrong. You just escape from here, otherwise you will get into trouble.'
Then comes the priest, and the people who have not even bowed down to Jesus touch the feet of the priest and give him a passage very reverently, very respectfully. And the priest comes in and looks at this young man and says, 'You get down! You come follow me, you come into the church. Have you gone mad? What are you up to?'
And Jesus says. 'Can't you recognise me?'
Then the priest takes him into the church, puts him into a dark cell, locks the cell and disappears. In the middle of the night he comes back. The whole day Jesus thinks, 'What is going to happen? Am I going to be crucified again by my own people, by Christians? This is too much!' He cannot believe it.
In the middle of the night the priest comes with a small lamp in his hand. He falls at the feet of Jesus and says, 'I recognised you. But please, you are not needed at all. You have done your work and we are doing your work perfectly well. You are a great disturber. If you come again you will disturb the whole thing. It has been hard work for us. For eighteen centuries we have struggled, and somehow we have tried to manage things perfectly well. Half of humanity is converted and half is on the way. You just wait. You need not come! Master, you are not needed, we servants are enough. You just send messages from there.'
Jesus says, 'I'm happy that you at least recognised me.'
The priest says, 'Yes, I can recognise you when we are alone but in front of the masses I cannot recognise you. And if you insist on creating trouble then I am sorry but I will have to crucify you the same way that the Jews did with you -- because a priest has to look to the establishment. I am part of an establishment -- Jewish or Christian does not matter. I have to save the Church. If there is any conflict between you and the Church, then I am for the Church -- I serve the Church. It is perfectly good. You live in heaven, you enjoy there and we are enjoying here. Things are perfectly good. There is no need of your second coming, the first was enough.'
The essential religion will always go against the established religion. Sufis are the very heart, but the heart is bound to be against the mind, the intellect. The priest lives in the head; the man of prayer lives in the heart. They are two polarities, their languages are different. Their languages are so different that the priest cannot understand the language of the heart at all. He can spin theories; he has great expertise as far as doctrines are concerned. He has a very legal mind and is very knowledgeable. But as far as the heart is concerned there is a wasteland in his heart; nothing grows, nothing flowers, nothing flows.
The head cannot understand the heart. The heart can understand the head because the heart is deeper than the head. The man of the heart can understand the man of the head and can feel compassion for him, but the man of the head cannot understand the man of the heart. The lower cannot understand the higher; the higher can understand the lower. The man who is sitting in the valley cannot understand the man who is sitting on the top of the hill. But the man who is sitting on the top of the hill can understand the man who is living in the valley.
So people of the heart are very compassionate. They understand. They understand why the priest is against them; they understand why the majority of humanity is not able to fall in rapport with them.
Let me tell you an anecdote.
A man was walking along and he saw a snail lost in a crevice in a wall, and for no particular reason he said to it, 'Hello. snail.'
And oddly enough the snail could speak and the snail could hear and it said, 'Hello,' and it moved its eyes around as best it could on their stalks to try to see what it was that was confronting him.
So the man said, 'Can you hear me?'
And the snail said, 'Yes, of course. Who and what are you anyway?'
And the man said, 'Well, I am a man.'
And the snail said, 'Whatever is that?'
So the man said, 'Well, we are something like you. For instance, you have got eyes on stalks and we have got stalks on the other end.'
And the snail said, 'The other end?'
And the man said, 'Yes, just a minute. It's for putting our feet on, you see -- and these feet....'
And the snail said, 'Whatever are these feet for?'
And the man said, 'The feet are for moving along very rapidly on.'
And the snail said, 'Really, you amaze me. Is there anything else peculiar about you?'
And the man said, 'Well, you know how you have got your house on your back?'
And the snail said, 'Yes, yes.'
And the man said, 'Well, we don't do that, you see. We have lots and lots of houses and we go in and out of them almost at will. '
The snail said, You really are a most astonishing creature. Is there anything else strange about you?'
And the man said, 'Well, now, we are man, and a man can take a thing like a leaf -- you know a leaf?'
And the snail said, 'Yes, yes, I know a leaf.'
And the man said, 'Well he can make marks on this leaf and hand the leaf to another man who could give the leaf to a third man who could tell from the marks on the leaf what the first man was thinking. '
'Ah,' said the snail, 'you are one of them, hm?'
And the man said, 'What do you mean?'
'You are a liar!' said the snail. 'The trouble with you liars is you tell one lie and then you tell a bigger one, and then finally you over-reach yourselves.'
There are different languages at different planes. The Sufi speaks the language of the heart, and the priest speaks the language of the head. The priest speaks the language of knowledge and the Sufi speaks the language of love. They don't meet, they don't communicate. Communication is impossible. the priest is blind, he has never seen the light, he only believes in it. The Sufi has seen the light; it is not a belief any more. He knows it.
Try to understand this paradox. The people who think they know, don't know; the knowledgeable people don't know because they can't see. And the people who love and don't talk about knowledge at all, know, because they can see. Love opens the eye of the heart. And when you have seen, you will be constantly in rebellion. When you have seen, then no belief can satisfy you. Then your very vision will become destructive to all kinds of beliefs. When you have seen, then you cannot concede to and you cannot agree with stupid ideas about light. A blind man can have only stupid ideas about light. He cannot have the right idea. How can he have the right idea? He has no eyes. Whatsoever he knows about light is going to be wrong. He has not even seen darkness -- what to say about light? A blind man cannot see even darkness.
Never have the idea that blind people live in darkness. No, they cannot. Even to see darkness one needs eyes. To see anything one needs eyes. And there is no way to explain to a blind man what light is. You cannot even use darkness, you cannot say 'light is against darkness'. He does not even know what darkness is. There is no way to make it clear to a blind man. The only way is to help him to see, the only way is to help him to open his eyes. Or, if he needs some treatment for his eyes, then apply the treatment. Be a physician to his eyes. It is pointless going on giving him explanations, philosophical doctrines, scriptures. They will simply muddle him more, confuse him more.
The Sufi is rebellious because the Sufi has seen it. And naturally he will always find it difficult to explain it to people. That's why Sufis don't believe in explanations. If you go to a Sufi he starts giving you methods, not doctrines. That's why they are called the people of the path. They give you a method. They say, heart, opens your being, you will know. ' They will not give you a single doctrine, a single principle -- they have none. They have only methodology. It is very scientific. They give you the taste. It is hard, arduous work.
If you come to me and ask 'What is truth?' I can say something -- within minutes the work is done. I have told you, you have known, and it is finished. I have neither told you nor have you understood anything, but the idea has arisen in you that now you know. And now you will carry this idea. If you are really interested I will have to give you a device, not a doctrine; I will have to give you a meditation, not a principle; I will have to initiate you into your inner lab; I will have to take you slowly, slowly into the deeper waters of your being. By and by you will start feeling, seeing -- you will become more sensitive, more alert, more aware, and things will start penetrating your thick layer of unconsciousness. A few rays will start entering into your 'dark night of the soul'. And then you will know.
The work of the Sufi takes years. Sufis don't preach. They teach, certainly, but they don't preach. And when they teach, they teach methods, not principles. To follow a method one needs to be really in search -- because sometimes it takes twelve years, sometimes twenty years, sometimes your whole life. And sometimes many lives are needed. The people who are in search of instant enlightenment cannot have a contact with a Sufi. That's why Sufis go on hiding themselves. They don't declare them selves, they remain invisible. They are available only to those who really search, who really seek. It is very difficult to find a Sufi Master, and he may be living just in your neighbourhood. He may be doing such an ordinary thing you cannot believe it. He may be a weaver or he may be a shoemaker or he may be running a hotel, or any kind of work. You cannot even suspect that a Sufi Master lives just at the corner. And you may come across him every day and you will not have any idea who this man is -- unless you are a seeker. If you are a seeker then by and by you will be led to him. In fact, if you are a seeker he will start choosing you. He will be watching you. He will not allow you to watch him; he will be watching you, he will be seeing. And if he feels that here is a seeker, then by and by he will make it possible for you to see him. He can become visible if he wants to.
There is a famous story.
It happened that a well known Sufi was asked, 'What is invisibility?'
And he said, 'I shall answer that when an opportunity for a demonstration occurs.'
They believe in demonstrations and they believe in opportunities. They will not say a single word if the opportunity has not occurred, if the right situation is not there. You can ask the Master a question and he will say, 'Wait, when the right opportunity occurs then I will show you' -- because he does not believe in saying, he believes in showing.
He said, 'I shall answer that when an opportunity for a demonstration occurs.'
Some time later, the man and the one who had asked him the question were stopped by a band of soldiers. And the soldiers said, 'We have orders to take all dervishes into custody -- for the king of this country says that they will not obey his commands and that they say things which are not welcome to the tranquillity of the thought of the populace.'
And the Sufi said, 'And so you should, for you must do your duty.'
'But are you not Sufis?' said the soldiers.
'Test us,' said the Sufi.
The officer took out a Sufi book....
-- a book that is tremendously respected by the Sufis. It is called THE BOOK OF THE BOOKS. It has only a few sentences written in it, otherwise it is empty.
'What is this?' the Sufi Master said.
-- as if he had not even recognised the book. The soldiers had brought the book which will be a sign of a Sufi -- the moment the Sufi sees THE BOOK OF THE BOOKS he will bow down. It is a great treasure.
The Sufi Master said, 'What is this?'
-- as if he did not recognise the book.
The Sufi looked at the title page. 'It is something which I will burn in front of you,' said the Master, 'since you have not already done so.' He set light to the book and the soldiers rode away satisfied.
The Sufi's companion asked, 'What was the purpose of that action?'
'To make us invisible,' said the sufi. 'For to the man of the world, visibility means that you look like something or someone he expects you to resemble. If you look different your true nature becomes invisible to him.'
The Sufi Master is saying, 'I have become invisible to these soldiers because they could not believe that a Sufi could burn THE BOOK. They have a certain expectation -- that the Sufis revere THE BOOK. The moment I burned THE BOOK we were no longer Sufis. I had become invisible to him. '
And that's how Sufis become invisible to people. You can't expect the things that they do. Gurdjieff learned his methods of invisibility from Sufi Masters. Gurdjieff was a Sufi Master in penetrated the Western consciousness. He remained invisible to the masses, and he had such techniques to become invisible that in just a single second he could become visible and in a single second he could become invisible. Sometimes it used to happen that two persons would come to see him. If he wanted to become visible to one and remain invisible to the other, he would become visible to one and remain invisible to the other. And both were talking to him together. He had become so practised that he could show one kind of emotion from one side of his face and another kind of emotion from the other side of his face.
For example, if he did not want to become visible to you he would look so cruel, so murderous, that you could not believe that a Sufi Master or any kind of Master could be so murderous. And if he wanted to remain visible to you he would look so compassionate, so loving. And he could do it together, simultaneously, to two people. And one would go away with the complete idea that 'here was the Master', and the other would go away with the idea -- 'Never again am I going to see this man. This man seems to be a murderer, and it is dangerous to be with this man.'
Sufis live a very, very hidden life, for a certain reason -- because they only want to live the essential religion. If you want to become visible you have to do many things. For example, I am here, but to Poona people I am invisible. I have made myself completely invisible, even to the people who live just in the neighbourhood here. I am invisible to them. They cannot see. It is impossible for them to see. I am visible only to those who are seeking. Those who are seeking can come from thousands of miles, and those who are not seeking can live just by the side and will remain there and will be convinced that I am a wrong man.
It is good that it is so, because it helps me to work only on those people who need work. Energies are not wasted.
Sufis are not interested in the mass. No Master has ever been interested in the mass. Masters are only interested in individuals, and only in those individuals who are really in search, in authentic search. It is simple to avoid the unnecessary people and it is simple to attract the necessary people who need help... with just a few things. People are so insensitive -- with just a small thing you can become invisible because they don't look deep, they only look on the surface.
The second question is exactly what I have been talking to you about:
WHY DO SUFIS DELIBERATELY DISGUISE AND HIDE THEMSELVES?
-- because they want their energies to be used rightly, because they are creative people. They are not interested in name and fame, they are not interested in anything else; they are only interested in giving a new life to people who are desiring God, longing for God. Why should they waste their time and energy?
There are many kinds of people in the world. A few are curious people, they come just out of curiosity, they waste time. Then there are a few who come with enquiry. They are better than the curious people, there is some possibility that they may grow, but that is only a possibility. Then there is a third kind who is really a seeker, who is ready to stake his life, who is ready to lose something for it, who is ready to pay the price for it.
The Sufi will work with the third person, he will remain available to the second kind of person, and he will become absolutely invisible to the first kind of person -- the curious.
The Sufi is very economical about his energy. He knows he cannot exist here for long, his days are counted. In those few days that he will be here on the earth.... An enlightened person will not be coming back again, he is here for only a short time -- even if it is thirty, forty, or fifty years it is a very short time if you look at the eternity of time. What is fifty years compared to the eternal procession of time? He will be here for only a few days, a few months, a few years. And he can work on only a few people. If he becomes surrounded by curious people his energies will be wasted. Then he will be sowing his seeds in a desert. That will be foolish, stupid.
Sufis are not stupid people, they are very wise people. They know how to use their energies -- that's why they deliberately disguise and hide themselves. And small things become helpful.
This has been my own method. Whenever I see that a certain kind of people has become too much around me and I want to drop them -- just a single hint, just a single hint, and they disappear. Once it happened that I was surrounded by many Jainas, just because of my birth -- the accident of my birth. I was born in a Jaina family, so naturally Jainas were interested in me. Not in me -- they were interested in a Jaina. They were happy that here was a Jaina who had become enlightened. They were not interested in me or in my enlightenment, they felt a kind of ego trip.
Then it became too much; they were wasting too much energy and too much time. So I delivered one talk -- 'From Sex to Superconsciousness' -- and they all disappeared. Just a single talk and they all disappeared. Then I didn't see them. And since then, for fifteen years, I have not seen them.
Then by and by many Gandhians started coming around. And I saw that again a desert was growing. These are the weeds; you have to be constantly uprooting them. You cannot rest if you are really interested in the garden and the rose flowers -- and the orange people are my roses. If you are really interested in the rose flowers you will have to constantly uproot the weeds. They will come again and again.
Gandhians gathered. Then with just a few statements against Gandhi they left me. It is so easy to become invisible to people. Now I don't exist for them at all. I am almost not. They have forgotten all about me. Weeds have to be dropped.
A Master has to become invisible again and again to certain kinds of people so that he and his energies remain available to those who are really seekers.
What do I mean when I say real seekers? I mean one who is ready to stake whatsoever is needed to stake, who does not just have an 'itch' in his head, who is not only curious but whose problem is that of life and death. Even if I demand that your life will be needed, if you are seeker you will say, 'I am available. Take this life but give me God. If by giving my life, God can be attained, then I am happily ready.' Life is worthless for a seeker; everything is worthless -- except truth.
That's why Sufis are constantly in hiding. And remember, this is only half the story. On one side they constantly go on hiding themselves, on another hand they go on making themselves available to those who are in search. The other part has not been discussed much. That other part is very essential. In fact, the first part is necessary only for the other part, otherwise what is the use of becoming invisible? If you simply become invisible to all people then you are almost dead, then you are in your grave. So you have to become invisible from one side -- to people who are not the right people -- and you have to become more and more visible to those who are in search. These both go together in a kind of balance.
I don't move in Poona, you will never see me on Poona streets, I don't go anywhere. I am not interested in the masses. I have simply disappeared from the world. I have created my own small world -- an alternative society. Soon the days are coming closer when I will establish my own small world absolutely, where every person will be a seeker -- only a seeker will be allowed in. And then that small commune will become invisible to the whole world, then we will disappear into ourselves, and we will start working something into the deepest realm of being.
One has to drop many things to go in. One has to gather one's total energy to go in.
The third question:
WHY DON'T PEOPLE BELIEVE IN THE THINGS THAT ALL THE GREAT MYSTICS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PREACHING?
They don't understand and they don't want to understand. The language is different, the approach is different, the longing is different.
People understand only that which they long for. Your language is basically rooted in your longing. Your longing becomes your language.
A man who is sexually obsessed only understands the language of sex. A man who is sexually obsessed, perverted, repressed, only understands pornography. To a man who is sexually satisfied pornography will look absurd. He will not understand why, why people are so mad about it.
A man who wants to forget himself will be interested in drugs, but a man who knows the beauty of remembering himself will not be able to understand at all why people should drug themselves, why they should try to forget. It is tremendously joyful to remember.
Sufis say there are two types of people or two states of humanity. One they call GOFIL -- the people who are utterly oblivious of themselves, asleep, unconscious -- and another, the people who remember, the people who have a certain remembrance of their being. Now those who are searching to remember themselves will have a different kind of language. One who is searching for money knows only the language of money, and one who is searching for peace has a different kind of language. There are many languages in the world; they depend on your desires.
The man who has started searching for God, truth, is mad in the eyes of the so-called worldly-wise. The mystics have always been thought to be mad. You tolerate them at the most. And if they are very persistent then you start worshipping them -- but either you tolerate or worship, you don't become affected by them. You remain aloof, untouched. You keep a distance.
The story is told of a preacher who went to the mountains to preach, and upon arriving struck up a conversation with the first old man he met.
'Are you a Christian?' the preacher enquired.
'Nope, Mr. Christian lives up the "holler",' answered the mountaineer.
'What I mean is, Brother, are you lost?' persisted the preacher.
'Well, I reckon not,' replied the mountaineer. 'I have been here nigh on to thirty years and know every cow path in these here hills.'
'You don't understand,' said the preacher. 'I mean are you ready for the Judgement Day?'
'When's it comin'?' asked the mountaineer.
'Well,' said the preacher, 'it might come today or it might be tomorrow.'
'For goodness sakes, don't tell my missus,' cautioned the mountaineer. 'She'd want to go both days!'
There seems to be no communication. The preacher is speaking one language, the mountaineer is speaking another kind of language, and they both seem to speak plain English.
You may speak the same language but in one language there exist many languages -- within one language another, and within that another. A poet speaks one language, a scientist speaks another, a businessman still another.
And a mystic? A mystic speaks a very absurd language, that's why he is not understood. He speaks nonsense, exactly nonsense -- because he says things which are not sensibly comprehensible. He says things which are not available to the senses. He says things which are not even possible to put in a logical form, which cannot be formulated in a rational way. He talks about some mysteries, vague, cloudy, and in an absurd way -- because he talks in paradoxes.
All true religion is paradoxical. He uses contradictory terms so much that in the end nothing is left in your hands. If you ask a mystic if God is near or far, he will say, 'Both. He is the nearest and he is the farthest.' Now what are you going to make of it? If you ask him, 'Is God in the world or outside the world?' he will say, 'Both, or neither. ' What are you going to make out of it? Or he may laugh. Or he may remain quite silent. He may not say a single word.
To understand a mystic you will have to become a mystic yourself. To understand a mystic you will have to be initiated into mysticism. To understand a mystic you will have to drop your old patterns of the mind, the old ways of thinking. Logical thinking has to be dropped. You will have to become illogical. You will have to be ready to accept the irrational too -- because life is irrational and life is mysterious and you cannot put life into dogmatic forms.
You cannot say 'God is', you cannot say 'God is not' -- because God is both. He is so comprehensive that 'is' and 'is not' are both implied in his being. 'Isness' is his periphery and 'is not-ness' is his very centre. At the very centre God is nothing but pure nothingness. Out of that -- ex nihilo -- everything arises. The world is just on the circumference; at the centre there is nothing, or, there is only nothing.
When mystics say these things you can hear, but how are you going to understand if something like this has not started happening in you already?
You ask: WHY DON'T PEOPLE BELIEVE IN THE THINGS THAT ALL THE GREAT MYSTICS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PREACHING? Another reason... how can you believe? You have to know. Belief is not going to help at all. Even if you believe you will suspect deep down, you will doubt deep down. Every belief carries doubt within it. Belief is not going to help.
And belief will create just the opposite. For example, people who believe become very serious. You can find them in the temples, in the churches, in the mosques. People who believe become very serious and people who know become very celebrating. The mystics don't believe. They know. They have seen. They have experienced. And because they have experienced God there is a kind of playfulness around them. They exist in joy. You will find a dance around them. If you look into their eyes you will find cheerfulness, ecstasy. If you go and look at a person who believes, you will always find a long face.
I have heard....
A very young niece was visiting a holier-than-thou aunt in the country for the summer. Her puritanical attitude was in constant evidence. Every time the little niece wanted to do something, the long faced aunt would say, 'Don't do that... you can't do that.'
One day the little niece was walking down the road, very unhappy, when she came upon a long faced mule near the fence. She walked over, patted its head, and said, 'Don't feel bad, Mr. Mule, my aunt has religion too.'
Religious people become very long-faced. Religious people become very sad. Religious people stop living in the world and have not started living in God. They are stuck. Hence the sadness. And religious people are not only sad themselves, they create all kinds of sadness in other people too. They cannot tolerate anybody happy. Wherever they find something happy they will be there to destroy it, to condemn it. They are against all joy. They are against all innocent joy. These people have poisoned humanity.
Belief is not going to help. Become a mystic but don't Believe in mystics. Become a Sufi but don't believe in Sufis. Become me but don't believe in me. If you believe in me you have gone astray. What is the need to believe? When you can have the taste, why believe in it? Belief means you are postponing. You are saying, 'Yes, today I will believe, tomorrow I will taste.' But why not today? Why not now? If you feel my vibe, then rather than thinking in terms of belief start thinking in terms of living it. And don't believe a thing unless you have experienced it, otherwise you will become a hypocrite.
And this should be used as a criterion: a man of belief is sad and a man of knowing is tremendously happy. A man who only believes is just dull, dead, shrunken in, frozen, ossified. And a man who knows, flows, flowers; much fragrance comes from his being. He is constantly flowing. He is never stagnant. He is always new.
Let religion be lived, not believed.
ONCE I LOVED A WOMAN BUT SHE REFUSED ME, AND EVER SINCE I HAVE BEEN MISERABLE. I HAVE LOST ALL HOPE IN LIFE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
You meditate on this story:
A visitor to an insane asylum found one of the inmates rocking back and forth in a chair in a contented manner, cooing repeatedly, 'Lulu, Lulu.... '
'What's the matter with this man?' the visitor asked the attendant.
'Well, you see, sir, Lulu was the woman who jilted him,' the attendant explained.
Baffled with the explanation, the visitor proceeded on the tour.
Later he came to a padded cell, where an inmate was batting his head repeatedly against the wall and crying, 'Lulu, Lulu...'
'Now why is this man crying "Lulu"?' asked the visitor.
'Oh, he's the fellow Lulu finally married,' the attendant explained.
Don't be so miserable. Just find the man whom Lulu has married and all misery will disappear.
The last question:
I BELIEVE VERY STRONGLY IN RELIGION. I FOLLOW ALL THE PRESCRIBED RULES OF MORALITY. L HAVE ALWAYS LIVED A LIFE OF DISCIPLINE -- THEN WHY AM I ALWAYS UNHAPPY?
What else are you expecting? Are you expecting some miracle? If you were happy it would be a miracle -- and miracles don't happen.
It is a natural consequence. Just try to analyse your question. I BELIEVE -- this 'I' is too much. I BELIEVE VERY STRONGLY IN RELIGION. I FOLLOW ALL THE PRESCRIBED RULES OF MORALITY. I HAVE ALWAYS LIVED A LIFE OF DISCIPLINE -- THEN WHY AM I ALWAYS UNHAPPY? This 'I' is too much. And 'I' is the misery. When 'I' disappears, misery disappears. Bliss is the absence of the ego and nothing else.
But if you believe too strongly in religion, your 'I' will become very, very strengthened. If you live a life of discipline, a life of control, your ego will become very decorated. If you follow all the rules of morality, naturally your ego will become very holy, pious. And when a person is very pious it is very dangerous.
This 'I' has to be relaxed -- that is one thing.
And the second thing: there is no need to believe strongly in religion. Belief simply shows that you don't know and deep down somewhere doubt is bound to be. How can you dissolve the doubt without knowing? You can go on believing as strongly as is humanly possible but all strength will only be repressing the doubt, it cannot destroy it.
No doubt is ever destroyed by strength, remember it. By strength you can force it into the unconscious, you can go on forcing it into the basement of your being, you can force it so deep that you completely forget about it -- but it is there. And the deeper it goes, the more dangerously it is there. It will affect your total being, your very quality, and it will affect it in such an indirect way that you will not even be able to detect it. It will become a cancer in the soul.
No, unless you know, doubt remains.
I have heard....
When the late King George VI was a lad, he stood one winter morning with his older brother Edward, their noses pressed against a window of the palace, looking enviously at a group of cockney urchins playing snowball outside the palace.
Finally the temptation became too great for them and, seeing an opportunity as the governess left the room, they put on hats and coats and slipped outside to join the happy group.
Soon a badly aimed snowball, smashing right through the window of the palace, brought the palace guard running on the double. In no time at all the sheepish group of youngsters was ushered into the presence of the precinct sergeant.
'What's your name, boy?' the sergeant asked the first in line.
'My name is Edward, Prince of Wales,' said the boy, standing haughtily at attention.
'A smart guy, eh?' said the sergeant. 'And what's your name?' he asked the second in line.
'My name is George, Duke of Windsor,' said the second lad.
By this time the sergeant was furious. 'I've never seen such a bunch of liars in all my life,' he exploded.
'And what's your name?' he asked the next little fellow.
The little boy hesitated a moment, then wiping his nose on his sleeve, he replied, 'I'm going to stand wiv' my buddies, guvnor... I'm the Archbishop of Canterbury.'
Yes, you can say you are the Archbishop of Canterbury but deep down you know you are not.
And the significant thing is what you know deep down. If you are, you are. Then there is a totality, no hesitation. Then you are totally into it.
But when you only believe, you know it is not so. That creates a split. You become two. A duality arises. All belief creates schizophrenia. How can you be happy with schizophrenia? It is not possible.
And you say: I FOLLOW ALL THE PRESCRIBED RULES OF MORALITY. Religion has nothing to do with morality. A religious man is moral but he has nothing to do with morality. A religious man is naturally moral -- it is not that he follows all the prescribed rules of morality, a religious man is naturally, spontaneously, moral. He has no idea of what is good and what is bad. He never chooses. The good simply happens. It is part of his religiousness.
The moment you understand that you are part of God, then all immorality disappears. Not that you have to drop it, it is simply not found. And when there is no immorality, what is the need to follow moral rules? Only immoral people follow moral rules, only immoral people need to follow. A moral person has no rules to follow. His morality is innocent. He is good because he feels that being good brings more and more happiness. He is good because he is happy. Happiness brings more good to his life; more good brings more happiness to his life.
You will be unhappy because really you want to be immoral. And you have to curb and cut and you have to always force yourself to be moral. You are not being natural. You will be unhappy. And these moral things will not satisfy you. They are false. They will not make you more happy.
It is as if one is eating the menu rather than eating the food. Food satisfies, but the menu... you can go on eating it, it will not satisfy. It is not food. The rules that have been given by others to you are menus, they are paper food not real food. The real morality arises in your being. Become more meditative rather than becoming more moral. Morality follows meditation. And then you will be happy.
And you say: I HAVE ALWAYS LIVED A LIFE OF DISCIPLINE. The word 'discipline' is very beautiful but it has become very, very wrongly associated with the idea of control. Discipline comes from the same root as disciple. Discipline means become a disciple. And disciple means nothing but the capacity to learn. A disciple is one who is ready to learn. A disciple is one who has an open mind. A disciple is one who has not become closed, who does not say, 'I know.' He says, 'I am open, available, to learn, to know more. And I am ready to risk all that I know if something unknown can be known.'
A learner is a disciple. And a disciple is in discipline. You cannot be in discipline unless you are with a Master. And remember the paradox of it: a Master never enforces any discipline on you, a Master simply makes himself available to you. Seeing him, loving him, feeling him, a discipline starts arising in you.
And remember, there cannot be a fixed discipline for everybody. Everybody has to find his own discipline because everybody is so unique, everybody is so individual. When you follow a dead discipline you will be putting a structure on your being. You will not grow naturally and you will not grow into yourself.
If you follow Mahavira's discipline... it was good for him, certainly good, but you are not another Mahavira. There will never be another again. God never repeats. God always creates a unique person. No two persons are alike -- they never have been, never will be. Yes, Mohammed has a discipline of his own. It was beautiful for him. It was beautiful for him only because it grew out of him; he never followed anybody else's discipline. But if you follow it, it will be just a dead structure. How can life be happy caged in a dead structure?
Hence the insistence of Sufism to find an alive Master -- because an alive Master will not give you a dead structure. An alive Master will give you only an insight into your own being. An alive Master will give you only a vision of what is possible. And then you start working on your own. Everybody has to find his own discipline.
And remember another thing too. Even when you have found your discipline it is not going to remain like a character. It will change every day. New situations and new disciplines will arise. You will have to respond to new situations in a new way. You cannot just carry a guidebook in your mind and you cannot go on behaving according to that guide book. Then you will not be responsible, then you will not be responding to the situation that is facing you, then you will have a ready-made rule -- and then happiness is not possible.
Happiness is a function of freedom. Only free people are happy people. Let this be remembered always and always: freedom brings bliss, freedom brings benediction.
If you are unhappy that is simply logical. You have earned it. Now drop your belief and drop your discipline and drop your so-called rules of morality.
And when I am saying 'Drop it' don't misunderstand me -- because sometimes people misunderstand. Somebody has asked: I understand you TO SAY THAT KNOWLEDGE IS A BARRIER. SHOULD I BURN ALL THE SCRIPTURES I HAVE ALWAYS WORSHIPPED? I have not said that. There is no need to burn the scriptures. That will not help. Your mind is not going to change by burning the scriptures. Your mind will be the same and you will find another kind of scripture. Maybe I will become your scripture, but that will be the same. You will have something to cling to. Your mind wants to cling to words, principles, doctrines. Rather than burning the mind you are asking about burning the scriptures. What have those poor scriptures done to you? Why be so angry with them?
You remind me of a man, a man who came home on three occasions and, finding his wife on a couch with another man, decided he had had enough and threw away the couch.
But what does the couch have to do with it?
You can burn the scriptures and you can throw away the rules but again you will find something. The situation does not change so easily. Something has to change within you.
Always remember that whatsoever I am saying here concerns your consciousness, concerns your innermost centre. Do some thing there. Outer things don't matter. Scriptures are so worthless that by burning them nothing will be attained. If something can be attained by burning the scriptures then they have some value. They don't have that value. Not even that much value do they have.
But burn the mind that clings to the scriptures, burn that mind that wants to depend on something, burn that mind that always avoids responsibility, burn that mind that seeks dead, fixed rules, is obsessed with fixed things and is afraid of free flow, is afraid of dynamism. Why not live a life with free consciousness? Why not live a life without rules? You have lived a life with rules and you feel miserable. Now if you are really feeling miserable and you want to get rid of that misery then the only thing that can be done is a radical change. Now start living a life without rules.
Why do people cling to rules? Because to live free means one has to be very much aware. Those rules give you an opportunity not to be aware. You can depend on them, you need not be aware. If someone says something you have a ready made answer; you need not be attentive to what is being said. And you need not be creative in your response, you already have an answer. You can remain sleepy and still you can answer.
It happened in a church.... The priest asked, 'Those who are ready to go to heaven or want to go to heaven should stand up.'
All stood up except one man who was fast asleep and snoring.
Then the priest said, even more loudly, to wake him up, 'Now those who want to go to hell they should stand up.'
And he shouted so loudly that the man just jumped up. He had not heard what had happened but he looked around and he found himself and the priest standing. He said, 'Sir, I don't know what we are voting for but we both seem to be voting for it.'
This is the situation. People are fast asleep and snoring and life can go on. With fixed rules there is safety, comfort, convenience. Drop that comfort, drop that convenience, drop that safety. Start living a dangerous life. And a life is life only when you live it dangerously, when it is a great adventure, an exploration always in the unknown.
Don't carry any rules -- that's what is meant by burning the scriptures. And don't carry any fixed disciplines. Remain available and act, don't react. Act out of your consciousness. Be a mirror and act out of that mirror-like consciousness. And you will be happy, you will be tremendously happy.
That happiness is yours, and just for the asking. 'Knock and the doors shall be opened unto you. Ask and it shall be given. Seek and you will find.' It is all yours, and just for the asking.
OSHO - Sufis, the People of
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