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On The Futility Of Contention



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Lao Tzu is a paradox. His whole teaching is paradoxical, and unless you understand the nature of paradox you will not be able to understand Lao Tzu.

What is the nature of paradox? The first thing is that it is not logical, it is illogical. On the surface you see that two opposites are being forced to meet together, two opposites are put together. Logic is consistency; illogic is paradox. There are only two ways to be here in this world: you can be here as a logical mind or you can be here as a paradoxical life. If you can understand the paradox the mind disappears because the mind cannot cope with it; paradox is a poison to mind, it kills it with absolute certainty.

That's why Lao Tzu uses paradox to kill the mind completely. Once the mind is not there you have achieved the whole; once the mind is not there enlightenment has already happened. So for Lao Tzu, to understand paradox is the whole process of meditation. That is his way, his device to meditate.

Logic has an appeal for the mind because it is mind-created, manufactured by the mind. With logic, the mind can remain and cling, safe and secure; every step into logical thinking strengthens the mind more and more. So people who think that they can prove God by logic are simply being foolish. God cannot be proved by logic, he can only be disproved by logic. You can try; superficially, your logic may have a certain appeal, but if you go deeper into it you will certainly find loopholes. Logic can only deny God because God is whole and paradoxical. How can you prove a paradox by logic? You have to look at the whole directly, putting your mind aside. If you can renounce the mind you have renounced all that is worthless. If you can observe life without the mind, suddenly it is a benediction: nothing was ever lacking and nothing was ever hidden, everything was an open secret -- only you were hidden behind your logic and your eyes were clouded by it.

In Greek mythology there is a very beautiful story. The story is about a man whose name was Procrastes. He must have been the greatest logician ever born. The Greek mind is logical, and this story shows the whole meaning of the Greek mind.

Procrastes was a very generous man, but logical, a very rich man, but logical. How can a man who is logical be very generous? His generosity will also be poisoned by his logic. He was rich, many guests used to visit him, but no guest ever returned from his palace. What happened to the guests?

Procrastes had a bed made of gold with precious stones studded all over it. There existed no other bed in the world more valuable. And that was the bed that was used for the guests. Whenever a guest lay down on the bed Procrastes would come and look. If the guest was a little shorter than the bed he had four very strong men stretch the guest from both ends so that he became consistent in size with the bed, not smaller. Of course the guest would die.... If the guest was longer than the bed, that too happened sometimes, then he would cut off the head or the feet of the guest. Because the bed was so valuable, the guest had to fit with the bed, the bed was not to fit with the guest.

That is the whole point in logic: life has to attune itself to logic, not logic to life. Logic exists in itself, life has to attune itself to it; logic doesn't exist for life, life exists for logic.

No guest ever came out of the house alive. No guest can ever come out of the house of logic alive -- that is the meaning of the story.

A logical pattern is mind-created and you want life to fit with it. If you feel life is a little shorter you stretch it; if you feel life is a little longer you cut it, but it has to fit with the logical pattern that your mind has dreamed of. If you move into life you will never find logic growing anywhere, it is just a nightmare in the human mind. Trees live very illogically, birds live very illogically, rivers flow very illogically -- they follow Lao Tzu. In fact the whole of existence exists without any logic. It may be a poetry but it is not a syllogism -- hence it is so beautiful. Logical syllogism is a dead phenomenon.

If you move into life you can see in it all the poems that have ever been written by any poet -- you can find Kalidas and Bruvudhi, you can find Shakespeare and Milton, you can find Shelley and Byron. If you move into life you can find all the poems that have ever been written alive somewhere, growing somewhere, flowering somewhere; but you cannot find a logical treatise, you cannot find Aristotle anywhere.

Life is paradoxical. One has to put the logical mind a little aside and then look at it. You will see opposites meeting there without any difficulty. Life and death meet -- in life they are not two, they are one, only logic has made them appear as two, and not only as two, but as opposites. Hence logic has created a fear in you, a fear of death. If you fear death how can you live? Death is involved in life, so if you fear death you will be afraid of life also. Then your whole existence becomes a disease, an illness, a nausea, a deep anxiety, nothing else.

If you love, hate is implied there. If you want to separate hate and love you can cut them but both will die -- that's the meaning of no guest coming out alive from the palace of Procrastes. If you want life -- alive, radiant, luminous -- don't cut it, don't dissect it, don't be a surgeon to it. Life is a romance, one has to be as poetically paradoxical as possible; and logic is meaningless, meaningless because the mind cannot create any meaning. The mind is not inventive, creative. You have to understand that. At the most the mind can discover something but the mind cannot create anything.

Mind is not the creator: it can help you to find something which is already there but it cannot create something which has never been there. And the mind has created logic -- logic is the most false thing in existence. You can never encounter it anywhere except in books. But it has become a dominant factor and it has no meaning because every argument can be used against itself.

I have heard an anecdote about a Jewish scholar. In the days of Adolf Hitler a Jewish scholar wrote a treatise, a dissertation, a thesis, for his D. Litt. degree. He worked hard for five, six, seven years, then he was examined for the degree.

The examiner asked him: Can you prove that you being a Jew can write a treatise on the Jewish tradition without any prejudice? How can you, being a Jew, write a treatise on the Jewish tradition with unprejudiced eyes, as a spectator, an observer, impartial? The scholar said: Yes, I can prove it -- if you can prove that you, being a non-Jew, can examine a treatise written on the Jewish tradition without any prejudice.

The same argument can be turned into its opposite very easily, a little logical acumen is needed but the logic is the same. It can be turned very easily against itself. Now what to do?

All logical arguments have been turned into their opposites. Whatsoever you try to prove about God can be turned against God. You say that existence cannot be there without a creator. Okay, says the atheist, then who created your God? Because if existence cannot be without a creator, then how can God be without a creator? Now the whole thing is lost. If you say God was created by another God, and another God by another, it becomes an infinite regress. It is meaningless. Finally you have to come to a point where you have to say: Yes, this God Z was not created by anybody. Then you accept defeat. If Z can be there without being created, then why not this existence, what is wrong with this existence?

All arguments can be turned against themselves. Arguments are just games. Logic is a beautiful game -- if you want to play it, play, but don't think that this is life. All the rules of logic are just like the rules of playing cards: if you want to play a game of cards you have to follow the rules, but you know well that they are man-created; they are nowhere to be found in life. Nobody has ordained them to be so, they are mind-created, and if you want to play the game then you must accept the rules. If you don't accept the rules you will be out of the game, because you cannot play it. Logic is a game that scholars play. They go on arguing for centuries for nothing, because logic has not come to a single conclusion yet. For thousands of years they have been fighting and arguing and people are waiting -- some day they will come out with their findings, they may discover truth some day.

They have not even found single insight about truth, not even a glimpse, and they never will, don't wait any more -- because logic has nothing to do with life.

Life is illogical and if you become too logical you become closed to life. Then you move in a mental direction, not in an existential direction. Lao Tzu is not logical, he is a very, very simple man, not a scholar at all. He is not a brahmin, not a pundit. He does not know anything about arguments: he simply watches life, he is a great watcher of life, a witness, a spectator. He moves around, living with the trees and the rivers and the clouds, watching life and just trying to understand what life is without any pattern of his own to enforce upon it. He has no system to enforce, he has nothing to enforce on life, he simply allows it. He opens his eyes, pure virgin eyes, without any contamination from logic, and simply looks at what is the case. And then he comes to find that life is a paradox.

If you don't understand the paradox you will go on missing life. What his observation is, what he comes to find is that if you are too ambitious you will fail because ambition always fails, and fails totally. The more ambitious the man, the greater will be his failure. If you want to succeed you will finally be frustrated, nothing else. This seems to be illogical because if a man wants to succeed, he should succeed. That is logic. If a man wants success but fails, we can understand that if he was not doing things rightly that may have caused his failure, but Lao Tzu says that the idea of success itself is the cause of failure. If ten persons are making an effort to succeed in life we can understand logically that a few will fail because they will not be able to cope, to fight, their intelligence may not be enough for the desire, their energy may not be enough and there is competition from others who have more intelligence and more energy and more gusto -- they will succeed. So we say that a few will succeed who fulfil all the conditions to succeed and others will fail because they couldn't fulfil the conditions. This is logical. But Lao Tzu says that all will fail, all will certainly fail, because the very idea of succeeding is the seed of failure.

This is illogical. You will say: Then what logic is there? This is paradoxical. He says: If you have too much you will be poor, if you resist you will be broken, if you don't yield you will not survive. It would have been good if Darwin had met Lao Tzu. Darwin says: Survival of the fittest. This is logic, simple, clean logic, mathematics -- everybody can understand, you can make it understood by even a primary-school boy. It is simple -- life is a struggle and the fittest survive. If Charles Darwin met Lao Tzu somewhere, he missed, because Lao Tzu would have laughed loudly. He says that the humblest survive, not the fittest; in fact, the unfittest survive, not the fittest -- they are doomed to fail.

This is his whole base: whatsoever your logic says is not going to happen. Life does not listen to your logic, it goes on its own way, undisturbed. You have to listen to life, life will not listen to your logic, it does not bother about your logic. Lao Tzu is one of the keenest, and he is keen because he is very innocent -- with childlike eyes he has observed life. He has not put any of his own ideas into it, he has simply observed whatsoever is the case, and reported it.

When you move into life, what do you see? A great storm comes, and big trees fall. They should survive, according to Charles Darwin, because they are the fittest, strongest, most powerful. Look at an ancient tree, three hundred feet high, three thousand years old. The very presence of the tree creates strength, gives a feeling of strength and power. Millions of roots have spread inside the earth, gone deep, and the tree is standing with power. Of course the tree fights -- it doesn't want to yield, to surrender -- but after the storm it has fallen, it is dead, it is no longer alive and all that strength has gone. The storm was too much -- the storm is always too much, because the storm comes from the whole and a tree is just an individual.

Then there are small plants and ordinary grass -- when the storm comes, the grass yields, and the storm cannot do any harm to it. At the most it can give it a good cleansing, that's all; all the dirt that has gathered on it is washed away. The storm gives it a good bath, and when the storm has gone the small plants and the grass are again dancing high. The grass has almost no roots, it can be pulled out by a small child, but the storm was defeated. What happened?

The grass followed Lao Tzu and the big tree followed Charles Darwin. The big tree was very logical, it tried to resist, it tried to show its strength. If you try to show your strength you will be defeated. All Hitlers, all Napoleons, all Alexanders are big trees, strong trees. They will all be defeated. Lao Tzus are just like small plants, nobody can defeat them because they are always ready to yield. How can you defeat a person who yields, who says: 'I am already defeated,' who says: 'Sir, you enjoy your victory, there is no need to create any trouble. I'm defeated'? Even an Alexander will feel that he is futile before a Lao Tzu, he cannot do anything. It happened, it happened exactly like that....

A SANNYASIN by the name of Dandani existed in the days of Alexander, in the days when Alexander was in India. His friends had told Alexander when he was coming towards India that when he came back he should bring a SANNYASIN, because that rare flower flowered only in India. They said: Bring a SANNYASIN. You will bring many things but don't forget to bring a SANNYASIN; we would like to see the phenomenon of SANNYAS, what it is, what exactly a SANNYASIN is.

He was so engaged in war and struggle and fight that he almost forgot about it, but when he was going back, just on the boundary of India, he suddenly remembered. He was leaving the last village so he asked his soldiers to go into the village and inquire if there was a SANNYASIN around there somewhere. By accident Dandani was there in the village, by the riverside, and the people said: You have asked at the right time and you have come at the right time. There are many SANNYASINS but a real SANNYASIN is always rare, but he is here now. You can have DARSHAN, you can go and visit him. Alexander laughed. He said: I'm not here to have DARSHAN, my soldiers will go and fetch him. I will take him back to my capital, to my country. The villagers said: It won't be so easy.

Alexander could not believe it -- what difficulty could there be? He had conquered emperors, great kings, so with a beggar, a SANNYASIN, what difficulty could there be? His soldiers went to see this Dandani who was standing naked on the bank of the river. They said: Great Alexander invites you to accompany him to his country. All comforts will be provided, whatsoever you need will be provided. You will be a royal guest. The naked fakir laughed and said: You go and tell your master that a man who calls himself great cannot be great. And nobody can take me anywhere -- a SANNYASIN moves like a cloud, in total freedom. I am not enslaved to anybody. They said: You must have heard about Alexander, he is a dangerous man. If you say no to him, he won t listen, he will simply cut your head off. The SANNYASIN said: You had better bring your master here, maybe he can understand what I am saying.

Alexander had to go, because the soldiers who had come back. said: He is a rare man, luminous, there is something of the unknown around him. He is naked, but you don't feel in his presence that he is naked -- later on you remember. He is so powerful that in his presence you simply forget the whole world. He is magnetic, and a great silence surrounds him and the whole area feels as if it is delighting in the man. He is worth seeing, but there seems to be trouble ahead for him, the poor man, because he says that nobody can take him anywhere, that he is nobody's slave.

Alexander came to see him with a naked sword in his hand. The SANNYASIN laughed and said: Put down your sword, it is useless here. Put it back in the sheath, it is useless here because you can cut only my body, and that I left long ago. Your sword cannot cut me, so put it back, don't be childish. And it is said that that was the first time that Alexander followed somebody else's order; just because of the very presence of the man he couldn't remember who he was. He put his sword back in the sheath and said: I have never come across such a beautiful man. And when he was back home he said: It is difficult to kill a man who is ready to die, it is meaningless to kill him. You can kill a person who fights, then there is some meaning in killing, but you can't kill a man who is ready and who is saying: This is my head, you can cut it off. And Dandani actually said: This is my head, you can cut it off. When the head falls, you will see it falling on the sand and I will also see it falling on the sand, because I am not my body. I am a witness.

Alexander had to report to his friends: There were SANNYASINS that I could have brought but they were not SANNYASINS. Then I came across a man who was really something rare, and you have heard rightly, this flower is rare, but nobody can force him, because he is not afraid of death. When a person is not afraid of death how can you force him to do anything?

It is your fear that makes you a slave -- it is your fear. When you are fearless you are no longer a slave; in fact, it is your fear that forces you to make others slaves before they can try to make a slave out of you.

A man who is fearless is neither afraid of anybody nor makes anybody afraid of him. Fear totally disappears.

Lao Tzu watched life in all its dimensions and he saw that in life there is no struggle. The very idea of struggle is false and human. It is the human mind that says that there is struggle in life, it is the human mind that sees that there is violence in life; it is not there, it is a misunderstanding.

A lion jumps on his prey and eats it but there is no violence, because the very idea of violence doesn't exist. The prey yields and the lion eats. This is a natural co-operation -- the prey becomes the lion, that's all. When the lion is not hungry he never attacks anybody; even a mouse can come near him and have a good talk, or can do a little gossiping. The lion is not violent; he is simply eating his food. And in nature everything is food for something else; you cannot find anything in nature which is not food for something else.

Everything is in a chain: the tree is eating the earth and the earth is being transformed into fruit. Then you eat the fruit, and the fruit becomes your flesh, then you die and the earth eats you back. Then a tree arises, it eats the earth, and a fruit arises. Another man -- your son or your son's son, your grandson -- will eat the fruit, just as you were eating your grandfather. This goes on, it is a simple circle. Here nobody is the eater and nobody is eaten: everybody eats in his own turn and everybody becomes food in his own turn. Because of this constant circle, George Gurdjieff became aware that man must be food for something. If everything is food then man must also be a food for something, otherwise for what does man exist? He created a myth -- it is a myth, but the idea is beautiful -- he created the myth that man is food for the moon, that when you die the moon eats you.

This is just a joke, but the idea is beautiful, meaningful, because when everything is food for something else man will also have to be food for something else. But there is no need to go to the moon, I don't go that far. T see the whole circle here. The earth eats you, and the circle goes on, the wheel moves on. It is a simple process, there is no violence, nothing of it.

Already inside you, millions of small lives exist in your body. They are eating you. Millions of lives -- but not even aware about you, you are just food for them. As you are eating others, you are being eaten. It is a simple natural process. In fact we should not talk about violence in nature, it doesn't exist. Only man is violent.

Violence comes when you start killing without any idea of eating. You go into the jungle, into the forest, and you kill animals, and you call it `game'. No animal can be persuaded to kill anybody for a game, only man. Foolishness has reached to its extreme. You kill a lion because you want his head to decorate your walls; you are doing something absolutely foolish. No lion is interested in your head; even if you give it to him, he will not take it home. If he took it, other lions would laugh loudly -- this lion has gone mad! What is the point of carrying a skull of a man and using it for decoration? But man is foolish. Man kills just for the enjoyment of killing. Nowhere else does violence exist. I call it violence when you kill something just for the sheer enjoyment of killing. Then it is violence. Otherwise there is no violence.

In nature something is simply there -- a fox. Now the fox is no more, now the fox has been eaten by the lion, the fox has become a part of the lion. It is a transformation really, the fox has reached a higher stage in the lion, nothing else. There is no problem. The tree is eating the earth and it has become flowers, red flowers. It is a transformation. It is beautiful. Nothing is wrong in it.

Lao Tzu moved into life, watched silently, observed, and saw things, many things; but the base of them all is that everything is moving to its opposite. The river is going to the ocean where it will disappear, go to its death -- but it is not a death, in fact the river will become the ocean. So there can be two standpoints. You can think that the river is dead because it has fallen into the ocean, been absorbed, eaten by the ocean. That is one standpoint. Then there is another standpoint, deeper, that the river has become the ocean again. It was the ocean in the beginning, and again and again it will move and become the ocean. It is a circle. It will rise with the sun rays into the sky, it will become clouds, the clouds will move, they will become the monsoon, and again they will shower on the Himalayas, again on the Gangotri, again on the Ganges, and then the Ganges flows and falls into the ocean.

Millions and millions of times it has happened before, millions and millions of times it will go on happening again and again in the future. Life is a recurrence, an eternal recurrence and everything moves into its opposite. The whole day you work and in the night you rest: the energy that was active becomes inactive, activity moves into inactivity. The whole of life you lived and then you die: now the total energy which was alive has become death, has moved into the ocean. Again you will come, again and again, that is the meaning of the Hindu concept of rebirth. Islam, Christianity and the Jewish religion are a little poorer because they don't have the concept of rebirth. Their vision seems to be smaller than the Eastern vision which envisions the whole of it -- an eternal recurrence. It is beautiful -- then you are not afraid of death because you will come again, you will come again. Then you are not afraid of life and then you don't bother about logic; you simply see the paradox and you live it in its opposite dimensions.

Now to the sutra.


You have been taught just the opposite -- never yield, fight hard, resist as much as you can, because it is a question of survival. If you don't fight you won't survive, you will be eaten by those who are stronger, you will be destroyed by those who are stronger. Violence has been taught. But Lao Tzu says: TO YIELD IS TO BE PRESERVED WHOLE. Don't bother to fight, because the whole is not the enemy, it is your mother, it is the source from where you come. Why fight unnecessarily? With whom are you fighting? Jesus must have had a few glimpses of 'Lao-Tzuan' understanding, he could not have had those glimpses from anywhere else. In the Jewish tradition there are no roots, because the Jews say: An eye for an eye is the law. If somebody has taken your eye, you take his eye. An eye for an eye is the law -- the concept is of fight, struggle. But Jesus says: To one who hits you on the one side of your face give him the other face also. This is what to yield means. Jesus says: If somebody forces you to walk with him for one mile, go two miles. This is what yielding means. Jesus says: If somebody robs you of your coat, present him with your shirt also. This is what yielding means. He must have come across some 'Lao-Tzuan' understanding because from the Jewish tradition he could not have got these concepts. Christ is a stranger to the Jews, that's why he was crucified. He was not an insider, to their minds he was simply incomprehensible. He was incomprehensible to their minds and their logic -- and Jews are very logical, one of the most logical, mathematical, calculative people. They couldn't understand this man; this man was teaching madness.

If somebody robs you of your coat, put up a good fight, don't allow him to rob so easily. And this man is saying: Let him take the coat and present him with your shirt also! Absurd! That's why Jesus could not be accepted. Even Christians have not accepted him. They worship him, but they have not accepted him -- otherwise why so many Christian wars? Christians have killed so many millions of people -- they call it a crusade, a religious war. How can there be a religious war? All wars are irreligious; a war cannot be religious, violence cannot be religious. Christians have done so much murdering, they are the most expert murderers in the world. And they say they follow Jesus. No, they do not. It is impossible to follow Jesus unless you drop the logical mind.

Christians still remain Jews; in fact they have taken their Jewishness to the farthest extreme. Jesus still remains an unaccepted stranger in the world. Jesus says somewhere that fowls have their nests, animals have their caves, but the Son of Man has no place to hide his head. No home exists yet for Jesus. Even Christian churches won't allow him in if he comes again; they will simply close their doors, because this man brings absurdity, illogic, with him.

Lao Tzu says: TO YIELD IS TO BE PRESERVED WHOLE. If Lao Tzu and Jesus had had any meeting they would have completely understood each other.

TO BE BENT IS TO BECOME STRAIGHT. Don't try to be straight, always remember the capacity to bend. Don't be a fighter -- that is the whole point. Accept life, yield to it, and it cannot destroy you and nobody can defeat you. If you try to be victorious you can be defeated. If you try to be straight you will be forced to bend.

TO BE HOLLOW IS TO BE FILLED. Become empty and all that this existence can give will shower on your emptiness.

TO BE TATTERED IS TO BE RENEWED. If you want to be the king, become the beggar -- that is the paradox. We see Buddha descending from his throne and becoming a beggar, Mahavir coming down from his palace and becoming a beggar -- they may have understood Lao Tzu. And no king can now be compared with Buddha. He became the real king.

It happened that when Buddha came back to his town his father was very angry. Fathers are always angry. If the son becomes a thief they are angry, if the son becomes a SANNYASIN they are angry. If the son becomes a saint they are angry, if the son becomes a sinner they are angry. It is almost impossible to satisfy a father. His desires, his ambitions, are so great that no son can satisfy them, even a Buddha couldn't satisfy them.

When he came back the father was angry and he said to him: I am your father, I still feel for you, although you have betrayed me, and I cannot see you begging in this town. This is my capital, you are a king here. You have lived here as a prince -- don't go begging. In our family, in the whole record of our past history, we have always been kings, we have never been beggars. Buddha said: I don't know about your heritage but about me I can tell you one thing -- I have always been a beggar, in my past lives also, I have learned the art. And you are poorer than me: only on the surface am I a beggar, look inside me and you will find an emperor. You are the king only on the outside, if I look deep into you, you are just a beggar. Even before your son you are a beggar, but you are still saying: Come back home. Don't leave me in my old age.

There is a subtle paradox that when you leave everything suddenly you become master of everything. Suddenly. A man possesses only that thing which he has renounced. It is illogical, no mathematics can be applied to it: you possess only that which you have renounced. Things to which you cling you don't possess, because why should you cling if you really possess? A miser does not possess, cannot possess, because he clings. His property is bigger than himself, how can he possess it? His property is more important, more significant than his own life, he would rather be dead than renounce it -- how can he possess it? The property possesses him. He is possessed by his own possessions; he is not a master in his own home, he is a beggar. He cannot deceive those who can see, he can deceive only blind men, those who cannot see, those who cannot understand. But how can you deceive a Lao Tzu?

A Lao Tzu knows deeply, to the very innermost core of your being. Such people have X-ray eyes. Innocent eyes, virgin eyes become X-ray eyes. No X-ray penetrates your being, it penetrates only your body, but a Buddha, a Lao Tzu, a Jesus, they penetrate to the very core of your being, they can see who you are inside. If you cling to your property, the property possesses you; if you can share, for the first time you become the owner; if you can renounce, only in that renouncing are you above your property, above your possessions. Things are left behind.

TO BE TATTERED IS TO BE RENEWED. TO BE IN WANT IS TO POSSESS. Very difficult to understand. TO BE IN WANT IS TO POSSESS...? It seems very contradictory, even more contradictory than: TO YIELD IS TO BE PRESERVED WHOLE, more contradictory than: TO BE BENT IS TO BECOME STRAIGHT, more contradictory than: TO BE HOLLOW IS TO BE FILLED.

TO BE IN WANT IS TO POSSESS. What does Lao Tzu mean by it? I have come across people who have become very rich, they have everything that this world can give -- varieties of food, varieties of things to enjoy. But their hunger is lost, they are not hungry. During their whole life they have been so tense that their stomachs are nothing but ulcers and the appetite is not there. The food is there, they have the richest food, but they cannot eat it because the appetite is not there.

And then there is a beggar who has nothing to eat, just a begging bowl. He has the appetite. He feels hunger, hunger in its total intensity -- it is a beautiful phenomenon. And then he goes begging, nothing to show and nothing to say, and he gets just a few fragments, a few pieces of bread. Then see him eating! With what appetite he eats! Just see him eating and you will see the king there, not in the palace. How he enjoys it! Just bread, salt, on some rare occasions, butter, but how he enjoys it! From where does his enjoyment come? From his appetite, hunger. Really, food does not satisfy you, because if there is no hunger there can be no satiety. Only if there is hunger can there be satiety. Then ordinary food, very ordinary food, satisfies you infinitely. And this is so in all dimensions of life -- TO BE IN WANT IS TO POSSESS.

You may have the most beautiful woman in the world as your wife, but if there is no love you can have her as a wife but you don't possess her. You can look as if you possess her -- you can use her, you can take her around the town, around the clubs, everywhere -- in that sense, she is your possession. She is a showpiece of your wealth, of your success, of your riches -- but you don't possess her. Only love possesses -- and now the paradox. When you don't possess a woman you try to be possessive, but when you possess a woman you forget about possessions, there is no point in being possessive. You possess so much that there is no question of possessing her, that's why love is not possessive. Not that love is not possessive, love possesses so totally that the question doesn't arise. The love believes so totally, the love knows the woman so totally, that there is no question of possession. The woman is absolutely free, because love can give freedom. Through freedom love possesses.

When you don't possess a woman you are possessive, you are always afraid, always trembling, she can leave you any day. Any day -- because she has never been with you, you have never been companions. You may have been near each other, but you have never been close. Closeness is not a physical phenomenon, nearness is. Closeness is a very different thing: you can be near to someone and not close and you can be far away from someone and very close. Closeness is between two beings, nearness is between two bodies, closeness is existential, nearness is spatial. When you are afraid you become possessive and a man who tries to possess his woman knows well, or should know well, that he does not possess her. A woman who tries to possess her man does not possess him, hence the effort to possess.

Love gives total freedom because love knows absolutely and certainly that the other is not other, it is one's own extension, it is one self throbbing in the heart of the other. No suspicion can exist. Love is a hunger. When there is hunger, there is satiety. If you don't love a woman you cannot be satisfied. People come to me and they say they are not sexually satisfied, should they change their woman? I tell them: You can go on changing but nothing will happen. Just by changing the food the appetite cannot be created; you have to get an appetite, you have to get your stomach alive again, throbbing and hungry. Food is needed for the stomach -- that is body hunger; love is needed for the heart -- that is your being's hunger.

Lao Tzu says:



People who have plenty -- and by plenty he means who have more than they need -- don't know what to do with it. And people are so sleepy, so in a slumber, that they cannot remain at rest either; they don't know what to do but they have to do something, they have a feeling, an urge to do something, so they go on doing something or other and get into trouble unnecessarily.

Rich people always get into trouble because they have the means to do something. And the means are more than their needs. Needs are very simple: one needs food, one needs somebody to love and to be loved by, one needs a shelter -- small things but they can fulfil infinitely. Needs are simple and few, desires are infinite. Needs can be fulfilled very easily and then you can become so satisfied and so content that your whole being becomes a prayer of gratitude. But desires are there in millions, and they cannot be fulfilled.

If you have all the means, more even than necessary to fulfil your needs, and you are not looking after your needs but you are running after your desires, then you will go wrong. Whenever you have means to go wrong you will go wrong.

It happens every day. Lord Acton's famous saying is: Power corrupts and corrupts absolutely. I don't agree with him. Power cannot corrupt. Power corrupts because corrupted people desire power. They may not have the means right now to do wrong things, but when they gain power they will have means. Then they try to fulfil their wrong desires, their corrupted desires. No, power does not corrupt; on the contrary, beings who are corrupted but have not yet had opportunities are always ambitious about power. Before they attain power they will be saints, but once they attain the power they drop all pretensions, because that saintliness was only to deceive. Their real desire was to gain power. Then they drop all the masks, then they come to their authentic reality and then you say that the power has corrupted them. No, power never corrupts.

How can power corrupt a man? How can riches corrupt a man? You are already corrupted but you don't have the means to fulfil it.

You have always wanted to go to a prostitute, but as a poor man, how can you go? You don't have that much money and even if you have the money you will be caught because you will have to cut the budget and your wife is bound to find out.

Mulla Nasrudin one day came to his boss and said: Please, you will have to raise my salary. The boss said: Nasrudin, have you gone mad? Just two days ago we doubled your salary -- now again? Not even a week has passed. Nasrudin said: That's right, but my wife came to know about that double salary so it is useless. You will have to raise it a little more, just for my pocket money.

A poor man cannot go to a prostitute, he will be caught; a poor man cannot hide his sins, he will be caught. A rich man can hide his sins -- he need not go to a prostitute, he has call-girls. He need not bother about being caught because who can catch him? Those people who can catch him can all be purchased: the policeman can be purchased, the judge can be purchased, the journalist can be purchased, there is no problem about it. No, every man has mad desires, but not the opportunities. Once you get the opportunity -- riches, power -- then your reality starts bubbling up, your reality surfaces. In fact, instead of Lord Acton's famous saying, I would like to say: Power reveals and reveals absolutely.

It does not corrupt, it simply reveals. You never know a man unless he is in power. If you want to know Jayaprakash, force him to become prime minister; otherwise you will never know -- you never knew Indira. You never know anybody unless you force the man to be in power, and without exception they all prove corrupt. Why does it happen? Because to me, on the first hand, from the very beginning, only a man who is basically corrupt is ambitious for power, otherwise he is not ambitious. He seeks power. His basic desire to be powerful shows something about him. A man who is fulfilled, who is content, does not bother about all the nonsense that is politics, he does not bother about all that rubbish. He simply lives a contented life and his needs are simple.

If you want to be contented and fulfilled, listen to Lao Tzu -- TO HAVE PLENTY IS TO BE CONFUSED. Whenever you have plenty you will create much confusion for yourself; because of the plenty you will go on wrong paths. A rich man doesn't know what to do with his riches -- he has to do something but he does not know what to do. He has to do something rather than do nothing, so he gets entangled and then he moves in wrong directions and goes on moving. Only in the end does he find that he has been living a life which was basically dishonest. The dishonesty arises if you don't listen to your needs: if you listen to your needs they are simple, nothing much is needed, everybody can become fulfilled. If birds and animals can live in such silence and fulfillment, if even trees can manage without feet, without moving anywhere, why can't you manage? Desires are creating the whole confusion. First you go on cutting your needs to fulfil your desires then once your desires have given you power and riches and opportunities, you don't know what to do, because your needs are almost dead by that time.

Hunger is dead, appetite has gone, and you have forgotten completely what love is, the very language is forgotten. Then suddenly you are surrounded with much power but with no real need -- what to do with this power? Then something or other, some insanity or other will catch hold of you.



How does the sage embrace the One which comprehends both the opposite polarities? He does not choose. Logic is a choice, logic says, 'This is wrong and that is right,' and you choose the right.

Says Lao Tzu: THEREFORE THE SAGE EMBRACES THE ONE, without any choice, without any logical distinctions. He chooses the One, the whole, the whole which comprehends all opposites. He chooses life with death, not life against death; he chooses love with hate, not love against hate -- he chooses the whole and becomes the model of the world. Not that he tries to become the model of the world; this is a consequence, it happens by itself.



The more you try to get people to know you, the less luminous you become. A man who is always on exhibition becomes dirty. When you go to a shop to purchase a thing you tell the shopkeeper to bring it from the fresh stock, you don't want it from the show-window; it has become dirty, faded, because the whole day it is on exhibition.

The same thing happens to your being: if you are continuously on exhibition, a show-window piece, you will become faded, dark, you will lose all luminousness. A man who doesn't bother to reveal, a man who is not an exhibitionist, a man who is not at all worried about whether people know him or not, about whether anybody hears about him or not, a man who simply reveals his own being to himself, who is not in search of the opinions of others, or what they think about him, does not reveal himself and is therefore luminous. Then all that he contains in himself, the tremendous possibility, gives a luminosity to his being.

A person who is not trying to reveal himself.... That is the poverty of the soul -- to try to reveal means that the man is poor, means that the man does not know his own inner riches, means that the man depends on the opinion of others, he has no authentic being. He is just seeking peoples' opinions, collecting them; he has not come to know himself directly, he wants to know himself through others. This is what politics is: to feel one's power through others. Religion is to feel one's power immediately, to close one's eyes and feel what a powerful being is there. There is no need to ask anybody who you are, you have to ask yourself, you have to meditate on your own being. .... such a man, not spreading his rays everywhere, not dissipating his energy everywhere, becomes a great container, a reservoir of energy. He becomes luminous, and when you come near him he is a light. If you come very, very close, not only near but close also, you can be lighted through him. Your unlit flame can suddenly become lighted -- if you come close.





HE DOES NOT JUSTIFY HIMSELF, he never says: I am right. He knows that he is right, so what is the point of justifying it? People who feel that they are wrong always try to justify why they are right. You can always find the guilty person by his justification because he is always afraid people may find out, so it is better to justify, to be ready beforehand.

There is an old Sufi saying that if there has been a robbery and somebody has stolen something and people start crying for the thief, if the thief is there also, he cries the loudest: Where is the thief? Who has stolen this? This is bad, immoral! Catch hold of him, run and find him! He cries the loudest, that is his protection, because how could you think that a man who has been stealing, or who has just stolen something right now, could be so against the thief? But always remember that whenever a man is crying very loudly, catch him immediately, he is the thief. Whenever a man justifies, shows his guilt, he knows that he needs justification.

HE DOES NOT JUSTIFY HIMSELF, AND IS THEREFORE FAR-FAMED. You cannot destroy his fame; you cannot destroy his goodness; you cannot destroy the good that he produces in others unknowingly; you cannot destroy because you cannot contradict him. He has never argued, how can you contradict him? It is impossible to say that this man is wrong because hc never asserted that he was right in the first place.










Try to understand this law of the paradox, follow this law of paradox, because paradox is the logic of life. Don't listen to the logic of the mind; it is giving you a false direction, an imaginary direction. It is creating a dream world.

Yes, it is indeed true, as the ancients say, `TO YIELD IS TO BE PRESERVED WHOLE'.


Next: Chapter 4, Buddhas And Fools, First Question


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