ONCE THERE WAS A MAN OF CH’I WHO WANTED GOLD. AT DAWN HE PUT ON HIS COAT AND CAP AND SET OUT FOR THE MARKET. HE WENT TO THE STALL OF A DEALER IN GOLD, SNATCHED HIS GOLD, AND MADE OFF
THE POLICE CAUGHT HIM AND QUESTIONED HIM. “WHY DID YOU SNATCH SOMEBODY ELSE’S GOLD, AND IN FRONT OF SO MANY PEOPLE?”
THE MAN REPLIED: “AT THE TIME WHEN I TOOK IT I DID NOT SEE THE PEOPLE — I ONLY SAW THE GOLD.”
LET ME tell you first one small anecdote:
“My doctor insisted that I came to see you.” the patient told the psychiatrist. “Goodness knows why — I am happily married, secure in my job, lots of friends, no worries…”
“Hmmm.” said the psychiatrist, reaching for his notebook, “and how long have you been like this?”
HAPPINESS IS UNBELIEVABLE. It seems that man cannot be happy. If you talk about your depression, sadness, misery, everybody believes it. It seems natural. If you talk about your happiness nobody believes you — it seems unnatural.
Sigmund Freud, after forty years of research into the human mind, working with thousands of people, observing thousands of disturbed minds, came to the conclusion that happiness is a fiction: man cannot be happy. At the most, we can make things a little more comfortable, that’s all. At the most we can make unhappiness a little less, that’s all. But happy man cannot be.
Looks very pessimistic — but looking at the modern man it seems to be exactly the case, it seems to be a fact.
Buddha says that man can be happy, tremendously happy. Krishna sings songs of that ultimate bliss — satchitanand. Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God. But how can you believe so few people, who can be counted on the fingers, against the whole mass, millions and millions of people down the centuries, remaining unhappy, growing more and more into unhappiness,.their whole life a story of misery and nothing else? And then comes death! How to believe these few people?
Either they are lying or they are deceived themselves. Either they are Lying for some other purpose, or they are a little mad, deceived by their own illusions. They are living in a wish-fulfillment. They wanted to be happy and they started believing that they were happy. It seems more like a belief, a desperate belief, rather than a fact. But how did it come to happen that very few people ever become happy?
If you forget man, if you don’t pay much attention to man, then Buddha, Krishna, Christ, they will look more true. If you look at the trees, if you look at the birds, if you look at the stars, then everything is shimmering in tremendous happiness. Then bliss seems to be the very stuff the existence is made of. Only man is unhappy.
Something deep down has gone wrong.
Buddha is not deceived and he is not Lying. And I say this to you, not on the authority of the tradition — I say this to you on my own authority. Man can be happy, more happy than the birds, more happy than the trees, more happy than the stars — because man has something which no tree, no bird, no star, has. Man has consciousness!
But when you have consciousness then two alternatives are possible: either you can become unhappy or you can become happy. Then it is your own choice! Trees are simply happy because they cannot be unhappy. Their happiness is not their freedom — they have to be happy. They don’t know how to be unhappy; there is no alternative.
These birds chirping in the trees, they are happy! not because they have chosen to be happy — they are simply happy because they don’t know any other way to be. Their happiness is unconscious. It is simply natural.
Man can be tremendously happy, and tremendously unhappy — and he is free to choose. This freedom is hazardous. This freedom is very dangerous — because you become responsible. And something has happened with this freedom, something has gone wrong. Man is somehow standing on his head.
You have come to me seeking meditation. Meditation is needed only because you have not chosen to be happy. If you have chosen to be happy there is no need for any meditation. Meditation is medicinal: if you are ill then the medicine is needed. Buddhas don’t need meditation. Once you have started choosing happiness, once you have decided that you have to be happy, then no meditation is needed. Then meditation starts happening of its own accord.
Meditation is a function of being happy. Meditation follows a happy man like a shadow: wherever he goes, whatsoever he is doing, he is meditative. He is intensely concentrated.
The word ‘meditation’ and the word ‘medicine’ come from the same root — that is very significant. Meditation is also medicinal. You don’t carry bottles of medicines and prescriptions with you if you are healthy. Of course, when you are not healthy you have to go the doctor. Going to the doctor is not a very great thing to brag about. One should be happy so the doctor is not needed.
So many religions are there because so many people are unhappy. A happy person needs no religion; a happy person needs no temple, no church — because for a happy person the whole universe is a temple, the whole existence is a church. The happy person has nothing like religious activity because his whole life is religious.
Whatsoever you do with happiness is a prayer: your work becomes worship; your very breathing has an intense splendor to it, a grace. Not that you constantly repeat the name of God — only foolish people do that — because God has no name, and by repeating some assumed name you simply dull your own mind. By repeating His name you are not going to go anywhere. A happy man simply comes to see God is everywhere. You need happy eyes to see Him.
What has gone wrong?
I have heard about a man who became very famous in Germany — even today his statues are there and some squares and some streets are still named after him. His name was Dr. Daniel Gottlieb Schreber. He was the real founder of Fascism. He died in 1861, but he created the situation for Adolf Hitler to come — of course, unknowingly.
This man “… had very pronounced views on how to bring up children. He wrote many books. Those books were translated into many languages. Some of them ran into fifty editions.” His books were loved tremendously, respected tremendously, because his views were not exceptional — his views were very common. He was saying things which everybody has believed down the centuries. He was the spokesman for the ordinary mind, the mediocre mind.
“Hundreds of clubs and societies were set up to perpetuate his thoughts, his ideas, and when he died many statues were installed, many streets were named after him.
“He believed in disciplining children from the time they were six months old” — because he said if you don’t discipline a child when he is six months old you will miss the real opportunity of disciplining him. When a child is very tender and soft, unaware of the ways of the world, make a deep imprint — then he will always follow that imprint. And he will not even be aware that he is being manipulated. He will think he is doing all this of his own will — because when a child is six months old he has no will yet; the will will come later on, and the discipline will come earlier than the will. So the will will always think: ‘This is my own idea.’
This is corrupting a child. But all the religions of the world and all the demagogues and all the dictatorial people of the world, and all the so-called gurus and the priests, they all have believed in doing this.
This seems to be the basic cause why man is unhappy, because no man is moving freely, no man is sensing, groping his path with his own consciousness. He has been corrupted at the very root.
But Schreber called it discipline, as all parents call it. “He believed in disciplining children from the time they were six months old in such a way that they would never after question their parents and yet believe that they were acting of their own free will. He wrote that on the first appearance of self-will one has to…” stop it immediately, kill it immediately. When you see the child becoming a person, an individual, you have to destroy the first ray of his individuality, immediately, not a single moment should be lost.
When the first appearance of self-will is noticed “… one has to step forward in a positive manner… stern words, threatening gestures, rapping against the bed… bodily admonishments, consistently repeated until the child calms down or falls asleep.
“This treatment was needed only once or twice or at the most thrice,” the doctor told people.
Make the child so afraid, shake him to his very roots! And those roots are very tender yet — a six-month-old child. Threaten him with gestures, with a deep hatred, enmity in your eyes, as if you are going to destroy the child himself. Make it clear to the child that either he can live or his self-will — both cannot be allowed to live. If he wants his self-will then he will have to die. Once the child comes to know that he can live only at the cost of self-will, he will drop his self-will and he will choose survival. That’s natural! Survival one has to choose first; everything else comes secondary.
“And then one is master of the child forever. From now on, a glance, a word or a single threatening gesture is sufficient to rule the child.”
What happened to his own children? Nobody bothered. Everybody liked the idea. Parents all over the world became very enthusiastic and everybody started trying to discipline their children. And that’s how, according to Schreber, the whole of Germany was disciplined. That paved the way for Adolf Hitler.
Such a beautiful country, intelligent, became the victim of a fool who was almost mad. And he ruled the whole country. How was it possible? It is still a question which has not been answered. How could he rule so many intelligent people so easily, with such foolish ideas?
These people were trained to believe; these people were trained not to be individuals. These people were trained always to remain in discipline. These people were trained that obedience is the greatest virtue. It is not! Sometimes it is disobedience which is the greatest virtue. Sometimes, of course, it is obedience. But the choice has to be yours: you have consciously to choose whether to obey or not to obey. That means you have consciously to remain the master in every situation, whether you obey or you disobey.
What happened to his own children? Just now the whole history of his children has come to light.
“One of his daughters was melancholic and her doctor suggested putting her in a mad asylum. One of his sons suffered a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized. He recovered, but eight years later had a relapse and died in a madhouse. His other son went mad and committed suicide.” And the autopsies of both the sons proved that there was nothing wrong physically with their brains — still both went mad: one died in a madhouse, another committed suicide.
What happened? Physically their brains were perfect, but psychologically they were damaged. This mad father damaged all of his children. And that is what has happened to the whole of humanity.
Down the centuries, parents have been destroying people. They were destroyed by their parents, and so on and so forth. It seems to be a chronic state. Your parents were not happy; whatsoever they knew made them only more unhappy and more unhappy — and they trained you for it, and they have made a replica of themselves in you.
Arthur Koestler has coined a beautiful word for this whole nonsense. He calls it ‘bapucracy’. ‘Bapu’ means father — it is an Indian term. Indians used to call Mahatma Gandhi, ‘bapu’. This word ‘bapucracy’ is perfect. India suffers more than any other country from bapucracy. The Indian leadership is still suffering from its bapu, Mahatma Gandhi.
Each child is destroyed by the bapus. Of course, they were destroyed by their bapus. So I am not saying that it is their responsibility; it is an unconscious, chronic state that perpetuates itself. So there is no need of complaining against your parents — that is not going to help. The day you understand it, you have to consciously drop it and come out of it.
Be an individual if you want to be happy. If you want to be happy, then start choosing on your own. There are many times when you will have to be disobedient — be! There are many times when you will have to be rebellious — be! There is no disrespect implied in it. Be respectful to your parents. But remember that your deepest responsibility is towards your own being.
Everybody is dragged and manipulated, so nobody knows what his destiny is. What you really always wanted to do you have forgotten. And how can you be happy? Somebody who could have been a poet is just a moneylender. Somebody who could have been a painter is a doctor. Somebody who could have been a doctor, a beautiful doctor, is a businessman. Everybody is displaced. Everybody is doing something that he never wanted to do — hence unhappiness.
Happiness happens when you fit with your life, when you fit so harmoniously that whatsoever you are doing is your joy. Then suddenly you will come to know: meditation follows you. If you love the work that you are doing, if you love the way you are living, then you are meditative. Then nothing distracts you. When things distract you, that simply shows that you are not really interested in those things.
The teacher goes on telling the small children: “Pay attention to me! Be attentive!” They are attentive, but they are attentive somewhere else. A cuckoo is crying with all its heart outside the school building, and the child is attentive — nobody can say he is not attentive, nobody can say he is not meditative, nobody can say he is not in deep concentration — he is. In fact, he has completely forgotten the teacher and the arithmetic that he is doing on the board. He is completely oblivious. He is completely possessed by the cuckoo. And the teacher says: “Be attentive! What are you doing? Don’t be distracted!” In fact, the teacher is distracting.
The child is attentive — it is happening naturally. Listening to the cuckoo, he is happy. The teacher is distracting and the teacher says: “You are not attentive.” He is simply stating a lie. The child was attentive. The cuckoo was more attractive to him, so what can he do? The teacher was not so attractive. The arithmetic has no appeal. But we are not born here to be mathematicians. There are a few children who will not be interested in the cuckoo. The cuckoo may go on getting madder and madder, and they will be attentive to the blackboard. Then arithmetic is for them. Then they have a meditation, a natural meditative state.
We have been distracted into unnatural motivations: money, prestige, power. Listening to the cuckoo is not going to give you money. Listening to the cuckoo is not going to give you power, prestige. Watching the butterfly is not going to help you economically, politically, socially. These things are not paying, but these things make you happy.
A real person takes the courage to move with things that make him happy. If he remains poor, he remains poor; he has no complaint about it, he has no grudge. He says: “I have chosen my way — I have chosen the cuckoos and the butterflies and the flowers. I cannot be rich, that’s okay! But I am rich because I am happy.”
This type of man will never need any method to concentrate, because there is no need — he is in concentration. His concentration is spread all over his life. Twenty-four hours he is in concentration.
Man has gone topsy-turvy. I was reading:
Old Ted had been sitting on the edge of the river for some hours without getting a bite. The combination of several bottles of beer and a hot sun caused him to nod off, and he was completely unprepared when a lively fish got himself hooked, tugged at his line and woke him up. He was caught completely off balance and, before he could recover, found himself in the river.
A small boy had been watching the proceedings with interest. As the man struggled to get out of the water, he turned to his father and asked, “Dad, is that man catching a fish or is that fish catching a man?”
Man has gone completely topsy-turvy. The fish is catching you and dragging you; you are not catching the fish. Wherever you see money, you are no more yourself. Wherever you see power, prestige, you are no more yourself. Wherever you see respectability, you are no more yourself. Immediately you forget everything — you forget the intrinsic values of your life, your happiness, your joy, your delight.
You always choose something of the outside, and you bargain with something of the inside. You lose the within and you gain the without. But what are you going to do? Even if you get the whole world at your feet and you have lost yourself, even if you have conquered all the riches of the world and you have lost your own inner treasure, what are you going to do with it? This is the misery.
IF YOU CAN learn one thing with me, then that one thing is: Be alert, aware, about your own inner motives, about your own inner destiny. Never lose sight of it, otherwise you will be unhappy. And when you are unhappy, then people say: “Meditate and you will become happy!” They say: “Concentrate and you will become happy; pray and you will become happy; go to the temple, be religious, be a Christian or a Hindu and you will be happy!” This is all nonsense.
Be happy! and meditation will follow. Be happy, and religion will follow. Happiness is a basic condition. People become religious only when they are unhappy — then their religion is pseudo. Try to understand why you are unhappy.
Many people come to me and they say they are unhappy, and they want me to give them some meditation. I say: First, the basic thing is to understand why you are unhappy. And if you don’t remove those basic causes of your unhappiness, I can give you a meditation, but that is not going to help very much — because the basic causes remain there.
The man may have been a good, beautiful dancer, and he is sitting in an office, piling up files. There is no possibility for dance. The man may have enjoyed dancing under the stars, but he is simply going on accumulating a bank-balance. And he says he is unhappy: “Give me some meditation.” I can give him! — but what is that meditation going to do? what is it supposed to do? He will remain the same man: accumulating money, competitive in the market. The meditation may help in this way: it may make him a little more relaxed to do this nonsense even better.
That’s what TM is doing to many people in the West — and that is the appeal of transcendental meditation, because Maharishi Mahesh Yogi goes on saying, “It will make you more efficient in your work, it will make you more successful. If you are a salesman, you will become a more successful salesman. It will give you efficiency.” And American people are almost crazy about efficiency. You can lose everything just for being efficient. Hence, the appeal.
Yes, it can help you. It can relax you a little — it is a tranquillizer. By constantly repeating a mantra, by continuously repeating a certain word, it changes your brain chemistry. It is a tranquillizer! a sound-tranquillizer. It helps you to lessen your stress so tomorrow in the marketplace you can be more efficient, more capable to compete — but it doesn’t change you. it is not a transformation.
Just the other day, a small sannyasin asked me — whenever he comes he asks beautiful questions — very small, maybe seven years old. When he took sannyas… he must be courageous — he took sannyas before his mother decided to take sannyas; he took sannyas before his father decided to take sannyas. Has an individuality of his own. He took sannyas and I asked him. “Have you something to say?”
He said, “Yes, what group should I do?”
And the other night he came and I asked, “Now, what do you have to say?”
He said, “What do you think about Maharishi?” A seven year-old child!
I told him, “Maharishi is a good man, a very nice guy — but doing very ordinary work.”
You can repeat a mantra, you can do a certain meditation; it can help you a little bit here and there — but-it can help you to remain whatsoever you are. It is not a transformation.
Hence, my appeal is only for those who are really daring, dare-devils who are ready to change their very pattern of life, who are ready to stake everything — because in fact you don’t have anything to put at the stake: only your unhappiness, your misery. But people cling even to that.
I have heard:
In a certain remote training camp, a squad of rookies had just returned to their billet after a day’s route-march under the boiling sun.
“What a life!” said one new soldier. “Miles from anywhere, a sergeant who thinks he’s Attila the Hun, no women, no booze, no leave — and on top of all that. my boots are two sizes too small.”
“You don’t want to put up with that, chum,” said his neighbor. “Why don’t you put in for another pair?”
“Not likely.” came the reply. “Taking’em off is the only pleasure I’ve got!”
What else do you have to put at the stake? Just the misery. The only pleasure that you have got is talking about it. Look at people talking about their misery: how happy they become! They pay for it: they go to psychoanalysts to talk about their misery — they pay for it! Somebody listens attentively, they are very happy.
People go on talking about their misery again and again and again. They even exaggerate, they decorate, they make it look bigger. They make it look bigger than life-size. Why? Nothing do you have to put at the stake. But people cling to the known, to the familiar. The misery is all that they have known — that is their life. Nothing to lose, but so afraid to lose.
With me, happiness comes first, joy comes first. A celebrating attitude comes first. A life-affirming philosophy comes first. Enjoy! If you cannot enjoy your work, change. Don’t wait! because all the time that you are waiting you are waiting for Godot. Godot is never to come. One simply waits — and wastes one’s life. For whom, for what are you waiting?
If you see the point, that you are miserable in a certain pattern of life, then all the old traditions say: you are wrong. I would like to say: The pattern is wrong. Try to understand the difference of emphasis. You are not wrong! Just your pattern, the way you have learnt to live is wrong. The motivations that you have learnt and accepted as yours are not yours — they don’t fulfill your destiny. They go against your grain, they go against your element.
The village policeman stopped his son on the road as he saw him going home after a day’s fishing.
“Any luck, son?” he asked.
“Yes, Dad,” said the lad, opening his basket to show half a dozen lovely trout.
“That’s marvellous! Where did you catch all those?”
“Just down there, Dad. There’s a narrow lane marked ‘Private’ and you go down there until you come to a notice saying ‘Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted’. A few yards further on there’s a pool with a big sign ‘No Fishing Allowed’ — and that’s the place.”
Remember it: nobody else can decide for you. All their commandments, all their orders, all their moralities, are just to kill you. You have to decide for yourself. You have to take your life in your own hands. Otherwise, life goes on knocking at your door and you are never there — you are always somewhere else.
If you were going to be a dancer, life comes from that door because life thinks you must be a dancer by now. It knocks there but you are not there — you are a banker. And how is life expected to know that you would become a banker? God comes to you the way He wanted you to be; He knows only that address — but you are never found there, you are somewhere else, hiding behind somebody else’s mask, in somebody else’s garb, under somebody else’s name.
How do you expect God to find you? He goes on searching for you. He knows your name, but you have forgotten that name. He knows your address, but you never lived at that address. You allowed the world to distract you.
“I dreamt I was a kid last night,” Joe was telling Al, “and I had a free pass to all the rides at Disneyland. Boy, what a time I had! I didn’t have to choose which rides to go on — I rode them all.”
“That’s interesting,” remarked his friend. “I had a vivid dream last night too. I dreamt a beautiful dreamgirl blonde knocked on my door and knocked me out with her desire. Then just as we were getting started, another visitor, a gorgeous well-stacked brunette came in and wanted me too!”
“Wow,” interrupted Joe. “Boy, would I have loved to be there! Why didn’t you call me?”
“I did,” responded Al. “And your mother told me you were at Disneyland.”
God can find you only in one way, only in one way can He find you, and that is your inner flowering: as He wanted you to be. Unless you find your spontaneity, unless you find your element, you cannot be happy. And if you cannot be happy, you cannot be meditative.
WHY DID this idea arise in people’s minds? that meditation brings happiness. In fact, wherever they found a happy person they always found a meditative mind — both things got associated. Whenever they found the beautiful meditative milieu surrounding a man, they always found he was tremendously happy — vibrant with bliss, radiant. They became associated. They thought: Happiness comes when you are meditative. It was just the other way round: meditation comes when you are happy.
But to be happy is difficult and to learn meditation is easy. To be happy means a drastic change in your way of life, an abrupt change — because there is no time to lose. A sudden change — a sudden clash of thunder — a discontinuity.
That’s what I mean by sannyas: a discontinuity with the past. A sudden clash of thunder, and you die to the old and you start afresh, from ABC. You are born again. You again start your life as you would have done if there had been no enforced pattern by your parents, by your society, by the state; as you would have done, must have done, if there had been nobody to distract you. But you were distracted.
You have to drop all those patterns that have been forced on you, and you have to find your own inner flame.
Don’t be too much concerned about money, because that is the greatest distraction against happiness. And the irony of ironies is that people think they will be happy when they have money. Money has nothing to do with happiness. If you are happy and you have money, you can use it for happiness. If you are unhappy and you have money, you will use that money for more unhappiness. Because money is simply a neutral force.
I am not against money, remember. Don’t misinterpret me: I am not against money — I am not against anything. Money is a means. If you are happy and you have money, you will become more happy. If you are unhappy and you have money, you will become more unhappy because what will you do with your money? Your money will enhance your pattern, whatsoever it is. If you are miserable and you have power, what will you do with your power? You will poison yourself more with your power, you will become more miserable.
But people go on looking for money as if money is going to bring happiness. People go on looking for respectability as if respectability is going to give you happiness. People are ready, at any moment, to change their pattern, to change their ways, if more money is available somewhere else.
I have heard:
The treasurer of a black civil rights organization picked up the phone and heard a Southern voice drawling on the other end of the line, “Hey there, boy, I want to talk to the head nigger.” Shocked and outraged, the treasurer said, “My dear sir..”
“I want to contribute $50,000 to your cause, so let me talk to the head nigger,” the redneck said.
“Hold the line there, brother,” the treasurer said. “I think I see that ugly jigaboo coming in the door right now.”
Once money is there immediately everything changes.
I have heard:
Mulla Nasrudin’s daughter came home and she said she was pregnant and the richest man of the town was the father of the unborn child. Mulla Nasrudin was, of course, mad. He rushed with his gun towards the rich man’s house; he forced the rich man into a corner and said, “Now you can breathe your last, or if you have any prayer to say to God, say it!”
The rich man smiled and he said, “Listen, before you do anything neurotic. Yes, I know your daughter is pregnant by me — but if a boy is born I have kept one lakh rupees in the bank for the boy. If a daughter is born I have kept fifty thousand rupees in the bank for the daughter.”
Mulla took his gun away and said, “Sir, if something goes wrong, if there is a miscarriage or something, are you ready to give her another chance?”
Once the money is there, then suddenly you are no more yourself; you are ready to change.
This is the way of the worldly man. I don’t call those people worldly who have money — I call those people worldly who change their motives for money. I don’t call those people unworldly who have no money — they may be simply poor. I call those people unworldly who don’t change their motives for money. Just being poor is not equivalent to being spiritual; and just being rich is not equivalent to being a materialist. The materialistic pattern of life is that where money predominates over everything. The non-materialistic life is that where money is just a means — happiness predominates, joy predominates; your own individuality predominates. You know who you are and where you are going, and you are not distracted. Then suddenly you will see your life has a meditative quality to it.
But somewhere on the way. everybody has missed. You were brought up by people who have not arrived. You were brought up by people who were unhealthy themselves. Feel sorry for them! I am not saying be against them; I am not condemning them — remember. Just feel compassion for them. The parents, the school-teachers. the university professors, the so-called leaders of the society — they were unhappy people. They have created an unhappy pattern in you.
And: you have not yet taken charge of your life. They were living under a misinterpretation — that was their misery. And you are also living under a misinterpretation.
In the days of the British Raj in India. a young subaltern traveled to a distant part of the Punjab to join his first regiment. He reported to the Colonel who welcomed him and then said, “You must understand, Skiffington-Smythe, that we need a very special type of officer out here. Someone who can handle the natives, someone who can think for himself and keep cool in a tight spot. So we have devised a little test which all new officers are requested to undergo. Are you willing to have a try?”
“Certainly, sir,” said the keen young officer. “anything you say sir.
“Very good.” said the Colonel. “Now, the test is quite simple. It’s in two parts: first of all you must go down to the village marketplace, where you will take hold of the first woman you see, rip off her veil and kiss her full on the lips. This is quite a dangerous procedure, since the men here are very jealous of their womenfolk and carry wicked-looking knives with them at all times. So you must kiss this woman and make good your escape. Then you must go into the jungle and shoot the first tiger you see right between the eyes. You must kill it with one shot — right between the eyes. All clear?”
“Yes, sir,” replied the subaltern.
And with that the Colonel handed the young officer a rifle with one round, and one round only, up to the spout. The brave young man saluted, turned on his heel, and was gone.
A week later the Colonel heard a scratching at his door. He shouted for whoever it was to come in: the door slowly opened and a figure collapsed across the mat. It was Skiffington-Smythe!
Bruised, battered and bleeding from a dozen wounds, he crawled across the floor, hauled himself painfully to his feet at the Colonel’s desk, saluted weakly and gasped, “Right, sir….. where’s this woman I’ve got to shoot between the eyes?!”
Get it?! He kissed a tiger! — got mixed up. And when I look at you, I see the same problem. Something has gone very deeply wrong. You have misunderstood the instructions.
MEDITATION comes naturally to a happy person. Meditation comes automatically to a joyous person. Meditation is very simple to a person who can celebrate, who can delight in life. You are trying it from the other way — which is not possible. This is the whole meaning of this small Zen anecdote — simple and yet very significant.
ONCE THERE WAS A MAN OF CH’I WHO WANTED GOLD. AT DAWN HE PUT ON HIS COAT AND CAP AND SET OUT FOR THE MARKET.
HE WENT TO THE STALL OF A DEALER IN GOLD, SNATCHED HIS GOLD, AND MADE OFF.
THE POLICE CAUGHT HIM AND QUESTIONED HIM. “WHY DID YOU SNATCH SOMEBODY ELSE’S GOLD, AND IN FRONT OF SO MANY PEOPLE?”
THE MAN REPLIED:
“AT THE TIME WHEN I TOOK IT I DIDN’T SEE THE PEOPLE — I ONLY SAW THE GOLD.”
It is a parable. It says: If you know exactly what you want, you only see that. Concentration comes easy. If you know exactly what you want, then the whole life and the whole world goes on its own way — you don’t see it even. You go like an arrow You are not distracted.
But if you don’t know what you are meant to be here, if you don’t know what your destiny is, if you don’t know what you really want, then everything is a distraction, then you are pulled in this direction and that. Then continuously you go on being pulled in many directions — and that creates a mess out of you.
You are pulled in so many directions together that your personality becomes broken, split. Only fragments: one fragment going to the north, another fragment going to the south. You are continuously in conflict. You don’t know where you are going, because you are not one any more. You become one when you know what you want.
Many people come to me and I ask them: “What do you want really?” They shrug their shoulders. They say, “We don’t know.” Then it is obvious that your life cannot have any organic unity in it. You don’t have any sense of direction. You have been misguided. But — it is never too late. You can take possession of your life any moment. If you decide, then the first thing is: don’t listen to the parental voice within you, don’t listen to the school-teacher’s voice within you.
You can do a small technique to get rid of all this. You can just sit on your bed every night before you go to sleep, close your eyes, and just try to feel: whatsoever you want, is it your own? that wanting, that desiring. And try to find out, try to check it out, to whom that voice belongs.
If you listen silently you will be surprised: your mother is saying, “Become a doctor!” And you will be able to know exactly who is saying this. Your father is saying, “Become rich!” Your brother is saying something else, your teachers are saying something else, your neighbors are saying something else.
And not only that: your father is saying something with his lips and another thing with his eyes; saying one thing, meaning another thing. He says, “Be honest, be true!” and you know he himself is not honest and is not true. And you can see it in his eyes — children are very perceptive. They look deep; their eyes go very deep, they can penetrate — they can see the father is Lying. He himself is not honest, he himself is not true.
It happens: he is inside the house and somebody knocks at the door, and he sends the child to tell him that the father has gone out. He lies! The father is saying, “Don’t beat your small brother — you are stronger, you are bigger,” and the father goes on beating him himself — and he is very strong and very big, and takes every advantage that he can. One thing he is saying, another thing the child is reading. He goes on reading the indirect message.
In the school something is taught, and life needs something else. Confusion arises, conflict arises, contradictions go on getting together, and then they pull you in different directions — then you are no longer together, your unity is lost. A child is born as an organic unity. By the time you have become young, you are no more an individual, you are no more a unity. You are a crowd, a mad crowd.
This you have to understand: it is something that you have learnt from others. And remember — one of the basic truths of life — that which you have learnt can be unlearnt. That which you have learnt from others is nothing natural to you: you can erase it. Just a conscious awareness is needed; it can be erased and the slate can become clean again.
So the first thing is to erase all that has been forced on you, and only then will you be able to listen to your own heart’s voice.
Many people come to me and they say, “How to distinguish what is what — what is mind’s voice and what is heart’s voice?” It is difficult to distinguish right now: first you have to clean the mind. The heart’s voice is very still and very small. The mind’s is very noisy: it goes on shouting things. The heart whispers. The mind shouts.
Your father used to shout at you. Your mother used to shout at you. The teachers in the school used to shout at you. The mind shouts. God speaks in whispers. First this shouting has to be dropped, otherwise it is very difficult. And many people have followed Dr. Daniel Gottlieb Schreber’s methods. They have put their voice in you at such an early stage that it seems as if it is your own heart’s voice.
One thing is certain: you can never become anything other than yourself, and unless you become yourself you cannot be happy. Happiness happens only when a rosebush grows roseflowers; when it flowers, when it has its own individuality. You may be a rosebush and trying to flower as lotus flower — that is creating insanity.
Erase the mind. And the way to erase it is not by fight: the way to erase it is just to become aware.
Every night for at least one hour, sit in your bed and just watch from where you hear something — just go to the very roots of it. Trace it out, go backwards, find out from where it comes. You will always find the source, and the moment you have found the source you will feel an unburdening. Suddenly it is no more yours — now you are not deceived by it.
It is slow work, but if you work, after a few months you will be feeling so clean — your book clean, nobody else writing in it. Then, only then will you be able to hear that still small voice. And once you hear it, the very hearing is like a sudden clash of thunder. Suddenly you are together, suddenly you have a direction — suddenly you know where your gold is. And then you don’t see anybody; you simply go like an arrow towards your destiny.
IT IS very easy to follow your parents, it is very easy to follow your teachers, it is very easy to follow the society, it is very easy to be obedient — to be rebellious, to be on your own, is very difficult. But growth comes the hard way.
Let me tell you one small anecdote to end with:
There was once a farmer who, after a poor crop, complained: “If God would only let me control the weather, everything would be better, because He apparently does not know very much about farming.”
That’s true! Nobody has ever heard about God being a farmer — how can He know?
The Lord said to him: “For one year I will give you control of the weather; ask for whatever you wish and you will get it.”
In the old days God used to do that. Then He got fed up.
The poor man became very happy and immediately said, “Now I want sun,” and the sun came out. Later he said, “Let the rain fall,” and it rained. For a whole year first the sun shone and then it rained. The seed grew and grew, it was a pleasure to watch it. “Now God can understand how to control the weather,” he said proudly. The crop had never been so big, so green, such a luscious green.
Then it was time to harvest. The farmer took his sickle to cut the wheat, but his heart sank. The stalks were practically empty. The Lord came and asked him, “How is your crop? ”
The man complained, “Poor, my Lord, very poor!”
“But didn’t you control the weather? Didn’t everything you wanted turn out all right?”
“Of course! and that is the reason I am perplexed — I got the rain and the sunshine I asked for, but there is no crop.”
Then the Lord said, “But have you never asked for wind, storms, ice and snow, and everything that purifies the air and makes the roots hard and resistant? You asked for rain and sunshine, but not for bad weather. That’s the reason there is no crop.
Life is possible only through challenges. Life is possible only when you have both good weather and bad weather, when you have both pleasure and pain, when you have both winter and summer, day and night. When you have both sadness and happiness, discomfort and comfort. Life moves between these two polarities.
Moving between these two polarities you learn how to balance. Between these two wings you learn how to fly to the farthest star.
If you choose comfort, convenience, you choose death. That’s how you have missed real happiness: you have chosen convenience instead. It is very convenient to follow the parental voice, convenient to follow the priest, convenient to follow the church, convenient to follow the society and the state. It is very easy to say yes to all these authorities — but then you never grow. You are trying to get life’s treasure too cheap. It requires that you have to pay for it.
Be an individual and pay for it. In fact, if you get something without paying for it, don’t accept it — that is insulting to you. DON’T accept it; that is below you. Say: “I will pay for it — only then will I accept it.” In fact, if something is given to you without your being ready for it, without your being capable for it, without your being receptive for it, you will not be able to possess it for long. You will lose it somewhere or other. You will not be able to appreciate its value.
God never gives you anything cheap — because given without any effort on your part, you will never be able to rejoice in it.
Choose the hard way. And to be an individual is the hardest thing in the world, because nobody likes you to be an individual. Everybody wants to kill your individuality and to make a sheep out of you. Nobody wants you to be on your own. Hence, you go on missing happiness, you go on missing direction, and, naturally, meditation has become impossible, concentration seems to be almost non-existent. You cannot concentrate, you cannot meditate, you cannot be with anything for more than a split second. How can you be blissful?
Choose your own destiny. I cannot show it to you, what your destiny is — nobody else knows it, not even you. You have to sense it, and you have to move slowly.
First, drop all that is borrowed on your being and then you will be able to feel. It always leads you to the right place, to the right goal. The thing that you call conscience right now, it is not your conscience. It is a substitute — pseudo-conscience, fake, counterfeit. Drop it! and by its very dropping, you will be able to see hidden behind it your real conscience which has been waiting for you. Once that conscience comes into your consciousness your life has a direction, meditation follows you like a shadow.
Yes, that man was right. He said:
“AT THE TIME WHEN I TOOK IT I DID NOT SEE THE PEOPLE — I ONLY SAW THE GOLD.”
When you have felt and sensed your destiny, you see only your destiny, you see only the gold.