Go thou and preach the kingdom of god

Luke 9



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ONCE A MAN owned a very big pond. A small lily plant was growing on it. The man was very happy; he had always liked the white flowers of lilies. But then he became very concerned because the plant was doubling itself every day: sooner or later it would cover the whole pond. He had trout in the pond and he loved to eat those trout. Once the pond was covered by the lilies all the life would disappear from it, including the trout.

He didn't want to cut the plants, he didn't want his trout to disappear -- he was in a dilemma. He went to an expert. The expert calculated and said, "Don't be worried. It will take one thousand days for the lily to cover the whole pond. The plant is very small and the pond is very big, so there is no need to worry." Then the expert suggested a solution which appeared absolutely right. He said, "Wait, and when half the pond is covered with lilies, then cut the plant. Always keep it only half-covered so that you will enjoy the white flowers and your trout will not be in danger. Fifty-fifty -- half the pond for the lilies, half for the trout."

The solution looked perfectly right, and one thousand days -- there was enough time, so there was no need to worry. The man relaxed. He said, "When the pond is half-covered, then I will cut the lilies."

The pond was half-covered -- but it was half-covered on the nine hundred ninety-ninth day. Ordinarily you would think that it would be half-covered after five hundred days -- no. The plant used to double itself so half the pond would be covered on the nine hundred ninety-ninth day and only one day would be left. But that would not be sufficient time to cut the plant or to keep it to the half.

And it happened. On the nine hundred ninety-ninth day the pond was half-covered and the man said -- he was not feeling very well, a little sick -- he said, "There is no hurry. I have waited nine hundred ninety-nine days and there was no trouble. Now it is just a question of one more day. After one day I will do it."

The next morning the whole pond was covered and all the trout were dead.

This is the puzzle of life. It is a dilemma; one has to choose. If you go on accumulating things and possessions, the plant is doubling on the pond. Every day your things go on growing and your life is suffocated. Life looks too long -- seventy years, eighty years. There is no hurry. People think, "When we reach to the mid-point, we will change."

People always wait for religion until they get old. People go on saying that religion is for old people. Go into the churches, into the temples, and you will find old people -- just on the verge of death. Their one foot is already in the grave: the nine hundred ninety-ninth day. The next morning, life is going to be suffocated. Then they start praying, then they start meditating, then they start thinking of what life is -- what is the meaning of existence? But then it is too late.

Religion needs a deep urgency. If you postpone it, you will never be able to become religious. It has to be done right now. As it is you are already late, as it is you have already wasted much time -- and wasted it in futile things, wasted it in things that are going to be taken away from you.

You have to pay for all those things, with life. Whatsoever you possess, you lose life for it. It is not cheap; it is very costly. One day you have many possessions, but you are no longer there. Things are there; the owner, dead. Great piles of things... but the one who wanted to live through them; no more.

People go on preparing for life -- and they die before their preparation is complete. People prepare, and never live. To be religious is to live life, not to prepare for it. You are doing a very absurd thing: your rehearsal goes on and on and the real drama never starts.

I have heard about a small drama company. They were rehearsing. The real drama was getting postponed every day because the rehearsal was never complete. One day the heroine was not there, another day some other actor was not there, one day something else happened -- the electricity failed or something -- and it went on being postponed. But the manager was happy for at least one thing: that the hero of the drama had always been present, he had never been absent.

The last rehearsal day he thanked the hero. He said, "You are the only person who can be relied upon. All these other people are unreliable. You are the only one who has never been absent. Summer or winter, cold or hot, you have always been here."

The hero said, "There is something I would like to say. I am going to get married on the day the real drama is going to be played, so I thought that I should at least attend the rehearsals. I will not be here on that day -- that's why I have never absented myself."

Know well that exactly on the day when the real drama is to start, you will not be here. It is just the rehearsal: preparation and preparation.

Possessing things is simply preparing to live, arranging so that you will be able to live. But to live, no arrangement is needed; everything is already ready.

Everything is absolutely ready; only you are needed to participate. Nothing is lacking. This is what I call the religious attitude: this urgency that you have to live now and there is no other way to live. Now is the only way to live and to be, and here is the only ho me. There and then are deceptions, mirages.... Beware of them.

Now try to understand these very significant sutras of the gospel:


When you come across a man like Jesus or Buddha, something suddenly strikes. They have a magnetism, a presence which attracts you, which surrounds you, invokes you, invites you, becomes a deep call in the heart of hearts. You simply forget yourself; you forget your way of life. In the presence of a Jesus, you are almost absent. His presence is so much that for a moment you are dazzled, for a moment you don't know what you are saying, for a moment you utter things you never meant to utter -- as if you are hypnotized.

It IS a hypnosis. Not that Jesus is hypnotizing you -- his very presence becomes a concentration of your being. It becomes such a deep attraction that the whole world is forgotten. You must have been going so mew here to do something: you have forgotten it. You must have been coming from so mew here: you have forgotten about it. Suddenly, in his presence, the past and future disappear. Suddenly you are here and now and a different world opens: new dimension is revealed.


This man doesn't know himself what he is saying. It is an urge of the moment. After a moment he will repent for it, after a moment he will start looking backwards, after a moment he will start thinking about what he has done.

When you come to me, sometimes you say things which I know you don't mean, which I know you can't mean, because they are so irrelevant, they don't fit -- as if you are raised to a higher level of being, as if you are in a new state of consciousness and you utter strange things. Later on, when you fall back to your ordinary state, either you will forget what you have said or you will shrug your shoulders -- you will not be able to believe that you said this.

You come to me: you bring a thousand and one questions but when you are near me, suddenly you forget. You start mumbling. I ask you for what you have come and you say, "I have forgotten." You think that I am doing something to you. Nothing -- I am not doing anything to you. The questions and problems belong to a lower state of mind. When your state is changed, those questions and problems disappear, they are not there.

Back home, when you have settled down, they are there waiting for you again. Again you will come and you will forget.

Your question is something deep within you. When you are near me, you start looking at things through me. You are no longer in the dark, you are in my light, and the problems that were relevant in your darkness are no longer relevant. To ask them looks foolish, silly. You cannot articulate your problems because they are no longer there, but when we part -- you on your way, I on mine -- again the suddenness of darkness. And now the darkness is there even more than before, and the problems are multiplied.

This man: the gospel doesn't mention his name, knowingly. It simply says A CERTAIN MAN because it is not a question of a particular man. It is not a question of a particular man: A CERTAIN MAN. Every man is implied in it.

Many people will meet Jesus on the way and it is always on the way. That too has to be understood.

Jesus is always moving. That is the meaning: that he is always on the way. Not that he was continuously moving and never resting, but the meaning of ON THE WAY is that Jesus is a river. You may know it or you may not know it, but the river is flowing. The river is a flowing: to conceive of the river as non-flowing is not possible because then it will no longer be a river. A Jesus is a flow, a tremendous flood. It is always on the way, it is always moving.

You came to me yesterday, but I am no longer there. That land is already lost in the past, those banks are no longer anywhere. You may carry them in your memory, but the river has moved. And if you carry the past in your memory, you will not be able to see the river: where exactly it is now, at this point of time.

AND IT CAME TO PASS, THAT, AS THEY WENT IN THE WAY.... Jesus is a wanderer, because once your consciousness is freed, once your consciousness has entered the eternal, it is going to remain an eternal wandering. Then the whole is the home; then the home is nowhere.

Then you will be continuously flowing. There will never come a moment of knowledge; you will only be knowing and knowing and knowing. It will never be completed because once knowing is completed, it is dead. You will be learning, but you will never become a man of knowledge. You will always remain empty.

That's why a man like Jesus is so humble. Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." What does he mean by 'poor in spirit'? He means exactly what I am saying: people who don't attain to knowledge -- because knowledge is the riches of the spirit. You accumulate things outside, around the body; and you accumulate knowledge inside, around the soul.

A man may be poor as far as things are concerned and he may be rich as far as knowledge is concerned. Jesus says that just to be poor in body won't help; that is nothing much, that is not authentic poverty. The authentic poverty is when you don't accumulate things inside, when you don't come to the point where you declare, "I know!" You are always knowing, you remain a process -- always on the way.

Many times we will come across the expression: 'Jesus on the way'. He is a wanderer, but this wandering is an indication of the innermost flow. He is dynamic, he is not static. He is not like a stone; he is like a flower -- always flowering. A movement, not an event.

A CERTAIN MAN: that certain man can be you, can be anybody. He has no name. It is good that the gospel has not mentioned a name. It has been done knowingly because if you mention a name then people think that it must be about this certain man. No, it simply says that it is about the human mind -- any man will be quite representative.


When you come across, when you encounter, Jesus, suddenly you feel something of the divine. When you have lost contact with Jesus you may start thinking whether this man was a god or not, but in his presence he's so much, he's so powerful in his inner poverty, his humbleness has such a glory.... His poverty is a kingdom: he's enthroned. He's in the highest of consciousnesses. He suddenly surrounds you, envelops you, wraps you from everywhere like a cloud. You forget yourself in it.

LORD: that's the only expression that can be used for Jesus. LORD, I WILL FOLLOW THEE WHITHERSOEVER THOU GOEST. And in that moment of awakening, in that moment of exhilaration, in that moment of intensity, you utter something which you may not be aware of.

That certain man said: LORD, I WILL FOLLOW THEE. He doesn't know what he is saying. To follow Jesus is very arduous, because to follow Jesus means to become a Jesus. There is no other following. It is to risk your all and everything -- for nothing. It is to risk all for nothing; it is to risk your life for a death. The resurrection may come or it may not come -- who knows? You can never be certain about it and no guarantee can be given. It is just a hope: to sacrifice all that you have for just a hope.

The man is not in his senses -- what is he saying? He is intoxicated by Jesus, he has drunk too much of his presence. He is no longer in his right mind, in his common sense mind. Back home he will think, "What happened? Why did I say this? Is this man a sorcerer, is this man a hypnotist, a mesmerizer? This man must have played a trick upon me; I was almost tricked. What have I said?"

No, Jesus is not a sorcerer and he is not a magnetizer. He is not a mesmerizer, he is not a hypnotist, but his presence -- and you become poetic. In his Presence, something rises to a peak in you and you assert something from your innermost core of being. Even your surface, your peripheral self is surprised.

LORD -- this man may not have said 'Lord' to anybody else before. But suddenly, when a Jesus comes, you have to call him 'Lord'; when you encounter Buddha you have to call him 'Bhagwan'. It has to be so, because you cannot find any other expression. All other words seem to be insignificant -- only 'Lord', 'God'.

LORD, I WILL FOLLOW THEE -- and when you say to somebody 'Lord', it immediately follows that you have fallen in love.

I WILL FOLLOW THEE WHITHERSOEVER THOU GOEST. What a commitment! -- made in a moment of ecstasy. You may repent of it forever, but this happens.

Jesus knows it well:


Jesus is saying, "Poor man, think again. What are you saying? Don't commit yourself so deeply, don't get involved with me. Watch, wait, think, ponder -- and then come back to me."


Whom are you going to follow? Even foxes have holes -- if you follow a fox, at least you will have a hole in which to lay your head. Even birds of the air have nests, BUT THE SON OF MAN HATH NOT WHERE TO LAY HIS HEAD. The greatest the highest, the sublimest, are homeless.

This has to be understood, this is one of the very penetrating sayings. It has tremendous meaning. Watch:

Trees, animals, birds, all have deep roots in nature. Only man is without roots. Birds don't need families, they can survive without families -- nature itself protects. The trees are not in need of anybody: if nobody was there, then too trees would be there, and flowering. Nature itself protects; they have a home.

But think of a small child, a human child. If the family was not there to look after the child, can you conceive how he would survive? He would be dead. Without society, without the family, without the artificial home, he would not be able to survive. Upon this earth only man is homeless, only man is the outsider -- everybody else is an insider.

Hence, religion. Religion is nothing but the search for a home. This earth doesn't seem to be a home. If you think about it, you will feel yourself a stranger there. Sooner or later you will be thrown out -- this life is momentary. You don't feel that you are welcome: you have to force yourself upon it.

The trees are welcome; it seems as though the earth is happy through them. The earth goes on giving, sharing. The birds are singing -- as if the earth is singing through them. Look at the animals -- so alive and vital. Only man seems to be an intruder, as if he has come from somewhere else.

This earth may be a sojourn, but it is not a home. Maybe we are staying here for a time being: a CARAVANSERAI, but not a home. In the morning, we have to go.

Jesus' saying has many meanings, and I would like you to enter them all.

One: man is not rooted. Because he is not rooted he is always in search: where to find a home? God is nothing but the search to find a home where we can feel at ease and relaxed, where we can feel that there is no need to struggle. We are accepted, and not only accepted -- welcomed.

There is no need to fight your way. You can be whatsoever you are, and relax. You know that the love will continue flowing, life will continue flowing. There is no fear of punishment and no greed for any reward. You are at home: you are not a stranger in a foreign land.

This is the search of religion. That's why animals don't have religion. Birds don't have religion: they make nests, but they don't make temples. Otherwise a temple is not very difficult: they can make a big nest and gather together and sing together, and pray. But they don't pray; they don't need to.

Man is the only animal who makes temples, churches, mosques. Prayer is a very strange phenomenon. Just think if somebody comes from some other planet and watches humanity....

If you are making love to a woman, the watcher will be able to understand: something like it must happen on the other planet also. He may not be able to understand what you are saying, but he will know what you MUST be saying. He may not understand the language, but he will understand what lovers say to each other. When you kiss and embrace each other, he will understand the gesture.

When you are doing business he will understand; when you are reading a book he will understand; when you are doing some exercise he will understand. But when you are praying, if something like religion does not exist on his planet, he will not be able to understand at all. What are you doing? Just sitting alone? Looking at the sky? talking? To whom? What are you saying?

And if he comes on a certain day, like a religious day of Mohammedans, Christians or Hindus.... All over the earth. millions of Mohammedans praying -- not talking to each other, talking to the sky. He will simply feel that something has gone wrong: "Humanity has gone mad -- what is happening? What are these people gesturing about, why are they gesticulating? To whom are they talking, who are they calling 'Allah'? To whom are they bowing their heads?  -- nobody seems to be there."

God is not visible, God is somewhere in the mind of man. Prayer is a monologue; it is not a dialogue. A man from another planet would think that something had gone wrong in the nervous system of humanity. He would think that it must be a failure of the nerves: millions of people gesticulating to nobody, talking to the sky, looking at the sky and crying "Allah! Allah!" Something must be wrong: it seems that the whole of humanity has gone mad.

Prayer will not be understood because prayer is absolutely human. It is the only thing that only man does; all other things animals also do. Love: yes, they also make love. Search for food: they also do that. They do singing, they do dancing, they talk -- communication is there. They are sad, they are happy -- but prayer? That is non-existential.

Jesus says:


Man is a stranger. That's why we go on creating the fiction that we are at home, not a stranger. The home is a fiction: we create a togetherness with people; we create communities, nations, families, so that we are not alone and we can feel the other is there -- someone who is familiar, someone who is known: your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, your wife, your husband, your children  -- somebody who is known, familiar.

But have you ever thought about it? Is your wife really known to you? Is there really a way to know the wife or the husband or the child? A child is born to you. Do you know him -- who he is?

But you never ask such uncomfortable questions. You immediately give him a name so that you know who he is. Without the name he will create trouble: without the name the child will move in the house and whenever you will encounter him, the unknown will be looking at you.

To forget that some stranger has come, you label him; you call him some name. Then you start managing his character -- what he should do, what he should not do -- so that you know, and you can predict him. This is a way to create false familiarity. The child remains unknown: whatsoever you do will be on the surface; deep inside he is a stranger.

There are moments, some rare moments, in which you suddenly become aware of this. Sitting by the side of your beloved, suddenly you become aware that you are far apart. Suddenly you look at the face of your beloved and you cannot recognize who she is or who he is. But you forget.such moments immediately. You start talking: you say some thing, you start planning, you start thinking.

That's why people don't sit in silence -- because silence creates a restlessness. In silence, the fiction of familiarity is broken.

If a guest comes to your house and you don't say anything, you simply sit silently, he will be very angry, he will be in a rage. If you go on sitting, just looking at him, he will get mad. He will say, "What are you doing? Has something gone wrong with you? Say something! Have you become dumb? Why are you keeping silent? Speak!"

Speaking is a way of avoiding, avoiding the fact that we are unfamiliar. When somebody starts speaking, everything is good. That's why, with foreigners, you feel a little uneasy  -- because you cannot speak the same language.

If you have to stay in the same room with a foreigner and you cannot understand each other, it is going to be very difficult. Continuously he will remind you that "We are strangers." And when the feeling comes that somebody is a stranger, you immediately feel danger. Who knows what he will do? Who knows if he will not jump on you suddenly in the night and cut your throat? He's a stranger!

That's why foreigners are always suspected. There is nothing in fact to suspect -- everybody is a foreigner everywhere. Even in your own land you are a foreigner, but there the fiction is established: you speak the same language, you believe in the same religion, you go to the same church, you believe in the same party, you believe in the same flag -- familiarity. Then you think you know about each other. These are just tricks.

Jesus says, "The son of man is homeless."

Jesus uses two words again and again for himself: sometimes he uses 'son of God' and sometimes he uses 'son of man'. 'Son of God' he rarely uses; 'son of man', more often. It has been a problem for Christian theology. If he is the son of God, why does he go on saying 'son of man'?

Those who are against Christ say, "If he is a son of man, then why does he insist that he is the son of God also? You cannot be both. If you are the son of man -- everybody is the son of man. But if you are the son of God, then why use the other expression?"

But Jesus insists on both because he is both. And I tell you, everybody is both. From one side: son of man; from another side: son of God. You are born to man, but you are not born only to be man. You are born to man, but you are born to be a god.

Humanity is your form; divinity is your being. Humanity is your clothing; divinity is your soul. Jesus goes on using both expressions. Whenever he says 'son of man', he says that "I am joined with you. I am just as you are -- plus. I am just as you are, and more." To indicate that MORE, sometimes he says 'son of God'. But rarely does he use that -- rarely, because very few people will be able to understand it.

When he says 'son of man', he is not saying something only about himself. Just look at this sentence -- he is saying something about every man, that the essential man is homeless. If you think you are rooted, if you think you have a home, you are below humanity -- you may belong to animals. Foxes have holes, birds have nests... THE SON OF MAN HATH NOT WHERE TO LAY HIS HEAD.

If you think that you are rooted and you are at home in this world, you must be living below humanity, because anyone who is REALLY human immediately becomes aware that this cannot be life. It may be a passage, a journey, but this cannot be the goal. And once you feel homeless in this world, then the search starts.

That certain man said:LORD, I WILL FOLLOW THEE WHITHERSOEVER THOU GOEST.He may be thinking that Jesus is going to the east or the west or the south or the north. "I will follow him.'' But he does not know the direction where Jesus is going.

Jesus is going God-ward and that is not north, that is not east, that is not west, that is not south; that is neither up nor down -- it is none of these. To go God-ward is to go within. In fact, that is not a direction at all. It is to lose all directions: north, east, south, west, up, down -- to lose all directions. To go within-ward means to move in the dimensionless, directionless.

He doesn't know what he is saying: LORD, I WILL FOLLOW THEE WHITHERSOEVER THOU GOEST. In his WHITHERSOEVER, the God-wardness is not implied. He does not know what he is saying. Jesus is not going anywhere. He is going within himself -- which is not a point in space.

To go within is to go beyond space. That's why the soul can never be found in any experiment. An experiment can find anything which belongs to space. You can kill a man, cut and dissect him, and bones will be found, blood will be found, everything else will be found -- only the soul, only the essential man, will not be found. It does not exist in space. It touches space, but it doesn't exist in it. It is only touching it... and if you destroy the body, and cut the body, even the touch is lost. The fragrance flies into the unknown.

Jesus is moving within-ward. And he knows that this man is committing too much, and he will not be able to forgive himself for it.

When you commit too much, you will take revenge. This happens. I come across many people who -- in a moment, like lightning -- say to me, "We would like to surrender. Now, whatsoever you will say, we will do."

I know that if I accept them, they will take revenge because they will not be able to fulfill what they are saying. They don't know what they are saying and they don't know in what dimension I am moving They will not be able to keep pace with me, and then there are only two possibilities: either they will become angry against themselves, which is not the usual way of the mind, or they will become angry with me.

That's simply the normal course: whenever you are in trouble, somebody else is responsible. Whenever they feel that trouble has arisen.... And it is going to arise. From the very first step it is going to be arduous, it is going to be a razor's edge. Then they will take revenge, then they will be against me, because that will be their only way to protect themselves. That will be the only way: if they can prove that I am wrong so that they can take their commitment back.

Jesus knows: he says, "I am homeless. With me, you will never find rest; with me, you will always be on the way. I am a wanderer, a vagabond. With me, you will always be on the road. And my journey is such that it starts, but never ends.

"You don't know where I am going. I am going towards God. I am moving away from things and the world of things: I am moving towards consciousness. I am leaving the visible and moving towards the invisible."

You can't understand what the invisible is because, at the most, you can think about it negatively -- you can think it is that which is not visible. No, the invisible is also visible, but you need different eyes to see it.

It happened: Mulla Nasrudin had opened a small school and he invited me. I looked around the school: he had gathered many students. I asked him, "Nasrudin, what are you going to teach these students?"

He said, "Two things, basically: to fear God, and to wash the back of the neck."

I couldn't see the relationship: to fear God and to wash the back of the neck? I said, "It is okay as far as teaching them to fear God goes, but I cannot see the relevance of why to learn to wash the back of the neck!"

He said, "If they can do that, they can cope with the invisible!" -- the back of the neck is the invisible because you cannot see it. "If they can do that, they can cope with the invisible."

Your invisible can be just like the back of your neck: it is also part of the world. Your God is also part of the world; that's why your temples become part of the market and your scriptures become commodities. Your doctrines are just like things you purchase and sell.

The God of Jesus or Buddha is not your God. Your God is not Jesus' God. His God is a withinness, a beyondness; his God is a transformation of your being, a mutation, a birth of a new being with a new consciousness. Your God is something to be worshipped; Jesus' God is something to be lived. Your God is in your hands; Jesus' God is one to whom you leave yourself, in whose hands you surrender. Your God is right in your hands; you can do whatsoever you want with your God. Jesus' God is one to whom you surrender -- and surrender totally.

That man did not know what he was saying. Jesus prohibited him by saying this.


To the one who was ready to follow, he said, "Wait, please. You don't know what you are doing, you don't know what commitment you are making, what you are getting involved in."

The first man acted in a moment of inspiration, in a moment of enthusiasm, in a moment of intoxication. He's not reliable, he's being influenced -- and if you do something under influence, it's just as if you are drunk. You say something and the next day you have forgotten it.

AND HE SAID UNTO ANOTHER, FOLLOW ME. To one who has not said anything he says, "Follow me."


To the other man Jesus said, "Follow me" -- and the man had not asked. But the man was more ready, the man was more prepared, the man was more mature.

Just a few days before, a Dutch woman came to me. A very simple and good-hearted woman, in fact too good-hearted. Even good-heartedness can become a disease if it is too much. She comes to me again and again, and she writes notes and letters that she cannot tolerate poverty. When she goes to her hotel she meets beggars on the road and she cries and weeps, she feels guilty and she suffers much. She cannot meditate -- even in meditation, those beggars' faces come. She thinks that it is selfishness to meditate while there is so much poverty.

A very good-hearted woman, but not mature. Simple, good -- but childish.

I told her, "You do either of two things. Go and first remove the poverty from the world and then come -- if time is left and I am here. First remove the poverty and then come and meditate so you don't feel guilty. Or, if you think that is impossible, then drop the idea. Meditate, and out of your meditation, whatsoever help you can give to people, give."

Then she became worried about sannyas. She wanted to take it and yet was afraid -- her Christian upbringing. Then she came again and she said, "There is a problem. My father has been very good to me. He has taught me how to be. Now if I take sannyas I will be betraying my father: his teachings. But if I don't take sannyas it is a constant haunting around me that I should move into it so I can be transformed."

I said, "You decide either way."

That too she couldn't decide. Then one day she came and she was very worried so I told her, "One thing is certain now: that even if you ask for sannyas, I am not going to give it to you. So you be at rest now. I'm not going to give you sannyas."

Since then I have seen her -- she has not come to see me, but she is here. Now she seems to be worried -- I can watch her face -- that if she comes to me for sannyas, I will not give sannyas to her.

Good, but immature. Commitment can only be out of maturity. A certain ripeness is needed.

And Jesus SAID UNTO ANOTHER, FOLLOW ME -- but that man's father had died. He could not contain himself: that's why he may have come to see Jesus on the road. He was passing by the village, his father was Lying dead, and he said, LORD, SUFFER ME FIRST TO GO AND BURY MY FATHER.

This is a very symbolic situation: the father who has given birth to the body is dead, and another father is present who can give birth to the soul. The question is between the soul and the body, the question is between life and death. From a worldly father you don't attain to life. In fact, you are born to die, you are born to death.

The father is dead. The man said, "Suffer me, Lord, to go and bury my father -- a formality, but let me do it."

JESUS SAID UNTO HIM -- one of the most poignant, penetrating sayings of Jesus -- LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR DEAD: BUT GO THOU AND PREACH THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

It looks a little harsh, it does not show compassion. The father is Lying dead and the son is expected to bury him. It is a formality: a social mannerism and a duty. But Jesus said, LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR DEAD. Jesus said, "In the village there are many dead people. They will do that. You don't be worried about it. There is no need for you to go."

The symbolic meaning is that one who moves into religion need not bother about duties, morality, forma]ities, because morality is a lower religion, duty is a lower religion, formality is part of the personality. When you attain to religion, you can drop all morality because you will be fulfilling something deeper and higher. Now there is no need to carry mannerisms, no need to carry social etiquettes. "There are enough dead people in the town who will do it, and who will do it happily. You don't be worried about it. Let the dead bury the dead; you go and preach the kingdom of God."

What manner of man is this Jesus? Some man's father is lying dead and he wants to make him a preacher of the king dom of God? Is this the moment to go and become a preacher of God?

But it is symbolic. He's saying, "Don't be worried about death, be worried about God. And don't be worried about the father who gave birth to your body; think about the father, go and preach about the father, who has given your soul to you."

BUT GO THOU AND PREACH THE KINGDOM OF GOD. In a way. if you watch the death of anybody who has been very intimate to you -- a father, a mother, a wife, a husband, a friend who has been very intimate to you and is dead -- only in that moment is conversion towards God possible. If you miss that moment, you will again be in the mess of the world.

Death gives you a shock. Nothing can give you a shock like that -- death is the greatest shock. If that shock does not make you awake then you are incurable, impossible. Jesus used that moment. He is one of the greatest artists who has ever walked on the earth, the greatest alchemist.

The situation is death. The father is Lying dead in the home, the family must be crying and weeping -- this is no time to go and preach the kingdom of God. It looks absurd, looks harsh. Jesus looks too hard.

He is not. It is because of his compassion that he says this. He knows that if this moment of death is missed -- in burying the dead body -- then there will be no possibility to awaken. Maybe that's why he turned to this man and said, "Follow me." He must have seen death in his eyes, he must have felt death around him. Of course, it was bound to be so -- the father was dead.

But still the man could not contain himself. He had to come to see this man, Jesus. Maybe because of death Jesus became significant, maybe because of death he became aware that everybody is going to die. Maybe because of that he had come to Jesus in search of life.

The first man was just an onlooker; the second man was ready. Death prepares you. If you can use death, if you can use pain and anguish, if you can use suffering, misery, that can become a step towards the divine.

Shocked, this man must have been standing there almost as if he himself was dead. Thinking must have stopped. In such a shock you cannot afford thinking. If the shock is really total, even tears cannot flow. For tears to flow, the shock has to be not total. If the shock is total, one is simply shocked. Nothing moves: time stops, the world disappears, thoughts drop. One is dazed, one just looks with empty eyes -- hollow. One simply looks, not looking at anything. Have you seen that type of look sometimes in madmen's eyes, or sometimes immediately after somebody has died who was very intimate?

Jesus must have watched: this man was ready. Let me tell you, unless you have experienced death, you are not ready. Life is very superficial; it is just on the periphery, just on the surface. Death is deep -- it is as deep as God -- so only from death is the conversion possible. Only in the moment of death do you change. Your outlook changes, your attitudes change, the old world becomes irrelevant. Buddha was transformed by seeing a dead man....

Jesus must have looked -- AND HE SAID UNTO ANOTHER, FOLLOW ME. Only one who has known death can follow Jesus.

If you have known death, only then can you follow me. If you have known suffering and the cleansing that comes out of suffering, if you have known pain and the shock that is a by-product of pain, then and only then can you be with me. Otherwise sooner or later you disperse because life goes on calling you back; there are a thousand and one things to be fulfilled yet. You will continually be going backwards.

Only when death cuts the bridge, breaks all the ties with life, is there a possibility that you will turn -- turn your back to the world and face God. That's why, in one sentence, Jesus says two things which on the surface look irrelevant: LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR DEAD: BUT GO THOU AND PREACH THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

This man is not even a disciple -- he is a stranger standing by the side of the road -- and Jesus says, "Go and preach the kingdom of God." This is my observation also: that the best way to learn a thing is to teach it.

The best way to learn a thing is to teach it, I repeat it, because when you start teaching, you are learning. When you are simply learning you are too self-centered and that very selfcentering becomes a barrier.

When you start teaching you are not self-centered: you look at the other; you look at the need of the other. You watch and observe HIS problem. You are completely aloof, detached -- a witness. And whenever you can become a witness, God starts flowing from you.

There is only one way to learn great things and that is to teach them. That's why I go on saying to you that if you have shared my being in any way, go and spread, go and teach, go and help other people to meditate, and you will suddenly be surprised one day: the greatest meditation will happen to you when you are helping somebody to go into meditation.

While meditating, things will happen. While you yourself are meditating many things will happen, but the greatest will happen only when you are able to teach meditation to somebody else. In that moment you become completely detached -- and in that detachment, you are complete]y silent. You are so filled with compassion -- that's why you're helping the other -- that something immediately happens to you.

Jesus said:



And another said, "I would also like to be with you. I'm ready to follow you, but I would have to go back, at least just to say goodbye to my family, my friends, to those who are at home."


No man who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God -- why? Because no man who looks in the past can be capable of being in the present.

A Zen seeker came to Rinzai, the great Master. He wanted to meditate and he wanted to become enlightened, but Rinzai said, "Wait, a few other things first. First things first. From where are you coming?"

The man said, "I always break the bridges which I have passed over."

Rinzai said, "Okay, from wherever you are coming is not the point. But what is the price of rice these days there?"

The disciple laughed and he said, "Don't provoke me, otherwise I will slap you."

Rinzai bowed down to the seeker and said, "You are accepted" -- because if a man still remembers the price of rice from where he is coming, he is not worthy. Whatsoever you carry from the past is a burden, a barrier; it will not allow you to be open to the present.

Jesus said:


"If you want to follow me, follow me. There is no way of going back. There is no need: what is the point of saying goodbye? What is it going to serve? If you want to follow me," Jesus says again and again in the gospel, "then you will have to deny your father, your mother; you will have to deny your family."

Sometimes he looks almost cruel. One day he was standing in the village market and a crowd was surrounding him. Somebody said, "Lord, your mother is waiting outside the crowd."

Jesus said, "Who is my mother, who is my brother, who is my father? Those who follow me, those who are with me -- they are my brother, they are my father, they are my mother."

Looks really cruel -- but he was not. He's not saying anything to his mother: he's saying to those people that if you're clinging to much to the family, the inner revolution will not be possible, because the family is the first imprisonment. Then the religion you belong to is the second imprisonment... then the nation that you belong to is the third imprisonment. One has to break them all, one has to go beyond them all. Only then can one find the source: the source which is freedom, the source which is God.

NO MAN, HAVING PUT HIS HAND TO THE PLOUGH, AND LOOKING BACK, IS FIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD. One has to renounce all that is futile to gain that which is meaningful.

Once it happened that a group of friends were sitting and talking about what the most essential thing is that cannot be renounced.

Somebody said, "I cannot renounce my mother. She has given birth to me; I owe my life to her. I can renounce everything, but not my mother."

Somebody else said, "I cannot renounce my wife because mother and father were given to me -- they were never my choice -- but my wife I have chosen. I have a responsibility towards her, I cannot renounce her. But I can renounce everybody else."

They went on this way. Somebody said he could not renounce his house, somebody else said something else. Mulla Nasrudin said, "I can do without everything except my navel."

Everybody was puzzled -- just a navel? So they pressed him to explain it. He said, "Whenever there is a holiday and I am at ease, I have leisure time, I lie down on my bed and eat celery."

They said, "But how is that concerned with the navel? You can eat celery...."

He said, "You don't understand. Without the navel I have nowhere to put the salt." He puts the salt in his navel when he eats celery!

But all your attachments are just that absurd. Except for your innermost consciousness, everything can be renounced. Not that I say 'renounce it', but deep down one should live in renouncement -- one should be in the world, but one should remain in renouncement.

You can live in the family, not being part of it; you can live in the society and yet out of it. It is a question of inner attitude. It is not a question of changing places, it is a question of changing the mind.

The things that you are too attached to are not bad in themselves, remember. Father, mother, family, wife, children, money, house -- they are not bad in themselves. The attachment is not bad because these things are bad or these persons and these relationships are bad: ATTACHMENT IS BAD.

It can make you very stupid. Mulla Nasrudin suddenly became rich, he inherited a great treasure. And, of course, what happens with newly rich people happened with him also: he wanted to show it, exhibit it.

He called the greatest painter in the country to make a portrait of his wife. Nasrudin said that there was only one condition. "Remember it, don't forget it: the pearls must be in the painting." His wife was wearing many pearls and diamonds: they must be there. He's not worried about the woman -- what she looks like in the painting is not the question -- but the pearls and the diamonds should be there.

After a while when the painting was ready, the painter brought the painting. Mulla Nasrudin said, "Quite good, quite good. Only one thing: can't you make the breasts a little smaller and the pearls a little bigger?"

The mind of an exhibitionist, the mind of showing that you have something Precious, valuable, the mind of the ego. The question is not of living in a palace: live in a palace, that's not the point; or live in a hut or live just by the side of the road, that is not the point. The question is of the ego.

You can be an exhibitionist in a palace; you can be an exhibitionist on the road. If your mind is wanting somebody to know that you possess something, or you have renounced something, then you are in a deep darkness that has to be broken.

Jesus says that one should not be attached and one should not look backwards. Looking back is an old habit with the human mind; you go on looking back. Either you look back or you look in the future -- and this is how you miss the present.

The present is divine. The past is dead memory; the future is just hope, fiction. Reality is only in the present. That reality is God, that reality is the kingdom of God.

Jesus said:


Just this is to be understood; nothing else has to be done. Just listen to me: you know well that the past is past; it is no more, nothing can be done about it. Don't go on ruminating about it, wasting time and energy. That rumination about the past creates a screen around you, and you cannot see that which is already here.

You have been missing it, and it has become a habit. Whenever you are sitting, you are thinking about the past. Become aware! I'm not saying to try to stop it because if you try to stop it, you will still be engaged with it. I am saying: be disengaged with it!

So what will you do? -- because whatsoever you do will be an engagement with it.

You just have to be aware. When the past starts coming in the mind, just relax, quiet yourself, still yourself. Just remain alert, not even verbalization is needed. Just know that the past is gone: there is no use chewing over it again and again.

People use the past as a chewing gum; they go on chewing it. Nothing comes out of a gum -- it is not nutritious; it is just futile -- but just through the exercise of the mouth one feels good. Just the exercise of the mind, and one feels as if one is doing something worthwhile.

Just remain alert, and if you can be alert about the past you will become aware, by and by, that the future has disappeared automatically. The future is nothing but the projection of the past: the future is the desire to have that part of the past that was beautiful, again and again, in more beautiful ways; and not to have the part of the past which was painful -- to never have it again.

This is what future is. You are choosing a part of the past, glorifying it, decorating it, and imagining that in the future you will again and again have those moments of happiness -- of course more magnified, more inflated. And you will never have the pain that you had to pass through in the past. This is what future is.

Once the past disappears, it does not disappear a]one. It also takes the future with it. Suddenly you are here, now -- time stops. This moment which is not of time I call meditation... this moment which is not of time Jesus calls 'the kingdom of God'.

Just remember it more and more. Nothing is to be done, only remembrance -- a deep remembrance which follows you like breathing whatsoever you are doing, which remains somewhere in the heart. Just a deep remembrance that the past has to be dropped -- and future goes with it. Here/now is the door; from here/now you pass from the world into God, you pass from the without to the within.

Suddenly, in the marketplace, the temple descends: the heavens open and the spirit of God descends like a dove. It can happen anywhere. Every place is holy and sacred; only ripeness, your maturity, your awareness, is needed.

The word 'awareness' is the master key. We will come across many situations in the gospel where Jesus goes on saying: "Awake! Be alert! Be conscious! Remember! " Buddha goes on saying to his disciples: "Right mindfulness is needed"; Krishnamurti goes on saying: "Awareness"; Gurdjieff's whole teaching is based on one word: 'self-remembering'.

This is the whole of the gospel: self-remembering.


Next: Chapter 10, Moving towards Christhood, The first question


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