Copyright (c) Osho International Foundation




An extensive compilation on the essence of creativity as seen through the eyes of a modern mystic.


In this collection from thirty-five years of daily discourses, Osho discusses music, painting, dance, poetry and acting, sharing his insights on sensitivity, the art of listening, on looking without mental interference, and experiencing beauty - directly and unjudged. Touching on the challenge of the artist and his art, Osho claims, finally, that all the greatest works have emerged from a mystical place of inner silence. It is there and there alone that the natural human energy pours out in spontaneous abundance without concern for gain.


“Creativity is not something you do, it is something you allow,” Osho tells us. Starting from the assumption that we are all born creative, we are shown how our capacity for artistic expression is gradually dulled by society’s educational process. Osho points out a common misconception: It is not that artists are creative because they have energy to spare, they have energy to spare because they  are creative. Creativity is the life force and must move to recreate itself. Kept from flowing, it stagnates and becomes destructive.


The artist is a rebel. The present-day artist works against tremendous odds, and only a courageous individual personality can survive. Prestige, however, bolsters the ego, and the spiritual development of the successful artist easily becomes a hazardous journey. Osho shows how the failure of modern art to evoke the essence of spirituality holds a mirror to a society that bolsters the personal ego.


Outlining the differences between objective and subjective art, Osho reveals that the ultimate essence of true creativity is to raise the quality of both the artist’s and the beholder’s experience. The spare spontaneity of Zen art, for example, opens us to mystical secrets. The mystic, Osho tells us, is the ultimate artist - no longer an artist, but the embodiment of art itself.



Filled with anecdotes from the lives and works of creative geniuses such as Nijinsky, Picasso and Dostoevsky - all embellished true to Osho’s irreverent humor - this book invites painters, actors, dancers and musicians, as well as filmmakers, poets and sculptors to identify the meditative aspect of their work and bring it to fruition. An entire section is devoted specifically to personal questions put to Osho by people working in the arts.




Part I: In and Out of Society


Creativity is a Quality                       

Be a Child                                           

Hierarchy of Needs                           

Be Yourself                                        



Part II: The Hollow Bamboo


Get Out of the Way                           

A Big Rock in the River                    

Total, Not Perfect                              

Learn and Forget                               

Just for Joy                                        


Part III: Flowers of Emptiness


Sitting Silently, Doing Nothing...       

Sane Art                                             

Resonance of Form                           

Take Responsibility                           


Part IV: Crazy World


Subjective Art                                   

Our Split Mind                                  

A Little Bit Off Center                     

Flight into Meditation                       



Part V: Bubbling with Energy


From Sex to Superconsciousness     

Where Are the Women?                   

Thanksgiving to the Body                

Participate in the Dance                   

On Stage but Not of It                      


Part VI: Zen


The Zen of Small Things                   

A Gardener with a Difference          

Fresh as a Newly Born Child

With Innocent Eyes                          

On Beauty                                         


Part VII: Music


A Drum Fell from Heaven                

Ready for Music                               

Expressing the Inexpressible           

Sounds of Silence       


Part VIII: Beyond Words


From the Head to the Heart            

Words Words Words            

Glimpses of the Beyond                   

The Fourth Way                                


Part IX: Personal Questions from Artists and Meditators


Part I:

In and Out of Society

Creativity is a Quality



I believed I was uncreative. What else can be creativity besides dancing and painting and how to find out what my creativity is?

Creativity has nothing to do with any activity in particular -- with painting, poetry, dancing, singing. It has nothing to do with anything in particular.

Anything can be creative -- you bring that quality to the activity. Activity itself is neither creative nor uncreative. You can paint in an uncreative way. You can sing in an uncreative way. You can clean the floor in a creative way. You can cook in a creative way.

Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity you are doing. It is an attitude, an inner approach -- how you look at things.

So the first thing to be remembered: don't confine creativity to anything in particular. A man is creative -- and if he is creative, whatsoever he does, even if he walks, you can see in his walking there is creativity. Even if he sits silently and does nothing, even non-doing will be a creative act. Buddha sitting under the Bodhi Tree doing nothing is the greatest creator the world has ever known.

Once you understand it -- that it is you, the person, who is creative or uncreative -- then this problem disappears.

Not everybody can be a painter -- and there is no need also. If everybody is a painter the world will be very ugly; it will be difficult to live. And not everybody can be a dancer, and there is no need. But everybody can be creative.

Whatsoever you do, if you do it joyfully, if you do it lovingly, if your act of doing it is not purely economical, then it is creative. If you have something growing out of it within you, if it gives you growth, it is spiritual, it is creative, it is divine.

You become more divine as you become more creative. all the religions of the world have said: God is the Creator. I don't know whether He is the Creator or not, but one thing I know: the more creative you become, the more godly you become. When your creativity comes to a climax, when your whole life becomes creative, you live in God. So He must be the Creator because people who have been creative have been closest to Him.

Love what you do. Be meditative while you are doing it -- whatsoever it is! irrelevant of the fact of what it is.

The questioner asks: "I believed I was uncreative." If you believe in that way, you will become uncreative -- because belief is not just belief. It opens doors; it closes doors. If you have a wrong belief, then that will hang around you as a closed door. If you believe that you are uncreative, you will become uncreative -- because that belief will obstruct, continuously negate, all possibilities of flowing. It will not allow your energy to flow because you will continuously say: "I am uncreative."

This has been taught to everybody. Very few people are accepted as creative: A few painters, a few poets -- one in a million. This is foolish! Every human being is a born creator. Watch children and you will see: all children are creative.

We destroy creativity. Nobody is born uncreative, but we make ninety-nine percent of people uncreative.

But just throwing the responsibility on the society is not going to help -- you have to take your life in your own hands. You have to drop wrong conditionings. You have to drop wrong, hypnotic auto-suggestions that have been given to you in your childhood. Drop them! Purify yourself of all conditionings... and suddenly you will see you are creative.

A Sudden Clash of Thunder, Chapter #4           Archive code: 7608140

Be a Child Again



I want to be creative. What should I do?

Become a child again and you will be creative. All children are creative. Creativity needs freedom -- freedom from the mind, freedom from knowledge, freedom from prejudices.

A creative person is one who can try the new. A creative person is not a robopath. Robopaths are never creative, they are repetitive. So become a child again.

And you will be surprised that all children are creative; all children, wherever they are born, are creative. But we don't allow their creativity, we crush and kill their creativity, we jump upon them. We start teaching them the right way to do things.

Remember, a creative person always goes on trying the wrong ways. If you always follow the right way to do a thing you will never be creative -- because the right way means the way discovered by others. And the right way means that of course you will be able to make something, you will become a producer, a manufacturer, you will be a technician, but you will not be a creator.

What is the difference between a producer and a creator? A producer knows the right way of doing a thing, the most economical way of doing a thing; with the least effort he can create more results. He is a producer. A creator fools around. He does not know what is the right way to do a thing so he goes on seeking and searching again and again in different directions. Many times he moves in a wrong direction, but wherever he moves, he learns. He becomes more and more rich. He does something which nobody has ever done before. If he had followed the right way to do things he would not have been able to do it.

Listen to this small story....

A Sunday school teacher asked her students to draw a picture of the Holy Family.

After the pictures were brought to her, she saw that some of the youngsters had drawn the conventional pictures -- the Holy Family in the manger, the Holy Family riding on the mule, and the like.

But she called up one little boy to ask him to explain his drawing, which showed an airplane with four heads sticking out of the plane windows.

She said, 'I can understand why you drew three of the heads to show Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. But who's the fourth head?'

'Oh,' answered the boy, 'that's Pontius the Pilot!'

Now this is beautiful. This is what creativity is. He has discovered something.

But only children can do that. You will be afraid to do it. You will look foolish. A creator has to be able to look foolish. A creator has to risk his so-called respectability. That's why you always see that poets, painters, dancers, musicians, are not very respectable people. And when they become respectable, when a Nobel Prize is given to them, they are no longer creative. From that moment creativity disappears.

What happens? Have you ever seen a Nobel Prize winner writing another thing which is of any value? Have you ever seen any respectable person doing something creative? He becomes afraid. If he does something wrong, or if something goes wrong, what will happen to his prestige? He cannot afford that. So when an artist becomes respectable he becomes dead.

Only those who are ready to put their prestige, their pride, their respectability, again and again at stake, and can go on into something which nobody thinks is worth going into.... Creators are always thought to be mad people. The world recognises them, but very late. It goes on thinking that something is wrong. Creators are eccentric people.

And remember again, each child is born with all the capacities to become a creator. Without any exception all children try to be creators but we don't allow, them. Immediately we start teaching them the right way to do a thing -- and once they have learned the right way to do a thing they become robopaths. Then they go on doing the right thing again and again and again, and the more they do it, the more efficient they become. And the more efficient they become, the more respected they are.

Somewhere between the age of seven and fourteen a great change happens in a child. Psychologists have been searching into the phenomenon... why does it happen and what happens?

You have two minds, two hemispheres. The left hemisphere of the mind is uncreative. It is technically very capable but as far as creativity is concerned it is absolutely impotent. It can only do a thing once it has learned it, and it can do it very efficiently, perfectly; it is mechanical. This left hemisphere is the hemisphere of reasoning, logic, mathematics. It is the hemisphere of calculation, cleverness, of discipline, order.

The right hemisphere is just the opposite of it. It is the hemisphere of chaos, not of order; it is the hemisphere of poetry, not of prose, it is the hemisphere of love, not of logic. It has a great feeling for beauty, it has a great insight into orginality -- but it is not efficient, it cannot be efficient. The creator cannot be efficient, he has to go on experimenting.

The creator cannot settle anywhere. The creator is a vagabond; he carries his tent on his shoulders. Yes, he can stay for an overnight stay, but by the morning he is gone again -- that's why I call him a vagabond. He is never a householder. He cannot settle. Settling means death to him. He is always ready to take a risk. Risk is his love affair.

But this is the right-side hemisphere. The right-side hemisphere is functioning when the child is born; the left-side hemisphere is not functioning. Then we start teaching the child -- unknowingly, unscientifically. Down the ages we have learned the trick of how to shift the energy from the right hemisphere to the left hemisphere; how to put a stop to the right hemisphere and how to start the left hemisphere. That's what our whole schooling is. From kindergarten to university that's what our whole training and so called education is. It is an effort to destroy the right hemisphere and to help the left hemisphere. Somewhere between the ages of seven and fourteen we succeed and the child is killed, the child is destroyed.

Then the child is wild no more -- he becomes a citizen. Then he learns the ways of discipline, language, logic, prose. He starts competing in the school, becomes an egoist, starts learning all the neurotic things that are prevalent in the society, becomes more interested in power, money, starts thinking how to become more educated so that he can become more powerful, how to have more money, how to have a big house, and all that. He shifts.

Then the right hemisphere functions less and less -- or functions only when you are in dream, fast asleep. Or sometimes when you have taken a drug.

The great appeal of drugs in the West is only because the West has succeeded in destroying the right hemisphere completely because of compulsory education. The West has become too educated -- that means it has gone to the very excess, to one side. It has become extreme. Now there seems to be no possibility. Unless you introduce some ways which can help the right hemisphere to be revived again in the universities and colleges and the schools, drugs are not going to go. There is no possibility of prohibiting drugs by law alone. There is no way to enforce it unless the inner balance is put right again.

The appeal of the drug is that it immediately shifts gear -- from the left hemisphere your energy moves to the right hemisphere. That's all the drug can do. Alcohol has been doing it for centuries but now far better drugs are available -- LSD, marijuana, psilocybin. and even better drugs will be available in the future.

And the criminal is not the drug-taker, the criminal is the politician and the educationalist. It is they who are guilty. They have forced the human mind into one extreme -- into such an extreme that now there is a need to revolt. And the need is so great! Poetry has completely disappeared from people's life, beauty has disappeared, love has disappeared... money, power, pull, they have become the only gods.

How can humanity go on living without love and without poetry and without joy and without celebration? Not for long.

And the new generation all over the world is doing a great service by showing the stupidity of your so-called education. It is not a coincidence that drug-takers almost always become drop-outs. They disappear from the universities, colleges. It is not a coincidence -- this is part of the same revolt.

And once a man has learned the joys of drugs it becomes very difficult for him to drop them. Drugs can be dropped only if better ways can be found which can release your poetry. Meditation is a better way -- less destructive, less harmful, than any kind of chemical. In fact, it is not harmful at all, it is beneficial. Meditation also does the same thing: it shifts your mind from the left hemisphere to the right hemisphere. It releases your inner capacity of creativity.

A great calamity that is going to be in the world through drugs can be avoided by only one thing -- that is, meditation. There is no other way. If meditation becomes more and more prevalent and enters peoples' lives more and more, drugs will disappear. And education must start to be not so absolutely against the right hemisphere and its functioning.

If the children are taught that both are their minds, and if they are taught how to use both, and if they are taught when to use which.... There are situations when only the left-side brain is needed, when you need to calculate -- in the marketplace, in the everyday business of life. and there are times when you need the right hemisphere.

And remember always, the right hemisphere is the end and the left hemisphere is the means. The left hemisphere has to serve the right hemisphere, the right hemisphere is the master -- because you earn money only because you want to enjoy your life and celebrate your life. You want a certain bank balance only so that you can love. You work only so that you can play -- play remains the goal. You work only so that you can relax. Relaxation remains the goal, work is not the goal.

The work ethic is a hangover from the past. It has to be dropped. And the educational world has to go through a real revolution. People should not be forced. Children should not be forced into repetitive patterns. What is your education? Have you ever looked into it? Have you ever pondered over it? It is simply a training in memory. You don't become intelligent through it, you become more and more unintelligent. You become stupid. Each child enters the school very intelligent but it is very rare that a person comes out of university and is still intelligent -- it is very rare. The university almost always succeeds. Yes, you come with degrees but you have purchased those degrees at a great cost: you have lost your intelligence, you have lost your joy, you have lost life -- because you have lost the functioning of the right-side hemisphere.

And what have you learned? Information. Your mind is full of memory. You can repeat, you can reproduce -- that's what your examinations are. The person is thought to be very intelligent if he can vomit all that has been thrown into him. First he has to be forced to swallow, go on swallowing, and then in the examination papers, vomit. If you can vomit efficiently, you are intelligent. If you can vomit exactly that which has been given to you, you are intelligent.

Now this is something to be understood: you can vomit the same thing only if you have not digested it, remember. If you have digested it you cannot vomit the same thing, something else may come. Blood may come but not the same Vrindavan bread. That will not come. It has disappeared. So you have to simply keep it down there in your stomach without digesting it. Then you are thought to be very, very intelligent. The most stupid are thought to be the most intelligent. It is a very sorry thing, a sorry state of things.

The intelligent may not fit. Do you know Albert Einstein could not pass his matriculation examination? Such a creative intelligence -- it was difficult for him to behave in the stupid way that everybody else was behaving in.

All your so-called gold medallists in the schools, colleges, universities, disappear. They never prove to be of any use. Their glory ends with their gold medals. Then they are never found anywhere. Life owes nothing to them.

What happens to these people? You have destroyed them. They have purchased the certificates and they have lost all. Now they will be carrying their certificates and degrees.

This kind of education has to be totally transformed. More joy has to be brought to the schoolroom, more chaos has to be brought to the university -- more dance, more song, more poetry, more creativity, more intelligence. Such dependence on memory has to be dropped.

People should be watched and people should be helped to be more intelligent. When a person responds in a new way he should be valued. There should be no right answer. There is none. There is only a stupid answer and an intelligent answer. The very categorisation of right and wrong is wrong; there is no right answer and there is no wrong answer. Either the answer is stupid, repetitive, or the answer is creative, responsive, intelligent. Even if the repetitive answer seems to be right it should not be valued much because it is repetitive. And even though the intelligent answer may not be perfectly right, may not fit with the old ideas, it has to be praised because it is new. It shows intelligence.

You ask me: “I want to be creative. What should I do?” Undo all that the society has done to you; undo all that your parents and your teachers have done to you; undo all that the policeman and the politician and the priest have done to you -- and you will again become creative, you will again have that thrill that you had in the very beginning. It is still waiting there, repressed. It can uncoil.

And when that creative energy uncoils in you, you are religious. To me a religious person is one who is a creative person. Everybody is born creative but very few people remain creative.

It is for you to come out of the trap. You can. Of course, you will need great courage because when you start undoing what the society has done to you, you will lose respect. You will not be thought to be respectable. You will start becoming bizarre; you will look bizarre to people. You will look like a freak. People will think, 'Something has gone wrong with the poor man.' This is the greatest courage -- to go into a life where people start thinking you are bizarre.

But naturally you have to risk. If you want to be creative you will have to risk all. But it is worth it. A little creativity is more worthwhile than this whole world and its kingdom. The joy that comes by creating something new, whatsoever it is -- a small song, a small painting, anything.... When you create something new you participate with the creator because God is the creator. When you create, you are in tune with God. When you create really, God creates through you -- that's why great joy arises. When you repeat, you repeat alone. God is not there. You are a desert, you are a machine. When you create, God simply enters your heart. You become a hollow bamboo and he starts playing on you and you become a flute. Great song is possible.

Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1.  Chapter #8

All children are artists, all children are born artists! We destroy them later on; that's another thing. Otherwise each child brings great creativity into the world. We don't allow it because we are afraid of creativity; we only allow it so far, and only for a few people do we allow it.

We don't want everybody to be a poet and a painter because if everybody was a poet and/or a painter the world would be totally different. It would not have any structure then, it would not have any politics; no war would be possible. The politician would have to disappear from the earth. And who would be mad after money if there were many many poets and many painters and musicians and singers? Who would think of money?

So this whole structure depends on destroying creativity. This is a very uncreative society. It allows only a few creative people and that too just for entertainment; just for the change it is okay. Once in a while you can go to the concert and you can enjoy; it is a kind of relaxation from the work world. But nobody takes it seriously and sincerely. It is something aside -- a side show.

Creativity has to become the main source, creativity has to become the main current of life, only then will the world be different. Then the world will be religious . . . not because there will be many churches but because there will be many painters, many poets, many singers, many musicians and many dancers. In fact, everybody should know how to dance and how to sing and how to paint. These things should not be specialisations, they are not. They should be as natural as breathing, as loving, as sleeping.

A man who cannot paint is missing something. There is no need for everybody to become a van Gogh, there is no need for everybody to become a Shakespeare, no need. But everybody should be capable of at least writing a few poems to their girlfriends. But I have heard that even when they write to their girlfriends, people copy poetry from others; they cannot even write their own love letters. Books are available in the market, 'How to write love letters'.... People even learn that. This is an ugly world.

Everybody should be able to sing a song. Everybody should be able to play at least one instrument. These things should be part of life; then we can create a different kind of energy, a different kind of humanity. Help those children!

The Guest, Chapter #6, Archive code: 7905010


What would be the form of education in your vision?

Education up to now has been goal-oriented: what you are learning is not important; what is important is the examination that will come a year or two years later. It makes the future important -- more important than the present. It sacrifices the present for the future. And that becomes your very style of life; you are always sacrificing the moment for something which is not present. It creates a tremendous emptiness in life.

I divide education into five dimensions. The first is informative, like history, geography, and many other subjects which can be dealt with by television and computer together. The second part should be sciences. They can be imparted by television and computer too, but they are more complicated, and the human guide will be more necessary.

In the first dimension also come languages. Every person in the world should know at least two languages; one is his mother tongue, and the other is English as an international vehicle for communication. One international language is absolutely necessary as a basis for one world, for one humanity.

The second is the enquiry of scientific subjects, which is tremendously important because it is half of reality, the outside reality.

And the third will be what is missing in present-day education, the art of living. People have taken it for granted that they know what love is. They don't know... and by the time they know, it is too late. Every child should be helped to transform his anger, hatred, jealousy, into love.

An important part of the third dimension should also be a sense of humor. Our so-called education makes people sad and serious. And if one third of your life is wasted in a university in being sad and serious, it becomes ingrained; you forget the language of laughter -- and the man who forgets the language of laughter has forgotten much of life.

So love, laughter, and an acquaintance with life and its wonders, its mysteries... these birds singing in the trees should not go unheard. The trees and the flowers and the stars should have a connection with your heart. The sunrise and the sunset will not be just outside things -- they should be something inner, too. A reverence for life should be the foundation of the third dimension.

The fourth dimension should be of art and creativity: painting, music, craftsmanship, pottery, masonry -- anything that is creative. All areas of creativity should be allowed; the students can choose. There should be only a few things compulsory -- for example an international language should be compulsory; a certain capacity to earn your livelihood should be compulsory; a certain creative art should be compulsory. You can choose through the whole rainbow of creative arts, because unless a man learns how to create, he never becomes a part of existence, which is constantly creative. By being creative one becomes divine; creativity is the only prayer.

And the fifth dimension should be the art of dying. In this fifth dimension will be all the meditations, so that you can know there is no death, so that you can become aware of an eternal life inside you. This should be absolutely essential, because everybody has to die; nobody can avoid it. And under the big umbrella of meditation, you can be introduced to Zen, to Tao, to Yoga, to Hassidism, to all kinds and all possibilities that have existed, but which education has not taken any care of. In this fifth dimension, you should also be made aware of the martial arts like aikido, jujitsu, judo -- the art of self-defense without weapons -- and not only self-defense, but simultaneously a meditation too.

The Golden Future  Chapter #23, Archive code: 8705230

Hierarchy of Needs



It appears that almost always a pattern of human behavior follows this: we search for food, shelter, clothing; then money, power and prestige, and having attained these, we then search for god. Would it not make matters much simpler to somehow impress upon our young ones to begin with god?

There is a hierarchy of needs, and you cannot bypass any step. If you bypass any step you will have to come back to it again. Life has an intrinsic logic in it. Each step has its own place, and you cannot miss a single step. Otherwise the chain will be broken and your life will become discontinuous, your life will become a chaos.

There is a hierarchy of needs: body, mind, soul, God.

First the bodily needs have to be fulfilled. If they are not fulfilled you will not have higher needs arising -- impossible. The hungry person cannot think of music. If you start playing on the guitar before a hungry person, there is every possibility that he may retaliate in anger. He may throw your guitar, he may break your guitar, because it is insulting, it is humiliating.

That has to be remembered, The children have to be helped to go beyond the body, but you cannot bypass it. They have to be helped to know the joys of the mind, the beauties of the mind -- art, poetry, painting, music; great joys of the mind. When they are fulfilled then the third need arises, the needs of the soul. Then meditation becomes important.

Only a person who has lived deeply in music is capable of meditation, because music prepares the background, creates the space, the context, in which meditation becomes simple. And the person whose soul-needs are fulfilled, whose meditation-needs are fulfilled, will be able to pray.

Prayer is the fragrance of the flower of meditation. That is the ultimate.

First, fulfill the needs of the body. And what do we do? We condemn the body. Rather than fulfilling the needs, rather than helping a child to enjoy the joys of the body, we condemn the body. The body has many joys of its own: the joy of running, the joy of surfing, the joy of swimming, the joy of jogging, the joy of climbing a mountain. Those are all physical joys, of tremendous value. When one is climbing a mountain alone, the body has a thrill of its own, its ecstasy.

Teach the child first the bodily ecstasy. Let him dance as totally as possible, so he can have a feel of his own body. There are millions of people who don't have any feel of their own body. They use the body just like a mechanical device around them, but they don't have a feel for it. They live in the body, but they are not bridged with the body. They don't know the joys of the body.

The children first have to be taught the physical joys. Help them to climb the trees, help them to run, help them to swim, help them to dance, help them to do physical yoga, hatha yoga, so they can have a feel of their bodies, so their bodies can be felt as alive phenomena -- not something dead around them, not something disconnected, not like a machine to be used -- so that they can have a respect for the body, love for the body, so their bodies can become sacred temples.

And then don't be in a hurry. The next step has to be taken very slowly. The movement from the body to the mind has to be very, very delicate, because you are moving from the gross to the subtle. And the movement cannot be very direct; it has to be very indirect. Slowly, slowly let the child know about music, poetry. Let the child know about great paintings, architecture. Let the child enjoy the exercise of his mind.

And then when the child is ready, when he has fulfilled his mind needs, help him to meditate. And nothing has to be done in haste. Let everything ripen, help everything to become mature. Just remember one thing: that the child should not get stuck anywhere. There are many who have become stuck at the body, the physical pleasure; then sex remains their center of life. There are many who have got stuck in the mind; then thinking, philosophizing, logic, and the joys of thinking and philosophizing and logic, remain for their whole lives. These people are half-grown people.

Before the child gets stuck somewhere, push him to the further level, to the further plane. Help him to meditate. And only after meditation is prayer possible, because only one who has learned to experience his soul can experience the universal soul. If you cannot know your own soul, how can you know the soul of the whole universe? If you cannot look deep into the drop of water, how can you see into the ocean? Impossible! Prayer is the ultimate fragrance.

The Guest , Chapter #12, Archive code: 7905070


You have defined yourself as the rich man's guru. Don't the other people interest you? Are the rich particularly in need of a guru? Or are you their guru because they have money?

The first thing to be understood: I have not defined myself as the rich man's guru. It is the yellow journalism, which dominates the mind of the masses around the world, which came up with the definition. I simply accepted it with my own meanings. They were saying it to be derogatory, but my meaning is totally different.

A Vincent van Gogh is far more rich than Henry Ford. Richness does not mean only wealth or money; richness is a multidimensional phenomenon. A poet may be poor, but he has a sensitivity that no money can purchase. He is richer than any rich man. A musician may not be rich, but as far as his music is concerned, no wealth is richer than his music.

To me the rich man is one who has sensitivity, creativity, receptivity. The man of wealth is only one of the dimensions. According to me the man of wealth is also a creative artist: he creates wealth. Not everybody can be a Henry Ford. His talents should be respected, although what he creates is mundane. It cannot be compared to Mozart's music or Nijinsky's dance, or Jean-Paul Sartre's philosophy. But still, he creates something which is valuable, utilitarian, and the world would be better if there were many more Henry Fords.

So when I accepted the definition, my meaning was richness in any dimension. Only a rich being can have some connection with me. A certain sensitivity is absolutely needed, a certain vision is needed.

A poor man is one whose mind is retarded -- he may have immense wealth; that does not matter -- who cannot understand classical music, who cannot understand poetry, who cannot understand philosophy, who cannot understand the high flights of human spirit. Yes, one of the dimensions of poverty is a man who cannot even produce money. He is the poorest of the poor, because money is such a mundane thing. If you cannot create it, you simply show that you don't have intelligence enough.

The poor people of the world are responsible for their poverty. Who is telling them to go on producing children -- and each child makes them more poor. Who is telling them to go on living superstitiously? -- and each superstition hinders their growth towards wealth. Who is telling them that they should believe that they are poor because in their past lives they had been doing evil acts? And why should they accept all this nonsense?

Why should they not listen to intelligence? -- that a poor man should not produce children, he should produce wealth. But he produces children, he does not produce wealth. It is a strange phenomenon that the wealthier countries are losing population, and the poorer countries are increasing so fast that there is a danger for the whole world. Right now there are five billion people. It was thought just five years ago that by the end of this century there will be five billion people. The estimate of the economists and the mathematicians is far behind people's productivity. We are already five billion. By the end of the century we will be six billion.

And if you say to these people to use birth control, to use the pill, that you don't need children, they don't listen to you. You are against their religion; you are against their tradition!

Now, how can I have contact with these people? Even on mundane affairs there is no possibility of communication. So when I said that I accept the definition, my meaning was clear. Only somebody who has a richness of mind, of being, is capable of understanding something about meditation, something about the flight of the ultimate, of the universal.

And the yellow journalists go on saying sensational things to people, meaningless, false, ugly -- because I am not a guru. If I have to define it I will say, "I am only a friend, a friend of all those who have talents, intelligence and some urge for spiritual growth." To me they are the rich people.

Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries, Chapter #3, Archive code:8602205


Can you talk about money? What are all these feelings which are around money? What makes it so powerful that people sacrifice their lives for it?

This is a very significant question.

All the religions have been against wealth because wealth can give you all that can be purchased in life. And almost everything can be purchased except those spiritual values -- love, compassion, enlightenment, freedom. But these few things are exceptions, and exceptions always prove the rule. Everything else you can purchase with money. Because all the religions have been against life, they were bound to be against money. That is a natural corollary. Life needs money because life needs comforts, life needs good food, life needs good clothes, good houses. Life needs beautiful literature, music, art, poetry. Life is vast!

And a man who cannot understand classical music is poor. He is deaf. He may hear -- his eyes, his ears, his nose, all his senses will be perfectly right medically -- but metaphysically....

Can you see the beauty of great literature, like The Book of Mirdad? If you cannot see it, you are blind.

I have come across people who have not even heard the name of The Book of Mirdad. If I am to make a list of the great books, that will be the first. But to see the beauty of it you will need a tremendous discipline.

To understand classical music is possible only if you learn -- and it is a long learning. It is not like jazz music, for which no learning is needed. Even monkeys can understand jazz -- in fact, only monkeys understand it. It is not music, just a few crackpots making all kinds of noises, and you think it is music.

You will find better music in a waterfall, or when the wind blows through the pine trees, or simply when you walk in the forest in autumn on dry leaves, and sounds are created. But to understand that, you will need to be free from hunger, free from poverty, free from all kinds of prejudices.

For example, Mohammedans have prohibited music; now they have deprived man of a tremendous experience.

It happened in New Delhi... one of the most powerful Mohammedan emperors, Aurangzeb, was on the throne. And he was not only powerful, he was really terrible.

Up to his time Mohammedan emperors were saying only that music was against Islam, but that was all; Delhi was full of musicians. But Aurangzeb was not a gentleman, he was really a Mohammedan. He declared that if any music was heard in Delhi, the musician would be immediately beheaded. And Delhi was the center, naturally, because it was the capital for thousands of years. So it was the place where all kinds of geniuses were living.

When this declaration was made, all the musicians gathered together, and they said, "Something has to be done, this is too much! They used to say it is against Islam -- that was okay. But this man is dangerous, he will start killing." So as a protest, all the musicians -- of which there were thousands -- went to Aurangzeb's palace.

He came on the balcony and asked the people, "Who has died?" -- because what they had done... they were carrying a corpse the way it is carried in India. There was no corpse inside, just pillows, but they had managed to make it look like a corpse. Aurangzeb asked, "Who has died?"

And they answered, "Music. And you are the murderer of it."

Aurangzeb said, "Good that it has died. Now please be kind enough to me -- dig as deep a grave as possible, so that it can never come out from the grave again." Those thousands of musicians and their tears had no effect on Aurangzeb: he was doing something `sacred'.

Music is denied by Mohammedans. Why? -- because music was basically played in the East by beautiful women. In the East and in the West the meaning of the word `prostitute' differs. In the West the prostitute is selling her body. In the East, in the past, the prostitute was not selling her body; she was selling her genius, her dance, her music, her art.

You will be surprised that every Indian king used to send his sons who were going to become his successors to live with great prostitutes for a few years, to learn etiquette, to learn gentleness, to learn music, to learn the delicacies of dance -- because a king should be really rich about everything. He should understand beauty, he should understand logic, he should understand manners. That has been the old Indian tradition.

Mohammedans disrupted it. Music was against their religion. Why? -- because to learn music you had to enter a prostitute's house. Mohammedans are very much against any rejoicing, and the house of the prostitute was full of laughter, songs, music, dance. They simply prohibited it: no Mohammedan can enter a place of music; to hear music is a sin.

And the same has been done by different religions -- for different reasons, but they have all been cutting man's richness. And the most basic teaching is that you should renounce money.

You can see the logic. If you don't have money, you can't have anything else. Rather than cutting branches, they were cutting the very roots. A man without money is hungry, is a beggar, has no clothes. You cannot expect him to understand Dostoevsky, Nijinsky, Bertrand Russell, Albert Einstein, no; that is impossible.

All the religions together have made man as poor as possible. They have condemned money so much, and praised poverty so much that as far as I am concerned, they are the greatest criminals the world has known.

Perhaps I am the first person who is respectful of money, of wealth, because it can make you multi-dimensionally rich.

A poor man cannot understand Mozart. A hungry man cannot understand Michelangelo. A beggar will not even look at the paintings of Vincent van Gogh. And these people who are suffering from hunger don't have enough energy to make them intelligent. Intelligence comes only when you have superfluous energy in you. They are exhausted just in earning bread and butter. They don't have intelligence. They cannot understand The Brothers Karamazov, they can only listen to some stupid priest in a church.

Wealth is as significant as beautiful music, as great literature, as masterpieces of art.

There are people who have a born capacity to be a musician. Mozart started playing beautiful music at the age of eight. When he was eight, other great masters of music were not anywhere near him. Now, this man is born with that creativity.

Just as there are born poets, born painters, I would like you to remember there are born wealth-creators. They have never been appreciated. Everybody is not a Henry Ford, and cannot be.

Henry Ford was born poor, and became the richest man in the world. He must have had some talent, some genius for creating money, for creating wealth. And that is far more difficult than to create a painting, or music, or poetry. To create wealth is not an easy job. Henry Ford should be praised just as any master musician, novelist, poet. In fact, he should be praised more, because with his money all the poetry and all the music and all the sculptures of the world can be purchased.

I respect money. Money is one of the greatest inventions of man. It is just a means. Only idiots have been condemning it;  perhaps they were jealous that others have money and they don't. Their jealousy became their condemnation.

Money is nothing but a scientific way of exchanging things. Before there was money, people were in real difficulty. All over the world there was a barter system. You have a cow and you want to purchase a horse. Now it is going to be your whole lifelong task.... You have to find a man who wants to sell a horse and wants to purchase a cow. It is so difficult a job! You may find people who have horses but they are not interested in buying cows. You may find people who are interested in buying cows but they don't have horses.

That was the situation before money came into existence. Naturally, people were bound to be poor: they could not sell things, they could not buy things. It was such a difficult job. Money made it so simple. The man who wants to sell the cow need not search for the man who wants to sell his horse. He can simply sell the cow, take the money and find the man who wants to sell the horse, but is not interested in a cow.

Money became the medium of exchange; the barter system disappeared from the world. Money did a great service to humanity. And because people became capable of purchasing, selling, naturally they became more and more rich.

This has to be understood. The more money moves, the more money you have. For example, if I have one dollar with me.... It is just for example, I don't have one; I don't have even a cent with me. I don't even have pockets! Sometimes I get worried that if I get a dollar, where am I going to keep it?

For example, if I have a dollar and I go on keeping it to myself, then in this mandir there is only one dollar. But if I purchase something and the dollar moves to somebody else, I get the worth of the dollar -- which I will enjoy. You cannot eat the dollar. How can you enjoy it just by keeping it? You can enjoy it only by spending it. I enjoy; the dollar reaches to somebody else, Now if he keeps it, then there are only two dollars -- one I have enjoyed already, and one is with that miser who is keeping it.

But if nobody is a clinger, and everybody is moving the dollar as fast as possible -- if there are three thousand people, three thousand dollars have been used, enjoyed. That is one single round. Just give more rounds and there will be more dollars. Nothing is coming in; there is, in fact, only one dollar, but by movement it goes on multiplying itself.

That's why money is called currency. It should be a current. That's my meaning. I don't know about others' meanings. One should not keep it. The moment you get it, spend it. Don't waste time, because that much time you are preventing the dollar from growing, from becoming more and more.

Money is a tremendous invention. Drop all ideas that have been imposed upon you about money. Be respectful to it. Create wealth, because only after creating wealth do many other dimensions open for you.

From Death to Deathlessness, Chapter #22, Archive code: 8508270


Be Yourself



What is the meaning of an authentic man? What is his nature, and his way of life?

The authentic man means one who has come out of his personality. You have two words: personality and individuality. Personality is the false identity given by the society to you. And individuality is what nature has given to you. Individuality is existential. Personality is social.

Ordinarily, everybody is living as a personality; hence, his life is not authentic. It is false, it is deceptive, it is a hypocrisy. He is not only cheating others, he is cheating himself. He is deceiving others and he is deceiving himself too.

The word `personality' comes from Greek drama. Greek drama has a speciality: in ancient Greek drama all the actors have masks. You cannot find out who the actor is, you see only a mask, but the voice that comes through the mask is of the actor.

It was called persona in Greek: sona means sound, sound coming through a mask. You cannot find out who the real face is.

Slowly, slowly, we have forgotten the origin of the meaning of the word `personality'.

But watch yourself, and you will be surprised: everything that you are is borrowed. All your thoughts are borrowed. Even about feelings you are not certain.

The personality is surrounding you from everywhere, and your individuality becomes almost a hidden thing. You never allow it to live -- because the society does not want you to live in freedom according to your nature; the society wants you to live in the way that the society finds useful.

The personality is very useful: it is never rebellious, it is always a slave. It has no guts to say no. It knows only to say "yes sir." Even in moments when your innermost being is saying no, your personality goes on saying, "Yes sir." You are living a split life. Society supports your personality; hence, the personality has become very powerful.

There is nobody to support your individuality; hence, individuality -- which is your nature, which is your real power, which is your authentic being -- remains in darkness, repressed.

You are asking me: “What is an authentic man?” An authentic man is a man of rebellious spirit. He rebels against his own personality, whatever the cost. He is not ready to compromise as far as his freedom is concerned; he would rather die than to be enslaved.

My whole teaching is to bring the authentic being to the surface, from the hidden corners of darkness where you have pushed it.

You are enemies of yourselves; you have crippled your own being. And then you go on complaining that life is miserable -- it is your doing! You have compromised, for small comforts from the society. And for small comforts from the society, you have sold your soul. Now you have comforts but no soul -- good furniture, good house, good salary... but for whom? You are non-existent. This is the misery, this is the hell that every man is passing through.

Drop the personality. Live naturally, live intensely. Do not allow anybody else to dominate you; you have allowed too many people to dominate you.

I was staying in a home. A small child was playing. I asked him a few questions and we became friends. And I asked, "What are you going to become in life?"

He said, "As far as I know, I am going to become insane."

I said, "Why? Why you are going to become insane?"

He said, "Because my mother wants me to become a doctor, my father wants me to become an engineer, my uncle wants me to become a professor, my other uncle wants me to become a scientist. My whole family is wanting me to become this, to become that. I know that if I become all these things, one thing is certain: I will become insane. And nobody is asking me -- `What do you want to become?' Nobody seems to be interested in me; they have their own ambitions, and I am simply an excuse to fulfill their ambitions."

Everybody is in a place where he should not be. The poets are making shoes, the shoemakers have become prime ministers. Everything seems to be topsy-turvy, and everybody is miserable.

The authentic person has to rebel. He has to say to the whole world, "I am going to be myself, whatever the cost. If I want to be a musician.... Perhaps everybody cannot be Yehudi Menuhin or Ravi Shankar. Most probably, I will be a musician on the street begging, but still I will be happy that I am fulfilling my own desire, that I am not being dominated by somebody else."

Those who are dominating may have good intentions. Nobody is doubting their intentions. And perhaps if you had followed their intentions you would have been the richest man in the country, and now you are just a beggar with your guitar on the street. But I say to you that to follow your own nature and to be a beggar with a guitar in the street is more fulfilling, more blissful than to be the richest man in the country, if it is not your desire.

One great surgeon, the greatest in his country, was retiring, and his friends had gathered to celebrate. His students had gathered -- because he was really a master surgeon; there was no comparison at all with anybody else. He was a brain surgeon. Even at the age of seventy-five, his hands were not shaking a bit -- because while you are performing surgery on the brain, if your hand shakes just a little bit, it can cut thousands of small nerves in the brain. You can damage the person for his whole life. Your hand has to be almost like steel, and you have to hit the exact point... because there are seven million nerves in the brain, and seven hundred centers in your small skull. The instruments are very fine, and the man has to be really an artist not to cut any other cells, any other nerves, which are so close knit... seven million, in a small skull. And to remove exactly the nerve that you want to remove... it is the most delicate job in the world.

And he was successful. No operation of his had ever failed. He was respected all over the world, rewarded with a Nobel prize, but on the day that he was retiring he was not happy. Everybody was enjoying, drinking, dancing. He was standing in the corner, sad, lost. A friend came close to him and asked, "What is the matter? We are celebrating here for you, and you are standing so sad -- as if somebody has died."

He said, "I am thinking of something which makes me utterly sad."

The man said, "You, and sad? The world's greatest brain surgeon... everybody is jealous of you."

He said, "But you don't know my inner feeling. I never wanted to become a surgeon in the first place. I wanted to become a musician, but my parents forced me to become a surgeon. My whole life has been nothing but a long slavery. I would have been far happier to be an unsuccessful, unknown, anonymous musician than to be a world-famous surgeon -- because this is not me.

"This was my parents' desire, it was their ambition. I have been manipulated, exploited, my whole life has been destroyed just in fulfilling my parents' desire. And now I am too old, and I don't think that I will be able, but I am going to try.... Because this was not my life. I lived somebody else's idea."

The authentic man is one who lives his life according to his own innermost core, who lives his individuality. It needs guts, it needs courage, because you are moving into an unknown area.

While your parents and your well-wishers are experienced people -- they know what will be right for you, they know what is going to produce more money, more respectability -- you don't know anything.

But the authentic man lives the unknown, allows the unknown, moves on the unknown path, risks everything. He may not find gold mines, but he finds a tremendous satisfaction. His life is a life of blessings; his death is a death of fulfillment.

The Osho Upanishad, Chapter #40, Archive code: 8609285

There are three kinds of freedom. One is 'freedom from'; that is a negative freedom: freedom from the father, freedom from the mother, freedom from the church, freedom from the society. That is a negative kind of freedom -- freedom from -- good in the beginning, but that can't be the goal. Once you are free from your parents, what are you going to do? Once you are free from your society then you will be at loss. You will lose all meaning and significance because your whole life had meaning in saying no. Now whom to say no to?

The second kind of freedom is 'freedom for'; that is positive freedom. Your interest is not in denying something, rather you want to create something. For example, you want to be a poet, and just because you want to be a poet you have to say no to your parents. But your basic orientation is that you want to be a poet and your parents would like you to be a plumber. "Better be a plumber! That is far more paying, far more economical, far more respectable too. Poet?! People will think you are crazy! And how are you going to live? And how are you going to support your wife and your children? Poetry can't pay!"

But if you are for poetry, ready to risk all, this is a higher freedom, better than the first. It is positive freedom -- 'freedom for'. Even if you have to live a life of poverty you will be happy, you will be cheerful. Even if you have to chop wood to remain a poet you will be utterly blissful, fulfilled, because you are doing what you wanted to do, you are doing your own thing. This is positive freedom.

And then there is a third freedom, the highest; in the East we have called it moksha -- the ultimate freedom, which goes beyond both the negative and the positive. First learn saying no, then learn saying yes, and then just forget both, just be. The third freedom is not freedom against something, not for something, but just freedom. One is simply free -- no question of going against, no question of going for. 

Be Still and Know, Chapter #5, Archive code: 7909050


In the past all famous artists have been well-known for their bohemian side of life. Please can you say something about creativity and discipline?

The bohemian life is the only life worth living! All other kinds of lives are only lukewarm; they are more ways of committing slow suicide than ways of living life passionately and intensely. In the past it was inevitable that the artist had to live in rebellion, because creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence. If you want to create you have to get rid of all conditionings, otherwise your creativity will be nothing but copying, it will be just a carbon copy. You can be creative only if you are an individual, you cannot create as a part of the mob psychology. The mob psychology is uncreative; it lives a life of drag, it knows no dance, no song, no joy; it is mechanical.

Of course, there are a few things you will get from the society only if you are mechanical: respectability you will get, honors you will get. Universities will confer D.Litts on you, countries will give you gold medals, you may finally become a Nobel laureate, but this whole thing is ugly.

A real man of genius will discard all this nonsense, because this is bribery. Giving the Nobel prize to a person simply means that your services to the establishment are respected, that you are honored because you have been a good slave, obedient, that you have not gone astray, that you have followed the well-trodden path.

The creator cannot follow the well-trodden path, he has to search out his own way, he has to inquire in the jungles of life, he has to go alone, he has to be a dropout from the mob mind, from the collective psychology. The collective mind is the lowest mind in the world; even the so-called idiots are a little more superior than the collective idiocy. But the collectivity has its own bribes: it respects people, honors people, if they go on insisting that the way of the collective mind is the only right way.

It was out of sheer necessity that in the past, creators of all kinds -- the painters, the dancers, the musicians, the poets, the sculptors -- had to renounce respectability. They had to live a kind of bohemian life, the life of a vagabond; that was the only possibility for them to be creative. This need not be so in the future. If you understand me, if you feel what I am saying has truth in it, then in the future everybody should live individually and there will be no need for a bohemian life. The bohemian life is the by-product of a fixed, orthodox, conventional, respectable life.

Humanity needs a new soil -- the soil of freedom. Bohemianism was a reaction, a necessary reaction, but if my vision succeeds then there will be no bohemianism because there will be no so-called collective mind trying to dominate people. Then everybody will be at ease with himself. Of course, you have not to interfere with anybody, but as far as your life is concerned you have to live it on your own terms. Then only is there creativity. Creativity is the fragrance of individual freedom.

You ask me: “Please can you say something about creativity and discipline?”

‘Discipline’ is a beautiful word, but it has been misused as all other beautiful words have been misused in the past. The word ‘discipline‘comes from the same root as the word ‘disciple’; the root meaning of the word is ‘a process of learning.’ One who is ready to learn is a disciple, and the process of being ready to learn is discipline.

The knowledgeable person is never ready to learn, because he already thinks he knows; he is very centered in his so-called knowledge. His knowledge is nothing but a nourishment for his ego. He cannot be a disciple, he cannot be in true discipline.

Socrates says: "I know only one thing, that I know nothing." That is the beginning of discipline. When you don't know anything, of course, a great longing to inquire, explore, investigate arises. And the moment you start learning, another factor follows inevitably: whatsoever you have learned has to be dropped continuously, otherwise it will become knowledge and knowledge will prevent further learning.

The real man of discipline never accumulates; each moment he dies to whatsoever he has come to know and again becomes ignorant. That ignorance is really luminous. I agree with Dionysius when he calls ignorance luminous. It is one of the most beautiful experiences in existence to be in a state of luminous not-knowing. When you are in that state of not-knowing you are open, there is no barrier, you are ready to explore.

Discipline has been misinterpreted. People have been telling others to discipline their life, to do this, not to do that. Thousands of shoulds and should-nots have been imposed on man, and when a man lives with thousands of shoulds and should-nots he cannot be creative. He is a prisoner; everywhere he will come across a wall.

The creative person has to dissolve all shoulds and should-nots. He needs freedom and space, vast space, he needs the whole sky and all the stars, only then can his innermost spontaneity start growing.

The Goose is Out.  Chapter #9, Archive code: 8103090


What is the difference between a non-conformist and a rebel?

It is an old association, and a misunderstanding, that to be a nonconformist is to be a rebel. The nonconformist is a reactionary; he acts out of anger, rage, violence and ego. His action is not based in consciousness. Although he goes against the society, just to be against the society is not necessarily to be right. In fact most of the time to move from one extreme to another is always to move from one wrong to another wrong.

The rebel is a tremendous balance, and that is not possible without awareness, alertness, and immense compassion. It is not a reaction, it is an action -- not against the old, but for the new.

The nonconformist is only against the old, against the established; but he has no creative conception of why he is against it, no vision of the future. What will he do if he succeeds? He will be at a loss, and utterly embarrassed. He has never thought about it. He has not felt the embarrassment because he has never succeeded. His failure has been a great shelter for him.

When I say reaction, I mean your orientation is basically dependent: you are not acting out of freedom and independence. It has very deep implications. It means your action is just a by-product; it also means that your action can be controlled very easily.

The nonconformist is always in the hands of the society and the establishment. The establishment just has to be a little more clever and cunning, and then he can use the nonconformist very easily, without any difficulty.

But the establishment can never use the rebel because he is not reacting to the establishment. He has a vision of the future, of a new man, of a new humanity. He is working to create that dream, to transform it into reality. If he is against the society, he is against it because the society is a hindrance to his dream.

His focus is not on the establishment; his focus is on an unknown future, a potential possibility. He acts out of his freedom, out of his vision, out of his dream. His consciousness decides which way to go.

That is the difference between reaction and action: reaction is always determined by your enemy. Perhaps you have never thought about it -- that in reaction the enemy is in a dominating position, he is deciding your action. What you are going to do, the enemy can decide.

The Rebel  Chapter #16, Archive code: 8706085

Part II:

The Hollow Bamboo

Get Out of the Way



Why is creativity so painful?

Creativity is the highest peak of your consciousness; hence it is painful, it is arduous. You are going uphill. To be uncreative is very comfortable; it is a downward journey. You need not do anything, nothing is needed on your part; just the gravitational pull is enough. When you are coming down from the hill towards the plains you can just turn your car engine off, no gas is needed; the car will go on rolling down. But if you are going uphill then effort is needed, great effort is needed.

The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 11, Chapter #6,

Once a great musician was asked -- because in India classical music is one of the most complex things, one of the most subtle, and even the masters don't stop practicing -- and it was a great master who was asked, "If you don't practice one day, what will happen?" He was practicing six to eight hours every day. He said, "If I don't practice one day, I will notice the difference: it will no longer be of the same depth; it will not go to the same height. Nobody else will notice it.

"But if I don't practice two days, then the critics of music will be aware that something is missing, it is not the same. And if I don't practice for three days, then even lovers of music will start noticing that something is missing."

Eight hours a day for years a man practices and plays music that is almost not of this world; creates out of sound such silence, such sweetness; touches your heart to its deepest point. It needs patience and effort.

Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance  Chapter #14, Archive code: 8704030

You ask: “Why is creativity so painful?”

Creativity needs the greatest effort because many things have to be dropped when you are moving upwards; unnecessary weights have to be dropped. And you are carrying so much luggage; it is all unnecessary, it is useless. But people go on collecting, people are great collectors. They will collect any kind of rubbish, hoping that maybe some day it will prove of some use. They are greedy and they feel empty so they go on stuffing themselves with every kind of thing. You are so full of ego and ego is a great weight. You cannot move upwards. You will have to put the ego aside -- and that is the greatest pain.

To be a creator means you drop the very idea that "I am separate from existence." Creation happens only when you are one with the existence. Creation happens only when you are so in tune with the creator that there is no disturbance from your side. And the greatest disturbance comes from the ego. It nourishes itself on disturbance, it lives on disturbance. Ego means the idea that "I am separate." And if you think you are separate, you are living in a lie -- and creativity flows out of the experience of truth.

You have to know the truth, that you are not separate. No man is an island, we are all part of one vast continent. The whole existence is one, it is one organic unity; hence all that is great has come out only in those moments when the creator was dissolved into the whole. Great paintings, great poems, great music, great dance, all happen only when you are dissolved, when you are no more. If you are, suddenly you become the block, you stop the flow. Then God cannot use you as a flute, he cannot sing through you. The flute has to be just a hollow bamboo, just an open space, just a vehicle. The great poets, the great musicians, the great dancers, are all vehicles. They don't dance, they are being danced. They don't sing, some unknown energy sings through them.

The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha,Vol 11, Chapter #6

One great English poet, Coleridge, has left only seven poems completed, and he was one of the greatest masters. He left thousands of poems incomplete. Forty thousand in all have been calculated; only seven complete.

Just before his death somebody asked: What is the matter with you? The whole house is filled with incomplete poems, and a few poems need just a touch -- the last line, or three lines are there one line is missing. Why can't you complete them?

Coleridge is reported to have said: Who can complete them? I have never written a single word. When I am not, then something descends. Only three lines came; I was waiting for the fourth but it never came. And I cannot complete it because it will come from a different plane of being. I was not when these three lines came, and I would be there too much when the fourth is added. I could add it, but that would be just false. It would be something imposed -- it won't have a flow, it won't be authentic, it won't be true. So what can I do? I can simply wait.

He waited for certain poems for twenty years, and then the line, the missing line would descend, and he would add it.

It is said about one of the greatest poets of India, Rabindranath Tagore, that whenever he would be writing a poem or painting a picture, he would become so self-conscious that he would forget to eat, he would forget to drink, he would forget to sleep. Even his wife would come but he would not be able to recognize who was standing before him. So whenever he was in a creative mood, nobody would disturb him, nobody would go near his house. He was in such a different state of being that to disturb him could be fatal. For three days, four days, even for weeks, he would not eat, he would not do anything. He had become just a vehicle.

Returning to the Source,  Chapter #8, Archive code: 7412180

The emperor of China was a great painter. At his seventy-fifth birthday, he was feeling old, and perhaps the day was not far away when he would have to leave the body. So he arranged a great competition before he would leave the body: a competition for painting throughout China.

First, in every state there would be a competition, and one painting would be chosen. Then the final would be in the capital, and the emperor would choose which was the greatest painting. He himself was a competitor. He had painted a beautiful painting.

All the painters came from all over China. They all brought their great canvases that they had done. Only one man came without any painting, just paint and a brush -- strange fellow!

The emperor asked, "Where is the painting?"

He said, "I don't like old things. I will paint freshly here and now. You have to give me a room, because I don't paint on canvas, I paint on the walls. Give me the biggest room in your palace and don't disturb me. And keep a guard so that nobody disturbs me. I don't know how long it will take, because it is going to be a spontaneous thing. I don't know what I am going to paint. I am just going to paint out of spontaneity, whatever happens, however long it takes."

The king said, "I am getting old, that's why I have arranged this competition. You have to be quick and fast."

He said, "No. I don't know. It may be quick. Tomorrow morning I may inform you that the painting is complete, or it may take longer. I cannot promise."

No man of understanding can ever promise anybody, because who knows about the next moment? All promising is in ignorance.

The king said, "You are a difficult person, but I can see in your eyes, and I can see in your face -- perhaps you will be the greatest painter." So he gave him the biggest room in the palace -- and there were many big rooms -- with a plain wall so he could paint, and he closed the doors.

The painter said, "Nobody should enter, not even you, until the painting is complete. I will come out for food or anything I need." And he kept a curtain also so that even the guards could not have a look inside at what was happening behind the curtain.

It took three years for him, and the king was saying, "What are you doing? I may never be able to see your painting, I may die!"

The painter said, "It does not matter. If you die you die. If you are alive you will be able to see it. But I cannot do anything in a hurry."

The emperor had to wait.

Four years passed and the painter came out one morning and said to the emperor, "The painting is complete. You are welcome."

Such curiosity had arisen in the emperor's mind. For four years, he was thinking, "What is that guy painting?" He himself was a painter. It did not take four years for one painting. And when he came the emperor immediately followed him. They went behind the curtain.

The painting was just unbelievable; it looked so real. He had painted a huge forest, so green, lush green, almost three-dimensional. And a small path was going -- you could see the path was going and going ... and then it disappeared into the thickness of the jungle.

And the emperor said, "Where does this path go?"

The painter said, "Let us ... Come with me. We can walk and see where the path goes, because without experience you will not know where it goes."

The story is, both went into the path -- the guards were watching -- and as the path turned around, they both turned around and since then nothing has been heard.

This story -- in a painting you cannot enter -- is a symbolic story. It says you can enter in the isness of things. The painter has made the painting so alive that branches were moving in the wind. The path was no ordinary path, and the symbolic meaning is: if you cannot enter into a painting, the painting is not worth calling a painting. But entering does not mean physical entry. Entering means you get lost completely: you are no more, only the painting is.

I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here, Chapter #2,

Archive code: 8902145

Ego: A Big Rock in the River



I have always dreamt of becoming a world-famous man, rich and successful. Can you help me in the fulfilment of my desire?

No sir, not at all, never, because your desire is suicidal. I cannot help you to commit suicide. I can help you to grow and be, but I cannot help you to commit suicide, I cannot help you to destroy yourself for nothing.

Ambition is poison. If you want to be a better musician, I can help you, but don't think in terms of becoming world-famous. If you want to be a better poet, I can help you, but don't think in terms of Nobel prizes. If you want to be a good painter, I can help you -- I help creativity. But creativity has nothing to do with name and fame, success and money. And I am not saying that if they come then you have to renounce them, if they come it is okay, enjoy them. But don't let them become your motivation, because when a person is trying to be successful, how can he really be a poet? His energy is political, how can he be poetic? If a person is trying to be rich, how can he be a real painter? His whole energy is concerned with being rich. A painter needs his whole energy in the painting, and the painting is herenow. And richness may come somewhere in the future -- may come, may not come. There is no necessity; it is all accidental -- success is accidental, fame is accidental.

But bliss is not accidental. I can help you to be blissful; you can paint and be blissful. Whether the painting becomes famous or not, whether you become a Picasso or not is not the point at all, but T can help you to paint in such a way that while you are painting even Picasso may feel jealous of you. You can be utterly lost in your painting, and that is the real joy. Those are the moments of love and meditation; those are the moments which are divine. A divine moment is one in which you are utterly lost -- when your boundaries disappear, when for a moment you are not and God is.

But I cannot help you to be successful. I am not against success, let me remind you again, I am not saying don't be successful; I have nothing against it, it is perfectly good. What I am saying is don't be motivated by it, otherwise you will miss painting, you will miss poetry, you will miss the song that you are singing right now; and when the success comes, you will have only empty hands because nobody can be fulfilled by success. Success cannot nourish; it has no nutrients in it -- success is just hot air.

Just the other night I was reading a book on Somerset Maugham, Conversations with Willie. The book is written by Somerset Maugham's nephew, Robin Maugham. Now, Somerset Maugham was one of the most famous, successful, rich persons of this age, but the memoirs are revealing. Listen to these words.

Robin Maugham writes about his famous and successful uncle, Somerset Maugham:

He was certainly the most famous author alive. And the saddest...'You know' he said to me 'I shall be dead very soon, and I don't like the idea of it at all...' and this statement was made when he was ninety-one. 'I am a very old party' he said. 'But that does not make it any easier for me.'

He was rich, world-famous and all that, and at the age of ninety-one he was still making a fortune, even though he had not written a single word for ages. The royalties from his books still literally flowed in from all over the world, and so did the fan letters. At this moment four of his plays were running in Germany. His play The Circle had been brilliantly revived in England and The Constant Wife had just been turned into a musical. One of his most famous novels, Of Human Bondage, was soon to be made into a film, which might bring him as many millions of dollars as did Rain, The Moon And Sixpence and The Razor's Edge. Unfortunately, the one reward all his talent and success had not given him was happiness.

He was the saddest man in the world.

'What is the happiest memory of your life?' I asked him. He said 'I can't think of a single moment.' I looked around -- says the nephew -- the drawing-room and its immensely valuable furniture and pictures and art objects that his success had enabled him to acquire. His villa itself and the wonderful garden -- a fabulous setting on the edge of the Mediterranean -- were worth six hundred thousand pounds. He had eleven personal servants, but he was not happy.

The next day he was looking into his Bible and said 'I have come across the quotation: What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’ He clasped and unclasped his hands in agony and said again 'I must tell you, my dear Robin, that the text used to hang opposite my bed when I was a child.' And then I took him for a walk in the garden and he said 'You know, when I die, they will take it all away from me -- every tree, the whole house, and every stick of furniture. I shall not even be able to take a single table with me.'

And he was very sad, and he was trembling.

For a while he was silent as we walked through a grove of orange trees, and then he said 'I have been a failure the whole way through my life.' I tried to comfort him. 'You are the most famous writer alive. Surely that means something?' I asked. 'I wish I had never written a single word' he answered. 'What has it brought to me? My whole life has been a failure, and now it is too late to change' he said. 'It is too late.' And tears came into his eyes.

What can success bring to you? Now, this man, Somerset Maugham, lived in vain. He lived long -- ninety-one years -- he could have been a very very contented man, fulfilled. But if success can give it, only then; if riches can give it, only then; if a big villa and servants can give it, only then.

In the ultimate analysis of life, name and fame are just irrelevant, all that matters in the final reckoning is how you lived each moment of your life. Was it a joy? Was it a celebration? And in small things were you happy? Taking a bath, sipping tea, cleaning the floor, roaming around the garden, planting trees, talking to a friend, or sitting silently with your beloved, or looking at the moon, or just listening to the birds -- were you happy in all these moments? Was each moment a transformed moment of luminous happiness? Was it radiant with joy? That's what matters.

You ask me whether I can help you in the fulfilment of your desire. No, not at all, because that desire is your enemy; it will destroy you. And one day when you will come across the sentence in the Bible 'What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?' you will weep in frustration, and then you will say 'And now it is too late to change. It is too late.'

The Sun Rises in the Evening, Chapter #10, Archive code: 7806200

Our whole attitude about life is money-oriented. And money is one of the most uncreative things one can become interested in. Our whole approach is power-oriented and power is destructive, not creative. A man who is after money will become destructive, because money has to be robbed, exploited; it has to be taken away from many people, only then can you have it. Power simply means you have to make many people impotent, you have to destroy them -- only then will you be powerful, can you be powerful.

Remember: these are destructive acts. A creative act enhances the beauty of the world; it gives something to the world, it never takes anything from it. A creative person comes into the world, enhances the beauty of the world -- a song here, a painting there. He makes the world dance better, enjoy better, love better, meditate better. When he leaves this world, he leaves a better world behind him. Nobody may know him; somebody may know him -- that is not the point. But he leaves the world a better world, tremendously fulfilled because his life has been of some intrinsic value.

Money, power, prestige, are uncreative; not only uncreative, but destructive activities. Beware of them! And if you beware of them you can become creative very easily. I am not saying that your creativity is going to give you power, prestige, money. No, I cannot promise you any rose-gardens. It may give you trouble. It may force you to live a poor man's life. All that I can promise you is that deep inside you will be the richest man possible; deep inside you will be fulfilled; deep inside you will be full of joy and celebration. You will be continuously receiving more and more blessings from God. Your life will be a life of benediction.

A Sudden Clash of Thunder, Chapter #4, Archive code: 7608140

Man lives for name and fame, and both are futile. The very idea is egoistic, and the ego is the greatest lie there is. The ego wants to be famous, to be well-known, to be world-known, because it can exist only through others' eyes; it is other-oriented. The ego cannot exist on its own. It has no legs of its own, it has to depend on crutches. What others say about you is tremendously important for the ego. If others say good things about you, you can have a shining ego. That's exactly the meaning of rob: shining fame, shining ego. If others are saying bad things about you, you feel depressed. But you are a victim, you are in others' hands, you are not master of your own self.

The person who is interested in fame remains a slave -- because you have to compromise with people, you have to fulfill their demands, their expectations, their idea of how you should be. If you fulfill their ideas and ideologies, their notions of character, morality, religion, they will respect you, they will give you great honor.

The ego has to depend on others, hence it remains a slave. And you have to make a thousand and one compromises; slowly slowly you go on losing your soul. You become famous but you lose your soul, you lose your freedom.

To be free one needs to be free of the desire for fame and name. To be really free one has to have courage to be a nobody. That's what I mean by transcending the idea of fame, by dropping it; it is futile. One need not be other-oriented, one should be self-oriented. One should look withinwards, one should see oneself, how one is, what one is; one should not ask others.

Don't Let Yourself Be Upset by the Sutra, rather Upset the Sutra Yourself, Chapter #1, Archive code: 7908015


Lieh-tzu exhibited his skill in archery....

The desire to exhibit is the desire of an ignorant mind. Why do you want to exhibit? Why do you want people to know you? What's the cause of it? And why do you make it so significant in your life, the exhibition, that people should think that you are somebody very significant, important, extraordinary -- why? Because you don't have a self. You have only an ego -- a substitute for the self.

Ego is not substantial. Self is substantial, but that is not known to you -- and a man cannot live without the feeling of 'I'. It is difficult to live without the feeling of 'I'. Then from what center will you work and function? You need an 'I'. Even if it is false it will be helpful. Without an 'I' you sill simply disintegrate! Who will be the integrator, the agent within you? Who will integrate you? From what center will you function?

Unless you know the self, you will have to live with an ego. Ego means a substitute self, a false self; you don't know the self, so you create a self of your own. It is a mental creation. And for anything that is false, you have to make supports. Exhibition gives you support.

If somebody says, 'You are a beautiful person,' you start feeling that you are beautiful. If nobody says so, it will be difficult for you to feel that you are beautiful; you will start suspecting, doubting. If you even say to an ugly person continuously, 'You are beautiful,' the ugliness will drop from his mind, he will start feeling he is beautiful -- because the mind depends on others' opinions, it accumulates opinions, depends on them.

The ego depends on what people say about you: the ego feels good if people feel good about you; if they feel bad, the ego feels bad. If they don't give you any attention, the supports are withdrawn; if many people give you attention, they feed your ego -- that's why so much attention is asked for continuously.

Even a small child asks for attention. He may go on playing silently, but a guest comes... and the mother has said to the child that when the guest comes, he has to be silent: 'Don't create any noise, and don't create any disturbance' -- but when the guest comes, the child has to do something because he also wants attention. And he wants more, because he is accumulating an ego -- just growing. He needs more food and he has been told to keep silence -- that is impossible! He will have to do something. Even if he has to harm himself, he will fall. Harm can be tolerated, but attention must be paid to him, everybody must pay attention, he must become the center of attention!

Once I stayed in a home. The child there must have been told that while I was there he was not to make any trouble, he had to remain quiet and everything. But the child could not remain quiet, he wanted my attention also, so he started creating noise, running here and there, throwing things. The mother was angry and she told him many times, admonished him: 'Listen, I am going to beat you if you go on doing this.' But he wouldn't listen. Then finally she said to the child, 'Listen, go to that chair and sit there now!'

From the very gesture the child understood, 'Now it is too much and she is going to beat me,' so he went to the chair, sat there on the chair, glared at his mother and said, very meaningfully, 'Okay! I am sitting, on the outside -- but on the inside I am standing.'

From childhood to the final, ultimate day of your death, you go on asking for attention. When a person is dying the only idea that is in his mind, almost always, is, 'What will people say when I am dead? How many people will come to give me the last goodbye? What will be published in the newspapers? Is any newspaper going to write an editorial?' These are the thoughts. From the very beginning to the last we look at what others say. It must be a deep need.

Attention is food for the ego; only a person who has attained to the self drops that need. When you have a center, your own, you need not ask for others' attention. Then you can live alone. Even in the crowd you will be alone, even in the world you will be alone, you will move in the crowd, but alone.

Right now you cannot be alone. Right now if you go to the Himalayas and move into a dense forest, sitting under a tree, you will wait for somebody to pass by, at least somebody who can carry the message to the world that you have become a great hermit. You will wait, you will open your eyes many times to see -- has somebody come yet or not? ... Because you have heard the stories that when somebody renounces the world, the whole world comes to his feet, and up to now nobody has reached -- no newspaper man, no reporters, no cameramen, nobody! You cannot go to the Himalayas. When the need for attention drops you are in the Himalayas wherever you are.

And The Flowers Showered, Chapter #1, Archive code: 7410310

This is something which has to be understood: the Western education, the Western psychology, all emphasize ego; they all emphasize, "Enhance the ego, strengthen the ego." In different names the ego is strengthened. Willpower -- it is nothing but another name for ego. The whole idea is that man has to have an ego of steel, unbendable, strong, rocklike, hard, because life is a constant struggle for survival. You have to fight, you have to conquer.

Even a man like Bertrand Russell writes a book on science and calls it Conquest of Nature. The whole idea, the Western idea, is how to conquer; even nature has to be conquered. And who are you? -- a part of nature. A part is trying to conquer the whole. It is like your left hand trying to conquer your whole body. Is it possible? It is ridiculous. Science has not conquered nature, but in the very effort to conquer it, it has destroyed much.

In the East we have a totally different idea: nature has to be understood. The law -- what Buddha calls dhamma, the fundamental law of life -- has to be understood so that you can be in tune with it. It is not a question of conquering but of being in step with it, being in harmony with it. To be harmonious with nature is to be blissful.

The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 11, Chapter #6

Archive code: 8004160

Total, Not Perfect


One day you spoke to us about perfection and creativity. What is the relationship between artistic creativity and perfection?

Is not creativity in music, painting and poetry an attempt to reach perfection in visible and audible form?

Is the artist simply creating a more refined ego as the so-called saints you often talk about?

Yes, ordinarily the artist is the most egoistic person in the world. But then he is not a true artist either. He has used art as a means for his ego trip. Artists are very egoistic, constantly bragging about themselves, and constantly fighting with each other. And everybody thinks that he is the first and the last. But this is not true art.

The true artist disappears utterly. These people are only technicians; I will not call them artists but technicians. I will not call them creators; I will only call them composers. Yes, to compose a poem is one thing, to create a poem is quite another. To compose poetry one needs to know language, grammar, rules of the grammar -- rules of poetics. It is a game with words. And if you know the whole game, you can create poetry. It will not be very poetic, but it will have the appearance of poetry. Technically, it may be perfect, but it will have only the body -- the soul will be missing.

The soul happens only when the artist disappears into his art -- he is no more separate. When the painter paints with such abandon that he is not there, that he even feels guilty to sign his painting -- because he knows he has not done it. Some unknown force has done it through him. He knows that he has been possessed -- that has been the experience of all the really great artists down the ages: the feeling of being possessed. The greater the artist, the more clear the feeling is.

And those who are the greatest -- a Mozart, a Beethoven, a Kalidas, a Rabindranath -- these who are the greatest, they are absolutely certain that they have been nothing but hollow bamboos, and God has been singing through them. They have been flutes, but the song is not theirs. It has flowed through them, but it comes from some unknown source. They have not hindered -- that's all they have done. But they have not created it. The paradox!

The real creator knows that he has not created it. God has worked through him. He has possessed him, his hands, his being, and he has created something through him. He has been instrumental.

This is real art, where the artist disappears -- then there is no question of ego. And then art becomes religion. Then the artist is a mystic -- not only technically right but existentially authentic.

You ask me: One day you spoke to us about perfection and creativity. What is the relationship between artistic creativity and perfection?

First, the less of the artist is in it, the more perfect it is. When the artist is absolutely absent, then the creativity is absolutely perfect. In this proportion, you have to remember. The more the artist is present, the less perfect the product will be. If the artist is too much present, the product will be nauseating, it will be neurotic. It will be just ego -- what else can it be? Ego is neurosis.

And one thing more to be remembered: ego always wants to be perfect. Ego is a very perfectionistic one. Ego always wants to be higher and better than others. Hence it is perfectionist. But through ego perfection is never possible. So the effort is absurd. Perfection is possible only when the ego is not. But then one never thinks of perfection at all.

So the real artist never thinks of perfection. He has no idea of perfection. He simply allows himself into a surrender, into a let go, and whatsoever happens happens. The real artist thinks certainly of totality, but never of perfection. He wants to be totally in it, that's all. When he dances, he wants to disappear into the dance. He does not want to be there, because the presence of the dancer will be a disturbance in the dance. The grace, the flow, will be disturbed, obstructed. When the dancer is not there, all rocks have disappeared, the flow is very silent, smooth.

The real artist certainly thinks of totality -- how to be total? -- but never thinks of perfection. And the beauty is: those who are total, they are perfect. And those who think of perfection are never perfect, never total. Rather, on the contrary: the more they think of perfection, the more neurotic they become. They have ideals. They are always comparing, and they are always falling short!

The real artist never thinks of perfection, but his act is so total that perfection is born out of it. The pseudo artist, the technician, always thinks of perfection, and because he thinks of perfection, he is not total, perfection is not born out of him.

This can be of immense help to you, in all walks of life -- particularly for those who are inquiring into the reality of God, truth. Think of totality! and perfection will come automatically on its own. Never think of perfection, otherwise you will go neurotic. All perfectionists become neurotic.

The Perfect Master, Vol 2, Chapter #10, Archive code: 7807100

There is a famous Zen story:

A Zen master was making a painting, and he had his chief disciple sit by his side to tell him when the painting was perfect. The disciple was worried and the master was also worried, because the disciple had never seen the master do anything imperfect. But that day things started going wrong. The master tried, and the more he tried, the more it was a mess.

In Japan or in China, the whole art of calligraphy is done on rice-paper, on a certain paper, a very sensitive paper, very fragile. If you hesitate a little, for centuries it can be known where the calligrapher hesitated -- because more ink spreads into the rice-paper and makes it a mess. It is very difficult to deceive on rice-paper. You have to go on flowing; you are not to hesitate. Even for a single moment. split moment, if you hesitate -- what to do? -- missed, already missed. And one who has a keen eye will immediately say, "It is not a Zen painting at all" -- because a Zen painting has to be a spontaneous painting, flowing.

The master tried and tried and the more he tried -- he started perspiring. And the disciple was sitting there and shaking his head again and again negatively: 'No, this is not perfect.' And more and more mistakes were being made by the master.

Then the ink was running out so the master said, "You go out and prepare more ink." While the disciple was outside preparing the ink, the master did his masterpiece. When he came in he said, "Master, but this is perfect! What happened?"

The master laughed; he said, "I became aware of one thing: your presence. The very idea that somebody is there to appreciate or to condemn, to say no or yes, disturbed my inner tranquility. Now I will never be disturbed. I have come to know that I was trying to make it perfect and that was the only reason for its not being perfect."

Try to make something perfect and it will remain imperfect. Do it naturally and it is always perfect. Nature is perfect; effort is imperfect. So whenever you are doing something too much, you are destroying.

That's why it happens: everybody talks so beautifully; everybody is a talker; people talk their whole life -- but just put them on a platform and tell them to talk to a crowd, and suddenly they become dumb; suddenly they forget everything, suddenly they cannot utter a single word. Or, even if they do utter, it is not graceful, it is not natural, it is not flowing. What has happened? And you have known this man talking so beautifully to his friends, to his wife, to his children. These are also people, the same people -- why are you afraid? You have become self-conscious. Now the ego is at stake: you are trying to perform something.

Listen carefully: whenever you try to perform something, you are searching food for the ego. Whenever you are natural and let things happen, they are perfect, and then there is no problem. When you are natural and let things happen, God is at the back with you. When you are afraid, trembling, trying to prove something, you have lost God. In your fear, you have forgotten Him. You are looking more at the people and you have forgotten your source. Self-consciousness becomes a weakness. A person who is unself-conscious is strong, but his strength has nothing to do with himself -- it comes from the beyond.

When you are self-conscious, you are in trouble. When you are self-conscious, you are really showing symptoms that you don't know who you are. Your very self-consciousness indicates that you have not come home yet.

A Sudden Clash of Thunder, Chapter #1, Archive code: 7608110

Learn and Forget


If you are too knowledgeable it will be difficult for you to be creative.

The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 11, Chapter #6,

In Zen they say that if a person wants to become a great painter he should first learn painting for twelve years -- day in, day out. He should go on learning all that is possible about colours, painting, canvases, techniques, and after twelve years he should throw away his canvas, his brush, his colours, and for twelve years he should forget all about painting. He should never touch it, never talk about it. And then one day he should start painting again. Now the painting will have something original about it. All that is needed as technique is there, but it is no more in the conscious mind, it is no more a part of the ego. It has gone deep into the unconscious. Those twelve years of training, learning, have become part of his blood and bones.

Then for twelve years he has simply forgotten about it. So from the conscious mind all has disappeared. If you ask him anything, he will not be able to say anything. He will not be able to talk about painting any more. Now he will paint like an innocent child who does not know anything, and yet in his painting will be all the expertise of the technician. Now two great things will be meeting in him: the innocence of the child and the knowledgeability of the expert. When these two things meet, there is great creativity.

What happens ordinarily? One can become just an expert, a technician... then you can paint, and you can paint perfectly, but something will be missing. The soul will be missing. The painting will be perfect. Nobody will be able to find any fault, that is true, but that is not enough for a painting -- that nobody can find any fault. That is not enough. It is needed, but it is not enough. It is necessary, but not enough. Something more is needed. Just to say about a painting that there is no fault in it, is not praise.

If a poet brings a poem and you say, 'Yes, it is perfectly as it should be. There are no mistakes, no linguistic mistakes, no grammatical mistakes, no mistakes in the rhythm -- everything is perfectly okay,' this is not praising it. It may be dead. It has to be dead. Life is not there. It is a corpse. Everything seems to be perfect but something very essential is missing.

So there are also painters who are only technicians. Because of these technicians there was a great revolt in the world of painting. People revolted. They stopped going to the art colleges, they stopped learning painting, and they said, 'We will be free painters.' So they started free painting. Now their painting may be original, it may have some significance, but they are incapable of painting it on the canvas. They don't know how to mix colours, they don't know how to draw. The idea in their mind may be great, but they have no expertise to bring to the canvas. That's what has happened to modern painting. Looking at a modern painting it is very puzzling. You don't know what you are looking at. The man seems to be original but he seems to know nothing about painting.

I have heard....

Once a rich man came to Picasso. He wanted two of his paintings and only one painting was ready. And the man was ready to give him any amount of money. So Picasso said, 'You wait. I will bring two paintings.' He went in and he cut the painting in two.

Now if you cut Picasso's painting in two, or even in four, it does not make any difference -- because it is just a mad jumble of colours. And he sold that one painting as two.

Another story about Picasso....

His paintings were being exhibited and the critics were surrounding one painting especially. His paintings were strange, but that was the strangest he had ever done. And they were really full of praise -- like anything. And then came Picasso and he said, 'Who has put it upside-down?' The painting was upside-down!

Or another story....

A rich woman asked Picasso to do her portrait. He did it. He took many months. And he was going to get millions of dollars out of it.

Then the woman came and she said, 'Everything is okay, but I don't like the nose.' So Picasso said, 'Okay. Come after seven days.'

And then he was sitting before his painting, very much worried. And the woman who used to live with him in those days asked, 'Why are you so worried? I have never seen you so worried.' He said, 'The problem is -- where have I painted the nose? I cannot find it.'

Somebody can be very technically expert -- then the thing goes dead -- and somebody can be very innocently, childishly original but then, then again it can't be a real painting. Zen people are right. A painting needs both the innocence of a child and expertise -- both together. Then a great synthesis arises.

Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 2, Chapter #2, Archive code: 7708280

You can be a painter just by learning the art; you can learn all that can be taught in art schools. You can be skillful, and you can paint beautiful pictures, you can even become a renowned figure in the world. Nobody will be able to know that this is just technique, unless you come across a master; but you will always know that this is just technique.

Your hands have become skillful, your head knows the know-how, but your heart is not flowing. You paint, but you are not a painter. You create a work of art but you are not an artist. You do it, but you are not in it. You do it as you do other things -- but you are not a lover. You are not involved in it totally; your inner being remains aloof, indifferent, standing by the side. Your head and your hands, they go on working, but you are not there. The painting will not carry your presence, it will not carry you. It may carry your signature, but not your being.

A master will immediately know, because this painting will be dead. Beautiful... you can decorate a corpse also, you can paint a corpse also, you can even put lipstick on the lips and they will look red, but lipstick, howsoever red, cannot have the warmth of flowing blood. Those lips -- painted, but no life in them.

You can create a beautiful painting, but it will not be alive. It can be alive only if you flow in it; that's the difference between a master when he paints and an ordinary painter. The ordinary painter really always imitates because the painting is not growing within him. It is not something with which he is pregnant. He will imitate others, he will have to look for ideas; he may imitate nature -- that makes no difference. He may look at a tree and paint it, but the tree has not grown within him.

Look at van Gogh's trees. They are absolutely different -- you cannot find trees like that in the world of nature. They are totally different; they are van Gogh's creations, he is living through the trees. They are not these ordinary trees around you, he has not copied them from nature, he has not copied them from anybody else. If he had been a god then he would have created those trees in the world. In the painting he is the god, he is the creator. He is not even imitating the creator of the universe; he is simply being himself. His trees are so high they grow and touch the moon and stars.

Somebody asked van Gogh, 'What type of trees are these? Where did you get the idea from?'

Van Gogh said: 'I don't go getting ideas from anywhere -- these are my trees! If I was the creator my trees would touch the stars, because my trees are desires of the earth, dreams of the earth -- to touch the stars; earth trying to reach, to touch the stars -- hands of the earth, dreams and desires of the earth.'

But these trees are not imitations. These are van Gogh trees.

A creator has something to give to the world, something he is pregnant with. Of course, even for a van Gogh technique is needed, because hands are needed. Even van Gogh cannot paint without hands -- if you cut off his hands what will he do? He also needs technique, but technique is just a way to communicate. Technique is just the vehicle, the medium. The technique is not the message, the medium is not the message. The medium is simply a vehicle to carry the message. He has a message; every artist is a prophet -- has to be! Every artist is a creator -- has to be, he has something to share. Of course, technique is needed.

A technician has the medium, he may have the perfect medium, but he has nothing to deliver, he has no message. His heart is not overflowing. He is doing something with the hand and with the head, because the learning is in the head, and the know-how, the skill, is in the hand. Head and hand cooperate, but the heart remains aloof, untouched. Then painting will be there, but without a heart. There will be no beat in it, there will be no pulse of life in it, no blood will flow in it; very difficult to see -- you can see only if you know the difference within yourself.

Take another example, which will be easier to understand. You love a person: you kiss, you hold his or her hand in your hand, you embrace, you make love. All these things can be done to a person you don't love -- exactly the same kiss, exactly the same embrace, the same way of holding hands; the same gestures in making love, the same movements -- but you don't love the person. What will be the difference? -- because as far as action is concerned there is no difference: you kiss, and you kiss in the same way, as perfectly the same as possible. The medium is there, but the message is not there. You are skillful, but your heart is not there. The kiss is dead. It is not like a bird on the wing, it is like a dead stone.

And The Flowers Showered, Chapter #1, Archive code: 7410310


Just for Joy


Only a creative person can know what bliss is. Paint, play music, compose poetry, do anything, not for any other purpose, just for your joy, for no other reason. If you can compose poetry just for your own joy, or a few friends may share it; if you can make a beautiful garden, just for the sheer joy of making it, and anybody who passes by may stand for a while and have a look -- that's enough reward.

But this is my experience, that only creative people know what bliss is. Those who are not creative cannot know bliss.

They can know happiness, and I will have to make the difference clear to you. Happiness is always caused by something: you get a Nobel prize, you are happy; you are rewarded, you are happy; you become the champion of something and you are happy. Something causes it, but it depends on others. The Nobel prize will be decided by the Nobel committee. The gold medal will be decided by the gold medal committee, the university. It depends on others. And if you have been working for this motive -- that you want to attain the Nobel prize and you are writing poetry, novels, just in order to get the Nobel prize -- while you are working, it will be just a drag. There will be no bliss, because your happiness is there, far away, in the hands of the Nobel prize committee. And even if you get the Nobel prize, it is going to be just a momentary thing. How long can you go on bragging about it?

George Bernard Shaw got the Nobel prize. He was a very clever man. He used the happiness of getting the Nobel prize the most up to now; he defeated all the Nobel prize winners. First he got the Nobel prize -- the news was all over the world. Then he refused the Nobel prize. Now it was an insult to the country, to the king who heads the Nobel prize committee, to the committee, to the people who have proposed his name. Never before had anybody refused; he started this thing.

From all over the world, pressure came upon him. For three days he kept the whole world buzzing: what is going to happen? Every king, every prime minister, every president from every country was wiring and sending messages: "This is not good. This is not gentlemanly. You please accept it, then you can donate it -- but first accept it. Rejecting it is an insult." The third day he relaxed and he accepted it. Again he was even bigger news -- that he had accepted it. Two or three days he waited. As the news was cooling down, he donated it. Again the news became hot, because it is not only a prize, it has money with it too, big money. I think right now it is nearabout two hundred thousand dollars.

Again he exploded all over the news media, and after two, three days, when everything was cooling down, he managed to leak out that he had donated it to his own society, the Fabian society. He was the president and he was the only member! And when he was asked, "What is all this?" he said, "Why not use it as much as you can? -- otherwise just for one day you are in the news, and then finished. I carried it on for one month." But it depends on others. Even if you can carry it on for one month, it is going to be finished -- one minute or one month, it doesn't matter.

Bliss is something totally different. It is not dependent on anybody. It is the joy of creating something; whether anybody appreciates it or not is irrelevant. You enjoyed it while you were making it -- that's enough, more than enough.

From Unconciousness to Consciousness, Chapter #29, Archive code: 8411275

Enlightenment has many doors. It is not open only to the so-called saints. An artist deep in his art, painting so totally that he disappears and only the painting remains -- whether he knows it or not, for that moment he has become a buddha. A singer with his totality disappears in his song.

Enlightenment is not the monopoly of the saints: that is one of the basic points I want to make clear to the world. There are a thousand and one doors. Only one single quality should be there -- that you are rejoicing in doing it, for no attainment. When a singer sings, if he is singing for some reward he cannot be total.

I am reminded of one of India's greatest singers, Tansen. Even today, in Gwalior, there is his samadhi and singers from all over the country go there on his birthday to pay their respects to that great genius. He was in the court of a great emperor, Akbar, and Akbar could not conceive that music could go higher or deeper than Tansen's. But it became a continuous question in his mind: Is it possible to transcend Tansen? Can somebody do something more than he is doing?

Finally he asked Tansen himself: "This question has been torturing me. I know that there is no one who can go so deep and create such beautiful music. Thousands of musicians have come to the court; they know the technique, but their totality is not in it."

Tansen said, "Please forgive me. You don't know my master -- I am not even dust under his feet. You don't know what totality in music is."

Akbar said, "Then invite your master to the court. We will give him all the respect that is possible."

Tansen said, "That is the difficulty; that's why I have never mentioned him." He lived just near to where the Taj Mahal now stands. "He is a very silent, poor man, but he never sings on demand. That is the difficulty. You cannot call him and ask him to sing or play his sitar. When it comes spontaneously to him, then it is a totally different world -- you will not be able even to compare me with him."

Akbar said, "You are creating trouble. If he cannot be asked, then how am I going to listen to him?"

Tansen said, "I know perfectly that at three o'clock, early in the morning almost every day, he plays his sitar. What can be arranged is that we should hide behind the trees where he lives in a hut by the side of the Ganges and just listen as thieves. There is no other way. If he becomes aware that somebody is there, he may stop. So be very quiet." And perhaps never in the history of man has any emperor like Akbar gone to listen to a beggar.

His name was Haridas. In the middle of the night they were hiding behind the trees like thieves. At three o'clock exactly, Haridas started playing on his sitar, and Akbar wept for the first time. Returning home, his tears continued.

Tansen said to him, "Now we are coming close to the palace. Wash away your tears! Why are you weeping?"

Akbar said, "I am weeping because now my whole idea that you are the greatest singer, the greatest musician in the world, is shattered. Your master is miles beyond. But what is the reason that you cannot manage to be the same as your master?"

He said, "The reason is clear: I sing and play for reward; he sings and plays out of spontaneity, for no reward, with no desire even that somebody should listen to it. Just out of his fullness, out of his abundance he pours out music. I cannot do it. I am a court poet, a court singer, a court musician: I do my best, but deep down there is a desire for reward. And you have been rewarding me, you have filled my house with gold. You have raised my position to being the world's greatest musician, but I know the greatest musician is a beggar who was my master.

"I had to sit by his side for thirty years, because there was no other way. He would not teach you anything -- if you could learn that was your business. He would play only when it came to him. You could watch, you could see the tremendous splendor that suddenly happened. Haridas disappeared, only the music remained."

In those moments, when Haridas disappeared, he was a buddha whether he knew it or not. The activity may be in any direction, any dimension.

I want everybody to know that if you can do something without any desire of reward or attainment, you are in meditation. You will blossom into enlightenment. This is rest. This is relaxation.

Turning In, Chapter #4, Archive code: 8808155

Part III:


Flowers of Emptiness
Sitting Silently, Doing Nothing...



Could you talk about the difference between a workaholic and someone who is total in their work?

The difference is very great. The workaholic is not total in his work. The workaholic is addicted to work, he cannot sit silently. He has to do something; whether it is needed or not, that is not the question.

In Japan, even on Sunday people work -- there is no holiday as such -- and people are resisting the government, there is great turmoil. They are not ready to take one holiday per week. They will be paid for it, what is the problem? They are addicted. They say, "What will we do at home? No, we don't want such trouble. At home there will be fighting with the wife, with the children -- and we are addicted to work.”

These are workaholics -- addicted to work just as people are addicted to drugs. Work is their drug. It keeps them engaged. It keeps them away from their worries, it keeps them away from their tensions.

The chewing gum keeps them engaged, and that's how cigarettes keep them engaged. That's how people go on gossiping with each other. That keeps them engaged. Nobody bothers whether it is true or false, that is not the point. The question is: How to keep engaged and away from yourself?

So the workaholics are against meditation. Every addiction is going to prevent you from becoming a meditator. All addictions have to be dropped. But to be total in your work is a totally different thing.

To be total in your work is not addiction, it is a kind of meditation. When you are totally in your work, your work has a possibility of perfection, you will have a joy arising out of a perfect work.

If you can be perfect and total in work, you can be total in no-work -- just sitting silently, totally silent. You know how to be total. You can close your eyes and you can be totally in. You know the secret of being total.

Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons,Chapter #5, Archive code: 8901265


Is the drive towards creativity only another expression of our inability to sit quietly and do nothing?

You will have to understand two kinds of creativity. One is exactly what you are saying -- it is an escape from the uneasiness of not doing anything and just sitting silently. The whole world is workaholic, and the whole world goes on driving everybody nuts: "Do this! Do that! Don't waste time!" So your whole mind is programmed for work, for efficiency. Naturally you cannot sit down silently, you have to do something. It can take the form of some kind of creation: music, poetry, sculpture, but this is not true creativity.

The true creativity comes out of sitting silently. When you are so totally quiet that there is no thought, no wave in the ocean of your being, out of this silence comes a different kind of creativity.

The first I can only call composition. The second is authentic creativity. They look alike, and sometimes the composer may even do better than the man of creativity. But the composer will never be original, he will always be copying. Only the creator can be original, can break new doors into the mystery of existence.

George Gurdjieff has gone deeply into this matter, and he has called the first, subjective creativity; it is mind oriented. And the other he has called the real objective creativity. Whatever names are given, that is not the question, but he knows the difference -- that the people who created the Taj Mahal were not simply architects, they were not simply technologically knowledgeable.

The Taj Mahal was created in order to become an object of meditation. The very form of the Taj Mahal creates a certain quality in you, just as has been found about pyramids -- that the very shape of the pyramid is life preserving. It detracts everything life negative.

When, in the very beginning of this century, the first pyramid was opened, they found a dead cat inside. They could not believe it. The pyramid was three thousand years old, so the cat must have died three thousand years ago. Just by accident she may have entered when they were closing it, and could not get out. But the body of the cat was absolutely fresh, as if it had just died. No stink... in three thousand years.

Then the scientists started looking at the shape of the pyramids -- there must be something in the very shape of the pyramids. And now they have made pyramids for meditators, small aluminium pyramids. You sit inside and you suddenly find you are more alive, you suddenly find more silence.

We are going to create new campuses around in the pyramid shape for meditators. Even people who live inside a pyramid find it very rejuvenating. The scientists could not believe it; they themselves found that they were more alive inside the pyramid than they were outside. Something happens; just the shape of the pyramid is the thing.

Those pyramids were created by Egyptian mystics from very ancient scriptures from the continent, Atlantis, that drowned either by natural catastrophe or by man's stupidity. But in Alexandria in Egypt, they had saved everything worthwhile from the lost continents of Lemuria and Atlantis. The library of Alexandria was so big -- perhaps the biggest library in the world. The Mohammedan, Khalif Omar, burned it down.

You can see the stupid logic. With the holy Koran in one hand, and a burning torch in the other, Khalif Omar entered the library and asked the chief librarian, "You have to answer a question, because the very existence of your library depends on it. Is there anything more in your library than is in the Koran?"

The librarian saw the strategy. If he said there was more, then certainly it had to be destroyed, because nothing more is needed than the Koran; it is enough. If he said... and that's what he said, being a very intelligent person, knowing perfectly well there was so much more in the library than the Koran. He said, "Whatever is contained in the Koran in a condensed form is available in the library. It is the same."

Although he tried by his answer to save the library, he did not know the fanatic mind.

Omar said, "If it is the same, then it is not needed, the Koran is enough. Why bother with so many books?" Omar burned it, and that library was so vast that it took six months for the fire to destroy it.

It had all the maps of the pyramids, and the reasoning why that particular shape is rejuvenating.

Pyramids can be called authentic creativity, but our so-called painters and our so-called musicians have no understanding of meditation. So it is just being busy without business, just doing something because the society does not accept you sitting silently.

From my very childhood, my uncles, my relatives had been telling me, "You will end up in nothing, because you simply sit and do nothing."

I said, "That's exactly what I am searching for -- to be nothing."

They shrugged their shoulders; they could not understand -- what kind of a man is this who does not take an insult? In their minds to be nothing is humiliation; one has to be something! And I said to them, "You cannot humiliate me. To be something is humiliating. When one can be nothing, so vast, so infinite, why should one be something? Something is a limitation."

Anything that arises from your silences has a beauty, a truthfulness, an authenticity. And that which arises out of the mind is only a carbon copy. Howsoever beautiful it may appear to the ignorant, it cannot be called a creative phenomenon.

If you have been to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, you will find that on the other side of the Yamuna there are the foundations of another Taj Mahal -- just the foundations. The same emperor who allowed the Sufi mystics to design the Taj Mahal thought, "It is too costly to bring all these mystics from Persia and Arabia. And now that we have the model..."

It took thirty years for one thousand artists to make the Taj Mahal. He released them, and he told the architects that were available in New Delhi, "Now that the Taj Mahal is ready, you can build the same on the other side of the bank."

This Taj Mahal was going to be his wife's samadhi. It is from his wife's name that it became Taj Mahal; her name was Mumtaz Mahal. The other he was creating for himself. And the architect said, "There is no problem. We can build exactly the same thing on the other side." And they suggested, "If one is made in white marble it will be a good contrast to make the other in black marble."

They could not complete it because the emperor was imprisoned by his son, and the son was not interested at all. So it has remained only a foundation. But even if it had been completed, it would not have been a creative act, it would have been only technologically copied from the original.

And the mistake is immediately seen -- they did not think of the whiteness and the communion with the full moon. Black marble does not have that beauty in the full moon. It cannot create a luminosity within you, it cannot wake you up. So even if they had completed it, it would not have been authentic and original.

 If you don't have to do anything, that is the greatest moment just to be. Don't do anything. Be silent. Do only when things are necessary to be done. So much nonsense will be cut out and you will have much more energy to explore the inner.

The Zen Manifesto: Freedom From Oneself, Chapter #10, Archive code: 8904095

Sane Art


My definition of sane art is that listening to it, looking at it, it gives you health, wholeness, silence, peace.

The Last Testament, Vol 3, Chapter #30, Archive code: 8510205

The Taj Mahal was created by Sufi mystics. History tells only about the man who for thirty years paid thousands of artists, but the history has no idea that the people who were the architects were Sufi mystics. And it was not an imaginative thing; it was something so that if somebody sits silently looking at it, it will create the same feeling, the same vibration in which the architect was living.

The Taj Mahal is a scripture, it is a message, it is not just a beautiful building. It is not just for the tourists to come and take photographs, it is for meditators to sit and just watch: the very form of the architecture creates something in you. The people who made the building were aware that they were making a device for meditation.

YAA-HOO! The Mystic Rose, Chapter #30, Archive code: 8804215


You see all these tourists...

This is a different class of humanity and a different category, the tourist. They are utterly insane people, loaded with cameras, and always in a hurry; even if they come to the Taj Mahal, they don't have much time, they immediately take a few photographs and the taxi moves on. They have not seen the Taj Mahal; they were adjusting their cameras. By the time the taxi wallah starts honking that it is time to go, there are many other places to see... and finally they decide, back at home, relaxed, "We will look at the album and we will appreciate the beauty of the Taj Mahal and the Himalayas and Kashmir."

This seems to be such a stupidity. You could have purchased all those photographs in your own town. They are available... and you cannot have better photographs than those that are available because they are taken by great, professional photographers. Your photographs will be just amateur. You went around the world just to collect photographs?... What was the fear to remain with the Taj Mahal at least for twenty-four hours?

Those who know the Taj Mahal the way I know it remain there exactly fifteen days. When the moon starts rising, the first day of the moon, you have a beautiful Taj Mahal, just a glimpse for a moment and then there is darkness. Then the second day more light... the third day more light. As the light grows, the Taj Mahal also becomes more and more clear, as if a dream is becoming a reality.

And on the full moon night exactly, nearabout nine o'clock, the Taj Mahal is the most beautiful. The combination of the full moon and the Taj Mahal has been made not by ordinary architects; it has been made by Sufi mystics. It has been made to create gratitude and prayer in you. It is not a place for tourists, it is a place for seekers.

Seekers are not in a hurry; they will wait, they will look at the Taj Mahal from every side in different lights, in the day, in the night. In the morning when the sky is full of stars, the Taj Mahal has a different beauty. The beauty goes on changing. That is the grandeur of this Taj Mahal -- and this is the grandeur of this whole existence. The Taj Mahal is just a representative.

Satyam Shivam Sundram, Chapter #15, Archive code: 8711140

I would like to tell you the story of how the Taj Mahal came into existence.

A man came from Shiraz, Iran. He was called Shirazi because he had come from Shiraz. He was a great artist, the most famous from Shiraz. And he was a miracle man; a thousand and one stories had come before he came to India. Shah Jehan was the emperor; he heard about those stories. He invited the sculptor to come to the court. And Shirazi was a mystic, a Sufi mystic.

Shah Jehan asked him, "I have heard that you can sculpt the whole body of a man or a woman just by touching his or her hand and not seeing his or her face at all. Is it true?"

Shirazi said, "Give me a chance -- but with one condition. Put twenty-five beautiful women from your palace behind a screen, behind a curtain. Let their hands simply be available to me outside the curtain. I will touch their hands and I will choose the person -- but with one condition. Whomsoever choose I will make an image of: if the image comes absolutely true and you are satisfied, your whole court is satisfied, then that woman will be my woman want to get married to her, I want a woman from your palace."

Shah Jehan was ready. He said, "That's perfectly okay."

Twenty-five slave girls, beautiful slave girls, were put behind a curtain. He went from the first to the second to the twenty-fifth, rejecting all. Just out of playfulness, Shah Jehan's daughter, just to play a joke, was also standing behind the screen -- when twenty-five were rejected, she put out her hand. He touched her hand, closed his eyes, felt something, and said, "This is my hand." And he put a ring on the daughter's hand to signify that "If I succeed, then she is going to be my wife."

The emperor reached behind the screen and he was terrified: "What has this girl done?" But he was not worried because it was almost impossible to make a statue of the whole woman just by touching her hand.

For three months, Shirazi disappeared into a room; day and night he worked. And after three months he asked the emperor and the whole court to come -- and the emperor could not believe his eyes. It was exactly the same! He was capable. He could not find a single fault; he wanted to find a fault, because he was not willing that his daughter should be married to a poor man. But now there was no way. He had given his word.

He was so disturbed, and his wife was so much disturbed that his wife fell ill. She was pregnant, and while giving birth to the child, she died -- out of agony. Her name was Mumtaj Mahal.

And the king became so desperate: how to save his daughter? He asked the sculptor to come and he told him the whole thing, "It has been a mistake. And the girl is at fault, but look at my situation: my wife has died and the reason is that she could not agree to the idea of her daughter going with a poor man. And I cannot agree either -- although I have given you my promise."

The sculptor, the artist, said, "There is no need to be so much worried. You should have told me. I will go back. No need to be worried. I will not ask; I will go back to Shiraz. Forget about it!"

But the king said, "That is not possible; I cannot forget. I have given you a promise, my word. You wait. Let me think."

The prime minister suggested, "You do one thing: your wife has died and this is a great artist and he has proved himself -- tell him to make a model in the memory of your wife. You should create a beautiful tomb, the most beautiful in the world. And make it a condition that if you approve of his model, then you will have to give your daughter to him in marriage. If you don't approve, it is finished."

The matter was talked over with the artist and he was willing; he said, "Perfectly okay."

"Now," the king thought, "I will never approve."

And Shirazi made many models, and they were so beautiful, but still the king persisted and he said, "No, no, no."

The prime minister became desperate, because those models were rare. Each model was rare, and to say no to it was unjust. He rumoured around, particularly to the sculptor, "The girl that you have chosen, the daughter of the king, is very ill." For one week she was very ill, then the next week she became very very ill, and the third week she died -- in the rumours.

When the rumour reached the sculptor that the girl had died, he made his last model. The girl was dead. His heart was broken. And this was going to be the last model. He brought it to the king and he approved of it. The trick was that the girl was dead so there was no question of marrying.

That model became the Taj Mahal. That model was created by a Sufi mystic. How could he create the whole image of the woman just by touching her hand once? He must have been in a different kind of space. He must have been in that moment without mind. That moment must have been a moment of great meditation. In that moment he touched the energy, and just by feeling the energy he created the whole shape.

Now this can be understood far more logically because of Kirlian photography, because each energy has its own pattern. Your face is not accidental; your face is there because you have a particular energy pattern. Your eyes, your hair, your colour, all are there because you have a particular energy pattern.

Meditators have been working on energy patterns down the ages. Once you know the energy pattern, you know the whole personality. You know in and out, all -- because it is the energy pattern that creates everything. You know past, you know present, you know future. Once the energy pattern has been understood, there is the key, the nucleus, of all that has happened to you and all that is going to happen.

This is objective art. This man created the Taj Mahal.

Walk Without Feet, Fly Without Wings and Think Without Mind,

Chapter #7, Archive code: 7801070

Resonance of Form


Someone asked a great French artist why he painted. He said, "I draw pictures only to find what form a certain emotion, a certain feeling of my heart, can take on a canvas. In my efforts to express that feeling, a picture emerges." If someone meditates on that picture, he can experience the same emotion as was present in the painter's heart.

When you see a painting you just see a form; you don't realize that the soul of the artist is entering you. Those crisscross lines on the canvas are not just the lines of that form. If you concentrate on them, a picture with crisscross lines will emerge within you too... because it is the nature of the mind that it vibrates in you with a similar resonance to that which it sees outside it.

You probably do not know that the joy which you feel when you see a flower is not so much because of the flower itself but because of the symmetry of its petals, which is also induced in you.  When you are attracted to a beautiful face of someone, it is not because of that person's beauty but because it corresponds to your inner image of beauty. It produces a resonance of beauty in you which makes you feel that something within you is also beautified. In a similar way, the presence of an ugly face makes you feel uncomfortable. The experience of joy in the presence of someone who is beautiful is because of the flow of beauty which it brings about in you, making you also more beautiful. Ugliness means that something is disproportionate, crude, non-symmetrical and crooked; and this evokes in us a feeling of disharmony, repulsion, disorder and discomfort.

Nijinsky, the famous Russian ballet dancer, committed suicide. When people went to his house to investigate, they came out within ten or fifteen minutes feeling a sort of discomfort. They said that it did not feel good to go into his house, that if anyone stayed in it as long as Nijinsky had, they too would commit suicide. What was it about his house which was so unpleasant? He had painted all the walls and ceilings red and black -- for two years it had been like this. It was not surprising that he went mad and that he committed suicide. Those who went inside his house said that if anyone were to stay in that house for two years they would also go mad and commit suicide. Nijinsky must have been a very courageous man -- he had created around himself a very anarchic situation.

Whatsoever you see creates its echo within you, and in some deep sense you become like that which you see.

Hidden Mysteries, Chapter #4, Archive code: 7106165

Gurdjieff used to call Eastern art "objective art" and Western art "subjective art." He means by objective art, art which has some intrinsic quality which can be imparted for thousands of years. The work of art is a code word. After experiencing meditation for thousands of years, meditators have come to recognize that a certain posture, a certain way of sitting, a certain way of the eyes, can create in anybody a synchronicity, a sympathy; some sympathetic note can be stirred by the statue.

In the East a statue is not made for its own sake. It is made as a code language for centuries to follow. Scriptures may disappear, languages may change, words may be interpreted. Doctrines can be wrongly interpreted, commented upon. There may be dispute about theories -- and there has been -- so they thought there must be a different way than language.

Now what dispute can there be about the statue of a Buddha or Mahavira? There is no question of dispute, there is no need of any commentary. Anybody who is capable of sitting silently by the side of this statue will have a certain thing stirred in his heart. This is objective art.

From Darkness to Light, Chapter #27, Archive code:               8503285

Just watching Mahavira's statue you may fall into a meditative state. That was their original function. They were not made to be worshipped, they were made to make you aware of a certain state. The statue is of a certain state, not of a certain man; that man is irrelevant.

It happened that some photographer took a picture of Ramakrishna. That was his first picture and the photographer was very happy. He brought the large framed picture to present to Ramakrishna who was sitting with his disciples. He took the picture in his hand and kissed the feet in the picture. The photographer could not believe it! Is this man sane or insane? His own picture, and he is kissing the feet!

Vivekananda, his chief disciple, was sitting by the side. He said, "Paramahansadeva, what are you doing? This is your own picture. Have you seen it or not?" He thought he had not looked at the picture -- Just that the man had given it to him, and he must have thought it was some god's picture, so he had kissed it.

Ramakrishna said, "Is it so? Let me look." He looked and he said, "Yes, it is my picture," and he kissed the feet again!

Vivekananda said, "Now this is too much."

Ramakrishna said, "I am not kissing my own feet. This is a picture of a state, it has nothing to do with me. Just look at the picture," he said, "It is a picture of a certain state. The body is just the outer lines, but look into the eyes, look into the face. And I remember perfectly where I was when this picture was taken: I was in samadhi, so it is a picture of samadhi. And I say to you that only this picture should be distributed, no other picture."

So only that picture hangs in the houses of people who worship Ramakrishna, because that picture was worshipped by Ramakrishna himself. It is absurd logically, but just a little bit of patience and you can see the point. It is a picture of a state. It is immaterial whether Ramakrishna was in that state or Mahavira was in that state or Buddha was in that state. It is immaterial -- what matters is that consciousness.

Good music, good poetry, can raise your consciousness. They can create the situation for the entry into the third. Very few musicians have been there very few poets, very few painters, and very few sculptors are capable of creating such artifacts that can give you a resonance inside you.

From Misery to Enlightenment, Chapter #5, Archive code: 8502025


While in an art museum I entered one room with statues and carvings of Buddha. I was surprised to feel a very strong energy current, similar to what I feel here in the lecture. Was I imagining things?

The first thing to be understood: you will be surprised to know that the Buddha statues have nothing to do with Gautam Buddha. They are all false, they don't resemble Buddha at all, but they have something to do with buddhahood. Not with Gautam Buddha, the person -- they have something to do with buddhahood.

You can go into a Jain temple and you will see twenty-four statues of twenty-four teerthankaras, the founders of Jainism, and you will be unable to make out any difference between them; they are all alike. To make a distinction, Jains make small symbols on them to know who is who, because they are all alike. If those symbols were hidden, not even a Jain could make any demarcation. Whose statue is this? Mahavir's? Parswanatha's? Adinatha's? And you will also be surprised to know that they are exactly like Buddha -- no difference.

In the beginning, when the West became acquainted with Mahavir, they thought it was nothing but the same story of Buddha, because the statue is the same, the philosophy is the same, the understanding is the same, the teaching is the same -- so it was just the same thing; it was nothing different from Buddha. They thought Mahavir was another name for Buddha. And of course both were called Buddhas -- 'Buddha' means 'the awakened one' so Buddha was called Buddha and Mahavir was also called Buddha, so they thought that they were just the same person.

And the statues were a great proof: they look absolutely alike.  They are not photographic, they don't represent a person, they represent a certain state. You will have to understand it, then the thing will be explained.

In India, three words are very important: one is tantra, which we are talking about, another is mantra, and the third is yantra.

Tantra means techniques for expanding your consciousness. Mantra means finding your inner sound, your inner rhythm, your inner vibration. Once you have found your mantra, it is of tremendous help: just one utterance of the mantra and you are in a totally different world. That becomes the key, the passage, because once uttering that mantra, you fall into your natural vibe. And the third is yantra. These statues are yantras. Yantra means a certain figure which can create a certain state in you. A certain figure, if you look at it, is bound to create a certain state in you.

When you watch something, it is not only that the figure is outside -- when you watch something, the figure creates a certain situation in you. Gurdjieff used to call this 'objective art'. And you know it: listening to modern pop music, something happens in you -- you become more excited sexually. There is nothing but sound outside, but the sound hits inside -- creates something in you. Listening to classical music, you become less sexual, less excited. In fact, with great classical music you almost forget sex, you are in a tranquility, a silence, a totally different dimension of your being. You exist on another place.

Watching a Buddha statue is watching a yantra. The figure of the statue, the geometry of the statue, creates a figure inside you. And that inside figure creates a certain vibe. It was not just imagination that happened to you, those Buddha statues created a certain vibe in you.

Watch the state of Buddha sitting so silently, in a certain yoga posture. If you go on watching the statue, you will find something like that is happening within you too.

The outer is not the outer, and the inner is not just the inner; they are joined together. So beware of what you see, beware of what you listen to, beware of what you read, beware of where you go -- because all that creates you.

Those Buddha statues you saw in the museum are the states of inner silence. When a person is absolutely silent, he will be in that state. When everything is still and quiet and calm inside -- not a thought moves, not a small breeze blows; when everything has stopped, time has stopped -- then you will also feel to sit like a Buddha. Something of the same geometry will happen to you. It is objective art -- less concerned with the reality of Buddha, more concerned with those people who will be coming and will be seeking Buddhahood. The emphasis is different: what will happen to those who watch these statues, and will kneel down before these statues, and will meditate on these statues.

It was not imagination, it was objective art which you stumbled upon unknowingly.

The Tantra Vision, Vol 2, Chapter #6, Archive code: 7705060

Take Responsibility



I feel a strong urge to create something in my life.

Can you please say something about the dividing line between expressing neuroses and the creation of something of beauty? Is it good for me to go on writing songs?

The urge to create anything is the first ray of light in the dark night of your soul. The urge to create is the urge to participate in the work of God.

There is no God as a person, but there is tremendous creativity going all over the place. God is not a creator to me, God is all this creativity -- and whenever you feel some urge to create, it is an urge to meet God. It is an urge to be a small God in your own right. Only by creating something, you can feel fulfilled.

You write songs -- it is beautiful. You want to sing. For whose permission are you waiting? -- sing and sing madly! But remember only one thing, creativity has two possibilities. One is that it arises out of your silence, love, understanding, your clarity of vision, your intimate friendliness with existence -- then creativity is healthy. But if it does not arise out of meditation, out of silence and peace and understanding and love, then there is a danger. It may be arising out of your confused mind. It may be arising out of your insanity.

Anything that comes out of your tense mind, helps you anyway. It gives a relief. Something that was going round and round inside you -- you have released it, but it will torture somebody else. It may torture many... because the song that was imprisoned within you was a personal matter; you have made it public.

And if the song has come out of some kind of madness, some kind of confusion, you will certainly feel good, but at a cost which is too big. Millions of people for thousands of years can be affected by it. You are relieved but you have not behaved responsibly. You have not behaved sanely, you have not behaved humanely. Your songs, your paintings, your dance will have all the qualities of your mind, from which they came.

Before you start making your songs and singing and dancing, create the right consciousness, the right awareness, so whatever comes out of you is a blessing for humanity, not a curse. That is the criterion. Unless it can be a blessing, throw it into a fireplace. You are released, but don't burden somebody else.

Everything is interconnected. If you want to sing, just look into yourself -- why? If you want to dance, just watch within yourself -- from where is the urge coming and why?

I am not preventing you. You can dance, you can sing, you can do whatever you want, but remember not to interfere in anybody's life -- even with a song, even with a dance.

Life is very delicate and very fragile. A small thing can become a great disturbance.

My suggestion is, your urge is beautiful. Just now, what you need is a little more silence, a little more peace, a little more relaxation, a little more no-mind, so that you can become just a hollow bamboo. And the song that wants to come out of you can come, and the dance can come, but they are not your creations. Your mind has not contributed anything to them, they are coming from the beyond.

You have put the mind aside. Meditation simply means putting the mind aside, opening the door to your consciousness, an immediate relatedness to existence.

Out of this, let the songs come, let the dances happen. They will be blessings to you and they will be blessings to the whole world. Share them. But share only when it has come out of silence, out of health, out of an integrated being.

Sermons in Stones, Chapter #24, Archive code: 8612235

Picasso's pictures are subjective art. Seeing a painting by Picasso ... he has not considered you, who are going to see the painting. You are not taken into account at all.

You cannot go on looking at a Picasso painting for a long time. You will start feeling tense, your stomach will start feeling weird -- because Picasso is not concerned with you, what happens to you, he is simply subjective. He is pouring out his own mind, what is happening to him; unconcerned about humanity or anybody. He is going crazy, that's why his painting is crazy.

When you compose music or poetry you are to understand that somebody will be reading it -- what effect it is going to have on the person? Will it drive him sane or insane?

I myself have been very interested in painting. From my very childhood I started many paintings but not a single painting have I left intact. I have burned all of them.

One of my professors was a painter himself. I used to visit his studio, and I used to say sometimes, "This seems to be wrong. If you do a little change here then the whole impact of the painting will be different."

He started asking me, "Are you a painter? -- because whatsoever you suggest, reluctantly I do it, and certainly it improves the painting. And by and by I have dropped my reluctance. I simply accept your suggestion. But this is possible only if you are a painter ... because there are so many people coming here. Even my own students who are painters never suggest that this is wrong; just a slight change will do a miracle. And it does. So you have to explain to me the truth."

I said, "Yes, I am not a painter, but I paint."

He said, "What is the difference between being a painter and painting?"

I said, "There is much difference: I don't allow my paintings to be exhibited because I am still not in a position to create objective art; they are all subjective. They represent and reflect my mind, and what can my mind be to others? They are already burdened with mind; now, burdening them more is inhuman. So I paint because I enjoy painting. I love colors."

And I don't know why Sagar University in India .... I have traveled all over India continually for thirty years, but I have never seen such colors in the sky as happens over the lake by the side of the university in Sagar. Never have I seen anywhere such splendor; the sunrise, the sunset, are just divine ... without there being any God.

I painted, and destroyed my paintings. Only a few friends have seen them. I allowed this professor to see a few of my paintings. He said, "You are mad -- these paintings are far superior to mine. You can earn so much money, you can become world famous.

I said, "I accept your first statement. You said, `You are mad' -- I am! That's why I am not going to leave these footprints of a madman for others to travel and follow." I have destroyed all those.

I love poetry. I have written poetry. But I continued to destroy it. My basic standpoint was that unless I am no more, whatever I do is going to harm others. This is the Eastern way.

Now it is unfortunate that when I disappeared, the desire to paint or to make a statue or to compose poetry all disappeared too. Perhaps they were just part of that madman who died. And I am happy that nothing of it survives.

From Darkness to Light, Chapter #27, Archive code: 8503285

Everything that is of authentic value in life has arisen out of meditation. There is no other way. Meditation is the mother of art, music, poetry, dance, sculpture. All that is creative, all that is life-affirmative, is born out of meditation. All that is life-negative -- hate, anger, jealousy, violence, war -- is born out of the mind. Man has two possibilities: mind and meditation.

Meditation can be translated as no-mind; then things will be simple. Either something comes out of the mind, or something comes out of no-mind. Mind is noise, it is craziness, insanity. No-mind is silence, health, wholeness. Mind cannot create anything which is not poisonous. And out of no-mind there is no possibility of anything arising which will serve death.

Just look at your mind.

From Bondage to Freedom, Chapter #39, Archive code: 8510230

Just sit silently in a corner one day. Close the door -- lock it so that you can be confident that nobody is going to see what you are doing -- and then go on writing whatsoever arises in your mind. Don't edit it; don't try to make it better. Don't even complete the sentences -- if they remain incomplete and another sentence intrudes, leave it as it is. It has to be photographic. Just a small ten minute exercise -- and then read what you have written. And you will be surprised: are these your words? Is this your mind? This seems to be the mind of a madman!

But twenty-four hours, day in and day out, those thoughts go on rushing in your mind. When anything is created out of this madness which you call mind, it is going to reflect it. That's why even a great painter, a genius like Picasso, has never attained to what I am calling objective art. All his paintings are subjective.

And if you watch his paintings, sitting silently, looking at them, the paintings will create not silence in you, not beauty in you, not grace in you, not a feeling of the divine in you, but you will start feeling a little crazy. Those paintings are crazy. They have come out of a mad mind. It does not matter that the mad mind was a genius.

On the other hand, if you sit silently on a full moon night near the Taj Mahal and watch it, you will be surprised how your mind becomes calm and quiet. The Taj Mahal has a totally different effect, because it was created by Sufi mystics. It is an example of objective art.

The subjective art is a kind of vomiting. You are filled with so much rubbish; you want to get rid of it, and the only way to get rid of it is to throw it on the canvas, on the musical instruments. Objective art is coming out of a silence so deep... it is almost an expression, to convey to you that this silence is possible in everybody.

Objective art has a message. Subjective art has a madness.

The Razor's Edge, Chapter #22, Archive code: 8703080

Part IV:

This Crazy World

Subjective Art


Art can be divided into two parts. Ninety-nine percent of art is subjective art. Only one percent is objective art. The ninety-nine percent subjective art has no relationship with meditation. Only one percent objective art is based on meditation. The subjective art means you are pouring down your subjectivity on the canvas, your dreams, your imaginations, your fantasies, your dreams. It is a projection of your psychology in the same way it will be in poetry, in music, in all dimensions of creativity. You are not concerned with the person who is going to see your painting. You are not concerned what will happen to him when he sees your painting; that is not your concern at all. Your art is simply a kind of vomiting. It will help you, just the way vomiting helps. It takes the nausea off, it makes you cleaner, makes you feel healthier. But you have not considered what is going to happen to the person who is going to see your vomit. He will become nauseous. He may start feeling sick.

The Last Testament, Vol 3, Chapter #24, Archive code: 8510145

It is not a coincidence that a man like Jean Paul Sartre writes a novel called Nausea. The whole modern artistic world is suffering from nausea, and they are simply throwing up, vomiting. Their paintings are their vomit, their poems are their vomit.

Light on the Path, Chapter #38, Archive code: 8602130

Look at the paintings of Picasso. He is a great painter, but just a subjective artist. Looking at his paintings, you will start feeling sick, dizzy, something going berserk in your mind. You cannot go on looking at Picasso's painting long enough. You would like to get away, because the painting has not come from a silent being. It has come from a chaos. It is a by-product of a nightmare. But ninety-nine percent art belongs to that category.

In the East statutes are carved, but before a sculptor starts carving statues he learns meditation. before he starts playing on the flute he learns meditation. Before he starts writing poetry he learns meditation. Meditation is absolute necessity for any art, then the art will be objective.

The Last Testament, Vol 3, Chapter #24, Archive code: 8510145

Why did Picasso become the greatest painter of this age? The reason is: because this age knows inner suffering the most. Nobody would have thought him a painter five hundred years ago. They would have laughed, and they would have put him into a mental institute.

Only this century could believe that Picasso is a great painter, because this century suffers, is a little alert of suffering, of inner misery -- and this man has put it in color.

What you cannot put even in words, he has been able to put in color. You don't understand what it is, but somehow you feel a deep at-one-ment. It has an appeal, something clicks in you. It is not intellectual because you cannot figure out what it is, but you remain stuck watching, looking, as if it were a mirror and something of your inside, of your intestines, is there. Picasso's paintings became the greatest in this age because they served almost like an X-ray.

From Ignorance to Innocence, Chapter #15, Archive code: 8412145

He represents the whole madness that is happening in millions of people. He is a sensitive soul; he has become so attuned with the pathology of mankind that it has become his own pathology. Hence the appeal of his paintings, otherwise they are ugly. Hence his great name -- because he deserves it, he represents the age. This is Picasso's age: what you cannot say about yourself, he has said it. What you cannot pour out of yourself, he has poured it on the canvas. But it is a subjective phenomenon. It is therapeutic to him, but it is dangerous to everybody else.

The Book of Wisdom, Chapter #24, Archive code: 7903060

Sigmund Freud had this attitude, that all art is pathology. Not all -- I will not agree with him to that extent -- but ninety-nine percent of it is. It is out of contradiction, it is out of conflict, friction. All great artists have suffered much. A Dostoevsky is a very ill person. Out of his illness, contradiction, out of his inner conflict, comes a great piece like Brothers Karamazov.

So is van Gogh very insane. But out of his insanity come great paintings. In fact, it may be that because he was painting it kept him closer to the normal. If he had not been allowed to paint he would have gone mad sooner. If Dostoevsky had not been allowed to write he might have committed suicide, he might have gone mad sooner.

So if man becomes healthy, if man becomes normal, if man becomes more meditative, this kind of art will disappear. Hence there is a fear in the artists' minds that if people are really meditative then what will happen to art? There will be no good poetry and there will be no good novels and there will be no good paintings and no good music. No, they need not be afraid -- one percent of art does not come out of pathology, it comes out of silence.

Yes, the Picasso type of art will disappear, if people are more meditative. But nothing is lost. More art of that one-percent quality will enter into the world.

What is the difference? How will you know the difference? If you stand before a Buddha-statue and meditate over it for half an hour, you will see the difference. And then go and meditate half an hour on a Picasso painting, and you will see the difference immediately. Half an hour, and the painting will start driving you mad. You will feel very uneasy, you will start feeling very very restless. You cannot look at Picasso's painting for half an hour. In fact Picasso never had any paintings in his own room -- even his own paintings.

Once it happened, somebody asked, 'All people who can afford to, have your paintings in their drawing-rooms, in their bedrooms -- why don't you have?' He laughed. Jokingly he said, 'Because I can't afford to.'

But that is not the real thing. To have a Picasso painting in your bedroom means sure nightmares -- it is dangerous. And Picasso must know. He is already suffering from those paintings; now more of them are not needed.

A new kind of art will enter into the world if a great majority of people become meditative, that will have grace, silence, that will have the quality of something transcendental. Watching it, looking at it, you will start evaporating into the skies. It will bring you the message of God; it will bring you the message of your own infinite possibilities.

That one-percent art will grow, if you grow in silence. But the neurotic, the pathological art will disappear. And it is good that it disappears.

Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 2, Chapter #8, Archive code: 7706280

Our Split Mind



What do you say about modern art?

I don't know much about modern art, and I don't want to know much about it either. It is not much of an art. In the past art had a totally different quality: it was beautiful. Modern art is ugly. It is very rare to find something beautiful in modern art, and I can see the reason.

The modern mind is boiling with repressed sexuality, anger, hatred, violence. Centuries of repressions have become accumulated; it has come to a crescendo and it is erupting. The volcano is erupting!

Modern man is suffering, is in immense misery and hell and that shows in modern art. Modern art is a reflection. Art is always a reflection, it is a mirror, because the artist is the most sensitive person in the society, hence he is first to become aware of what is happening; others take a longer time to become aware.

The poet is the most prophetic because he becomes aware of things which are going to happen, he becomes aware a little ahead of time, hence he is never understood.

Modern art is psychotic -- it reflects humanity. It shows that something has gone wrong, very wrong: man is falling apart. And modern art is representative art. In a way it is very realistic; it is not creating a dream world, a fantasy. But it has lost the artistic touch.

Just as modern man needs a new birth, modern art also needs a new birth. But that is a secondary phenomenon. Unless a new man arrives on the earth a new art cannot arrive, a new poetry cannot be born.

Modern art is becoming more and more ridiculous. Just the other day I was reading this story:

Jake Mazeltov was walking along Fifth Avenue when he bumped into an old friend whom he had not seen for twenty years. 'Joe Pasternak! My God, you haven't changed a bit! Am I glad to see you! Tell me, what are you doing?'

'Well,' smiled Joe, 'I'm an artist. As a matter of fact, I've done very well. I've got a picture hanging in the Modern Museum, right here off Fifth Avenue.'

'You don't say!' exclaimed Jake. 'Gee, that's marvellous! Say, we're not far from there. Could you take me over and show the picture to me?'

'With pleasure,' said Joe, and they strolled over to the Modern Museum.

There on the wall, Joe pointed to his picture. It was brown all over, almost a solid monochrome, with only a deep patch of darker brown in the lower right-hand corner. Jake looked at it quizzically for a few minutes but got nothing out of it. He turned to his pal Joe and said, 'What is this picture supposed to represent?'

'Well,' said Joe, 'it's modern art. The name of the picture is "A Cow in a Field".'

'"A Cow in a Field"! My God, Joe, what d'ya mean, a cow in a field? I don't see any field there. A field is green. Where's the green?'

Joe explained patiently. 'Well, you see, in modern art, it doesn't go quite that way. The cow walked into the field and she ate up the grass, so now the grass is all gone; there's no more green, there's only brown.'

'Okay,' said Jake, 'So where's the cow?'

'Well, the cow, she ate up the grass already, so, of course, she just went on, that's all.'

'Oh,' said Jake, 'now I understand. There's no green because there is no grass, there is no cow because the cow went away. But there's a big patch of brown in the right-hand corner, now what's that?'

'Oh well, you've gotta understand, this is modern art,' said Joe. 'A cow eats up a whole field of grass and she walks on, but on the way out what d'ya think she does?'

That's what the modern art is!

Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap and Zing, Chapter #14, Archive code: 8101090

Modern painting represents the ugly in existence. The ugly has become predominant for a certain reason. This century is one of the ugliest centuries: two world wars within fifty years; millions of people killed, destroyed; such cruelty, such aggression, such violence, such madness; this century is a nightmarish century. Man has lost track of his humanity.

What man has been doing to man! Naturally this madness has erupted everywhere -- in painting, in music, in sculpture, in architecture -- everywhere the ugly human mind has created ugliness.

Ugliness has become an aesthetic value. Now the photographer goes and looks for something ugly. Not that beauty has stopped existing, it exists as much as before, but it is neglected. The cactus has replaced the rose. Not that the cactus is something new, it has existed always, but this century has come to know that thorns seem to be more real than a rose flower. A rose flower seems to be a dream; it does not fit with us, hence the rose flower has been expelled. The cactus has entered your drawing-room. Just one hundred years ago nobody would have ever thought to bring a cactus home. Now, if you are modern, your garden will be full of cactuses. The rose looks a little bourgeois; the rose looks a little out-of-date; the rose looks Tory, orthodox, traditional. The cactus looks revolutionary. Yes, the cactus is revolutionary -- like Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin and Mao Tsetung and Fidel Castro. Yes, the cactus seems to be closer to this century.

The photographer looks for some ugly thing -- he will go and photograph a beggar. Not that the beggar has not existed before, he has existed before. He is real, certainly real, but nobody has been making art out of him. We are feeling humble before the beggar; we are feeling apologetic before the beggar; we are feeling that something which should not be is still there; we want the beggar not to be there. But this century goes on searching for the ugly.

The sun still penetrates the pines on a certain morning. The rays penetrating the pines create such a web of beauty. It still exists, but no photographer is interested that no longer appeals. Ugliness appeals because we have become ugly. That which appeals to us shows something about us.

The Tantra Vision, Vol 2, Chapter #6, Archive code: 7705060



Dostoevsky says, “In suffering look for happiness.” I love Dostoevsky and his work. Would you please comment?

Fyodor Dostoevsky is a very special case -- he was a genius. If one has to decide on ten great novels in all the languages of the world, he will have to choose at least three novels of Dostoevsky in the ten.

His insight into human beings and their problems is greater than your so-called psychoanalysts, and there are moments where he reaches the heights of great mystics. But he is a sick soul; he himself is a psychological case.

He needs all the compassion, because he lived in suffering, utter suffering. He never knew a moment of joy; he was pure anguish, angst. But still he managed to write novels which perhaps are the best in the whole literature of the world. Brothers Karamazov is so great in its insights that no Bible or Koran or Gita can be a competitor to it.

And this is the strange fact about him: that he was writing such great insights as if he was possessed, but he himself was living in hell. He created it himself. He never loved anybody, he was never loved by anybody. He never knew that there is something like laughter; he was sickly serious. I don't see that he ever felt even a single moment of blissfulness. There is nobody else in the whole history of man who was so sick, and yet had such clarity about things. He was a madman with a method.

You are saying, "One line from Dostoevsky has impressed me much in my childhood. He says, `In suffering look for happiness.'"

I will not agree with the statement. I will say, "In suffering look for the causes of suffering." Don't waste your time about happiness; it is none of your business. You are suffering; suffering is your state. Look what is causing it -- jealousy, anger, inferiority complex -- what is causing it?

And the miracle is: if you can go into your suffering as a meditation, watching, to the deepest roots of it, just through watching, it disappears. You don't have to do anything more than watching. If you have found the authentic cause by your watching, the suffering will disappear; and if it is not disappearing, that means you are not watching deep enough.

So it is a very simple process and with a criterion: if your watching is deep enough... just the way you pull out a plant to look at its roots, it dies, because the roots outside the earth cannot survive. In the light is their death.

Suffering can exist only if its roots remain in the unconscious of your being. If you go deep down searching and looking for the roots, the moment you become conscious of the roots of suffering, suffering disappears. The disappearance of suffering is what you call happiness.

Happiness has not to be found somewhere else; it was always with you, but the cloud of suffering was covering it. Happiness is our nature.

To say it in other words: for suffering you have to make much effort, for happiness you don't have to make any effort. Just stop making the effort to create suffering.

In his best book, Brothers Karamazov, one of the characters, Ivan Karamazov, makes a very significant statement. Perhaps Dostoevsky himself is speaking through him.

Ivan Karamazov says, "If there is a God and I meet him, I am going to return his ticket and ask him, `Why did you send me life without asking me? What right do you have? I want to return the ticket to you.'" This is a suicidal instinct.

He lived very miserably and has always written that existence has no meaning, that it has no significance, that it is accidental, that there is nothing to find -- no truth, no love, no joy. All his conclusions are wrong. But the man was tremendously capable, a great genius. Even if he writes things which are wrong, he writes with such art and such beauty that millions of people have been influenced by him -- just like you.

The danger is: the words can be beautiful and the message can be poison, pure poison. His insights are deep -- but they are always deep -- to find more suffering in life, more misery in life. He is determined in all his works to prove that life is an exercise of utter futility. He influenced the contemporary philosophical movement of existentialism -- he became a pioneer.

I also love him, but I also feel sad and sorry for him. He was a man who could have danced, who could have loved, who could have lived with tremendous totality and intensity. But he served death rather than life. Read him -- there is nothing better to read -- but remember you are reading a psychopath, a man who is deeply sick, incurably sick.

His whole work is just a dark night which knows no dawn.

The Golden Future, Chapter #8, Archive code: 8704260



Is there any point in living?

Man has been brought up by all the traditions in a schizophrenic way.

It was helpful to divide man in every possible dimension, and create a conflict between the divisions. This way man becomes weak, shaky, fearful, ready to submit, surrender; ready to be enslaved by the priests, by the politicians, by anybody.

This question also arises out of a schizophrenic mind. It will be a little difficult for you to understand because you may have never thought that the division between ends and means is a basic strategy of creating a split in man.

Has living any meaning, any point, any worth? The question is: Is there some goal to be achieved by life, by living? Is there some place where you will reach one day by living? Living is a means; the goal, the attainment, somewhere far away, is the end. And that end will make it meaningful. If there is no end, then certainly life is meaningless; a God is needed to make your life meaningful.

First create the division between ends and means. That divides your mind.

Your mind is always asking why? For what? And anything that has no answer to the question, "For what?" slowly, slowly becomes of no value to you. That's how love has become valueless. What point is there in love? Where is it going to lead you? What is going to be the achievement out of it? Will you attain to some utopia, some paradise?

Of course, love has no point in that way. It is pointless. What is the point of beauty?

You see a sunset -- you are stunned, it is so beautiful, but any idiot can ask the question, "What is the meaning of it?" and you will be without any answer. And if there is no meaning then why unnecessarily are you bragging about beauty?

A beautiful flower, or a beautiful painting, or beautiful music, beautiful poetry -- they don't have any point. They are not arguments to prove something, neither are they means to achieve any end. And living consists only of those things which are pointless.

Let me repeat it: living consists only of those things which have no point at all, which have no meaning at all -- meaning in the sense that they don't have any goal, that they don't lead you anywhere, that you don't get anything out of them. In other words, living is significant in itself. The means and ends are together, not separate.

And that is the strategy of all those who have been lustful for power, down the ages: that means are means, and ends are ends. Means are useful because they lead you to the end. If they don't lead to your end, they are meaningless. In this way, they have destroyed all that is really significant. And they have imposed things on you which are absolutely insignificant.

Money has a point. A political career has a point. To be religious has a point, because that is the means to heaven, to God. Business has a point because immediately you see the end result. Business became important, politics became important, religion became important; poetry, music, dancing, love, friendliness, beauty, truth, all disappeared from your life.

A simple strategy, but it destroyed all that makes you significant, that gives ecstasy to your being. But the schizophrenic mind will ask, "What is the point of ecstasy?"

People have asked me, hundreds of people, "What is the meaning of meditation? What will we gain out of it? First, it is very difficult to attain -- and even if we attain it, what is going to be the end result?"

It is very difficult to explain to these people that meditation is an end in itself. There is no end beyond it.

Anything that has an end beyond it is just for the mediocre mind. And anything which has its end in itself is for the really intelligent person.

But you will see the mediocre person becoming the president of a country, the prime minister of a country; becoming the richest man in the country, becoming the pope, becoming the head of a religion. But these are all mediocre people; their only qualification is their mediocrity. They are third rate and basically they are schizophrenic. They have divided their life in two parts: ends and means.

My approach is totally different: To make you one single whole. So I want you to live just for life's sake.

The poets have defined art as for its own sake, there is nothing else beyond it: art for art's sake. It will not appeal to the mediocre at all because he counts things in terms of money, position, power. Is your poetry going to make you the prime minister of the country? -- then it is meaningful. But in fact your poetry may make you just a beggar, because who is going to purchase your poetry?

I am acquainted with many kinds of geniuses who are living like beggars for the simple reason that they did not accept the mediocre way of life, and they did not allow themselves to become schizophrenic. They are living -- of course they have a joy which no politician can ever know, they have a certain radiance which no billionaire is going to know. They have a certain rhythm to their heart of which these so-called religious people have no idea. But as far as their outside is concerned, they have been reduced by the society to live like beggars.

I would like you to remember one great, perhaps the greatest, Dutch painter: Vincent van Gogh. His father wanted him to become a religious minister, to live a life of respect -- comfortable, convenient -- and not only in this world, in the other world after death too. But Vincent van Gogh wanted to become a painter. His father said, "You are mad!"

He said, "That may be. To me, you are mad. I don't see any significance in becoming a minister because all I would be saying would be nothing but lies. I don't know God. I don't know whether there is any heaven or hell. I don't know whether man survives after death or not. I will be continually telling lies. Of course it is respectable, but that kind of respect is not for me; I will not be rejoicing in it. It will be a torture to my soul." The father threw him out.

He started painting -- he is the first modern painter. You can draw a line at Vincent van Gogh: before him painting was ordinary. Even the greatest painters, like Michelangelo, are of minor importance compared to Vincent van Gogh, because what they were painting was ordinary. Their painting was for the marketplace.


Michelangelo was painting for the churches his whole life; painting on church walls and church ceilings. He broke his backbone painting church ceilings, because to paint a ceiling you have to lie down on a high stool while you paint. It is a very uncomfortable position, and for days together, months together.... But he was earning money, and he was earning respect. He was painting angels, Christ, God creating the world. His famous painting is God creating the world.


Vincent van Gogh starts a totally new dimension. He could not sell a single painting in his whole life. Now, who will say that his painting has any point? Not a single person could see that there was anything in his paintings. His younger brother used to send him money; enough so that he did not die of starvation, just enough for seven days' food every week -- because if he gave him enough for a whole month he would finish it within two or three days, and the remaining days he would be starving. Every week he would send money to him.

And what Vincent van Gogh was doing was for four days he would eat, and for the three days in between those four days he was saving money for paints, canvasses. This is something totally different from Michelangelo, who earned enough money, who became a rich person. He sold all his paintings. They were made to be sold, it was business. Of course he was a great painter, so even paintings that were going to be sold came out beautifully. But if he had had the guts of a Vincent van Gogh, he would have enriched the whole world.

Three days starving, and van Gogh would purchase the paints and canvasses. His younger brother, hearing that not a single painting had sold, gave some money to a man -- a friend of his not known to Vincent van Gogh -- and told him to go and purchase at least one painting: "That will give him some satisfaction. The poor man is dying; the whole day he is painting, starving for painting but nobody is ready to purchase his painting -- nobody sees anything in it." Because to see something in Vincent van Gogh's painting you need the eye of a painter of the caliber of van Gogh; less than that will not do. His paintings will seem strange to you.

The man his brother had sent came. Van Gogh was very happy: at last somebody had come to purchase. But soon his happiness turned into despair because the man looked around, picked one painting and gave the money.

Vincent van Gogh said, "But do you understand the painting? You have picked it up so casually, you have not looked; I have hundreds of paintings. You have not even bothered to look around; you have simply picked one that was accidentally in front of you. I suspect that you are sent by my brother. Put the painting back, take your money. I will not sell the painting to a man who has no eyes for painting. And tell my brother never to do such a thing again."

The man was puzzled how he managed to figure it out. He said, "You don't know me, how did you figure it out?"

He said, "That's too simple. I know my brother wants me to feel some consolation. He must have manipulated you -- and this money belongs to him -- because I can see that you are blind as far as paintings are concerned. And I am not one to sell paintings to blind people; I cannot exploit a blind man and sell him a painting. What will he do with it? And tell my brother also that he also does not understand painting, otherwise he would not have sent you."

When the brother came to know, he came to apologize. He said, "Instead of giving you a little consolation, I have wounded you. I will never do such a thing again."


Will you consider this man a genius? Will you consider this man intelligent, wise? No, ordinarily you would think he is simply mad. But I cannot say that. His living and his painting were not two things: painting was his living, that was his life. So to the whole world it seems suicide -- not to me. To me it simply seems a natural end. The painting is completed. Life is fulfilled. There was no other goal; whether he receives the Nobel prize, whether anybody appreciates his painting....

In his life nobody appreciated his work. In his life no art gallery accepted his paintings, even free. After he died, slowly, slowly, because of his sacrifice, painting changed its whole flavor. There would have been no Picasso without Vincent van Gogh. All the painters that have come after Vincent van Gogh are indebted to him, incalculably, because that man changed the whole direction. Slowly, slowly, as the direction changed, his paintings were discovered. A great search was made.

People had thrown his paintings in their empty houses, or in their basements, thinking that they were useless. They rushed to their basements, discovered his paintings, cleaned them. Even faked paintings came onto the market as authentic van Gogh. Now there are only two hundred paintings; he must have painted thousands. But any art gallery that has a Vincent van Gogh is proud, because the man poured his whole life in his paintings. They were not painted by color, but by blood, by breath -- his heartbeat is there.

You ask me, "Is there any point in life, in living?" I am afraid that if I say there is no point in living, you will think that means you have to commit suicide, because if there is no point in living, then what else to do? -- commit suicide! I am not saying commit suicide, because in committing suicide also there is no point.

Living: live, and live totally. Dying: die, and die totally. And in that totality you will find significance.

Then life has meaning, then living has meaning -- not the meaning that is derived from ends, but the meaning that is derived from living itself. Then whatever you do, in that very doing is your reward.

For example, I am speaking to you. I am enjoying it. For thirty-five years I have been continually speaking for no purpose. With this much speaking I could have become a president, a prime minister; there was no problem in it. With so much speaking I could have done anything. What have I gained?

But I was not out for gain in the first place -- I enjoyed. This was my painting, this was my song, this was my poetry.

Just those moments when I am speaking and I feel the communion happening, those moments when I see your eyes flare up, when I see that you have understood the point... they give me such tremendous joy that I cannot think anything can be added to it.

Choose wherever your whole being is flowing, where the wind is blowing. Move on that path as far as it leads, and never expect to find anything.

Each moment your being is changing, and if you get involved totally in anything then you will see the change happening in you -- each moment a new being, and a new world, and a new experience. Everything suddenly becomes so full of newness that you never see the same thing again.

Then naturally, life becomes a continuous mystery, a continuous surprise. On each step a new world opens up, of tremendous meaning, of incredible ecstasy.

From Ignorance to Innocence, Chapter #23, Archive code: 8412225


I've often heard you speak with love and admiration of Zorba. Yet Nikos Kazantzakis, the man who created him, led a tortured life -- guilt-ridden, obsessed with religion, fearful of women, preoccupied with death. Are Zorba And Kazantzakis the two sides of all of us who are unenlightened? Please comment.

The religions of the world have done so much harm to human beings that it is incalculable. The greatest wound they have created in the human spirit is schizophrenia. They have put man against himself. They have created a rift in you, a split.

Their conditioning is that you have to fight with yourself, you have to be victorious over yourself. And nobody has said that it is simply madness. You are one! Who is going to be victorious, who is going to be defeated? But the division has been done very cunningly, very cleverly.

Do you see these two hands, the right and the left? Religions have created such a division that right is always right -- and left, of course, is wrong. And both the hands are so deeply together inside you. You may not have imagined it, but your left hand is connected with your right mind, and your right hand is connected with your left mind.

Now, if the right hand is right, then your left mind is right -- it is the extension of the left mind. But religions are condemning all leftist efforts. If your left hand is wrong, then your right mind is wrong; and all the religions are emphasizing the right mind. So the split is complicated -- but anything is possible if it is repeated for thousands of years.

Nikos Kazantzakis represents you -- each human being. He was a rare man, but a victim of the whole past. He was a very sensitive man -- that's why the split became very clear; a very intelligent man, he could see he was divided. That created great inner torture for him.

To be divided against yourself is hell, fighting with yourself is continuous torture. You want to do something -- that is one part of you -- and the second part says, "No, you cannot do it. It is sin."

How can you be at peace with yourself? And one who is not at peace with himself cannot be at peace with society, with culture, and finally with existence. The individual is the very brick of the whole existence.

It is very significant to understand Nikos Kazantzakis. He represents both the things. One is his Greek mind, which is self-loving, materialist. In the West only Greece has produced materialistic philosophies, and Epicurus is the peak. So his Greek mind is Zorba -- that's why he calls his book Zorba the Greek. But Christianity contaminated the whole Greek mind.

Jesus influenced the Greek mind tremendously, for the simple reason that they were leaning too much toward the material -- they were not balanced people. They thought themselves only bodies; the soul was just an invention. But man is not only body.

The Greeks had no religion, and Christianity filled the vacuum. The Greek personality became split.

The Greek is materialistic, Epicurean -- loves the body, loves good food, good wine, beautiful women, beautiful men -- and is not concerned at all what happens after death. According to Epicurus you die with your death, nothing happens afterwards. There is nothing after death, there is nothing before birth. You are an accident, without any planning -- a small lifespan of seventy years. Don't waste it, enjoy.

Nikos is half Greek and half Christian. He cannot intelligently deny that there is something more to you than your physiology. He cannot deny his mind, he cannot deny even the witness of the mind -- which are not physiological phenomena.

That was his continuous torture. He was one of the most tortured artists of contemporary life -- one of the best, but that is the curse. When you have the best intelligence, you want to become one organic whole.

A sensitive man, an intelligent man is bound to feel guilty that he is wasting his life fighting with himself. The man of guilt is of course obsessed with death -- because he is not living and death is coming closer and closer every moment. Perhaps he may not be able to live -- and death will finish him.

A man who is living totally never bothers about death. His life is so full, death cannot even touch him. Death will come only to the body, not to him. He knows his inner organic consciousness.

That was impossible for Nikos to know. He was obsessed with death, continuously afraid of death. He has not lived yet and death can come any moment.

And there is a logic, a logical corollary: self-torture, guilt, obsession with death, all three together create the ultimate obsession of man -- religion. Somehow he has to keep himself together -- he is falling apart. Religion gives him at least a certain kind of solace, religion gives him a certain integrity.

But the man of intelligence cannot be religious either. His sensitivity is so clear that he cannot believe in a god whom he has not known. He cannot believe in heaven and hell, which are mere words. He cannot see in society that the people who are committing evil acts are punished, or the people who are simple, innocent, good are rewarded. How can he believe that his good actions are going to be rewarded after life -- why not now?

Why do the cause and effect have to be so separated? They cannot be separated. Any intellectual can see the point, that cause and effect are joined together -- they are two sides of the same coin. There is no reason at all why, if you commit evil here, you will be punished after death.

Religions had to invent this fiction because the question was significant. Everybody was asking, "If evil acts are punished... we don't see that happening."

All kinds of criminals become presidents, prime ministers, world-famous people; and the simple and the innocent and the good live as if they are not there -- no recognition. They die poor, they die in indignity, they die as if they had never been here. No account is going to be kept of them.

You have your history about Genghis Khan, Nadirshah, Tamerlane, Alexander the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Ayatollah Khomeiniac -- these are your great people!

The good, the silent, the people who have not done any harm to anybody, who have never interfered in anybody's life, are simply forgotten. Nobody will ever know their names. Whether they existed or not makes no difference to your history.

Any intelligent person can see the device of religions. Here we see that the people who are exploiting, sucking blood, are rich. And the people who are making beautiful skyscrapers are sleeping on the street.

Not only that, you will be surprised...

Shahjehan, one of India's great emperors, made the Taj Mahal in the memory of his dead wife, Mumtaz Mahal. He brought craftsmen, artists, sculptors, from all over the known world. He paid them immensely. He wanted his wife's memorial to be unique and to be the best in the whole world.

He had many wives. Mumtaz was fortunate to die first. She was not the one and only one he loved; he had a whole harem, women like cattle. It was not really in memory of Mumtaz; it was his ego being projected through Mumtaz.

It took almost twenty years to make the Taj Mahal. Ten thousand workers worked for twenty years continuously. Those who had come had died; their sons were working. There were even a few who were the third generation because the old man who had come to work died, his son died, and his son's son was working.

By the time the Taj Mahal was completed, what was the reward of all those poor people who had put all their energy, all their art into it? And certainly they had created the most unique memorial that exists on the earth. Their reward was: their hands were cut off. Ten thousand people get the reward, for creating a unique memorial, that their hands are cut off.

Shahjehan's reason was clear. He said, "These people can create another Taj Mahal better than this, and that I am not going to allow. The only way to prevent these people is to cut off their hands."

This is the world that you experience, where the good are suffering, where the bad are on the top. Religion had to find a device; otherwise religion cannot hold the idea that goodness is rewarded and evil is punished. This was the device: every reward and punishment is after death.

Nikos was a very troubled soul -- whether to follow his materialist tendencies, which were natural to him, or to follow the ideology that Christianity preaches, which was just a superficial mind thing. He could not follow it; but he could not follow his natural instincts either. He was stuck. And death was approaching closer and closer. Naturally he became obsessed with religion. Religion became the shelter.

Religion has been the shelter of the sick, it has been the shelter of the schizophrenic, it has been the shelter of the perverted -- it has been the shelter for all those who are suffering because of it! This is a very strange thing.

First religion makes you feel guilty. That is the basic ground. Once you feel guilty... and how will you feel guilty? If you are split you will feel guilty. Whatever you do does not matter; you will feel guilty. If you follow the mind your whole nature will condemn you. If you follow nature your mind will condemn you. Whatever you do, one thing is certain -- you will feel guilty. If you don't do anything then you will feel doubly guilty.

And once guilt is created in your psychology, religion offers you solace: "Blessed are those who mourn, because they shall be comforted." First create the mourning and then comfort.

Religion first creates guilt. That is absolutely necessary for the existence of religion. A person who is not guilty takes no note of religion. A man like me has nothing to do with religion. It cannot offer me anything. I don't have any guilt, I have never repented for doing anything.

Whatsoever I have done I have done with my total being. I have not left a small corner in me which was condemning it while I was doing it, because that condemning part will become my guilt.

Naturally Nikos was very much obsessed with religion. The question is how he managed to create one of the greatest art works, Zorba the Greek. He could create it because it was one of his sides, which he had neglected, ignored, repressed.

Zorba the Greek is Nikos repressed. He allows in the novel his repressed part to have full expression. And Zorba is so beautiful.... Expressiveness is always beautiful; repression is always ugly. Yes, Zorba is one of his basic parts. He had to give it a reality. He could not live it -- but at least he could write it.

This is a common factor... if you read beautiful poetry about love, remember one thing: this man who has written this love poetry has not known love. It is his neglected, repressed part. People who love don't have time for poetry.

Nikos suffered very much. He was a world-famous writer. He has written beautiful novels of tremendous importance, of great meaning. He was not confessing to a priest; he confessed in his own way. Nobody will think that Zorba the Greek is his confession. This is what he has been repressing, this is what has been continuously hammering him: "You have to do it." He makes an individual, Zorba; he gives him reality, blood and flesh, and allows him to do everything that he has not allowed himself.

Zorba the Greek is not a Christian. Zorba the Greek has nothing to do with churches. Zorba the Greek is a very practical, pragmatic, natural human being.

Zorba dances, plays on his musical instrument. Nikos just looks from his cabin, and cannot believe it -- what has this man got that he is so happy? A poor man, a servant to Nikos -- but every night in the sands by the side of the river where they live, he is dancing alone, singing alone.

Zorba says one very significant thing to his master, "Boss, only one thing is wrong in you. You take things too seriously! Life is a playfulness, and you are too serious." And he drags the boss to the side of the river. And the boss is reluctant, he is saying, "What are you doing?" But Zorba is a strong man. The boss, self-tortured, feeling guilty -- what to do, what not to do, to be or not to be -- has no strength.

Zorba drags him, and he says, "You just follow me." He plays on his instrument, he starts dancing, and he says to the boss, "You start!"

The boss says, "But I don't know how to dance."

He says, "Dance has nothing to do with knowing. Can't you jump up and down? Do whatever you feel. The dance will come on its own. You just come out of your seriousness!"

In that night, in that aloneness, in that isolated spot Nikos follows Zorba and cannot believe that he is dancing, cannot believe that his dance is becoming more and more intense, cannot believe that so much dance is hidden in him. He starts singing!

And Zorba says, "Look Boss, what have you got? Why are you dancing? Why are you singing? Life is to dance! Life is to sing! Life is to love! And all serious things you can do in your grave, because there will be no disturbance. You can think great thoughts: God, heaven, hell -- whatever you want. But at least don't miss life! You will be eternally in the grave with enough time!"

Nikos was here -- and what a man, of tremendous potential. All that he needed was a meditative consciousness -- that could make the split disappear. Yes, there would have been a loss; he would not have written Zorba the Greek, he would not have written Christ Recrucified. But I think it is worth risking -- he would have lived!

All these novels are from a person who has not lived. Perhaps if he had lived he would have created something... what I call Zorba the Buddha.

That's what I am writing! -- in your hearts, because I don't believe in writing in books. That's what each of you will be carrying in his heart. That is the right soil for Zorba the Buddha to grow; hence my insistence that you should not renounce Zorba.

If you renounce Zorba you can never become the Buddha. It is your Zorba, accepted with respect, love, dignity, that is going to grow slowly slowly into the Buddha.

The Buddha is the peak. The Zorba is the foundation. They cannot exist separately; both are incomplete.

Gautam the Buddha is incomplete. He has the whole upper structure without foundations. So it is not a coincidence that his religion died with him and everything disappeared within a few centuries.

Zorba -- you can find many around the world, but they are incomplete. They are just eating, drinking, merrying; but life is much more. The Zorba is like the foundation, but the palace has never been raised upon those foundations.

Both types have existed in the world, but separately -- that is the misery of the whole humanity.

My effort is to make Zorba and Buddha meet together, be one. That is my vision of the new man -- psychologically healthy with no split personality, with no garbage about guilt, sin, God.

Zorba the Buddha will not go to any temple, to any mosque, to any gurudwara to worship, to pray. His whole life will be a worship. All his acts will be his prayer. Whatever he does will be his art, will be his painting, his poetry, will be his sculpture. Each movement of an integrated human being is going to have tremendous beauty and fragrance.

Nikos Kazantzakis could have become Zorba the Buddha.

From Death to Deathlessness, Chapter #25, Archive code: 8508300

A Little Bit Off Center


Unless a singer is thought by the world to be insane, he is not a singer at all; if a dancer is not forced into a madhouse, the world has not given him the certificate.

All geniuses are bound to be thought of by the world in this way... "Something has gone wrong with these poor people."

For example, Vincent van Gogh always painted stars as spirals. Even other painters told him, "Stars are not spirals!"

He said, "I also see the stars. I see that they are not spirals, but the moment I start painting them something in me says so strongly that they are spirals. The distance is so vast... that's why your eyes cannot see exactly what their shape is. And the voice is so strong. I am simply unable to do anything else but what my inner being says to do."

And now physicists have discovered that stars are spirals. It has gone like a shock throughout the world of painters, that only one painter in the whole history of man had some inner contact and communication with the stars -- and that was a man who was thought to be mad. And because he was thought to be mad, nobody was ready to give him any service.

He committed suicide at the age of thirty-three. Just after his release from the madhouse, he painted only one painting, which they had prevented him from painting in the madhouse. He wanted to paint the sun. It took him one year. He lost his eyes... the burning sun, the hot sun, and the whole day long he would be watching all the colors, from the morning till the evening, from the sunrise to the sunset. He wanted the painting to contain everything about the sun, the whole biography of the sun.

Everybody who was sympathetic to him told him, "This is too much. Just studying it one day is enough; it is the same sun."

Van Gogh said, "You don't know. It is never the same. You have never looked at it. I have never seen the same sunrise twice, never seen the same sunset again. And I want my painting to be a biography."

One year... the whole day watching the sun... He lost his eyes, but he painted.

And when the painting was complete, he wrote a small letter to his brother: "I am not committing suicide out of any despair -- because I am one of the most successful men in the world. I have done whatever I wanted to do in spite of the whole world condemning me. But this was my last wish, to paint the whole biography of the sun in one painting. It is completed today. I am immensely joyful, and now there is no need to live. I was living to paint; painting was my life, not breathing."

And he shot himself dead.

You cannot categorize him with ordinary suicides. It is not a suicide -- out of despair, out of sadness, out of failure -- no. Out of immense success, out of total fulfillment, seeing that now, why unnecessarily go on living and waiting for death?... "I have done the work that I wanted to do."

Every creative artist has to understand this: the moment people start thinking about him that he is a little bit off center, that something is loose in his head, he should rejoice that he has crossed the boundary of the mundane and the mediocre. Now he has grown the wings which others don't have.

Beyond Enlightenment, Chapter #19, Archive code: 8610215

Almost all the great painters of the contemporary world have been, one or two times at least, sent into psychiatric hospitals, and they lived -- all of them -- one year, two years, three years in madhouses. Great poets have been in madhouses. Great dancers, like Nijinksy, have been in madhouses.

It is strange that the West is not yet aware that something is wrong.

Why do your scientists, your artists, your painters, your singers, your poets, your dancers -- all creative geniuses -- fall victim to madness? This has never happened in the East. And it is not that we have not created -- we have created more than any other country in the world. But there has not been a single instance of a great artist, a great novelist, a great poet, a great mystic going mad. This is absolutely unknown in the East.

On the contrary, you will be surprised that in the Far East, particularly in Japan, mad people are brought into the Zen monasteries to be treated. They are given a beautiful place, a small cottage by the side of a pond, with swans in the pond, birds, flowers, trees, rocks, rock gardens -- which is especially Japanese. Nobody has ever thought that rocks can make a garden. People throw away rocks to create a garden. In Japan, they collect rocks to create a garden! Unless you can create a garden out of rocks, what kind of an artist are you?

They put the madman in the most comfortable place. If he's a painter, they give him all facilities to paint... but he's not allowed to talk to anybody, he is not allowed to show his paintings to anybody. There is a fireplace -- after painting, he has to put it into the fireplace. For three weeks he has to remain silent, and the master in the Zen monastery goes every day to look at his paintings -- whether the paintings are changing, whether they are becoming more and more sane. The day he sees that a painting is perfectly sane, the man is released. They have used paintings to release his madness, but the paintings have all gone into the fireplace. They are not to go to the public -- you are mad and you would be spreading your madness.

Sermons in Stones, Chapter #24, Archive code: 8612235

It was unfortunate that Friedrich Nietzsche was born in the West. In the East he would have been in the same category as Gautam Buddha or Mahavira or Bodhidharma or Lao Tzu. In the West he had to be forced into a madhouse.

He himself could not figure it out. It was too much: on the one hand his great philosophical rationality, on the other hand his insights into poetry, and those sudden glimpses of mystic experiences... it was too much. He could not manage and started falling apart. They were all so different from each other, so diametrically opposite... he tried hard somehow to keep them together, but the very effort of trying to keep them together became a nervous breakdown.

The same experience in the East would have been a totally different phenomenon. Instead of being a nervous breakdown, it would have been a breakthrough. The East has been working for thousands of years; its whole genius has been devoted to only one thing, and that is meditation. It has looked into all possible nooks and corners of meditation, and it has become capable to allow poetry, to allow philosophy, without any problem, without any opposition and tension. On the contrary they all become, under meditation, a kind of orchestra -- different musical instruments, but playing the same tune.

There have been many misfortunes in the world, but I feel the most sorry for Friedrich Nietzsche because I can see what great potential he had. But being in a wrong atmosphere, having no precedent and having no way to work it out by himself, alone.... It was certainly too much for an individual, for any individual, to work it out alone.

Thousands of people have worked from different corners, and now, in the East, we have a whole atmosphere in which any kind of genius can be absorbed. And meditation will not be disturbed by genius; meditation will be enhanced, and his own particular dimension -- poetry, literature, science -- will also be enhanced.

Nietzsche was just in a wrong place, surrounded by wrong people who could only think of him as mad. And to them, he appeared mad.

He was in a very wrong place in a wrong time; he was not understood by his contemporaries. Now, slowly, interest in him is arising; more and more people are becoming interested in him. Perhaps it would have been better for him to delay his coming a little. But it is not in our hands when to come and when to go. And people of his genius always come before their time. But he should have his respected place in the category of the Buddhas. That day is not far away.

When all other so-called great philosophers of the West will be forgotten, Friedrich Nietzsche will still be remembered, because he has depths which have still to be explored, he has insights which have been only ignored; he has just been put aside as a madman.

Even if he is a madman, that does not matter. What he is saying is so truthful that if to get those truths one has to become mad, it is a perfectly good bargain.

The Golden Future, Chapter #5, Archive code: 8704245


Flight into Meditation


What is the difference between science, art and religion?

Science discovers, art invents, religion does both. The true religion discovers; the pseudo-religion invents.

And down the ages it is the pseudo-religion that has prevailed over the human mind. It is nothing but fiction. It is closer to art, and absolutely against science. That's why there has never been a conflict between art and religion. They were, deep down, doing the same thing.

Art was inventing objectively, and the so-called religion was inventing subjectively. They could join together very easily because their game was the same. And they joined hands all over the world. Art served the so-called religion for centuries. The beautiful churches, synagogues, temples -- for thousands of years art was doing nothing but serving religion.

If you see the temples of Khajuraho in India.... Once there were one thousand temples in that place; now only ruins are there, but twenty or thirty temples are still intact, have survived. Just to see one temple you will need the whole day. It is so full of art, every nook and corner. It must have taken hundreds of years for thousands of sculptors to make one temple.

You cannot find a single inch of space in the whole temple which has not been artistically created. One temple has thousands of statues on the outside of the temple, and that is the same about the remaining other thirty, and the same must have been true about the ruins of one thousand temples. Even in the ruins you can find treasures of art. I don't think there has ever been such beauty created out of stone anywhere else in the world.

The structure of every temple is almost the same. On the outer side of the temple, the outer wall, there are what are called mithun statues -- men and women naked, loving, making love, in all the possible postures one can imagine or dream of. The only posture that is missing is known in India as the missionary posture -- man on top of woman: only that is missing -- that was brought by Christian missionaries. Otherwise the whole idea, to the Indian mind, looked ugly -- that the man should be on top of the woman. Seems to be unfair. The woman is more fragile, and this beast is on top of the beauty. No, Indians have never thought of that posture as human. In India it is known as the missionary posture because the first time they saw it, it was Christian missionaries in that posture; otherwise they had no idea that this could be done.

But, except that, you will find all kinds of postures, because in India sexology has existed at least for five thousand years. The oldest sexual scripture is five thousand years old -- Vatsyayana's Kamasutras. And in the time of Vatsyayana, writing sutras on sex -- kama means sex -- maxims for sex, guidelines for sex, was not thought to be a bad act; Vatsyayana is respected as one of the great seers of India, and it is said that only a seer like Vatsyayana could have given those beautiful sutras. They reveal the intricacies and the mysteries of the energy of sex, and how it can be transformed.

These temples in Khajuraho have, on the outer side, beautiful women, beautiful men, and all in love postures. Inside there are no love postures. Inside you will find the temple empty, not even a statue of God. The idea is that unless you pass through your sexuality with full awareness, in all its phases, in all its dimensions -- unless you come to a point when sex has no meaning for you... only then you enter the temple. Otherwise you are outside the temple, your interest is there.

So that was a symbol that if you are still interested in sex, then the temple is not for you. But the message is not against sex; it is the outer wall of the temple, the temple is made of it, and you have to pass through the door and go beyond. And the beyond is nothing but utter emptiness.


How many artists, craftsmen, sculptors, were employed to create one thousand temples, a whole city of temples, how many years it took! -- and this is not only one place: there is Ajanta, a group of caves which Buddhists created. The whole mountain... for miles they have carved caves inside the mountain. And inside the caves you will find tremendous work of art, everything is beautiful. Buddha's whole life in stone.... The first cave you enter, you find the birth of Buddha. And those are not small caves; each cave is at least four times bigger than this room. They have been carved in solid stone.

The whole life of Buddha slowly unfolds in each cave, and in the last cave Buddha is sleeping. The statue must be as long as this room. It is the last moment of his life, when he asked his disciples, "If you have to ask any questions, ask me; otherwise I am going into eternal sleep -- forever." He has not even a pillow, just his hand used as a pillow. But such a huge statue, and so beautiful!

There are the Ellora caves, again carved into the mountains. There are Hindu temples in Jagganath Puri, in Konarak. You cannot imagine for centuries what art has been doing. The beautiful cathedrals of Europe, and all the great artists... Michelangelo -- what were these people doing? They were serving religion.

Reality has not to be invented, it has to be discovered. It is already there. Hence science discovers, and true religion also discovers.

But up to now, the religions that have been in existence in the world -- Christianity, Judaism, Mohammedanism, Hinduism -- they never felt any conflict with art, but they all felt tremendous antagonism towards science. Nobody has noted the fact. Why are they not against art, and why are they against science? -- because with art they can find some similarity. They can use art but they cannot use science, and they don't find the basic similarity. In fact they find science is doing just the opposite. They are inventing, they are creating something imaginary; science's whole work is to uncover the true, the real, that which is.

Science has taken firm roots. Now, if you want anything in the world to be called religion, then you have to start from ABC, from the very scratch: a religion which is a science, and not a fiction.

Just as science discovers in the objective world, outside, religion discovers in the inner world. What science is to the objective existence, religion is to the subjectivity.

Their methods are exactly the same. Science calls it observation, religion calls it awareness. Science calls it experiment, religion calls it experience. Science wants you to go into the experiment without any prejudice in your mind, without any belief. You have to be open, available. You are not going to impose anything on reality. You are just going to be available to the reality whatsoever it is, even if it goes against all your ideas. You have to drop those ideas -- but the reality cannot be denied.

The scientific endeavor is risking your mind for reality, putting your mind aside for reality. Reality counts, not what you think about it. Your thinking may be right or may be wrong, but the reality will decide it. Your mind is not going to decide what is right and what is wrong.

The same is the situation of an authentic religion, a scientific religion. If I am allowed, I would like to describe science as two dimensions, the outer and the inner. The word religion can be dropped. You have two sciences: one, objective science; another, subjective science.

And that's what is going to happen; whether you call it a religion or science does not matter -- names don't matter, but the methodology is exactly the same; you should not go in with a belief. No believer is ever going to know the truth. To believe is to miss.

You have to put aside your ideology. Howsoever beautiful it looks, howsoever systematic it looks, howsoever philosophical you have made and decorated it, you have to put it aside and see within. That's the whole method of meditation, awareness, watchfulness.

Meditation, in short, is putting your mind aside. So the people who say that meditation is a discipline of the mind are absolutely wrong. It is not a discipline of the mind, because if you discipline the mind, it is going to become stronger. It is better to put it aside when it is weaker, undisciplined. Once it is disciplined it is going to give you a tough fight.

So it is more difficult for somebody who has been practicing concentration, because concentration is a mind phenomenon. Yes, it gives you a better mind, a disciplined mind, more penetrating. But to put aside this mind will be very difficult.

Remember, concentration is not meditation, because concentration is a discipline of the mind and meditation is putting the mind aside.

In fact the English word meditation is not the right word, because in the West nothing like meditation has ever happened. The Sanskrit word is dhyana. The problem was the same when Buddhist monks went to China; they could not find the right word to translate dhyana into Chinese, so they wrote dhyana, which to the Chinese sounded like 'zana'. Hence the Japanese Zen; it is a transfiguration of the word dhyana.

'Meditation' gives again the wrong idea, as if you are meditating upon something -- as if it is an activity -- not much different from concentration. You are concentrating on something, you are contemplating on something, you are meditating on something, but you are always concerned with something. And what dhyana is, is dropping all objects, dropping anything on which you can concentrate, contemplate, meditate; dropping everything, nothing is left -- only the one who was concentrating, only the one who was contemplating.

That pure awareness is dhyana. In English there is no right word, so you have to understand that we are using 'meditation' for dhyana. Dhyana means a state of being where there is no thought, no object, no dream, no desire, nothing -- just emptiness. In that emptiness you come to know your self. You discover the truth. You discover your subjectivity. It is perfect silence.

The pseudo-religions depend upon disciplining the mind. The real religion's first work is to put the mind aside.

But to put it aside is a very simple thing -- not difficult at all. All that you have to do is to watch.

Whatsoever is going on in your mind, don't interfere, don't try to stop it. Do not do anything, because whatsoever you do will become a discipline. So do not do anything at all. Just watch.

Watching is not a doing. Just as you watch the sunset or the clouds in the sky or the people passing on the street, watch the traffic of thoughts and dreams, nightmares -- relevant, irrelevant, consistent, inconsistent, anything that is going on. And it is always rush hour. You simply watch; you stand by the side unconcerned.

All that I say is: to watch is right; not to watch is wrong. I make it absolutely simplified: Be watchful.

It is none of your business -- if greed is passing by, let it pass; if anger is passing by, let it pass. Who are you to interfere? Why are you so much identified with your mind? Why do you start thinking, "I am greedy... I am angry"? There is only a thought of anger passing by. Let it pass; you just watch.

There is an ancient story....

A man who has gone out of his town comes back and finds that his house is on fire. It was one of the most beautiful houses in the town, and the man loved the house. Many people were ready to give double price for the house, but he had never agreed for any price, and now it is just burning before his eyes. And thousands of people have gathered, but nothing can be done.

The fire has spread so far that even if you try to put it out, nothing will be saved. So he becomes very sad. His son comes running, and whispers something in his ear: "Don't be worried. I sold it yesterday, and at a very good price -- three times.... The offer was so good I could not wait for you. Forgive me."

But the father said, "Good, if you have sold it for three times more than the original price of the house." Then the father is also a watcher, with other watchers. Just a moment before he was not a watcher, he was identified. It is the same house, the same fire, everything is the same -- but now he is not concerned. He is enjoying it just as everybody else is enjoying.

Then the second son comes running, and he says to the father, "What are you doing? You are smiling -- and the house is on fire?"

The father said, "Don't you know, your brother has sold it."

He said, "He had talked about selling it, but nothing has been settled yet, and the man is not going to purchase it now." Again, everything changes. Tears which had disappeared, have come back to the father's eyes, his smile is no more there, his heart is beating fast. But the watcher is gone. He is again identified.

And then the third son comes, and he says, "That man is a man of his word. I have just come from him. He said, 'It doesn't matter whether the house is burned or not, it is mine. And I am going to pay the price that I have settled for. Neither you knew, nor I knew that the house would catch on fire.'" Again the father is a watcher. The identity is no more there. Actually nothing is changing; just the idea that "I am the owner, I am identified somehow with the house," makes the whole difference. The next moment he feels, "I am not identified. Somebody else has purchased it, I have nothing to do with it; let the house burn."

This simple methodology of watching the mind, that you have nothing to do with it.... Most of its thoughts are not yours but from your parents, your teachers, your friends, the books, the movies, the television, the newspapers. Just count how many thoughts are your own, and you will be surprised that not a single thought is your own. All are from other sources, all are borrowed -- either dumped by others on you, or foolishly dumped by yourself upon yourself, but nothing is yours.

The mind is there, functioning like a computer; literally it is a biocomputer. You will not get identified with a computer. If the computer gets hot, you won't get hot. If the computer gets angry and starts giving signals in four letter words, you will not be worried. You will see what is wrong, where something is wrong. But you remain detached.

Just a small knack... I cannot even call it a method because that makes it heavy; I call it a knack. Just by doing it, one day suddenly you are able to do it. Many times you will fail; it's nothing to be worried about... no loss, it is natural. But just doing it, one day it happens.

Once it has happened, once you have even for a single moment become the watcher, you know now how to become the watcher -- the watcher on the hills, far away. And the whole mind is there deep down in the dark valley, and you are not to do anything about it.

The most strange thing about the mind is, if you become a watcher it starts disappearing. Just like the light disperses darkness, watchfulness disperses the mind, its thoughts, its whole paraphernalia.

So meditation is simply watchfulness, awareness. And that reveals -- it is nothing to do with inventing. It invents nothing; it simply discovers that which is there.

And what is there? You enter and you find infinite emptiness, so tremendously beautiful, so silent, so full of light, so fragrant, that you have entered into the kingdom of God. In my words, you have entered into godliness.

And once you have been in this space, you come out and you are a totally new person, a new man. Now you have your original face. All masks have disappeared. You will live in the same world, but not in the same way. You will be among the same people but not with the same attitude, and the same approach. You will live like a lotus in water: in the water, but absolutely untouched by water.

Religion is the discovery of this lotus flower within.

From Unconciousness to Consciousness, Chapter #19, Archive code: 8411175


There are these three things to be remembered: one is concentration -- that is what creates science. It deals with the objective reality, it is a mind process.

The second is contemplation -- it creates literature, poetry, painting, the whole dimension of aesthetics.

It is beautiful, but it creates a new kind of bondage - far more subtle - and the third thing is meditation. Meditation is not of the mind, but going out of the mind, transcending the mind.

The moment you transcend the mind you enter into the world of no-mind and that is the world of real freedom.

The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Chapter #23, Archive code: 8103235


There is a great potential of creative, crazy and intelligent energy amongst the European artists, poets, writers and theater people.

Their life is full and hot and they are totally surrendered to their profession.

Meditation is a strange phenomenon for them. Most of them don't even want to hear anything about it.

Please comment.

Anybody who does not understand meditation cannot be a great poet. From where will he get the inspiration? He is unaware of his own sources. He can compose poetry -- it will be verbal, linguistic. He may fulfill all the rules that are needed, but there will be nothing poetic in it. It will remain prose in the form of poetry.

On the other hand the meditator may not write poetry, but his prose is poetry. Whatever he says has poetry in it.

The people who have not heard about meditation cannot be great painters. Meditation is the background of all great creativity. Whatever they do -- painting, music, poetry -- it will remain mundane.

And the danger is that without meditation they can always go mad. So the craziness is a potential danger. To be creative is a strange situation. If you are creating things through your mind... the mind has a very limited scope and it is not meant to be creative. It is a memory system, but because it has also the capacity for imagination, you can turn that capacity for imagination into poetry, into painting, into music. This is going to be dangerous because your mind potential is very limited. You will be exhausting it.

Creative energy has to come from meditation, because meditation has no other purpose. And meditation is vast, its resources are infinite. You can share in poetry, in music, in sculpture as much as you want, and fresh waters will run in.

So whatsoever these people are doing, their poetry must be stolen. It may not be stolen from one source, it may be stolen from many sources so you cannot find from where they have got these ideas. Their painting will be stolen.

I am reminded of Picasso....

One of his paintings was sold at a very high price -- one million dollars. And some critic suggested to the purchaser, "Have you inquired whether it is an authentic Picasso? There are so many people who are copying, and it is very difficult to find out which is authentic and which is not. Picasso was also present at the exhibition; you could have asked him."

The man said, "There is no question, because while he was painting it, then too I was present. We are friends. It is absolutely authentic. I need not inquire of anybody. I saw with my own eyes that he was painting it."

But the critic was suspicious. They both went to Picasso -- both were friends of his. Picasso's girlfriend was also present, and they asked, "What do you say about the painting? Is it authentic or not?"

Picasso looked at the painting and said, "It is not."

The man said, "But this is too much. I saw you painting it."

And Picasso's girlfriend said, "That man is right -- you have painted it! And now this is unnecessarily hurting the man. He has wasted one million dollars on it and this is not a time to joke."

But Picasso insisted, "It is not authentic. And the reason is that I have painted this painting before. This is only a copy of it. I had no other idea at the time, so I simply repeated an old idea which was liked very much. I have copied myself. So you are both right, that you have seen me painting it. But I am talking from a different viewpoint. It does not matter who copies it -- whether Picasso himself copies it or somebody else -- but it is a copy, it is not authentic. The vision was not authentic... I had no vision when I was painting it. I had no joy when I was painting it. I was simply painting it for the exhibition, and finding nothing original coming to me, I simply painted an old painting.

"If you don't believe me I can tell you in which gallery the original painting is and you can take this painting and compare it. There is the original. This may even look more beautiful than that because I have grown. That painting was done when I was amateurish. So this may look even better now I am expert. But I cannot lie. The truth is, it is a copy."

They went to the gallery, and there was the painting. Certainly it was amateurish and this one was far better. But Picasso said, "That is the original. I have not painted it. I was not there when it was being painted -- the idea had possessed me totally. When I painted this I was just an expert painter. It was done only by the mind, I was not possessed by anything. Please forgive me, but I cannot lie. You can say to people that it is Picasso's own painting, but don't say that it is authentic."

Now this man is making a tremendously great distinction. Mind can repeat but cannot create. And by repeating it is exhausting its limited sources and it drives the person crazy. And finally, the man is going to go mad.

I do understand what is happening in the West. So many people are painting, so many people are playing music, so many people are dancing, so many people are composing poetry, literature... but there seems to be nobody who is going to be a master. They will all end up in madness, sooner or later.

They are giving the indication that they don't care about meditation -- they have not even heard the word. And even if they have heard it they don't want to get into it.

They don't know anything about what meditation is -- it is your greatest source of energy. The mind is a small mechanism -- you can reach to meditation and use the mind in any way. The mind has to be used for any expression, but then the energy will be coming from meditation. You won't look crazy. You will look more peaceful, more calm and more quiet, more at ease. And whatever is expressed through you will have something of the beyond in it.

The mind is superficial; it can create superficial things. The mind is not at peace, so whatever it creates has the impact of tension, anguish, anxiety, craziness.

In the West, whatever is happening in the world of art is crazy. It will remain crazy and will go more and more mad and will go on falling lower and lower, unless these people are introduced to meditation. That will help their own individuality and that will help to transform the very quality of their art.

Without meditation they are just spent cartridges. They will go on repeating what they have been doing and they will do all kinds of stupid things. They will make collages... cuttings from newspapers and magazines, and joining them.... They will show their craziness in every way.

So whether they listen or not... if they don't want to listen to the word `meditation', they can use other words -- use `witnessing', use `awareness', use `alertness', use `consciousness' -- they all mean the same. Perhaps `meditation' reminds them of religion and they have reacted against it -- they have thrown the baby out with the bath water. Use other words: `consciousness', `awareness', `watchfulness'... which do not have much association with religion.

Use some Eastern terms for which they have no antagonism: `nothingness', `nirvana'... Perhaps they may get interested -- "What is nirvana? What is nothingness?" Then you can explain to them exactly what meditation is.

Use any name, but meditation has to be introduced into their lives to save them, and to save through them many others who will be corrupted by their art.

The Sword and the Lotus, Chapter #20, Archive code: 8602100


I am rejecting my mind.

Mind has not to be rejected at all; if you reject it, it will remain. Rejection means repression. Anything rejected never leaves you; it simply moves from the conscious to the unconscious, from the lighted part of your being to the dark layers where you cannot face it. You become oblivious of it, but it is there, more alive than ever. It is better to face the enemy than to keep the enemy at your back; that is far more dangerous.

And I have not told you to reject the mind. Mind is a beautiful mechanism, one of the miracles of existence. We have not been able yet to make anything comparable to human mind. Even the most sophisticated computers are nothing compared to it. A single human mind can contain all the libraries of the world; its capacities are almost unbounded. But it is a machine, it is not you. To get identified with it is wrong, to make it your master is wrong, to be guided by it is wrong. But to be the master and the guide is perfectly right. The mind as a servant is of tremendous value, so don't reject it. To reject it will impoverish you, it will not enrich you.

I am not against the mind; I am in favor of transcending it. And if you reject you cannot transcend. Use it as a stepping-stone. It all depends on you: you can make it a hindrance if you start thinking that the mind has to be rejected, denied, destroyed; or you can make it a stepping-stone if you accept it, if you try to understand it. In the very effort of understanding it, transcendence happens. You go beyond it, you become a witness.

The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 9, Chapter #6, Archive code: 8002160

Existence has not been able to create anything higher than your mind. Its function is so complex that it baffles the greatest scientists. It manages your whole body, and it is such a complex system. Who manages that a certain part of your blood should go to the brain? Who manages that only a certain amount of oxygen should reach to the brain? Who manages what part of your food should become bones, should become blood, should become skin? Who manages that part of your skin should become nails and part of your skin should become eyes and part of your skin should become ears?

Certainly you are not managing it. So first you have to be grateful to the mind. That is a first step to go beyond mind, not as an enemy but as a friend. Listening to me continually saying that you have to go beyond mind, you can fall into a misunderstanding. I have tremendous respect for mind. We are obliged so much by the mind, there is no way to return our gratitude.

So the first thing is: meditation is not against mind, it is beyond mind. And beyond is not equivalent to against.

With this friendship deepening, whenever you are meditating, the mind will not disturb because your meditation is not against it. It is in fact its own fulfillment, it is its own ultimate flowering. Going beyond it is not an antagonistic attitude, but a friendly evolution.

So this should be the background of all meditators: not to be a fighter. If you fight you may be able to make the mind quiet for some time, but it is not your victory. The mind will come back, you will need it. You cannot live without it; you cannot exist in the world without it.

And if you can create a friendly relationship with the mind, a loving bridge, rather than being a hindrance to meditation it starts becoming a help. It protects your silence because that silence is also its own treasure, it is not just yours. It becomes a soil in which the roses of meditation will blossom, and the soil will be as happy as the roses. When the roses will be dancing in the sun, in the rain, in the wind, the soil will also rejoice.

To me, neither God is important nor heaven nor hell nor angels -- all those are just hypothetical. To me, meditation is the very soul of religion. But it can be attained only if you move rightly. Just a single step in a wrong direction... And you are always moving on a razor's edge!

Begin with love of the body, which is your outermost part. Start loving your mind -- and if you love your mind you will decorate it, just the way you decorate your body. You keep it clean, you keep it fresh.

You have to decorate your mind with poetry, with music, with art, with great literature. Your trouble is, your mind is filled only with trivia. Such third-rate things go on through your mind that you cannot love it. You think of nothing which is great. Make it more in tune with the greatest poets; make it in tune with people like Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Turgenev, Rabindranath, Kahlil Gibran, Mikhail Naimy; make it filled with the greatest heights that mind has reached.

Then you will not be unfriendly to the mind. Then you will rejoice in the mind; even if mind is there in your silence, it will have a poetry and a music of its own, and to transcend such a refined mind is very easy. It is a friendly step towards higher peaks: poetry turning into mysticism, great literature turning into great insights into existence, music turning into silence.

And as these things start turning into higher peaks, beyond mind, you will be discovering new worlds, new universes which we don't even have a name for. We can say blissfulness, ecstasy, enlightenment, but no word really describes it. It is simply outside the power of language to reduce it into explanations, into theories, into philosophies. It is simply beyond... but mind rejoices in its transcendence.

That's what my unique contribution is to you. With absolute humbleness I want to tell you that I am far ahead of even Gautam Buddha, for the simple reason that he is still fighting with the mind. I have loved my mind, and through love I have transcended it.

My approach towards meditation is absolutely new, absolutely fresh, because it depends on love -- not on fight. Only love is the path.

Make your mind as beautiful as possible. Decorate it with flowers. I am really very sad when I see that people don't know The Book of Mirdad, that they have never looked into the absurd stories of Chuang Tzu, that they have never bothered to understand the absolutely irrational stories of Zen.

I cannot conceive of how you can live beautifully if you don't know Dostoevsky's books... Brothers Karamazov to me is more important than any Bible. It has such great insights, that the Bible should not be counted at all, even for comparison. But the Bible will be read -- and who is going to bother about Brothers Karamazov, in which Dostoevsky has poured his whole soul? or Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, or Fathers and Sons by Turgenev, or Offering of Songs by Rabindranath?And these are only a few names; there are thousands who have reached the finest flowering of mind.

First let your mind be decorated. Only beyond this perfumed garden of the mind will you be able to go silently, without any fight; mind will be a help, not a hindrance.

The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here, Chapter #13, Archive code: 8709125

Part V:

Bubbling with Energy


From Sex to Superconsciousness



I have heard you say that tribes which are not sex-repressive remain poor, and societies which are sex-repressive become rich and creative.

Your communes are not sex-repressive and yet they are rich and creative.

Can you comment?

It is one of the most sensitive areas of life because it is concerned with the very life force -- sex. The word has become too condemned. The reason sex became condemned was because all the religions had to be against everything that man can enjoy. It was their vested interest to keep man miserable, to destroy every possibility of his finding some kind of peace, solace, a moment of oasis in the desert. This was absolutely necessary for religions, that man be made completely devoid of any possibility, of any potentiality for rejoicing.

Why was it so important for them? It was important because they wanted to shift you, your mind, somewhere else -- towards the other world. If you are really happy here, why should you be bothered about the other world? Your misery is absolutely needed for the other world to exist. It does not exist in itself; it exists in your misery, in your suffering, in your anguish.

All the religions have been doing that harm to you. They are creating more misery, more suffering, more wounds, more hatred, anger -- and all in the name of God, all in the name of beautiful words.

They talk about love and they destroy every possibility of your ever being in love. They talk about peace and create every situation for war.

The strategy is very simple -- go on talking about beautiful things, keep people engaged in words, ideologies; and while they are engaged in words and ideologies, philosophies, go on cutting their roots from the soil, from the life energy. And your life energy is rooted in your sex.

All the societies became aware of the fact that it is only sex that can stand against God. If your sex is fulfilled your don't need God, because your life is fulfilled. Then God is just Godot. But if your sex is destroyed, repressed, condemned, if you are made to feel guilty about it, then God can go on living forever. He derives His energy through your suicide.

Yes, I have said somewhere that sex-repressive societies have become civilized, cultured, richer, philosophical, scientific. They developed in all possible ways. Sex-expressive societies -- which are very few now; the aboriginals are poor, they are uncultured, uncivilized. They have not evolved the way sex-repressive societies have evolved.

This gave a great impetus to religious stupidity -- because religion could prove on a basis in reality, that the societies that have been sex-expressive have remained poor, starving, hungry. And the sex-repressive societies have evolved in every possible way.

The more sex repression, the higher becomes your cultural development. This became a proof for religions that sex repression is something absolutely needed; otherwise you will be simply barbarians. And in a way it is true, factually true. Hence, naturally, the question arises.

I am not against sex. To me sex is as sacred as everything in life. There is nothing profane, nothing sacred. Life is one -- all divisions are false.  And sex is the very center of life. So you have to understand what has been happening down the centuries. The moment you repress sex, your energy starts finding new ways to express itself.

Energy cannot remain static. This is something of a fundamental law: energy cannot remain static, it is always dynamic, it is dynamism. If you force it, and close one door upon it, it will open other doors; but you cannot keep it in bondage. If the natural flow of the energy is prevented, then it will flow in some unnatural way. That is why sex-repressive societies became richer.

When you repress sex you have to substitute something for your love, some object. Now the woman is dangerous, she is the way to hell. Because all the scriptures have been written by men, it is only the woman who is the way to hell. What about men?

But energy has to move. It can take a religious way; then the priests are happy. It can become academic; then the academicians are happy. It can become scientific; then the scientists are happy. It has to become something -- that's why sex-repressive societies have developed in so many directions. Yes, they have become very cultured, polished, civilized, educated, scientific, technological. But at what cost?

They have lost all joy. They have lost all peace. They have lost all silence. They have lost all love.

You can project your love towards an imaginary object but it is not going to give you fulfillment. You can go on writing poetry about Krishna or Christ, but that poetry is not going to give you the experience of love. You will remain starved. So the society has become really rich in every possible way -- but the individual has died. And what is the point of the society becoming cultured, civilized, educated, technological? For whom?

The individual is dead. This society is nothing but corpses walking all around -- of course very culturally: corpses, but very polished. They all speak English with an Oxford accent. But corpses, even if they speak with an Oxford accent, are still corpses. They become great politicians, they become great religious leaders, but just look inside those people: they are hollow. There is no substance inside, there is no soul. If they get defeated in one direction, then they start moving in another direction.

The society that did not repress sex naturally remained undeveloped for the simple reason that they were contented. There was no energy available to go after money, to go after politics, to go after God. No, they danced, they sang; they had a small but beautiful architecture -- huts, but made beautifully. They lived a very clean life; there was no crime because there was no energy for crime.

Now, the question is: who is civilized? -- the people who write dramas, paint paintings, compose music, or the people who live a very simple, poor life, but with tremendous joy?

Yes, they also paint, but their painting is not that of a Picasso; they don't have energy for that. They just paint small things on their small houses. They also create music, but their music is simple -- simple drums. Once in a while they gather together; they dance, they have flutes, bamboo flutes. Their musical instruments are not sophisticated, they cannot produce Yehudi Menuhin or Ravi Shankar; there is no need. Ravi Shankar can play so beautifully on the sitar, but what about his life? Nobody bothers about his life.

I know his wife. He married a very beautiful woman, the daughter of his own master who taught him music. He fell in love .... Because he used to live with his master, he fell in love with the master's daughter, who is as great a musician as he is. But he could not manage to live together in love.

He had ambitions -- and that woman is as great a musician as Ravi Shankar, perhaps better, but she has no ambitions. She is utterly fulfilled in playing on the sitar for herself. Once in a while a friend comes and sits, that is another matter. But she has never given a public performance: to her that is prostitution.

Now their ways have separated. Ravi Shankar wanted to become a world figure, world famous. The woman was not interested in fame. He had become world famous, but his life is utterly empty. he still loves that woman but he cannot manage to be with her. He does not know -- no ambitious man knows -- how to love. Ambition takes all his energy away. Love remains starving; energy is not available for love, it has been all invested in ambition. Ambition has become the parasite.

So one thing to be understood: these sex-repressive societies became very cultured, very civilized, very rich, very scientific, but at what cost? They died, they are no longer alive.

My problem is, I want you to be alive and yet as rich in every dimension as possible.

My methods of meditation are the ways that will make you expand your energy. Energy is like seeds ....

I am reminded of a story. An old man, very rich, was puzzled because he had three sons; the problem was that all three sons were born simultaneously, their age was the same. Otherwise, in the East, the eldest son, inherits. The problem for the old man was who was going to inherit, because all these three were of the same age.

He asked a wise man, "What should I do? How should I decide who should inherit?" The old wise man gave him a certain method. The old man went home, he gave one thousand silver pieces to each son and told them, "Go to the market, purchase seeds of flowers."

They went, they purchased seeds. Carts and carts came, full of seeds, because one thousand silver pieces in ancient days was big money, and just flower seeds .... When all the flower seeds had come, all that the three had bought, they said, "Now?"

Their father said, "I am going on a pilgrimage. It may take one year, two years, three years. You have to keep these seeds with you, and when I come back I will ask for the seeds to be given to me. And this is going to be a test also, because whosoever proves wise will inherit my whole property, so be careful." He went on the pilgrimage.

The first son thought, "This is a strange test. If he comes after three years ... these seeds will simply die, and he will ask for the living seeds. So the best way is to sell them in the market, keep the money, and when he comes back purchase new seeds again -- fresh, young." Very economical, mathematical -- he did that.

The second son thought, "What this brother is doing is not right, does not seem to be right, because our father emphatically said, `These same seeds I would like to be returned.' So I will keep these seeds." He made arrangements in the basement of the house, put all the seeds there, locked it, and said, "Now whenever he comes I will give him the key and say, `These are the seeds.'"

But the third one had a different idea. He said, "Seeds kept in a basement will not remain alive; they need soil. By the time our father returns they will not be the same seeds because they will be dead. They cannot sprout -- how can you call them the same seeds? The seeds that our father has given us can sprout, can become trees. One seed can produce millions of seeds; that is what he has given. And when he comes after three years those seeds will not be able to produce a single seed, a single sprout. This is not the way."

He went behind their house -- they had much land -- and he sowed the seeds all over the land. Each year they became a thousandfold more. After three years when the father came, he could not believe his eyes -- as far as he could see his whole land was full of flowers! He asked the other sons .... They had certainly failed the test. He said, "The third son inherits my property because he knows how to expand, how to increase."

One seed can make a whole earth green.

One small sparkle or energy in you can fill the whole earth with dance, song, music.

Just a little sparkle is enough.

If you know how to expand it, it can become a wildfire.

It may be just a little flame within you.

Meditation is nothing but an effort to expand your inner flame so that you can become afire, aflame, aglow, overflowing.

Then there will be a science, but totally different than the science that has been produced by repressed sexuality. There will be a qualitative change. This science is destructive because it has come out of perversion; it is perverted sexual energy which has become nuclear energy. When it comes out of meditation, overflowing love, it will be creative science -- a totally different science which we are not even aware of.

This whole scientific project has to be dropped because it is bringing you closer and closer to death. Anything that goes against sex will bring death closer to you, because sex is life.

From Darkness to Light, Chapter #24, Archive code: 8503255


Kahlil Gibran has said, "I will tell you a thing you may not know: the most highly sexed beings upon the planet are the creators, the poets, sculptors, painters, musicians -- and so it has been from the beginning. And amongst them, sex is a beautiful and exalted gift."

Please talk on sex as part of the creative life of the artist.

Kahlil Gibran is a man of tremendous insight. What he says is always significant and worth contemplating over. He has forgotten just one thing, which is natural, because he had no experience of that faraway horizon. He talks about the creators -- the poets, the sculptors, the painters, the musicians -- but he forgets completely about the awakened ones. It is not right to forget; in fact he had no idea -- and they are the highest creators. Poets and sculptors and musicians and dancers are very low categories in comparison to a Gautam Buddha, Bodhidharma, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu.

What he is saying is absolutely right: sex is the only energy you have. But you can use it in a destructive way -- and that too he has forgotten. An Adolf Hitler or a Joseph Stalin or a Benito Mussolini or Ronald Reagan, these people are all abnormally highly sexual. In a few people the sex energy is so much that they cannot be satisfied by only creating children.

This is simply a known fact, that children are created through sex. So sex is certainly a creative force, which can even create life. But there are highly sexed people, and just to produce children is not enough to exhaust their sexuality. They create music; music becomes their outlet. They create art, they create paintings, poetries... and they are thought of always by the society as outsiders, they are not accepted as normal human beings. Something is crazy about them; they are eccentric.

So he has forgotten two things. One is that the destructive people are also highly sexed people, but they use their energy in destruction. It is not automatically decisive that a highly sexed person will be always a creator; most probably he will be a destroyer.

But he is right that sex creates children, creates painting, creates music, creates sculpture. The world is divided into three kinds of people: the normal sexual people who only create children, the abnormally sexual people who either become destructive, create wars, destroy as much as they can -- and the third category, the creators.

Kahlil Gibran's insight is right, but incomplete. He himself is a poet and a painter, but he knows nothing about awakened consciousness. That is the highest point of creation: creating yourself as an immortal. Because it is an inner creation, people don't count Gautam Buddha as a creator, or Mahavira or Naropa or Tilopa; they don't consider these people as creators, because they can't see what they have created. They have created themselves, and that is the greatest creation in the world. Just look at Gautam Buddha, his silence, his peace, his understanding, his clarity, his blissfulness, his ecstasy... unwavering.

But I want to say that all great people in the world, destructive or creative, are people of so much energy, life energy, life force, that they cannot contain it within themselves; they have to do something. I would like that they all turn inwards, so their life is not a split and an agony, and so it becomes an ecstasy.

Joe was sitting at the bar, slowly sipping his drink, when his friend, Mickey, came running in.

"Joe," he shouted, "get over to your house real quick. I just stopped off to see you and I heard a man's voice in your bedroom. So I looked through your window and I saw your wife in bed with another man."

"Is that so?" said Joe, matter-of-factly. "What does this guy looks like?"

"Oh, he's tall and completely bald," said Mickey.

"And did he have a thick red mustache?" asked Joe.

"Right, right!" yelled Mickey.

"Did he have a front gold tooth?" asked Joe.

"Damn it, you are right!" replied Mickey.

"Must be that idiot Dick Roberts," said Joe. "He will screw anything."

There are people of that category also -- no life energy, at the most lukewarm. They never create anything. Even to create children is such a task.

And by the way, I should also mention to you -- to make Kahlil Gibran's insight more clear -- that no impotent man has been a poet or a sculptor or a scientist; the question of being a mystic does not arise. Perhaps impotency is the worst situation a man can find himself in. But strangely enough all the religions are teaching people to be impotent; they call it celibacy.

The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here, Chapter #6, Archive code: 8709090


You are also known as the sex guru. What do you presently think of love?

The definition which calls me a sex guru is not only false, it is absurd. To put it right: I am the only person in the whole world who is antisex. But that needs tremendous understanding. You cannot hope for that understanding from journalists.

I have been talking about sex so that it can be transformed. All the religious teachers can be called sex gurus except me, because they are teaching repression of sex, which keeps a man continuously sexual; he will never be transformed. He will never go beyond sex. Repression is the way to keep you attached to whatever you have repressed.

I have been teaching expression, so that you are getting rid of it by expressing it. You are not holding it back inside your unconscious. And the more you express your sexuality, with no guilt, with no sin -- because it is not a sin; it is a simple natural instinct -- soon you become aware that there is nothing in it. Many people become aware that there is nothing in it except a headache the next morning!

What I am trying to point out is that my whole effort with my people is to make you aware that sex is a simple, natural phenomenon. Live it, and live it totally, so that you can transcend it. But my goal is transcendence.

I am the most antisex person in the world, but it is such an insane world that nobody wants to understand the whole thing of why I am supporting sex, why I am saying, "Be expressive, live it, and be finished with it. The sooner you do it the better, so you can have a transcendental life at least for a few years, years which can be devoted totally to meditation."

There are at least four hundred books in my name, and there is only one book about sex. Only that book is talked about; the three hundred ninety-nine other books nobody cares about. And those three hundred and ninety-nine are the best. The book on sex is just preparing the ground so that you can understand the other books and go higher, dropping small problems, reaching to the heights of human consciousness -- but nobody talks about them.

Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries, Chapter #3,  Archive code: 8602205


What is orgasm in reference to meditation and higher levels of consciousness? Isn't feeling orgasmic in a deep state of meditation totally nonsexual?

The experience of orgasm itself is always nonsexual. Even though you have achieved it through sex, it itself has no sexuality in it.

You can reach to orgasm through sex. It is a merger of the negative and the positive polarities -- such a deep merger that the man is no longer man, the woman is no longer woman. They are not two; there is only one energy surrounding them both. They have melted into that energy.

It may be for a moment -- that does not matter -- but the experience itself has nothing to do with sex.

The first orgasm is bound to be attained through sex. And my own understanding is that meditation has grown out of the experience of orgasm, because the original founders -- particularly Shiva who, in his Vigyan Bhairva Tantra, has written, just like a scientific formula, about one hundred and twelve meditations; each meditation just in one line or two lines.... The man is tremendously aphoristic. Those one hundred and twelve sutras are just like seeds. He has condensed everything about the method in them.

He is also known as a great lover. Perhaps he was the first man to discover meditation. And it can be very scientifically assumed that whoever experienced orgasm, if he had a little intelligence, would have seen that although it has come through sex, it itself is a nonsexual experience.

That gives the insight that there may be possibilities of reaching it through nonsexual means, because it is not sexual itself, so sexuality is not necessarily the only way.

It does not need much intelligence if you experience it and see clearly that it does not have any impact of sexuality. Perhaps sexuality created the background, the groundwork in which it happened. But the experience of orgasm itself does not remind you of sex; it is purely spiritual.

Whoever experienced this must have concluded then that there can be other ways to reach it -- because sex is not necessarily a part of it. There is no color, nor any impression of sex left in it. Then he must have watched how it happens. And then things are very clear: the moment the orgasm happens, time stops, you forget about time. Your mind stops, you do not think anymore. There is tremendous calmness, and a great awareness.

You are not asleep. You have not fallen into any hypnotic sleep. Everything is crystal-clear. The mind is no more functioning the way it functions continuously: the thought process has stopped. The sense of time is not there; it seems timeless. Afterwards you will think it lasted only a few seconds, but that is afterwards; in the experience itself, it seems it is eternity. And you are fully aware, as aware as you have ever been: wide-awake.

Any observer going through the experience will naturally think, "If these things can be managed without sex -- awareness, thoughtlessness, timelessness -- you will reach to the orgasmic state, bypassing sexuality."

And this is my understanding: this is how man must have first discovered meditation; otherwise meditation is not something biological or natural, so that in the course of time you have to discover it. But biology has given you an experience; if you try to understand it, you are bound to search for other methods to make it possible. You know it has happened -- that there was no thought, no time, and only pure awareness -- so it is possible.

You are not groping in the dark, you are not just guessing: you know it is possible. You have known it through the biological route. Then if these three things can be maintained without sex, the orgasm happens.

And the difference is that the sexual orgasm is very momentary. Although while it is there, it looks almost eternal, that feeling is just because of its depth. But through meditation you can have it as long as you want, because meditation is not dependent on anybody else -- the woman or the man or a certain state of two minds, a certain rhythm of two energies. The sexual orgasm depends on many things, and particularly on the other person being there.

Meditation is independent of any other person; only you are to create the situation. And naturally the conclusion will be to start with awareness, because you don't know how else to stop thoughts. It is not in your hands to stop thoughts or to stop time. Only one thing remains, and that is awareness -- that you can be more aware or less aware.

You know it. If this house is suddenly on fire, you will be more aware. You know that your awareness goes up and down. At certain moments you are more aware; at certain moments, less aware. So it is possible to create the situation of being more aware.

That's why awareness became the basis of meditation. And with awareness came the surprise that as you become aware, thoughts disappear. When you are fully aware, there are no thoughts, and suddenly time has stopped. Time can be there inside only with the movement of thoughts.

In fact time can be measured only with some movement. For example, with a watch, how are you measuring time? By the movement of the hands; otherwise, there is no way.

If everything is unmoving, you will not be able to think that anything like time exists. But you know that a car has passed, then a train is passing -- there has been a gap. In the gap... it means time. Then you hear the sound of an airplane.... This is movement -- you are finding movement around you.

Inside there is only one movement, and that is of thoughts.

When thoughts stop, suddenly time disappears, because time can be measured only through some kind of movement. That's why, if in the night you had many dreams, in the morning you will find that it was a long, long night, because so much movement happened. But if you had no dream at all, you will feel as if you have just fallen asleep, and now you are awake. The night has passed so quickly.

When you are in anxiety, in misery, in pain, time passes slowly because of your pain. You would like the pain to pass quickly, but with your expectation that the pain is not going, time is passing very slowly.

But when you are meeting a friend after years, you find hours have passed, and it seems just minutes since you met. When you are joyful, when you are miserable, it makes a difference in the speed of time immediately. But when you are neither -- just silent -- time has no way to move.

So as one becomes aware, first one finds thoughts becoming less, and finally stopping. Then he finds time is not there -- and he has found the key to the basic meditation. Then all other meditations are differentiations of the same method, different combinations of the same method. Different combinations, but essentially they are awareness or witnessing.

And it seems there is no other way to find it except through sexual orgasm, because that is the only experience in life given by nature that comes close to meditation. And the misery is that millions of people have no experience of orgasm, and all the religions have been preventing them from having that experience.

This is so ridiculous, because if they don't have any orgasmic experience, meditation remains just a fiction; or maybe some giants can do it. "But we are human beings -- it is not possible for us to be more aware. How can one be more aware? We are aware as much as we can be. How to stop thoughts?"

And the responsibility for keeping humanity away from meditation goes to all the religions because they are against sex. They have prevented people -- not from sex but from orgasm, because they have poisoned people's sex with guilt. They could not prevent sex, but they did not allow people to be playful about it, they did not allow people to be respectful about it, they did not allow people to go deeper into it.

On the contrary, because sex is sin, it makes people feel guilty. The man is in a hurry to finish as quickly as possible, because you should not continue any sin too long. Knowing that you are doing something wrong, you want to do it quickly and be finished with it.

And if the man is in a hurry he cannot attain to orgasm, only to ejaculation; which proves all the religious teachers right -- that you are wasting your energy. Because the man feels he gains nothing, it is a waste, he feels tired. The next day he may have a headache, feels dull, is not so sharp. Perhaps the religious people are right -- he is already punished.

So it is a very strange thing. They have created the idea of guilt, and the idea of guilt on its own has given proofs that you really are doing something wrong.

The woman has remained unmoving while making love, because she has been told that to enjoy herself while making love -- or to move, or to be playful -- is only for prostitutes, not for ladies. Ladies simply lie down almost dead, thinking, "Let him do what he wants to do and let him be finished soon" -- because they don't gain anything out of it.

The man at least finds a certain release of the energy with which he was becoming burdened, but the woman does not get even that release. So naturally women are more against sex than men. And every woman thinks in her mind that all men are nothing but animals: their only desire is sex.

This is the by-product of all the religious teachings. In this way... they have not been able to prevent sex; otherwise humanity would have disappeared. And orgasm is not necessary for reproduction, so biology has no problem: it can continue its work without orgasm.

Orgasm was not something necessary for reproduction, it was something to open a window for the higher evolution of consciousness.

Light on the Path, Chapter #27, Archive code: 8601310

Tantra discovered that in orgasmic ecstasy witnessing arises on its own accord. It is a gift from God, a natural gift to enter into samadhi.

But it happens in all creative experiences, because all creative experiences are orgasmic; in a subtle sense, there is something of the sexual and the sensuous in them. When a painter looks at the trees, then the green and the red and the gold of the trees is not the same as when you look at the trees. His experience is orgasmic, he is utterly lost in it. He is not there as an observer, he falls in deep rapport. He becomes one with the green and the red and the gold of the trees.

The painter knows that looking at the beautiful existence is an orgasmic experience. Hence, while the painter is painting, he becomes absolutely nonsexual; he becomes celibate. He is already experiencing orgasmic joy, he need not go into sex at all. Celibacy comes naturally to him.

Thousands of poets and painters and musicians have remained celibate, and with no effort. Monks remain celibate with great effort. Why? The monk is uncreative; in his life there is no orgasmic experience, his mind hankers for the sexual experience. The poet, the musician, the artist, the dancer who is capable of being lost into whatsoever he is doing, is having orgasmic experiences on a higher plane; sex is not a necessity. If once in a while such a person moves into sex, it is not out of need, it is just playfulness, it is simple playfulness. And when sex has the quality of playfulness it is sacred.

D.H. Lawrence is right when he says that he experienced God in sexual orgasm. But his sexuality is totally different from the sexuality of the monks. They will not be able to understand Lawrence.

Lawrence was one of the most misunderstood men of this century -- one of the most beautiful, one of the most creative, one of the most precious, but the most misunderstood. And the reason is that his experience has a totally different quality. When he is talking about sexual orgasm, he is not talking about your sexual orgasm, he is talking about his sexual orgasm. Only very rare people will be able to understand him. He is a natural tantrika -- unaware of the science of Tantra, but he stumbled upon it. Somehow a window has opened in his life; his sensuality is spiritual.

The Book of Wisdom, Chapter #23, Archive code: 7903050

Where Are the Women?


Women have not been great painters and poets and sculptors for the simple reason that their desire to create is immensely fulfilled by bringing up children. To give birth to a child, alive, radiant -- what else can be compared to it? You create a painting; howsoever beautiful, it is a dead thing after all.

You can create music, you can create song. But what are they compared to a beautiful child? Just look into the eyes of a child and all your paintings are nothing. The child smiles, and all your songs fall flat on the ground. The child tries to walk, and the joy when the child feels "I can walk."

All your science, all your art, are nothing compared to that joy. And when the child speaks for the first time, have you seen the ecstasy?

The mother watches from the first moments in her womb when the child starts moving. An experienced mother, one who has given birth to one or two children, can tell whether the child is a boy or a girl, because the girl remains quiet and the boy starts kicking very early: he is in a hurry to get out. The girl remains silent. And that difference continues in childhood, in youth, in old age.

A woman has a certain stability, a centeredness, a grounding, which a man has not. He is always on the move. Even on holidays he can't sit silently. He will start fixing the clock which is working perfectly well. He will take it apart.

There is nothing wrong with the clock -- something is wrong with the man! He can't sit still. He will open the bonnet of his car, start doing something, and create a mess. And he will be more tired after the holiday than he ever is after he comes from the office, because for the whole day he cannot just sit still.

Man is restless. And in the mother's womb, very early on the mother can feel whether it is a boy or a girl. She feels so contented in giving birth to a child, in helping the child to grow; and that's why she does not need any other kind of creativity. Her creative urge is fulfilled.

But man is in trouble: he cannot give birth to a child, he cannot have the child in his womb. He has to find a substitute, otherwise he will always feel inferior to the woman. And deep down he does feel that he is inferior.

Because of that feeling of inferiority man tries to create paintings, statues, dramas, he writes poetry, novels, explores the whole scientific world of creativity.

This is all nothing but an effort of man to say to woman, "I am a creator. You are just an instrument in the hands of biology -- the child is not your creation. Any woman can do that, but any man cannot become Picasso, or Nijinsky, or Nietzsche, or Dostoevsky. This is creativity."

This is how man compensates and covers up his inferiority. And this is the way he has followed for thousands of years; and by and by has convinced himself, and the woman too, that he is superior to her. And he has not allowed the woman the same freedom to create these things because he knows perfectly well that woman can be as creative as him.

A woman can create like Picasso and Dostoevsky and Bernard Shaw and Russell; there is no problem in it. All that she will have to do is drop the idea of being a mother, because it is difficult to be a mother and to be a Bertrand Russell. There is a conflict of interest. It is difficult to be a woman, a mother, and at the same time be a Picasso, because Picasso's paintings demand -- just like a woman -- his whole being.

From Personality to Individuality, Chapter #11, Archive code: 8501095

Only on one point, in one place, man and woman meet, and that I call the space of meditation -- where man and woman are really equal, because both can give birth to themselves. They can be reborn; both can be pregnant with enlightenment.

Except in the space of meditation, man and woman are two different species. They meet only in deep meditation. And unless the whole of humanity is meditative, men and women will go on fighting with each other. Their love is always going up and down -- there are moments of beauty, and there are moments of ugliness; there are moments of joy, and there are moments of misery.

But in meditation -- if two meditators share their energies -- love is a constant phenomenon, it does not change. It has the quality of eternity; it becomes divine.

The meeting of love and meditation is the greatest experience in life.

The Rebellious Spirit, Chapter #29, Archive code: 8702245

You will be aware of the fact that although poets continually write poetry about women, most of the poets have remained away from women. Most of the great novelists were not interested in women. Most of the great painters were afraid of women for the simple reason that either you can paint or you can be married: you can't have two wives -- together both will kill you.

There is an ancient parable in India:

A man was caught as a thief in a house. He was presented in court and the magistrate said, "Do you accept your guilt?"

He said, "I accept it absolutely but I want to say one thing. You can give me any punishment, but don't tell me to be married to two women."

The magistrate said, "I have never heard of any punishment like that. My whole life I have been punishing people, but I have never punished anybody that way."

He said, "Then you are a really good man. You can sentence me to death, but not...."

The magistrate said, "But I would like to know why this condition?"

He said, "This is the reason why I was caught. I entered a house where a man lives with two wives. One wife lives on the ground floor, the other wife lives on the floor above. And they were both pulling at the man -- one was pulling him to the upper floor, the other was pulling him to the ground floor. I became so interested that I forgot why I had gone there. I became interested in knowing what was going to be the result ultimately, who would win. Certainly the man had no chance of winning -- he was getting beaten from both sides.

"That's why I got caught -- otherwise in the whole of my life, have you ever seen me in court? I am a born thief; my father was a thief, my father's father was a thief -- this is our inherited profession. And this is the first time anybody from my family has been caught. I am ashamed. My father's soul, my grandfather's soul -- they will all be ashamed of me. And there was no problem, I could have stolen things and escaped, but the story with those two women and that one man.... And a crowd gathered, that is why I got caught. They said,'Who is this man? And what is he doing here? He does not seem to be from this neighborhood.' So you can sentence me to death or life imprisonment, whatsoever you want, but please don't order me to get married to two women."

This has been the situation for the poet, for the painter, for the musician, for the dancer -- any creative artist finds it easier not to get involved with women, or to get involved only casually, perhaps with strangers. Perhaps traveling in a train he may become interested in a woman because there is no fear -- at the next station he is going to get out. Artists have told me that they get interested only in strangers; they don't know their name, they don't want to know their name. The strangers don't know the artist's name nor does he want them to know it -- they remain strangers.

The fear is deep-rooted, and it has a reality of its own. And perhaps that is one of the causes that women have never been creative: they could not afford to live alone in this society which is absolutely man-made. A woman living alone is continually in danger. Only recently a few women started their careers -- as a novelist, as a poet, as a painter. This is because for the first time, just in these last few years -- and that too only in very few advanced, progressive, avant-garde places -- that a woman has been able to live independently, just like a man. Then they start painting, they start composing poetry, music....

Women have all the talents but for millions of years their sex was their only creativity, and when the whole sexual energy was involved in producing children.... You cannot imagine a woman having a dozen children and composing music -- or can you imagine it? Those twelve musical instruments all around doing everything that is not right... and the woman can compose music or poetry or can paint? Do you think those twelve painters will sit silently? -- they will be painting before she paints!

From Ignorance to Innocence, Chapter #6, Archive code: 8412045


My energy goes sour sometimes.

That is one of the very basic problems women are facing all over the modern world. It is not just your question -- it is a problem for the modern woman. The problem is that for centuries they have never done any creative work -- they were not allowed; they were repressed. So they had lived with ordinary day-to-day household work. They have lived below their capacities.

Now suddenly in the modern world that has disappeared. Women have become free. Now they are no more tethered to the household affairs, and they don't know what to do with their energy, because for centuries they have been doing only that work. Now that work is no more there, or even if it is there, it takes only a part of their energy and the remaining part remains unapplied. That unapplied and unoccupied part of energy will become destructive.

Either you make your energy creative, or it will turn sour and become destructive. Energy is a dangerous thing -- if you have it, you have to use it creatively, otherwise sooner or later you will find it has become destructive. So find something -- whatsoever you like -- to put your energy into. Just loving your partner won't do! You have to find your own energy outlet. Help him, love him, but you should have your own individuality. Whatsoever you feel like doing, you do. If you want, painting; or if you want, dancing or singing; or if you want to play an instrument.... Whatsoever you want, find a way in which you can become completely lost.

If you can be lost playing a guitar -- good! In those moments when you are lost, your energy will be released in a creative way. If you cannot be lost in painting, in singing, in dancing, in playing guitar or a flute, then you will find lower ways of being lost: anger, rage, aggression; these are lower ways to be lost.

One needs to lose oneself. There is a necessity about it, otherwise one becomes too self-conscious. Moments of complete forgetfulness are needed -- they unburden you.

So find something, whatsoever you feel for. And there is no need that it should be something great. If you like cleaning the house, then clean the floor -- that will do! If you want cooking, cook, but make it an art! Become an artist! You can clean in such a way that it becomes prayer, worship. One can chop wood, and can chop it so artistically -- then it is good!

The old days are gone; women are no more confined to the house -- and that is creating the problem. They have chosen to be free, but yet they don't know how to be free. Freedom comes through creativity. It is not a political question. Only by being creative will they become free. Political freedom is one thing -- it simply negatively removes the barriers, that's all. So the barriers have been removed, the prison wall is no more there, but just to be out of the prison is not enough. Now one has to enjoy the birds and the breeze and the sun and the moon.

Blessed Are the Ignorant, Chapter #13, Archive code: 7612175

 Thanksgiving to the Body


I have heard that when St. Francis died, when he was just on his deathbed, suddenly he opened his eyes and thanked his body before going to his death. Before moving to the other world, he thanked his body. He said, "Much was hidden in you, and you helped me so much. And I was so ignorant, and there were times when I even fought with you. There were times I even thought about you in inimical terms. But you were always a friend, and it is because of you I could move to such a state of consciousness."

This thanksgiving to the body is beautiful. But St. Francis could understand it only in the end. Tantra says, try to understand in the beginning. If you only thank your body when you are dying, it will be of no use.

Your body is a treasury of hidden forces, of mysterious possibilities. Tantra says that in your body is the whole cosmos in miniature: it is just a miniature of the whole cosmos. Do not fight with it. What is your sex if the body is a miniature? If really this is so, that your body is the whole cosmos in miniature, what is sex? That which is creation in the cosmos is sex in you. Throughout the whole cosmos, creation is going on every moment -- that is sex in you. And if there is so much force in it, it is because you are needed to be a creator.

Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, Chapter #26, Archive code: 7301235

Listen to the body. And when I say listen to the body, I don't mean remain confined to the body. If you listen to the body, the body will not have anything to say to you -- things will be settled.

And when the body is at ease, relaxed, and there is no tension, and the body is not fighting for something, is not trying to attract your attention because you are not fulfilling a need, when the body is calm and quiet, you can float high, you can fly high, you can become a white cloud. But only when body needs are truly looked after.

The body is not your enemy, it is your friend. The body is your earth, the body has all your roots. You have to find a bridge between you and your body. If you don't find that bridge, you will be constantly in conflict with your body -- and a person who is fighting with himself is always miserable.

The first thing is to come to a peace-pact with your body and never break it. Once you have come to a peace-pact with your body, the body will become very, very friendly. You look after the body, the body will look after you -- it becomes a vehicle of tremendous value, it becomes the very temple. One day your body itself is revealed to you as the very shrine of God.

Dang Dang Doko Dang, Chapter #10, Archive code: 7606200

Start thinking about yourself more in terms of energy than in terms of body. Matter is just an appearance: it appears solid because we cannot see deeply into it, otherwise it is also liquid. Matter itself is not material; it is tremendous energy revolving with tremendous speed.

And that is the first step towards God -- to drop the idea of solidity, to drop the idea of being a body. That is the first step, and there are only two steps: first, one has to drop the idea of being material, bodily, physical, and one has to start thinking in terms of energy, process, river-like process, becoming. And the second step is to think of this energy as conscious energy -- not unconscious, luminous with consciousness.

So on the one hand the idea of matter has to be dropped, on the other hand the energy has to be made conscious. It is conscious energy -- you are conscious! In fact the whole existence is conscious in different ways, in different dimensions, on different planes. Even the tree is conscious on a different plane; so too are animals conscious on different planes.

Man is more intensely conscious than any other being on the earth, hence the responsibility of man. Man can fall because he is conscious -- too conscious; he can rise also because he is conscious. Now consciousness is a double-edged sword: it can lead you into deep misery, it can lead you into infinite joy. So start by dropping the idea of being a material being; start thinking in terms of energy. And the moment you start thinking in terms of energy you start changing, because basically it is thought that transforms. You become that which you think you are: as a man thinketh, so he becomes.

And then the second step is that energy is not just energy, dead energy, but is fully alert, alive, with soul in it -- it is soul energy.

This Is It, Chapter #13, Archive code:7705135

There are three layers of energy. One: the ordinary energy which you use in daily work: eating, walking, working, typing, this and that, just the superficial layer. Underneath is a bigger layer of energy. If, doing anything, you come to the point where the thin top layer is finished, that does not mean that your energy is finished; only the top layer is finished. Then the top layer is saying, "Stop." Don't stop, continue. Soon the second layer is broken open, and becomes available. You were thinking you cannot jog, and now you can jog for hours!

Then again a point comes when you feel, "If I go on jogging now, I am going to fall down and die." It is not just tiredness -- it is almost death. First it was tiredness, now it is almost like death. This is the third layer in you, which is vast. If you continue and you say, "Okay, if death comes it is okay, but I am not going to stop," the third layer opens up, and you have never seen such energy in you.

That sometimes accidentally happens to you. You are tired. The whole day's work and everything... and suddenly your house catches fire! You were thinking to just jump into bed and forget the whole world... and the house is burning! You forget all about your tiredness. Suddenly you are fresh, young -- as fresh and as young as you have never been, and you are running here and there, and doing all kinds of things -- perhaps it will take the whole night to put the fire out. And you will do it, and you will not feel tired.

What has happened?

From Unconciousness to Consciousness, Chapter #19, Archive code: 8411175

Participate in the Dance



One of the key words to my and others' experiences here is 'energy'. I can feel it -- sometimes more, sometimes less -- and I also feel that opening myself more to experiencing it, is letting it do the job of change.

Still it puzzles me as it is a totally new concept to me and I should like to know more about it. Is it an inner or an outer phenomenon, or both? Can one misuse it? Please explain.

You have stumbled upon one thing which is very significant -- energy. That's what we are producing here.

To those who come as spectators, it remains unavailable. Those who come just to see what is happening will not be able to see it. And this is the real happening. But it is invisible. You have to become a participant, only then will you know about it.

There are two ways of knowing a thing. One is that of the spectator. You go to the movie, you sit in your chair and you see whatsoever goes on moving on the screen. You are a spectator. This is one of the problems for the modern mind. The modern mind has become a spectator. Somebody is dancing -- you are watching. People are glued to their chairs before their TV sets for five, six, seven hours. The average in America is five hours. It is as if the TV set is their God and they are worshipping. They are just glued. They cannot get up, they are almost paralysed -- just watching, just looking. Somebody is making love -- people are watching. Somebody is wrestling -- people are watching. Somebody is dancing -- people are watching. Somebody is singing -- people are listening. People have become spectators.

And when you become a spectator, much is lost. Your life becomes very superficial -- because God is not available through being a spectator, God is available only through participation. If you want to know what dance is, dance. Don't be a spectator. Don’t go on looking. You don't know what dance is if you only see a dancer. You just know the movements of the dancer, you don't know how it feels from within the dancer -- how it feels to the dancer, what joy, what ecstasy, what is happening in the innermost core of the dancer.

So one way is the way of the spectator. Another way is the way of the participant.

Only by being a participant will you know what is happening. And if you are a participant then 'energy' will be the word that will become the most important -- that is what is happening around here.

Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 2, Chapter #2, Archive code: 7708280

If people can dance a little more, sing a little more, be a little more crazy, their energy will be flowing more, and their problems will by and by disappear. Hence I insist so much on dance. Dance to orgasm; let the whole energy become dance, and suddenly you will see that you don't have any head  --  the stuck energy in the head is moving all around, creating beautiful patterns, pictures, movement. And when you dance there comes a moment when your body is no longer a rigid thing, it becomes flexible, flowing. When you dance there comes a moment when your boundary is no longer so clear; you melt and merge with the cosmos, the boundaries are mixing.

Ancient Music in the Pines, Chapter #2, Archive code:             7602220

Many times people come to me and they say: 'What is the meaning of dancing? How can one attain to God by dancing?'

Dancing is an experiment, an experiment to bring your body, your mind, your soul, in tune. Dance is one of the most rhythmic phenomena. If you are really dancing there is no other activity which creates such unity. If you are sitting, the body is not used; then you use only your mind. If you are running very fast, your life is in danger, then you use your body and you don't use your mind. In dance you are neither sitting nor running for your life. It is movement, a joyful movement. The body is moving, the energy is flowing, the mind is moving, the mind is flowing. And when these two things are flowing they melt into each other. You become psychosomatic. A certain alchemy starts happening.

That's why you see a new kind of grace on the face of the dancer, it is alchemical -- the body-mind meeting, merging, the body-mind becoming one tune, one rhythm, one harmony. When this harmony has happened then the third, the soul, starts entering into it. The soul can enter into your existence only when your body and mind are no longer in conflict, when your body and mind co-operate, when your body and mind are deep in love, embracing, hugging each other... that's what happens in dance. Then immediately you will find the third entering also. When the body-mind is really in harmony, when the two are no more two, the third enters. For the first time you become a trinity, a trimurti. Those are the three faces of God.

And while you are dancing something is happening. It is an experiment. It is not just contemplation -- just sitting and thinking about God -- it is allowing God to enter into you, it is opening yourself to God. It is like a flower opening in the morning. When the flower opens, suddenly sun rays start dancing on its petals. When you open, God starts dancing in you. God can be met only through dance. There is no other activity which is more harmonious than dance. That's why all the primitive religions were dance-based, and all the modern religions -- the so-called civilised, sophisticated religions -- have nothing like dance in them; they are dull affairs.

A church looks more like a cemetery than like a temple. You can't dance there, you can't be joyous there, you cannot -- it is not allowed. You have to be serious. You have to be very, very serious, sad, as if you are doing something wrong. The joy is missing. The joy is missing because people are just sitting, not doing anything. And the church goes on just thinking about God. The preacher talks about God and the people listen to it; the preacher thinks and the people who listen think. God is a thought, it is not an act in the church.

In this place God is not a thought; it is an act, it is a dance. And the dance has to be of the total: body, mind, soul. Nothing has to be denied, because if you deny anything something will be missing, something will certainly be missing. And then your synthesis will not be the highest possibility, it will remain some-where low, it will not reach towards the ultimate Everest.

These people who come here and watch and see people dancing or doing Kundalini or the Dynamic -- they become very puzzled because they have an idea that one should sit and read the Geeta and think about God. That is all nonsense!

Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1, Chapter #15, Archive code: 7708250

There is nothing like dancing, because dancing seems to be the only activity when the doer can be easily lost, and the only activity in which body, mind, soul -- all can participate in a harmony. Otherwise there are activities that the body can do, there are activities that the mind can do -- the body is not needed. There are activities that can be done by the soul, by the spirit -- neither the mind is needed nor the body.

Any activity that needs the cooperation of all the three layers of your being will give you the richest crop, because in that harmony, in that synchronicity -- when all the three layers meet together and are not in any conflict, when they are one together -- you become something transcendental. Then you are none of the three -- you have become the fourth. And the fourth is the goal.

Dancing is the only activity in which all the three can be together, in which all the three are needed. And all the three are needed in such a way that they become one. So continue to dance. Much will happen through dance.

There is no need to give any form to it, because once you start giving form to it, the mind has become predominant. Let it be spontaneous, let it be formless. Let it be such that it surprises even you. So each day simply stand and let it come. Let it flood you! And then start moving. Let each movement lead you to another not knowing at all where you are going or what is going to happen next. Then the dance dances itself. And when the dance dances itself and there is no dancer, it is tremendously beautiful.

So through dance many things will happen. And humanity has completely lost track of dance. All primitive societies were dancing societies. Still a few primitive tribes exist somewhere; they are still dancing tribes. Their whole religion consists of dance. They find any excuse and they will dance. It may be the birth of a child and the whole tribe dances to receive the new guest. It may be a marriage ceremony, it may be some other festival. It may be that somebody had died, so again they dance. Birth, death, marriage or anything important they mark by their dance.

Even when they go to war, they go dancing. They call it a war dance. Then even wars take on a new meaning, a new quality. Then it is not the ugly war that we have invented. Of course people are killed, but they are killed while they are dancing. And when a person is dancing, death is meaningless. He is deathless, because if he is killed in that harmony, that very experience will become an experience of samadhi. The primitive war dance has not yet been understood rightly. We think it is simply war -- it is not really a war. It is again an excuse to dance -- the ultimate dance, the last dance, the death dance. Both sides come dancing, and dancing they fight, dancing they die. But if you die in dance you will attain to a great new life. You will be born in a totally different altitude.

The Shadow of the Whip, Chapter #3, Archive code: 7611105

When dance happens through you, it is divine dance. When you dance, it is very ordinary, mundane; it has not the touch of the unknown in it; it has no inspiration. It is just gymnastics, a body exercise you have learnt a few steps and movements and you are twisting your body. You are not possessed by God!

When a dance comes to you, you are possessed, you are no more yourself. God has penetrated you. Then there is a totally different quality to it. Then you are not the dancer: you are being danced. And the difference is immense. There is no effort on your part. You are simply taken over. You don't know what is happening. You are neither the doer nor the knower, and then something great happens -- something which is not of this earth. Those are the religious moments.

A dancer can know God more easily than a thinker. And a painter can know God more easily than a businessman. And a poet is certainly closer to God than any politician. These are the people of God! The artist comes closest.

Without Mind, Chapter #10, Archive code: 7801100

When you dance meditatively your dance starts having a new flavor -- something of the divine enters into it -- because if you are meditatively dancing then the ego disappears, the dancer disappears. That is the whole art of meditation: disappearance of the ego, disappearance of the mind. The dancer become thoughtless, silent. the dance continues and the dancer disappears. This is what I call the divine quality: now it is as if God is dancing through you, you are no more there.

One of the greatest dancers of this age was Nijinsky, and there must have happened, by coincidence, a certain synthesis between dance and meditation in him. He was not the master of it, because he had never learned the art of meditation. It must have happened. Just as a consequence of his total effort to go into dance, his total commitment.

And a miracle used to happen once in a while: Nijinsky will take such high jumps, leaps in the air, which are not physically possible because of the gravitation of the earth. And the spectators were simply mystified; they will miss few beats of their heart. It was a miracle to see Nijinsky moving, as if there is no gravitation -- he will take such high leaps and so easily!

And the second thing was, when he will start descending back, he will come as a feather comes very slowly, as if there is no hurry, as if the gravitation is not pulling him like a magnet. It is. according to scientific rules, impossible, but what can you do when it is happening? Even scientists observed Nijinsky and they were puzzled.

Again and again Nijinsky was asked, "How do you manage it?" He said, "That I cannot say, because when it happens I am not there. I have tried to manage t and I have always failed. Whenever I try to manage it, it doesn't happen. Once in a while when I forget myself completely, when I am utterly abandoned, it happens. It happens on its own; I cannot manage. I cannot say that tomorrow it will happen. You are not the only one who is surprised. When it happens, I am myself surprised, utterly surprised, because I become weightless."

I Am That, Chapter #9, Archive code: 8010190


Let me tell you about one law which sooner or later science is going to discover. I call it the law of grace. Just as there is a law of gravitation... three hundred years ago it was not known. It was functioning even before it was known; the law need not be known to function. The law was always functioning. It has nothing to do with Newton and the apple falling from the tree. Apples used to fall before too! It is not that Newton discovered the law and then the apples started falling. The law was there, Newton discovered it.

Exactly like that another law is there: the law of grace, that uplifts. The law of gravitation pulls things downwards: the law of grace lifts things upwards. In Yoga they call it levitation. In a certain state of abandon, in a certain state of drunkenness, drunk with the divine, in a certain state of utter surrender, egolessness, that law starts functioning. One is uplifted. One becomes weightless.

That was happening in Nijinsky's case. But you cannot make it happen, because if you are there it will not happen. Ego is like a rock around your neck. When the ego is not there, you are weightless.

And have you not felt it sometimes in your own life? There are moments when you have a kind of weightlessness. You walk on the earth but still your feet don't touch the earth -- you are six inches above. Moments of joy, moments of prayer, moments of meditation, moments of celebration, moments of love... and you are weightless, you are uplifted.

And I say, sooner or later science will have to discover it, because science believes in a certain principle: the principle of the polar opposites. No law can be alone: it must have its opposite. Electricity cannot function with only one pole, positive or negative; both are needed. They complement each other.

Science knows it, that each law has its opposite to complement it. Gravitation must have a law opposite to it to complement it. That law, tentatively, I call grace -- any other name may be possible in the future. Because scientists, if they discover it, they will not call it grace. But that seems to be the most perfect name for it. God uplifting you.

The Perfect Master, Vol 2, Chapter #10, Archive code: 7807100

Inside Nijinsky something like a satori was happening. The West was not aware of these phenomena, that s why nobody told him that this was a satori. Had he been to the East -- in a Sufi country, in a Zen country, or a Taoist country -- it would have been immediately recognised. And great possibilities would have opened.

Just the reverse happened in the West. Nijinsky went mad because he became so disoriented. He could not figure out what it was. He became so afraid of it -- as if he was being possessed by some evil spirit or something. That which could have become the door to God became a door to a madhouse. He needed a master in that moment. He needed one who had realised this inner phenomenon. The master would have been of great help. But he was not aware that he needed a master; he was not aware that anything religious was happening. He became disturbed. He became afraid of himself.

Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 2, Chapter #2, Archive code: 7708280

If you can dance with abandon, you will begin to see yourself and your body as separate from each other. Soon you will cease to be a dancer; instead you will become a watcher, a witness. When your body will be dancing totally, a moment will come when you will suddenly find that you are completely separate from the dance.

In the past many devices were designed to bring about this separation between a seeker and his body, and singing and dancing was one such device. You can dance in such a way and with such abandon that a moment comes when you break away from dancing and clearly see yourself standing separate from the dance. Although your body will continue to dance, you will be quite separate from it as a spectator watching the dance. It will seem as if the axle has separated itself from the wheel which continues to keep moving -- as if the axle has come to know that it is an axle and that which is moving is the wheel, although separate from it.

Dancing can be seen in the same way as a wheel. If the wheel moves with speed, a moment comes when it is seen distinctly separate from the axle. It is interesting that when the wheel is unmoving you cannot see it as separate from the axle, but when it moves you can clearly see them as two separate entities. You can know by contrast which is moving and which is not.

Let someone dance and let him bring all his energy to it, and soon he will find there is someone inside him who is not dancing, who is utterly steady and still. That is his axle, his center. That which is dancing is his circumference, his body, and he himself is the center. If one can be a witness in this great moment then kirtan has great significance. But if he continues to dance without witnessing it, he will only waste his time and energy.

Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy, Chapter #13, Archive code: 7010015


Can one be absorbed in doing something -- for instance, these dynamic meditation techniques -- with absolute total intensity, and at the same time remain a witness who is separate, apart?

The same is the problem in many forms. You think that a witness is something apart, separate. It is not. Your intensity, your wholeness, is your witness. So when you are witnessing and doing something you are not two -- the doer is the witness.

When you dance: the dancer and the witness are not two, there is no separation. The separation is only in language. The dancer is the witness. And if the dancer is not the witness then you cannot be total in the dance, because the witness will need some energy and you will have to divide yourself. A part will remain a witness and the remaining will move in the dance. It cannot be total, it will be divided. And this is not what is meant, because really this is the state of a schizophrenic patient -- divided, split. It is pathological. If you become two you are ill. You must remain one. You must move totally into the dance, and your totality will become the witness. It is not going to be something set apart, your wholeness is aware. This happens.

So don't try to divide yourself. While dancing become the dance. Just remain alert; don't fall asleep, don't be unconscious. You are not under a drug, you are alert, fully alert. But this alertness is not a part standing aloof; it is your totality, it is your whole being.

But this is again the same thing as whether two lovers are two or one. Only on the surface are they two, deep inside they are one. Only in language will you appear two, the dancer and the witness, but deep down you are the one. The whole dancer is alert. Then only peace, equilibrium, silence, will happen to you. If you are divided there will be tension, and that tension will not allow you to be totally here and now, to merge into existence.

So remember that, don't try to divide. Become the dancer and still be aware. This happens. This I am saying through my experience. This I am saying through many others' experience who have been working with me.

Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi, Chapter #11, Archive code: 7401165


In all my years of catharsis in therapy and in meditation, I never 'lose control'. I always have a sense of being into the feeling and also of watching it. Is this being 'split' and not-whole? Please explain what is happening. I have this idea that one should totally lose oneself, let-go, lose control....

There are two ways to come out of the situation: to lose control completely or to have control completely. There are two paths. One is of deep involvement, so deep that nothing is left behind. For example, Sufis in their Dervish dances involve themselves completely; they are lost, merged.

Then there is another dimension which is of awareness. Zen people remain alert and aware: carrying water from the well, cutting wood in the forest, eating, sitting, walking, going to sleep, preparing their beds -- whatsoever they are doing, they remain completely alert.

These are the two ways. Either become completely aware so that whatsoever is happening just becomes objective, you are totally cut off from it, you become a witness. Or, get involved completely so that there is no witness at all, you have become whatsoever is happening -- if you are dancing you have become the dance, there is no witness to it. Both lead to the same, because deep down the real thing is not whether you get lost or you remain alert. The real thing is to be total -- totally lost or totally aware. In both the cases you fulfil the condition of being total.

So don't think that they are opposites.

And there are two types of people: those who can easily get lost -- people of the feeling type, and the other type of people -- people of the intellectual type. So one has to remember his own type and find it. If it is difficult for you to lose yourself totally then forget about losing, don't fight with it. Drop the idea. Maybe you are the intellectual type, then there is a path for you: become aware. Forget the whole idea of losing, dissolving, that is not for you, you be aware. And don't feel that you are missing something, you will reach the same point from a different route. The same peak will be reached but your path will be different.

There are only two types of people, so there are only two types of paths.

Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 2, Chapter #6, Archive code: 7506260

Meditation can happen in two ways. One: all movement disappears -- then you sit like a Buddha, stone-like, statue-like. When all movement disappears the mover disappears, because the mover cannot exist without the movement.

Then there is meditation.

Or, two, you dance. You go on dancing and dancing and dancing and a moment comes of such ecstasy, of such extreme movement of energy, that in that movement the rock-like ego cannot exist. It becomes a whirlwind. The rock disappears and there is only dance. The movement is there but the mover is no more there.

Again, meditation has happened.

Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1, Chapter #4, Archive code: 7708140

You may not be able to meditate, but if somebody is dancing with deep meditation, that dance may appeal, and through the dance, lingering by the side, something of the meditation will enter into your being.

Gurdjieff had prepared a group of dancers, and he took the dancers to many great cities of the world. It was a rare opportunity made available. When in New York those meditators danced, people were suddenly amazed, they could not believe what was happening. The dancers created such meditative energy, such a great wave of energy, that those who had come just to see the dance suddenly forgot the dance completely. Something else was there by the side, a door opened through it.

And Gurdjieff used to do the "stop" exercise. The dancers are dancing, a group of twenty, thirty dancers, and they are going wild in their dance, and suddenly he will shout by the side, "Stop!" And they will all become just marble statues, as they were. If the hand was raised, it will remain raised. If one leg was up, it will remain up.

At one moment when he said, "Stop!" they were in such a position that they all fell -- fell from the stage, in front of the audience in the hall. But not a single person moved; they fell as if dead. And one man who was watching, something inside him also fell. The very shocking incident, these people fallen as if dead, and something changed in his mind. He became one of the great followers of Gurdjieff and attained to greater heights of consciousness.

The First Principle, Chapter #9, Archive code: 7704190

Sufis have given great importance to dancing as worship. Devotees like Meera and Chaitanya also attached great value to dancing -- it has a few a qualities which have led many devotional schools to chose it as a method.

The first effect of dancing is that while dancing you experience that you are not the body. Because of the fast movements of dancing you feel that you and your body are separate. In reality there is an adjustment between your body and your consciousness. It is a well-arranged adjustment: in your day to day work, that adjustment remains intact.

Gurdjieff used to say that if there are many pebbles in a container, and you shake the container vigorously, the arrangement of things inside will be disturbed. A pebble that was lying at the bottom will come to the top, one lying in the middle will move to the side, and one which was on top will be in the middle: the whole arrangement within the can will become topsy-turvy. If one pebble was used to being in a certain place in relation to other pebbles, and it became identified with that position, its ego will be destroyed. The stone will feel, "I am no more," that it was only an arrangement, and that arrangement is no more.

So the Sufis, Meera and Chaitanya, have make profound use of dancing. The Dervish dancing is very deep: in it, the dancer's body spins so fast and with such totality that every cell and fiber of his body vibrates. This breaks the relationship between the body and the consciousness, and suddenly the dancer realizes that he is separate from his body.

So using dance for worship is very valuable.

There are two Christian sects, one of which is known as the Quakers and the other as the Shakers. The Quakers, even today, are quite influential. The names of the sects are very significant. During their worship, the Shakers shake the body so vigorously that every nerve and fiber of the body becomes a trembling. Standing in front of his idol, when his body vibrates so strongly, the Shaker perspires heavily. At that point he will experience that his consciousness is separate from his body. Then that consciousness moves into worship.

The Quakers' name is meaningful -- their bodies quake very strongly when they worship. In an earthquake, the land vibrates so much that everything comes crashing down; the Quakers also quake so much that the body's connection with the consciousness is broken.  This type of movement, dance and devotional songs, have all been used to create a gap between body and consciousness.

Hidden Mysteries, Chapter #4, Archive code:7106165


You mentioned a few days ago that the various experiences we have recounted to you about our childhood are actually techniques that have been used for centuries to learn a distance from the body.

Were these developed as techniques because they were experiences that came naturally to man in his innocence and availability as a child? Or have we retained memories of these techniques from past lives?

These techniques -- and not only these, but all the techniques that have been developed -- are based in human experiences.

Many of the techniques are based in the innocent child and his experiences. You have to regain that innocence to make the experience possible.

It is through centuries that people with keen insight into human affairs have been watching themselves and others, and finding methods. But all methods are based on certain experiences that naturally happen. But nobody takes care of them; on the contrary, the society tries to repress those experiences, because those experiences will certainly make the individual rebellious.

For example, Jalaluddin Rumi became enlightened with a very strange method that he had remembered from his own childhood, whirling.

All children like whirling because ordinarily your being and your body are fixed, settled. But when you start whirling and you go faster and faster, the body goes on whirling and at a certain speed your consciousness can't keep pace with it. So your consciousness becomes a center of the cyclone: the body moves and the consciousness remains unmoving.

All over the world small children do that, but parents are afraid they will fall, they may break a bone, get a fracture, they may have sickness, nausea. So they are stopped because their parents don't have any idea, they never inquire of the child, "Why you are whirling and what you are getting?"

Jalaluddin, from his very childhood, retained the capacity for whirling and enjoyed it immensely. And because people were preventing him, he would go into seclusion in the desert and whirl there. And the desert is the best place to whirl because even if you fall you don't get hurt; you can go with as much speed as you want.

He was not aware that he is experiencing something spiritual, but he was seeing changes happening. He was becoming a different person. He was not easily irritated, annoyed, humiliated, insulted. His intelligence was becoming sharper.

And he was not behaving like other children, he was becoming a separate individual. He was not interested in their games. While they were playing, he was whirling somewhere far away in the desert. It was so blissful and so peaceful, but he was not aware that this is spiritual or that this is something to do with enlightenment. There is no way he will be able to describe it as spirituality.

When he became a young man, many masters were interested in him -- seeing his qualities. He was a rare individual. He was just on the verge of enlightenment, and he was not aware of it -- he was not even a seeker after truth. Just one thing he was doing and that was whirling. That he continued.

And one time he decided to whirl to the uttermost to see what happens. These beautiful experiences are happening -- what happens if he goes on whirling as long as possible? He whirled for thirty-six hours non-stop, day and night. And when he fell, after thirty-six hours, he was a totally different man, radiating a new light.

He made a tradition, which has remained for twelve hundred years, of the whirling dervishes. They have only one technique -- they don't have anything else. They don't have any scripture, they have Rumi's poems -- he was a poet of a great caliber. They have Rumi's poems and one technique, whirling. And just with one technique, many people in these twelve hundred years have reached to the ultimate. And it was found by Rumi -- who was not even seeking anything.

All the techniques of the world -- I have looked into every technique possible, to see how it must have come. Because they are not inventions, they are based on some human experience which was already happening. It just had to be made more acute, more sharp, more methodological, more clean and more clear, so that the person is not doing it on any biological basis or physiological basis for some small gain, but was searching for the ultimate truth through it. All methods have happened that way.

I have not come across a single method which is not based in human experience. It seems that nature provides you already with everything to transcend the ordinary mind and to reach to the superconscious. But unfortunately we don't use it, we don't even understand it.

But there have been people who have collected all the possibilities, made them clean, short, simple so everybody can use them.

It will be really a great job. If I have time I would like to go into explaining every technique used throughout the world, from which human experience it has arisen.

But one thing is certain, that there are no techniques for spiritual growth which can be artificially enforced on a man. Nature has already provided -- you can purify it, make it better, make it more refined. But there is no way to make an artificial method work.

With nature, no artificiality is going to help. And when nature itself is ready to help you, it is simply stupid to go for artificial methods.

The Transmission of the Lamp, Chapter #27, Archive code: 8606085


It feels to me that my body is like a cage or bottle, in which a very powerful lion is imprisoned. Every cell of my body trembles from this roaring. Please explain what is going on?

We are certainly imprisoned in the body -- a lion locked up in a cage. Confined for such a long time that the lion has forgotten his own roar. Confined for such a long time that the lion has started thinking the cage is his home. Not only this, he has started thinking, "I am the cage. I am the body!"

The body has limits, you have no limits. ... it will be jolted, storms will arise. Before enlightenment happens, before samadhi, these shocks are completely natural.

Don't be frightened by what's happening. These are the first indications of samadhi, the first steps of samadhi. Take them as auspicious, accept them happily. If you are ready to accept them as blessings, then very soon they will slowly become quiet. And as soon as the body begins to accept, begins to cooperate, the readiness and capacity of the body increase.

You have called out to the infinite, so you will have to become infinite. You have challenged the vastness, so you will have to become vast.

There is a very unique story in the Old Testament -- the story of Jacob.

 Jacob was seeking god. He distributed all his wealth. He sent all his beloved friends, his wife, his children, his servants -- he sent them all far away. He was waiting for god on the deserted bank of a river. God arrived.

But it was very strange -- Jacob started wrestling with god. Does anyone wrestle with god? But Jacob started struggling with god. It is said that they fought the whole night. As morning approached, as dawn was about to come Jacob was defeated. When god was about to leave him, Jacob fell at god's feet and said, "Please give me your blessing."

God said, "What is your name?"

Jacob told him his name.

God said, "Today you have become Israel" -- the name that the Jews are known by -- "From today on you are Israel. Now you are no longer Jacob, Jacob has died." -- just as I change your name when I give you sannyas initiation. The old is gone.

God told Jacob: "Jacob has died, from now on you are Israel."

This story is from the Old Testament. There is no other story of someone fighting with god. But there is a great truth in this story. When that ultimate energy descends, what happens is almost like a fight. And when the ultimate experience happens and you are defeated by the divine and the body is vanquished and you accept defeat -- then your final initiation happens. In that moment divine blessings shower on you. Then you are new. That is when you taste the nectar of the eternal for the first time.

Cooperate with this energy. This lion inside that wants freedom -- it is you. This energy that wants to rise towards the head, that wants to go from the sex center to the crown chakra, that wants to create a path -- it is you. For many lives it has been subdued and lying coiled up, now it is starting to raise its hood.

The lion wants to dance. There isn't room enough to dance in the body. More space is needed for dancing -- what space is available in the body? Dance can only happen outside of the body. This is why if you dance totally you will find you no longer remain a body. In the ultimate grace of dance, at the ultimate height, you are out of the body. The body goes on turning, goes on moving rhythmically but you are outside, you are no longer inside.

This is why I have invariably included dance in my methods of meditation, because there is nothing more miraculous for meditation than dancing. If you dance fully, it you dance totally, then in that dance your being comes out of the body. The body will go on moving in rhythm but you will experience that you are out of the body. And then your real dance begins: below, the body will go on dancing; above, you will dance. The body on the earth, you in the sky! The body in the earthly, you in the celestial. The body will dance the dance of matter, you will dance the dance of consciousness. You will become nataraj, the king of the dance.

The Mahageeta, Vol 1, Chapter #8, Archive code: 7609180

On Stage but Not of It


My understanding is that acting is one of the most significant meditations. A good actor can very easily become a good meditator -- more so than anybody else -- because while acting he has to remain a witness... a witness to his own acting! He pretends to be lost in it, mm? that is the art of acting. The watcher from the outside will see that he is completely absorbed in it. He's intensely in it and yet not in it. He is playing the role.

When he moves off the stage, suddenly he is a totally different man. Those tears are not there, those smiles are not there, that pain on his face is not there... the agony, the ecstasy -- nothing is there.

The moment the curtain falls, he is a totally different man. The moment the curtain rises, he is again totally a different man. He simply slips in and out of his role, but he remains a witness.

Blessed Are the Ignorant, Chapter #17, Archive code: 7612225

Witnessing simply means a detached observation, unprejudiced; that's the whole secret of meditation. It is simple! Once you have known the knack of it it is the most simple thing in the world, because each child is born in that innocence. You have known it in your mother's womb, you have known it when you were a small child, so it is only a rediscovery. Meditation is not something new; you had come with it into the world. Mind is something new; meditation is your nature, it is your very being. How can it be difficult? You just have to know the knack: watch.

Sit by the side of a river and watch the river flowing. Yes, sometimes driftwood passes by and sometimes a boat comes and sometimes a dead body and sometimes a beautiful woman may be swimming in the river -- you simply watch, you don't get bothered, you remain cool, you don't get excited. You are not supposed to do anything, you have nothing to do. It is the river and it is the river's business. You simply sit silently. Sitting silently, slowly slowly the art is learnt... and one day, the moment your watchfulness is total, the mind evaporates.

Philosophia Ultima, Chapter #1, Archive code: 8012110

Atisha says:

Grasp the principle of two witnesses.

It is one of the most important sutras, one of the very fundamentals of inner alchemy. Let it sink deep in your heart. It can transform you, it can give you a new birth, a new vision, a new universe. It has two meanings; both meanings have to be understood.

The first meaning: there are two kinds of witnesses. One kind is the people that surround you. You are constantly aware that you are being watched, witnessed. It creates self-consciousness in you. Hence the fear when you are on a stage facing a big crowd. Actors feel it, poets feel it, orators feel it -- and not only the beginners but even those who have wasted their whole life in acting. When they come on the stage a great trembling arises in them, a great fear, as to whether they will be able to make it or not.

With so many eyes watching you, you are reduced to an object. You are no more a subjectivity, you have become a thing. And you are afraid because they may not appreciate you. They may not feed your ego, they may not like you, they may reject you. Now you are in their hands. You are reduced to a dependent slave. Now you have to work in such a way that you will be appreciated. You have to buttress their egos, so that in response you can hope they will buttress your ego.

When you are with your friends you are not so afraid. You know them, they are predictable, you depend on each other. But when you face the anonymous crowd, more fear arises. Your whole being starts trembling, your whole ego is at stake -- you can fail. Who knows? Your success is not guaranteed.

This is the first kind of witness. Others are witnessing you, and you are just a beggar. This is the situation in which millions of people live. They live for others, hence they only appear to live, they don't live in reality. They are always adjusting to others, because they are happy only if others are happy with them. They are compromising constantly, they are selling their souls, for a simple reason -- so their ego can be strengthened, so that they can become famous, well known.

Have you observed something of immense value, that whenever a poet, a novelist or a scientist gets a Nobel prize, immediately after that his creativity declines? No Nobel laureate has been able to produce anything valuable compared to the things that he created before he received it. What happens? Now you have attained the goal of the ego, there is no further to go, so there is no more need to adjust to people. Once a book becomes famous the author dies.

That's what happened with Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. That's what happened with Rabindranath's Gitanjali. And that is almost the rule, not the exception. Once you are famous you stop compromising. For what? You are already famous. And when you stop compromising, people start neglecting you, ignoring you. Your whole creativity was rooted in the desire of the ego; now the ego feels at rest, all creativity disappears.

This is the situation in which ninety-nine point nine percent of people live. You know only one kind of witness -- the other. And the other is always anxiety-creating.

Jean-Paul Sartre rightly says, "The other is hell." The other does not allow you to relax. Why do you feel so relaxed in your bathroom, in your bathtub? -- because the other is not there. But relaxing in your bathtub, if you suddenly become aware that somebody is looking at you through the keyhole, suddenly all relaxation disappears. You are tense again. You are being watched.

Why do we hanker for the attention of others? -- because as we are, we are hollow. As we are, we are not. As we are, we don't have a center of being. We are just noise, a crowd, a house full of servants quarreling with each other because the master is absent or fast asleep. We hanker for other people's attention so that at least we can create a pseudo-center. If the real is missing, at least we can depend on a pseudo-center. It will give you an appearance of togetherness, it will make you a person. You are not an individual -- individuality is the fragrance of a really centered being, one who knows who he is.

But if you are not an individual, then at least you can be a person, you can attain personality. And personality has to be begged. Individuality is your innermost growth. It is a growth; you need not beg it from anybody else, and nobody can give it to you. Individuality is your unfoldment. But personality can be begged, people can give it to you -- in fact, only other people can give it to you.

If you are alone in the forest you will not have any personality, remember. You will have individuality but no personality at all. If you are alone in the Himalayas, who are you -- a saint or a sinner? There is nobody to appreciate you or condemn you, there is nobody to make you famous or notorious, there is nobody except yourself. In your total aloneness, who are you? A sinner or a saint? A very very famous person, vvip, or just a nobody?

You are neither. You are neither a very very important person nor a nobody, because for both the other is a must. The eyes of others are needed to reflect your personality. You are neither this nor that. You are, but you are in your reality; you are not created by others. You are as you are, in your utter nudeness, authenticity.

In dictionaries, "personality" and "individuality" are synonyms. They are not synonymous in life. The personality is false, a pretension, a facade. Individuality is your truth. Personality is a showpiece. It can deceive others, but it cannot deceive you, at least not for long.

The day you can enjoy your individuality, you are free -- free from dependence on others. If you ask for their attention you have to pay for it in return. It is a bondage. The more you ask people to be attentive towards you, the more you are becoming a thing, a commodity, which can be sold and purchased.

That's what happens to all public figures -- to politicians, to showbiz people.

The second kind of witnessing is totally different, just the polar opposite. It is not that you hanker for others' attention; on the contrary, you start paying attention to yourself. You become a witness to your own being. You start watching your thoughts, desires, dreams, motives, greeds and jealousies. You create a new kind of awareness within you. You become a center, a silent center which goes on watching whatsoever is happening.

You are angry, and you watch it. You are not just angry, a new element is introduced into it: you are watching it. And the miracle is that if you can watch anger, the anger disappears without being repressed.

The second kind of witnessing creates a totally different kind of person. It creates the sage. The sage is one who knows who he is, not according to others. The sage is one who lives a life according to his own nature, not according to others' values. He has his own vision and the courage to live it.

These are the two witnesses.

The Book of Wisdom, Chapter #9, Archive code: 7902190


You once said that acting is the most spiritual of professions, and now we have a Theater Group. Can you say something about acting?

Acting is certainly the most spiritual of professions for the simple reason that the actor has to be in a paradox: he has to become identified with the act he is performing, and yet remain a watcher.

If he is acting as Hamlet he has to become absolutely involved in being a Hamlet, he has to forget himself totally in his act, and yet at the deepest core of his being he has to remain a spectator, a watcher.

The real actor has to live a paradox: he has to act as if he is what he is acting, and yet deep down he knows that "I am not this." That's why I say acting is the most spiritual of professions.

The really spiritual person transforms his whole life into acting. Then this whole earth is just a stage, and all the people are nothing but actors, and we are enacting a play. Then if you are a beggar you play your act as beautifully as you can, and if you are the king you play your act as beautifully as you can. But deep down the beggar knows, "I am not it," and the king too knows, "I am not it."

If the beggar and the king both know that "What I am doing and acting is just acting; it is not me, not my reality," then both are arriving at the very center of their being, what I call witnessing. Then they are performing certain acts and witnessing too.

Acting is certainly the most spiritual profession, and all spiritual persons are nothing but actors. The whole earth is their stage, and the whole of life is nothing but a drama enacted.

The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 5, Chapter #8, Archive code:7910180

Part IV:


The Zen of Small Things



In Japan there is an ancient form of theater, which I studied for a short time, called Noh. In it, the actor moves slowly forwards, one step at a time; simultaneously he focuses inside, and with his energy creates a path behind him. If the audience is really in tune with him, they can also see both his physical movement forward and the path he is creating behind him.

The Japanese form of drama called Noh is a by-product of Zen experience. Zen has given birth to many things. No other religious movement in the world has been so creative, so productive. It has created art -- which has a quality of its own -- it has created poetry, it has created literature, it has created drama, it has created sculpture. Whatever it has created, it has left unmistakably the mark of meditativeness on it; it has turned things into meditation which nobody has ever imagined can even be associated with meditation.

For example, swordsmanship. Who can think that swordsmanship can be a discipline for meditation?

And drama. All other religions have condemned the whole world as drama. Zen has used even drama. And if the actor moves, focusing his whole energy just under the navel -- two inches under the navel, where according to Zen is the point hara, our life source -- if he concentrates inside on the hara and moves slowly step by step, those who are silent enough in the audience will see, behind him, a path is being created. His energy is moving forward leaving a certain imprint which can be read only by those who are capable of some silent awareness. It is tremendously beautiful, the whole drama. It is not like any other drama in the world, they have changed the whole character; they have made it sacred. The audience is not sitting in a theatre but in a temple, and the actors are not just acting, they are meditating.

Zen painting or Zen poetry, they have the same quality; Zen has transformed the whole meaning of any art that it has touched. No religion has been able to do that; in fact, no religion has been creative. They have all been destructive.

Zen is the very essence of creativity. You can do anything and yet your action can be sacred.

The question is not what you do; the question is whether you do it with awareness or unawareness.

They have shifted the whole question. Every religion thinks, "This is wrong, that is right. Do this, don't do that." They are pointing towards certain acts which are wrong, certain acts which are right -- which is a very childish thing, because an act can be right in one context and the same act can be wrong in another context.

You cannot stamp a certain act as wrong or right. Then how to decide what is moral, what is immoral, what has to be done and what has not to be done? Zen does not decide. Zen simply says, "Just be aware, whatever you are doing. If your awareness remains unwavering while doing it, it is right. If you have to lose your awareness -- only then you can do it -- then it is wrong." The decisive point has gone inward; not to the object, but to your subjectivity.

Never be bothered about anything else, only one thing -- one thing is the whole religion, and that is awareness, and then you will be able to see where your life is going, where all of life is going. And you will be able to feel that this is the only way to be at ease and in harmony with existence, the only way to dissolve yourself into the whole.

Each moment, whatever you are doing, do it with full awareness, with totality, intensity, love; and do it as if it is the greatest thing in the world to do. Make it an art, so that each moment of your life becomes the life of an artist.

The Transmission of the Lamp, Chapter #11, Archive code: 8605315

Life should be a continuous celebration, a festival of lights the whole year round. Only then you can grow up, you can blossom.

Transform small things into celebration.

For example, in Japan they have the tea ceremony. In every Zen monastery and in every person's house who can afford it, they have a small for drinking tea. Now, tea is no longer an ordinary, profane thing; they have transformed it into a celebration. The temple for drinking tea is made in a certain way -- in a beautiful garden, with a beautiful pond; swans in the pond, flowers all around... guests come and they have to leave their shoes outside. It is a temple.

And as you enter the temple, you cannot speak; you have to leave your thinking and thoughts and speech outside with your shoes. You sit down in a meditative posture. And the host, the lady who prepares tea for you -- her movements are so graceful, as if she is dancing, moving around preparing tea, putting cups and saucers before you as if you are gods. With such respect... she will bow down, and you will receive it with the same respect.

The tea is prepared in a special samovar which makes beautiful sounds, a music of its own. And it is part of the tea ceremony that everybody should listen first to the music of the tea. So everybody is silent, listening... birds chirping outside in the garden, and the samovar... the tea is creating its own song. A peace surrounds....

When the tea is ready and it is poured into everybody's cup, you are not just to drink it the way people are doing everywhere. First you will smell the aroma of the tea. You will sip the tea as if it has come from the beyond, you will take time -- there is no hurry.

Somebody may start playing on the flute or on the sitar.

An ordinary thing -- just tea -- and they have made it a beautiful religious festival, and everybody comes out of it nourished, fresh, feeling younger, feeling juicier.

And what can be done with tea can be done with everything -- with your clothes, with your food.

People are living almost in sleep; otherwise, every fabric, every cloth has its own beauty, its own feel. If you are sensitive, then the clothing is not just to cover your body; then it is something expressing your individuality, something expressing your taste, your culture, your being.

Everything that you do should be expressive of you; it should have your signature on it. Then life becomes a continuous celebration.

Beyond Enlightenment, Chapter #28, Archive code: 8610315

Cleaning a floor can be a tremendously creative act. Remember, creativity has nothing to do with any particular work. Creativity has something to do with the quality of your consciousness. Whatsoever you do can become creative. Whatsoever you do can become creative if you know what creativity means.

Creativity means enjoying any work as meditation; doing any work with deep love. Painting is just as ordinary as cleaning the floor.

Talking to somebody, a friend, and you feel time is being wasted. You would like to write a great book; then you will be creative. But a friend has come: a little gossiping is perfectly beautiful. Be creative.

All the great scriptures are nothing but gossips of people who were creative. What do I go on doing here? Gossiping. They will become gospels some day, but originally they are gossips. But I enjoy doing them. I can go on and on for eternity. You may get tired some day, I am not going to get tired. It is sheer delight. It is possible that one day you may get so tired that you disappear and there is nobody -- and I will be talking. If you really love something, it is creative.

A man of understanding is continuously creative. Not that he is trying to be creative. The way he sits is a creative act. Watch him sitting. You will find in his movement a certain quality of dance, a certain dignity.

When you understand, whatsoever you do -- cooking, cleaning.... Life consists of small things; just your ego goes on saying these are small things. You would like some great thing to do -- a great poetry. You would like to become Shakespeare or Kalidas or Milton. It is your ego that is creating the trouble. Drop the ego and everything is creative.

I have heard:

"A housewife was so pleased with the promptness shown by the grocer's boy that she asked him his name. 'Shakespeare,' replied the boy.

'Well, that is quite a famous name.'

'It should be. I have been delivering in this neighbourhood for almost three years now."'

I like it. Why bother about being Shakespeare? Three years delivering in a neighbourhood -- it's almost as beautiful as writing a book, a novel, a play.

Life consists of small things. Nothing is profane; everything is sacred and holy.

Nirvana: The Last Nightmare, Chapter #10, Archive code: 7602200

Zen says: There is nowhere to go, so no guidance is needed. Then what is the purpose of a Zen master? His purpose is to bring you herenow. His purpose is to hit you so hard that you awake herenow. You have fallen asleep and you have started living in dreams.

Another story:

Zen student: "So, master, is the soul immortal or not? Do we survive our bodily death or do we get annihilated? Do we really reincarnate? Does our soul split up into com-ponent parts which get recycled, or do we as a single unit enter the body of a biological organism? And do we retain our memories or not? Or is the doctrine of reincarnation false? Is perhaps the Christian notion of survival more Correct? And if so, do we get bodily resurrected, or does our soul enter a purely Platonic spiritual realm?"

Master: "Your breakfast is getting cold."

That's the way of Zen: to bring you herenow. The breakfast is far more important than any paradise. The breakfast is far more important than any concept of God. The breakfast is more important than any theory of reincarnation, soul, rebirth, and all that nonsense. Because the breakfast is herenow.

For Zen, the immediate is the ultimate, and the imminent is the transcendental. This moment is eternity... you have to be awakened to this moment.

So Zen is not a teaching but a device -- a device to disturb your dreaming mind, a device somehow to create such a state that you become alarmed, that you have to get up and see, to create such strain around you that you cannot remain comfortably asleep.

And this is the beauty of Zen and the revolution that Zen brings to the world. All other religions are consolations; they help you to sleep better. Zen tries to awake you; it has no consolation at all. It does not talk about great things. Not that those great things are not there, but talking about them is not going to help.

Zen is not a belief system. It is a way of awakening.

Take It Easy, Vol 1, Chapter #9, Archive code: 7804190

A Gardener with a Difference


Zen masters were either poets or painters or gardeners, and whatsoever they did, they did with a difference. A Zen garden is totally different from any other garden in the world. It has to be, because all other gardens are made by unconscious people. A Zen garden is made by conscious people. It has a different aura around it.

One Zen master was a great gardener. Even the emperor used to learn from him. And the master said, 'You prepare the garden in the palace. After three years I will come to see it If I approve, then you have passed the examination. If I disapprove, then again for three years you will have to make it, again you will have to learn.'

Of course, it was the emperor's palace; thousands of gardeners were working there. The emperor simply ordered them and whatsoever he learned was immediately used in the garden. It became a tremendously beautiful garden.

After three years the master came. He looked around. The emperor became afraid, the emperor started perspiring, because the master was looking very hard. He wouldn't smile. And then he said, 'You failed. Because I don't see even a single dead leaf in the garden. How can life exist without death? And how can so many trees exist without dead leaves? Because there are no dead leaves, the garden is dead.'

And the king had cleaned the whole garden just that morning; not even a single dead leaf was left. And he failed.

The master went out. Outside, there was a heap of dead leaves which had been removed from the garden. He brought all the dead leaves back, threw them on the paths. Winds started playing with the leaves; the garden became alive. The sound of the dead leaves running hither and thither... the garden became alive. And the master said, 'Now, now everything is okay. Life cannot exist without death. You failed. Now three years more discipline will be needed.'

Zen masters created gardens. That type of garden doesn't exist anywhere else, cannot exist anywhere else. The master said to the emperor, 'Your garden is beautiful, but it shows so much of the human mind. God is absent. You have planned it too much. Whenever anything is planned too much, it loses naturalness. Plan it in such a way,' he said, 'that nobody can see the planning. The art is greatest when the art cannot be detected. If you can detect it, then the human signature is there. If you cannot detect it, if a garden looks wild, then something of god exists.'

They have been painters, they have been poets -- small poems, haikus... tremendously beautiful, very indicative. In so few words, only seventeen syllables, a haiku can say as much as a book will find difficult to say.

One haiku of Basho:

An old pond

A frog jumps in



An old pond... Let the picture arise in your mind. An old pond, an ancient pond, everything silent, awaiting...An old pond. A frog jumps in. Plop.

Finished, the poetry is finished -- but it has said many things. It has almost painted the whole thing. You can hear the plop. You can see the frog. You can see the old pond. You can almost touch it. You can feel it.

Whatsoever Zen masters have been doing, small or big, has the quality -- the quality that comes by the touch of an enlightened person.

Nirvana: The Last Nightmare, Chapter #9, Archive code: 7602190

Have you watched a Zen painting closely? There are a few things you will be surprised to see. Human figures are very small, so small that if you don't look minutely you will miss them. Trees are big, mountains are big, the sun and moon, rivers and waterfalls are big, but human beings are very small.

In Western painting the human being is very big; he covers the whole canvas. Now this is not right, this is not proportionate, this is not true. The human being covering the whole canvas is very egoistic -- but the painter IS egoistic. The Zen Master is right: man is only a tiny part in this great universe. The mountains are big and the waterfalls are big and the trees are big and the stars and the moon and the sun -- and where is man?

Just the other day I was looking at a Zen painting. The men were so small, two small figures crossing a bridge, that I would have missed them because tall mountains and trees were covering the whole painting. But there was a note underneath the painting saying, "Please don't miss: there are two human figures on the bridge." I had to look very closely -- yes, they were there, two human figures, very small, walking hand in hand, passing over the bridge. This is the right proportion; this is a non-egoistic painting.

In Western paintings you will find the whole canvas covered. In Zen painting only a small part of the canvas is covered, and the remaining part is empty. It looks like a wastage: if you are going to make such a small painting, why not use a small canvas? Why use such a big canvas which covers the whole wall, and just in the corner make a small painting? But the Zen people say that's how things are: "Emptiness is so much all around. The whole sky is empty -- how can we leave out the sky? If we leave out the sky the painting will be untrue."

Now no Western painting has that vision, that we are surrounded by emptiness: the earth is very small, humanity a very small part of the earth, and infinite emptiness all around.... To be true, to be existentially true, the emptiness cannot be left outside; it has to be there. This is a different vision, from a different side.

Zen painting is not done in the Western way. In Western painting you will find that the painter goes on improving: over one coat of paint there will be another coat of paint and still another coat of paint, and he goes on improving and touching up and doing things. Zen painters cannot do that; that is impossible. They use a certain kind of paper, rice-paper, on which you can make only one stroke. You cannot correct it; you have to leave it as it is. The paper is so thin that if you try to correct it the whole thing will be lost. Why is rice-paper being used? So that the mind has nothing to do -- the mind is constantly trying to improve, to make things better. It has to be from the heart, a single stroke. If your heart is full of it, it will come right. But you cannot correct it; correction comes from the mind.

Zen painting is never corrected; if you correct it your correction will always show that you are not a Master. It has to come out of your meditativeness, your silence.

Be Still and Know, Chapter #1, Archive code: 7909010

A haiku of Hoitsu:


Cherry flowers

In moonlight.

Just so simple. Just so beautiful. Buddha: Cherry flowers. In moonlight.

Ryota wrote:

So brilliant a moonshine:

If ever I am born again --

A hilltop pine!

He is asking that if he is going to be born again, he would like to be a hilltop pine. Such a beautiful moon, hanging over the hilltop pine ...

These people are not ordinary poets. They are expressing an authentic longing to be natural, peaceful, silent ... A hilltop pine! ...

Dogen, the Zen Master: A Search and a Fulfillment, Chapter #5, Archive code: 8807295

It is said about a Zen master that he was able to pull very big rocks, remove very big rocks -- and he was a very fragile man. It was almost impossible looking at his physiology! Stronger men, very much stronger than him, were unable to pull those rocks, and he would simply pull them very easily.

He was asked what his trick was. He said, "There is no trick -- I love the rock so the rock helps. First I say to her, 'Now my prestige is in your hands, and these people have come to watch. Now help me, cooperate with me.' Mm? -- then I simply hold the rock lovingly... and wait for the hint. When the rock gives me the hint -- it is a shudder, my whole spine starts vibrating -- when the rock gives me the hint that she is ready, then I move. You move against the rock; that's why so much energy is needed. I move with the rock, I flow with the rock. In fact, it is wrong to say that I remove it -- I am simply there. The rock removes itself."


One great Zen master was a carpenter, and whenever he made tables, chairs, somehow they had some ineffable quality in them, a tremendous magnetism. He was asked, "How do you make them?"

He said, "I don't make them. I simply go to the forest: the basic thing is to enquire of the forest, of trees, which tree is ready to become a chair."

Now these things look absurd -- because we don't know, we don't know the language. For three days he would remain in the forest. He would sit under one tree, under another tree, and he would talk to trees -- and he was a mad man! But a tree is to be judged by its fruit, and this master has also to be judged by his creation. A few of his chairs still survive in China -- they still carry a magnetism. You will just be simply attracted; you will not know what is pulling you. After a thousand years! -- something tremendously beautiful.

He said, "I go and I say that I am in search of a tree who wants to become a chair. I ask the trees if they are willing; not only willing: cooperating with me, ready to go with me -- only then. Sometimes it happens that no tree is ready to become a chair -- I come empty-handed."

It happened: The Emperor of China asked him to make him a stand for his books. And he went and after three days he said, "Wait -- no tree is ready to come to the palace."

After three months the Emperor again enquired. The carpenter said, "I have been going continuously. I am persuading. Wait -- one tree seems to be leaning a little bit."

Then he persuaded one tree. He said, "The whole art is there! -- when the tree comes of its own accord. Then she is simply asking the help of the carpenter."

A Sudden Clash of Thunder, Chapter #4, Archive code: 7608140

Fresh as a Newly Born Child


Basho wrote a haiku:

Stillness everywhere.

The cicada's voice

Pierces rocks.

Always remember, haikus are not to be understood as words but as pictures. Haikus have never happened anywhere else than China and Japan, and that happened particularly because both the countries don't have the alphabet. They have pictures for everything, characters for everything; hence they are very difficult to learn. To become a scholar it will take almost twenty to thirty years of your life, because you need to know millions of characters.

Alphabetical languages are simple. You have to learn twenty-six letters. The greatest number of letters is in Sanskrit -- fifty-two, double the number in English. Its expressiveness is also double, its beauty and its poetry are also double. You cannot believe that medical books in Sanskrit are written in poetry, you cannot believe that books on astrology are written in poetry. In Sanskrit anything can be written in poetry, even mathematics. It has such a poetic humming sound that each word in itself is a part of a poetic line.

But Chinese and Japanese are more vast; their world is far bigger than any alphabetical language. Their language is pictorial, and the difference is the same. While awake you think -- that is alphabetical. While asleep you dream -- that is pictorial. Nobody dreams alphabetically.

Have you ever thought about it? Your dreams are pictorial, so colorful -- but very few people's dreams are colorful. Most people's dreams are just like their mundane existence -- in black and white. Poets, painters, dancers, all creative people dream in psychedelic colors.

Haikus have to be understood as pictorial. Just visualize them as a dream, not as alphabetical. That is the trouble: how to translate them into alphabetical languages.

Stillness everywhere ... make it an experience.

Stillness everywhere. The cicada's voice ... hear the voice of the cicada ... Pierces rocks. It is so intense it almost becomes an arrow and comes with such intensity that it pierces rocks.

These are expressions of meditative people. When they open their eyes out of meditation the whole world looks psychedelic. The trees are more green than they have ever been, and they have been seeing the same trees always. The roses are more rosy.

You have heard the phrase, A rose is a rose is a rose. It is not so. After meditation a rose is much more rosy than it was before. It is not the same experience, not the same fragrance. Your sensitivity has grown deeper, your nose is more receptive, your eyes are clearer, your silence so deep that everything around you ...

Do you hear the noises of the night?

As your silence deepens the noises become more and more clear. The whole night seems to be humming .... Small insects creating all that music around you ...

When you listen after meditation ... you will see that the sounds have become a great melody, because you have become deeper. You are not superficial. Your meditation has taken you beyond the body and beyond the mind, beyond the bones and beyond the marrow, and when you come out of meditation you are as fresh as a newly-born child.

Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons, Chapter #5, Archive code: 8901265


A monk had come to see Kisu and after a very brief stay was making his departure.

Kisu said, "Where are you going?"

The monk replied, "I'm going all over the place learning the five flavors of zen."

He could not understand the question. He understood the language but he could not see the indication.

"I'm going all over the place," simply indicates he believes in his "I" and he also believes that he can go somewhere. He has heard about the five flavors of Zen, but he is also not exactly clear about them. Five flavors of Zen simply means your five senses fully awake. Even one sense fully awake will do. If you can see without any clouds of thoughts passing through the sky of your eyes... it is enough.

But nature is always a giver in abundance. With a single sense you would have been able to experience your being. Instead of one, existence has given you five senses -- and still you have not found yourself. Five doors... and you have not entered into your own house. One would have been enough.

The five flavors of Zen mean five sensitivities. One can reach to Zen, to oneself, by smelling a roseflower. If he can become one with the rose, its fragrance, if he can forget himself for a moment and just the rose remains -- just for a moment the observer and the observed are one... Then you have found what philosophers have been discussing -- the truth, the beauty; what poets have been singing, what musicians have been trying to produce on their instruments.

(A furious monsoon rainstorm erupts and the power briefly goes out, plunging the whole assembly into an abrupt and silent darkness. When the power returns, Osho waits a few moments before beginning again.)

Do you hear the rain?

If you can hear it intensely, totally, this moment can become your enlightenment.

It is not a question to be discussed, it is an inquiry into your own inner space. It is stopping the mind from its wavering thoughts and coming to a stillness within you where nothing moves.

Kisu had asked, "Where are you going?"

I ask you, "Where are you going?" It is raining too hard outside. Even the bamboos are dancing with the rain. If you can remain here without thinking, without mind... this is the place, the space. You don't have to go anywhere else to find it.

Essence of Zen, Chapter #13, Archive code: 8806085

Meditation is only one of the ways to make you available, to help you become passive, receptive, feminine. But it happens; just seeing a bird on the wing, and it can happen.

Ramakrishna's first samadhi happened that way.

He was only thirteen. He was coming home from his farm, and was passing by a village pond, and a few swans suddenly flew from the pond. The sky was dark, full of dark clouds. Against the backdrop of those dark clouds, the white swans flashed like lightning. The moment was so pure, of such utter beauty, that Ramakrishna fell then and there to the ground in great prayer. He was struck by God.

He remained unconscious for a few hours. Somebody discovered him and people carried him home. That was his first samadhi. When he opened his eyes after a few hours, he was a totally different man. Those eyes were no more the old ones; they had a new shine. The face was no more the old one; it had a new glory. The boy was transformed. People started worshipping the boy; people started to come from far and wide just to see what had happened. Something divine had penetrated him. And he had not been doing anything, he was just passing by the pond, but he never allowed his ego to take possession of it. When people would ask 'What did you do?' he would say 'I have not done anything; it has happened.' And he never was greedy for it to happen again; otherwise he would have missed. And it started happening again and again; then small things started triggering it.

You cannot find swans flying against the dark clouds every day. But that is not the point; that was just the beginning. Then small things... Somebody would smile, and it would happen. A flower by the side of the road, and Ramakrishna would look at it and go into ecstasy, he would no more be there. Or somebody would say something... just the sound. Somebody chanting a mantra... just the sound. Or somebody playing on a veena... just the sound, and he would go into ecstasy.

Later on it was so difficult for his disciples; to take him anywhere was a problem. On the road, walking, and suddenly he would be gone, he would disappear. Wherever he would go, anything...

The Sun Rises in the Evening, Chapter #10, Archive code: 7806200


Why do I get so sensitive? Where does it come from and is it possible to share sensitivity?

Every child is born sensitive, utterly sensitive. But the society does not want so many sensitive people in the world; it wants people with thick skins. It needs laborers, it needs soldiers, it needs all kinds of hard people who have bypassed their hearts. It needs professors, intellectuals, it needs scientists. They are the people who don't know anything about their own hearts, about their own sensitivity.

It is absolutely blissful that you are feeling sensitive. Perhaps a woman is more capable of being sensitive than a man because she is not going to be a soldier, she is not expected to kill people. A woman is more sensitive than a man because the society has rejected the woman for any important work.

It has been a blessing in disguise. The woman has remained still human, while man has become a monster. His whole work seems to be either to kill or to be killed. His whole life is devoted to accumulating more and more war weapons. It seems the second world war has not satisfied him; he is preparing for the third. And remember, whenever a soldier dies on the front, a father dies, a son dies, a husband dies. Men fight and kill each other and women suffer.

And because women have suffered for centuries, they have become more and more sensitive to subtle nuances of joy, of suffering, of pain, of pleasure. Don't ask, "Why do I get so sensitive?" Sensitive you are born, it is your birthright. When you don't feel sensitive you can ask the question, "Why I am not feeling sensitive?" Sensitivity is one of the great qualities of being religious.

It is told of one of the great men of this century, George Bernard Shaw, that a man had come to meet him, a creative artist, a novelist, and he saw so many beautiful flowers in his garden that he could not believe it. When he went into George Bernard Shaw's room there was not even a single flower there. He asked him, "This is strange... you have so many beautiful flowers in your garden, in abundance; can't you pick a few flowers for a vase in your room?"

George Bernard Shaw said, "I love children too. They are as beautiful as any flower, but I don't cut their heads to decorate my sitting room. The flowers will blossom, they will dance in the rain, in the sun, in the wind. There they are alive. I am not a butcher; I cannot cut a flower off from its life source, and I don't like corpses in my room." He was right. He was a sensitive man, very sensitive.

You are asking, "Where does it come from?" It comes from your very being. Don't look for any outside source; it is your nature. "And is it possible to share sensitivity?" Of course.

You may have observed that when shaking hands with a few people, you feel as if you are shaking hands with a dead branch of a tree -- no life, no warmth, no energy. And you will have also experienced shaking hands with someone else, and you feel something is being transferred, something has transpired between your energies -- a warmth, a loving friendliness. These are the people that if you sit with them you will feel nourished. And those others, like dead branches of a tree -- if you sit with them you will feel strangely as if you are drained.

Sensitivity can be shared in a thousand and one ways. The most fundamental is a lovingness -- not a love relationship, but just pure lovingness, without any conditions, not asking anything in return; just pouring your heart on people, even on strangers, because it is overflowing with sensitivity. Now the scientists say you can shake hands with a tree, and if you are friendly you will feel tremendous sensitivity in the tree itself.

There are old stories, unbelievable, which cannot be factual -- but one never knows, maybe they are factual. It is said that whenever Gautam Buddha passed, trees which had been without leaves suddenly grew leaves to give him shade. Whenever he sat under a tree, suddenly thousands of flowers blossomed and started falling over him. It may be simply symbolic, but there is a possibility of its being real too. And when I say that, the modern scientific research about trees is in my support.

It was the first Indian Nobel prize winner, Jagdishchandra Bose, who proved to the scientific world that trees are not dead. He was given a Nobel prize for it. But since Jagdishchandra Bose much has happened. He would be tremendously happy if he could come and see what scientists have managed.

Now they can have something like a cardiogram attached to the tree. A man comes to the tree, a friend with love in his heart, and the tree starts dancing even without any wind and the cardiogram becomes very symmetrical. The graph on the paper becomes almost a harmonious beauty.

When another man comes with an axe, with the idea to cut the tree, even if he has not come close, the graph of the cardiogram goes berserk. It loses all symmetry, all harmony; it simply goes insane. Something is going to harm the tree. It is strange because the tree has not been harmed; it is just an idea in the woodcutter's mind. The tree is so sensitive that it catches even your ideas. And the same man comes with the axe, not desiring to cut the tree, and the graph remains sane. There is no fear, nervousness in the tree.

And another thing they became aware of was that if one tree is trembling with fear -- they had not thought about it... One scientist just put a few cardiograms on other trees surrounding, and when the tree started trembling with fear, other trees also participated. They must have been old friends. Growing in the same grove, they must have shared their love with each other, they must have been friendly. They also reacted immediately.

The whole of existence is full of sensitivity -- and man is the highest product of this existence. Naturally, your heart, your being, is ready to overflow. You have been hiding it, repressing it; your parents and your teachers have told you to be hard, to be strong, because it is a world full of struggle. If you cannot fight and compete you will be nobody.

So a few people like poets, painters, musicians, sculptors, who are no more in the competitive world, who are not hoping to accumulate billions of dollars, are the only people who have some trace of sensitivity left.

But a meditator is on the way of the mystic; he will become more and more sensitive. And the more you share your sensitivity, your love, your friendliness, your compassion, the closer you will come to the goal of being a mystic.

Satyam Shivam Sundram, Chapter #13, Archive code: 8711130

The whole effort of the whole of education is to fix blinkers on your senses so you become dull. Then there is no danger.

When you are bored you become a perfectly good citizen. A bored man is perfectly good, he always follows the rules, the law. He is dead. He cannot rebel. But an alive man is always rebellious; life is rebellion -- rebellion against death rebellion against matter rebellion against fixed frozenness. Life is a flow.

The society fixes blinkers on your senses. You see, but you don't see really. Hence in the West, and in the East in the old days, drugs take on great importance -- society says drugs should not be used but it is societies which force people to use drugs. First you make people insensitive, then when they become insensitive on]y drugs can give them a little sensitivity. So when under LSD your eyes open, blinkers are removed -- it is a chemical change, the chemical removes the blinkers -- you look at trees, and they have a tremendous beauty they never had before. Ordinary objects of life -- an ordinary chair, or a pair of old shoes, suddenly have a quality of divineness in them.

Have you seen Vincent van Gogh's painting “The Shoes”? He must have seen something, otherwise who wants to paint an old pair of shoes? And they are really beautiful. He worked hard on them. Just a pair of old shoes, but you can see that they are old, you can see that they are very very experienced, you can see that they have lived much, struggled far, walked much on many roads, known and unknown, suffered. Their whole life is there.

It is suspected that painters must have some sort of inbuilt LSD in them, that's why they see things so beautifully in ways ordinary people don't see. Van Gogh has painted a chair. Nobody can see any beauty in that chair, but he must have seen it.

When Aldous Huxley for the first time tried LSD 25 he was sitting before a chair. That day he realized what van Gogh must have seen in a chair. Suddenly, his blinkers removed, forced off by the chemicals, his eyes clean and innocent, he saw the chair radiating thousands of colours -- the chair became a rainbow, so beautiful no Kohinoor could compete with it.

After a few hours, when the effect of LSD had gone, the chair was again the same. What happened? Did the chair change? He took the LSD, the chair had not taken LSD. His blinkers were removed.

And I say to you that drugs cannot be avoided unless a society is created which drops blinkers. Otherwise they will persist. Names differ -- and this is really beautiful people who drink alcohol, they are against LSD. Alcohol is a drug! It may be old, ancient, traditional, but it is a drug. The magistrate will be an alcoholic and he will send a person to jail because he has taken LSD! Nothing is wrong with LSD if something is not wrong with alcohol. LSD is just a newcomer -- better, more developed, more scientific.

I am not saying: Take LSD. I am not saying: Move into drugs. I am saying: Drop blinkers. If you drop blinkers there will be no need for any drugs. Then you live each twenty-four hours in such deep wonder that no drug can add to it. On the contrary, if a person who is living a life, a real life like Lao Tzu, is given LSD, or alcohol, or anything, he will feel that he has been pulled down from his high state. He will not be ready to accept it.

If Buddha and Mahavir and Krishna and Lao Tzu are against drugs they are against drugs because they live on such a high peak of consciousness that if you drug that consciousness it falls low, it comes down.

Unless man comes to a higher state of understanding and innocence, which no drug can give, drugs will continue. Laws will continue, drugs will continue. Nothing changes because blinkers are there.

Discover your sensitivity. Your ears can hear the music that is the innermost core of existence. Your eyes can see the invisible which is hidden behind all visibles. Your hands can touch that which cannot be touched. You can fall in love with that which is the whole. Then life is simple.

Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 4, Chapter #3, Archive code: 7508250

With Innocent Eyes


Just the other night I was reading the famous haiku of Basho, the Zen mystic and master. It does not look like great poetry to the Western mind or to the mind which has been educated in a Western way. And now the whole world is being educated in the Western way; East and West have disappeared as far as education is concerned. Listen to it very silently, because it is not what you call great poetry but it is great insight -- which is far more important. It has tremendous poetry, but to feel that poetry you have to be very subtle. Intellectually, it cannot be understood; it can be understood only intuitively.

This is the haiku:

When I look carefully,

I see the nazunia blooming

By the hedge!

Now, there seems to be nothing of great poetry in it. But let us go into it with more sympathy, because Basho is being translated into English; in his own language it has a totally different texture and flavor.

The nazunia is a very common flower -- grows by itself by the side of the road, a grass flower. It is so common that nobody ever looks at it. It is not a precious rose, it is not a rare lotus. It is easy to see the beauty of a rare lotus floating on a lake, a blue lotus -- how can you avoid seeing it? For a moment you are bound to be caught by its beauty. Or a beautiful rose dancing in the wind, in the sun... for a split second it possesses you. It is stunning. But a nazunia is a very ordinary, common flower; it needs no gardening, no gardener, it grows by itself anywhere. To see a nazunia carefully a meditator is needed, a very delicate consciousness is needed; otherwise you will bypass it. It has no apparent beauty, its beauty is deep. Its beauty is that of the very ordinary, but the very ordinary contains the extraordinary in it, because all is full of God -- even the nazunia flower. Unless you penetrate it with a sympathetic heart you will miss it.

When for the first time you read Basho you start thinking, "What is there so tremendously important to say about a nazunia blooming by the hedge?"

In Basho's poem the last syllable -- ‘kana’ in Japanese -- is translated by an exclamation point because we don't have any other way to translate it. But kana means, "I am amazed!" Now, from where is the beauty coming? Is it coming from the nazunia? -- because thousands of people may have passed by the side of the hedge and nobody may have even looked at this small flower. And Basho is possessed by its beauty, is transported into another world. What has happened? It is not really the nazunia, otherwise it would have caught everybody's eye. It is Basho's insight, his open heart, his sympathetic vision, his meditativeness. Meditation is alchemy: it can transform the base metal into gold, it can transform a nazunia flower into a lotus.

When I look carefully.... And the word 'carefully' means attentively, with awareness, mindfully, meditatively, with love, with caring. One can just look without caring at all, then one will miss the whole point. That word 'carefully' has to be remembered in all its meanings, but the root meaning is meditatively. And what does it mean when you see something meditatively? It means without mind, looking without the mind, no clouds of thought in the sky of your consciousness, no memories passing by, no desires... nothing at all, utter emptiness.

When in such a state of no-mind you look, even a nazunia flower is transported into another world. It becomes a lotus of the paradise, it is no longer part of the earth; the extraordinary has been found in the ordinary. And this is the way of Buddha: to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, to find all in the now, to find the whole in this -- Buddha calls it tathata.

Basho's haiku is a haiku of tathata: this nazunia, looked at lovingly, caringly through the heart, unclouded consciousness, in a state of no-mind... and one is amazed, one is in awe. A great wonder arises, How is it possible? This nazunia -- and if a nazunia is possible then everything is possible. If a nazunia can be so beautiful, Basho can be a buddha. If a nazunia can contain such poetry, then each stone can become a sermon.

When I look carefully, I see the nazunia blooming by the hedge! Kana.... I am amazed. I am dumb. I cannot say anything about its beauty -- I can only hint at it.

A haiku simply hints. The poetry describes, the haiku only indicates -- and in a very indirect way.

A similar situation is found in Tennyson's famous poetry; comparing both will be of great help to you. Basho represents the intuitive, Tennyson the intellectual. Basho represents the East, Tennyson the West. Basho represents meditation, Tennyson mind. They look similar, and sometimes the poetry of Tennyson may look more poetic than Basho's because it is direct, it is obvious.

Flower in the crannied wall

I pluck you out of the crannies

Hold you here, root and all, in my hand,

Little flower -- if I could but understand

What you are, root and all, and all in all,

I should know what God and man is.

A beautiful piece, but nothing compared to Basho. Let us see where Tennyson becomes totally different. First: Flower in the crannied wall I pluck you out of the crannies....

Basho simply looks at the flower, he does not pluck it out. Basho is a passive awareness: Tennyson is active, violent. In fact, if you have really been impressed by the flower, you cannot pluck it. If the flower has reached your heart, how can you pluck it? Plucking it means destroying it, killing it -- it is murder! Nobody has thought about Tennyson's poetry as murder -- but it is murder. How can you destroy something so beautiful? But that's how our mind functions; it is destructive. It wants to possess, and possession is possible only through destruction.

Basho looks carefully, just looks, not even gazes concentratedly; just a look, soft, feminine, as if afraid to hurt the nazunia.

Tennyson plucks it out of the crannies and says: ... I hold you here, root and all, in my hand, little flower.... He remains separate. The observer and the observed are nowhere melting, merging, meeting. It is not a love affair. Tennyson attacks the flower, plucks it out root and all, holds it in his hand. Mind always feels good whenever it can possess, control, hold. A meditative state of consciousness is not interested in possessing, in holding, because all those are the ways of the violent mind.

And he says: Little flower.... The flower remains little, he remains on a high pedestal. He is a man, a great intellectual, a great poet. He remains in his ego: Little flower....

For Basho, there is no question of comparison. He says nothing about himself, as if he is not. There is no observer. The beauty is such that it brings a transcendence. The nazunia flower is there, blooming by the hedge -- kana -- and Basho is simply amazed, is struck to the very roots of his being. The beauty is overpowering. Rather than possessing the flower, he is possessed by the flower, he is in a total surrender to the beauty of the flower, to the beauty of the moment, to the benediction of the herenow.

Little flower, says Tennyson, if I could but understand.... That obsession to understand! Appreciation is not enough, love is not enough; understanding has to be there, knowledge has to be produced. Unless knowledge is arrived at Tennyson cannot be at ease. The flower has become a question mark. For Tennyson it is a question mark, for Basho it is an exclamation point. And there is the great difference: the question mark and the exclamation point.

Love is enough for Basho -- love is understanding. What more understanding can there be? But Tennyson seems to know nothing of love. His mind is there, hankering to know... But if I could understand what you are, root and all, and all in all.... And mind is compulsively perfectionist. Nothing can be left unknown, nothing can be allowed to remain unknown and mysterious. Root and all, and all in all... has to be understood. Unless mind knows everything it remains afraid -- because knowledge gives power. If there is something mysterious, you are bound to remain afraid because the mysterious cannot be controlled. And who knows what is hidden in the mysterious?

The scientific insistence is that we will not leave anything unknown, and we cannot accept that anything can ever be unknowable. Science divides existence into the known and the unknown. The known is that which was unknown one day, now it is known; and the unknown is that which is unknown today but tomorrow or the day after tomorrow it will be known. The difference is not much between the known and the unknown; just a little more endeavor, a little more research, and all unknown will be reduced to known.

Science can feel at ease only when everything is reduced to the known. But then all poetry disappears, all love disappears, all mystery disappears, all wonder disappears. The soul disappears, the God disappears, the song disappears, the celebration disappears. All is known... then nothing is valuable. All is known... then nothing is of any worth. All is known... then there is no meaning in life, no significance in life. See the paradox: first the mind says "Know everything!" -- and when you have known it the mind says, "There is no meaning in life."

You have destroyed the meaning and now you are hankering for meaning. Science is very destructive of meaning. And because it insists everything can be known, it cannot allow the third category, the unknowable -- which will remain unknowable eternally. And in the unknowable is the significance of life.

All the great values of beauty, of love, of God, of prayer, all that is really significant, all that makes life worth living, is part of the third category: the unknowable. The unknowable is another name for God, another name for the mysterious and the miraculous. Without it there can be no wonder in your heart -- and without wonder, a heart is not a heart at all, and without awe you lose something tremendously precious. Then your eyes are full of dust, they lose clarity. Then the bird goes on singing, but you are unaffected, unstirred, your heart is not moved -- because you know the explanation.

The trees are green, but the greenness does not transform you into a dancer, into a singer. It does not trigger a poetry in your being, because you know the explanation: it is chlorophyll that is making the trees green... so nothing of poetry is left. When the explanation is there the poetry disappears. And all explanations are utilitarian, they are not ultimate.

And you can go on searching for God and you will not find him anywhere, because he is everywhere. The mind is going to miss him, because the mind would like him to be an object and God is not an object.

God is a vibe. If you are attuned to the soundless sound of existence, to the mysterious, you will know that only God is, and nothing else. Then God becomes synonymous with existence.

But these things cannot be understood, these things cannot be reduced to knowledge -- and that's where Tennyson misses, misses the whole point. He says: Little flower -- if I could but understand what you are, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is. But it is all 'but' and 'if'.

Basho knows what God is and what man is in that exclamation mark, kana: "I am amazed, I am surprised... Nazunia blooming by the hedge!" Maybe it is a full-moon night, or maybe it is early morning -- I can actually see Basho standing by the side of the road, not moving, as if his breath has stopped. A nazunia... and so beautiful. All past is gone, all future has disappeared. There are no more questions in his mind but just sheer amazement.

Basho has become a child: again those innocent eyes of a child looking at a nazunia, carefully, lovingly. And in that love, in that care, is a totally different kind of understanding -- not intellectual, not analytical.

The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 3, Chapter #3, Archive code: 7908140

A Meditation:

Shiva says: Look upon a bowl without seeing the sides or the material. In a few moments become aware.

Look at anything. A bowl or any object will do, but look with a different quality. Look upon a bowl without seeing the sides or the material. Look upon any object, but with these two conditions... Do not look at the sides, look at the object as a whole. Ordinarily, we look at parts. It may not be done so consciously, but we look at parts. If I look at you, first I see your face, then your torso, and then your whole body. Look at an object as a whole; do not divide it in parts. Why? Because when you divide something in parts, the eyes have an opportunity to move from one part to another. Look at a thing as a whole. You can do it.

First look at a thing moving from one fragment to another. Then suddenly look at this thing as a whole; do not divide it. When you look at a thing as a whole, the eyes have no need to move. In order not to give any opportunity for movement, this has been made a condition: look at an object totally, taken as a whole.

And secondly, without seeing the material. If the bowl is of wood, do not see the wood: just see the bowl, the form. Do not see the substance. It may be of gold, it may be of silver -- observe it. Do not look at the material of which it is made, just look at the form.

The first thing is to look at it as a whole. Secondly, look at it as a form, not as a substance. Why? Because substance is the material part, form is the spiritual part, and you are to move from the material to the non-material.

Remain with the whole and the form. Suddenly you will become aware of yourself, because now the eyes cannot move. And they need movement; that is their nature. So your look will move toward you. It will come back, it will return home, and suddenly you will become aware of your self. This becoming aware of one's self is one of the most ecstatic moments possible. When for the first time you become aware of your self, it has such beauty and such bliss that you cannot compare it with anything else you have known.

Really, for the first time you become your self; for the first time you know you are. Your being is revealed in a flash.

Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, Chapter #21, Archive code: 7212145

Another technique:

Shiva Says: see as if for the first time a beauteous person or an ordinary object.

Anything will do. Look at your shoes. You have been using them for years, but look as if for the first time and see the difference: the quality of your consciousness suddenly changes.

Any object will do. This technique is just to make your eyes fresh -- so fresh, alive, radiantly vital, that they can move within and you can have a look at your inner self.

See as if for the first time. Make it a point to see everything as if for the first time, and sometime, suddenly, you will be surprised at what a beautiful world you have been missing. Suddenly become aware and look at your wife as if for the first time. And it will be no wonder if you feel again the same love you felt the first time, the same surge of energy, the same attraction in its fullest. But look as if for the first time at a beauteous person or an ordinary object. What will happen? You will regain your eyesight. Just now, as you are, you are blind. And this blindness is more fatal than physical blindness, because you have eyes and still you cannot look.

Look freshly again, as if for the first time, and you will see the same stranger. Nothing, nothing, has become old; everything is new. This will give a freshness to your look. Your eyes will become innocent. Those innocent eyes can see. Those innocent eyes can enter into the inner world.

Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, Chapter #21, Archive code: 7212145

Religion is falling in love with this tremendous beauty of existence. It is falling in love with this mysterious world.

If you can wonder you are going to fall into love. Each child is born wondering... and we destroy his wonder sooner or later. By the time a child is four we have killed, massacred his wonder. And the method that we use to kill his wonder is: we start stuffing him with information.

D.H. Lawrence, one of the great men of insight of this age, was walking in a garden with a small child. And as small children ask, the child asked, "Can you tell me one thing -- why the trees are green?"

Now such questions can be asked only either by children or by mystics, either by children or by buddhas. What kind of question is this? You will never ask it, because it will look so foolish to ask why trees are green. And in fact you already know why they are green; you know, because it is chlorophyll that makes them green.

D.H. Lawrence also knew about chlorophyll. He could have said it to the child, and children are very easily trusting.... If you say, "It is because of this," they will say, "Okay." And in fact, they don't much care about the answer; by the time you are answering them they have become interested in some other question. They are intrigued by something else -- a butterfly, a flower, a cloud floating in the sky. They have already bypassed the question.

When a child asks he does not ask to be answered, remember. When a child asks he is simply talking out loud to himself, he is thinking out loud, he is wondering out loud, that's all. When he says, "Why are the trees green?" he is not saying it inside, he is thinking aloud. It is not really a question. He is puzzled by the mystery, he is wondering WHY the trees are green, he is not waiting for any answer; it is pure wonder, he is intrigued.

D.H. Lawrence is a great poet, a great novelist -- almost on the verge of being a mystic. Had he been in India, had he been in the East, he would have become a buddha. About these two persons I feel very certain they would have become buddhas if they had been in the East: Friedrich Nietzsche and D.H. Lawrence. About these two persons I feel absolutely certain. They were so much on the verge, just one step more....

Lawrence looked at the trees, stood there in silence with closed eyes for a few seconds, then told the child, "The trees are green because they are green." And the child was satisfied. But Lawrence continued to think, "What kind of answer is this that I have given to the child? -- the trees are green because they are green. It is a tautology. It is illogical!" But it is tremendously significant. Lawrence is saying that life is a mystery to be lived, a reality to be experienced, not a question to be answered, not a problem to be solved. It is so.

That's how Buddha used to say it to his disciples: his word is tathata, suchness. If you had asked him the same thing he would have said, "Such is the case. Trees are green... it is so." Nothing more can be said about it -- because the more said, the more you become informed, knowledgeable, the less is the possibility to know. "It is so" -- it does not close the door to you, it simply opens the door of the mystery.

The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 4, Chapter #1, Archive code: 7908220

On Beauty


What can you say about beauty? Even if the lake is full of beautiful lotuses and it is a full-moon night, and all is benediction, somebody can ask, "What is beauty?" What can you say? You can show! You can say, "This it it!" But he will say, "I am asking for a definition."

Rabindranath, one of the greatest poets of this country, was living on a small houseboat. He used to live for months together on that houseboat; he loved living on the houseboat. It was a full-moon night and he was reading in his room, a small cabin, just by a small candlelight, and he was reading about aesthetics -- what is beauty? And the full moon outside, and the cuckoo calling from the distant shore, and the moon reflecting all over the lake, and the whole lake was silver...! It was a tremendously silent night, nobody around, except that cuckoo calling. Once in a while a bird would fly over the boat, or a fish would jump in the lake -- and those sounds would deepen the silence even more. And he pondered over great books on aesthetics in search of the definition of what beauty is.

Tired, exhausted, in the middle of the night, he blew out the candle...and he was shocked, surprised. As he blew out the candle, the moonrays entered through the window, through the door, inside the cabin. That pale light of the candle had been keeping the moon out. Suddenly, he heard the cuckoo calling from the distant shore. Suddenly, he became aware of the tremendous silence, the depth of the silence surrounding the boat. A fish jumped, and he came out.... He had never seen such a beautiful night. A few white clouds floating in the sky, and the moon and the lake and the cuckoo calling...he was transported into another world.

He wrote in his diary, "I am foolish! I have been searching in books for what beauty is, and beauty was standing outside my door, knocking on my door! I was looking for beauty, searching for beauty, with a small candle, and the small candlelight was keeping the moonlight outside." He wrote in his diary, "It seems my small ego is keeping God out -- the small ego, like a pale small candlelight, keeping the light of God outside. And he is waiting outside. All that I need to do is to close the books, blow out the candle of the ego and go out -- and see!"

The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 2, Chapter #6, Archive code: 7907060

It has been one of the greatest observations of poets, painters, and the people who move in the dimension of aesthetics: that when a poet writes a poem about the moon he reveals some beauty of the moon which was not available before. And many more people will be able to see it now; their sensitivity will be aroused.

Nature is more beautiful because there have been nature poets. Nature is more beautiful because there have been nature painters. Nature is more beautiful because many, many people have seen beauty in it and that has become a heritage that has penetrated our beings.

Truth is like beauty. The more people see it, the more clear it is. The more people have it, the more people can have it.

The Secret, Chapter #19, Archive code: 7810290

In the East mystics have talked about God in two ways. Those who were more intellectually oriented have talked about God as satchidananda. Sat means truth, chid means consciousness, ananda means bliss. Those who were not so intellectually oriented, who were more emotional, devotional, more poetic, more of the heart -- they have talked about God as satyam, shivam, sunderam: truth, goodness and beauty. These are the two trinities talked about in the East.

Truth is the same in both; it has to be so because God is: that isness is his truth. But then the differences come. The intellectually oriented think of God as consciousness, and then as bliss, because consciousness is continuously seeking for bliss. It is a search for bliss, so the ultimate goal becomes bliss. But the poetic approach is different. The ultimate goal is always beauty; bliss is a byproduct. When you have experienced the ultimate beauty of existence you feel bliss, but that is a byproduct, a consequence; it is not the goal. To the poet it is not relevant even to talk about it. It comes on its own, just as when listening to beautiful music you feel surrounded by a bliss, but your concern is the music, the beauty of it.

Watching a beautiful sunset, a bliss descends, but that is a consequence; it is not the goal. Your concern is the sunset. You are so absorbed in the sunset that bliss has to happen. In such utter silence, in such utter absorption with something beautiful, bliss is bound to happen. One need not think about it.

Hence in the poet's description of God, satyam -- truth -- is there; then the change starts, then the paths divert. The second is not consciousness but goodness, virtue, grace, purity, innocence -- those are all the meanings of shivam. And when one is graceful, virtuous, pure, innocent, beauty arrives. That beauty is spiritual beauty. You cannot find it in the outer world; you have to go in to the innermost... in the innermost shrine of your being it lives.

But both descriptions are right. They are simply symptomatic of two different minds. Humanity can be divided into two different minds: the intellect-oriented person and the emotion-oriented person.

Don't Let Yourself Be Upset by the Sutra, rather Upset the Sutra Yourself, Chapter #20, Archive code: 7908215

It was Rabindranath who insisted that the only definition that is exactly right is "truth, godliness, beauty." If something has to be dropped from the definition, you can drop truth, you can drop godliness, but beauty you cannot drop.

Beauty is the sky for the poet, for the painter, for the musician -- and how is it possible that the ultimate truth should be ugly? It has to be the most beautiful experience. But the definition will be applicable to only a very few people. The second definition will be applicable to a vast majority of people.

There is one difference more that has to be remembered. The first definition is outgoing -- truth is at the center of being, then godliness surrounds it, and then another circle of beauty. But that beauty is not beyond the beauty of the trees and the flowers and human faces. Everything that is beautiful in the world is a joining link with the ultimate.

Rabindranath was the first man in history who said beauty is truth. Nobody has ever said that. There have been people who have said truth is beauty, but nobody who dared to say that beauty is truth, putting beauty on the highest peak. That will be possible only to those who can feel the sensitivity of the beautiful. It is not for all.

But the second definition is not so outgoing. It does not go out at all. Truth, consciousness, bliss -- all are inside you. None of these three experiences takes you out.

In psychological terminology, the first definition can be said to be of the outgoing consciousness, expanding consciousness -- just as when you throw a pebble into a silent lake, and waves start moving towards the farther shores. The first definition is expanding, outgoing. Psychologists have a special word for it; they call it 'extrovert'. And certainly the poet is an extrovert, because he sees the beauty of the trees and the beauty of the stars and the beauty of the birds singing. He is an extrovert.

The second definition is 'introvert'. It concentrates on your very being -- because it is enough, there is no need to go out.

Sat Chit Anand, Chapter #1, Archive code: 8711220


Was Rabindrinath's longing, his creative angst, the very thing that in the end became an obstacle to his enlightenment? Am I also destined to die with tears in my eyes, and a pocket full of songs?

A poet is not in search of truth. His search is for beauty, and through the search for beauty nobody has ever become enlightened. One can become a great poet, a great painter, a great singer, a great dancer; but on the path of beauty, enlightenment is not possible.

The seeker of truth, and only the seeker of truth, attains to enlightenment. And this is the miracle of enlightenment, that once you have discovered truth, then beauty, the good, and all that is valuable simply become available to you.

Beauty cannot lead to enlightenment, but enlightenment opens your eyes to all dimensions and all directions.

Rabindranath was very close to enlightenment, but his search was not for enlightenment -- he was searching for the beautiful. And the search for the beautiful, deep down, is the search for expressing beauty -- in words, in music, in dance, in any kind of creativity. The seeker of beauty is really seeking a vision which he can reproduce in his poetry, in his song, in his painting. Always the search is inner, but the goal is somewhere outside. And that's the problem for all great creative people: they come to know, but then expression becomes difficult; they come to experience beauty, but how to share it? You may see a roseflower and be suddenly overwhelmed by its beauty, but how to share it? How to express it?

The concern of the artist is expression; the concern of the seeker is experience. Neither of them is able to express, but because the seeker of truth is totally concerned with experiencing, he comes to enlightenment, and he can die with a smile on his face, with fulfillment, whether he has been able to say something about it or not -- that is not his concern, that is not his angst, his anxiety.

The artist also comes to know what he is seeking, but his problem is that basically, his interest in seeking beauty is for expression -- and expression is almost impossible. At the most you can stutter a little bit -- all your songs are stutterings of great poets. They look beautiful to you, immensely meaningful and significant, but to the poet... he knows he has failed.

All artists, either in the East or in the West, have felt an immense failure. They have tried their best, and they have produced great pieces of art -- for us they are great pieces of art, but for them they are faraway echos of their experience. Hence, they die either mad....

Almost seventy percent of painters, dancers, poets have gone mad. They have made too much effort. They have put too much tension into their being, so that it brought a breakdown, a nervous breakdown. And many of the artists have even committed suicide. The wound of failure became unbearable: to live any longer and to carry the same wound, and feeling again and again... became too difficult, and it was better to destroy oneself. And those who have not gone mad or committed suicide, they have also not died in a blissful way.

In the East, we have defined the ultimate values as three: satyam, shivam, sundaram. Satyam means truth -- that is the highest. The seeker, the mystic follows that path. Then comes shivam: goodness, virtue. The moralist, the saint, the sage -- they follow that path. And sundaram means beauty. The poets, the singers, the musicians -- they follow that path.

Those who attain to truth automatically come to know what is good and what is beauty. Those who follow good, neither come to know what is true, nor do they come to know what is beauty. The followers of good -- the moralists, the puritans -- also never achieve enlightenment. All that they achieve is a repressed personality -- very beautiful on the surface, but deep inside very ugly. They have great reputation, honor, respect, but inside they are hollow.

The people who follow sundaram, beauty, are inside fulfilled, utterly fulfilled, but their misery is that that is not their aim: just to be fulfilled. They want all that they have experienced to be brought into language, into paintings, into sculpture, into architecture. Hence, even though they have experienced beautiful spaces they remain anxiety-ridden.

I have been trying in many ways to open new doors -- this is one of the most important doors. I want you to be a seeker of truth, but when you have attained to truth you should not be without songs and without dances. Beauty is a little lower value than truth, but the man of truth can express beauty more clearly than the poet, than the painter. For the higher, the lower is always understandable -- not vice versa.

The man who has attained truth should also take care that his life radiates godliness, goodness. It may not be in tune with the morality of the society -- it cannot be, because that morality is created by blind, unconscious people, just as a convention. For the man of truth it is not convention, it is simply his life. In utter nudity, he should make his life available to existence, to people, so that the ordinary morality of convention slowly, slowly changes into a real and authentic morality of a man who knows the truth.

I say to you, remember in those moments when you realize the truth that a great responsibility has fallen on your shoulders: you have to change the ordinary morality into a spiritual code, and you have to change subjective art into objective art. This will be the new expression of the contemporary mystic, and it will make a new breakthrough for the future.

You are asking, "Am I also destined to die with tears in my eyes, and a pocket full of songs?" If you remain interested only in songs and music, you will die with tears in your eyes, and those tears will not be of joy.

Let your search be for the truth, and only on the margin go on practicing your music, composing your songs; so when you reach to your enlightenment you are articulate enough to bring beauty to expression. Then you can go laughing, fulfilled, without any tears.

The Razor's Edge, Chapter #10, Archive code: 8703020


Part VII:



A Drum Fell From Heaven



Over the years I had a long affair with a drum -- and have met so many who have fallen into meditation through drums. Why do dancers love drums?

In the Nohdrama of Japan there is a story about a drum. Would you illuminate this little play?

“Almost two thousand years ago in China, a woman dreamed that a wonderful drum fell from heaven -- that night she conceived. She bore a son and named him Tenko, which means heavenly drum. Some years later a drum did fall from heaven, and whenever Tenko beat upon it, it made beautiful music.

The emperor demanded the drum, but Tenko took it into the forest and hid. He was captured and drowned. The drum was taken to the emperor's palace but it made no sound.

Tenko's father came to the palace and touched the drum, and it sang again. The emperor repented and granted a memorial service for the son. Tenko's spirit appeared and danced in gratitude for their prayers.”

The drum has a special appeal -- the reason is very deep rooted You will have to understand it.

When a child is conceived in the womb, the child grows, but he cannot breathe, he has to breathe from the mother. In fact, the mother breathes for him. And for nine months continuously he hears the beating of the mother's heart -- continuously. It is the first meeting with music and rhythm.

For nine months the child goes on hearing the heartbeat of the mother. That is the first drum he encounters, and it becomes very deep-rooted in the being of the child. Every pore of him is filled with it, every fibre of his body vibrates with it, he has no life except the mother's heart. And there is the beating continuously for nine months... you just think about it.

And then the child is born. The whole body system, the mind system, carries that desire for the beat, for the rhythm of the mother's heart. And mothers know, knowingly or unknowingly, that whenever a child is restless, crying, weeping, uncontrollable, they have just to put his head on their chest, and immediately the child goes to sleep, falls into sleep. When again he hears the beat -- the beat is soporific -- he immediately falls into sleep.

And not only a small child -- even a young man, when he rests on a woman's heart, falls immediately into sleep, because the woman becomes the mother and the lover, the husband, becomes again a child. The heart goes on having the appeal.

Hence, from this deep biological experience of the child, comes the appeal of the drum. The drum is the oldest instrument of music, everything else has followed it. So whenever somebody is beating a drum the temptation is too much -- you start moving your legs, you start swaying your body. If the beater is good and really knows how to create atmosphere through the drumbeat nobody can be there who is not affected. Even a Buddha would like to dance. It is natural. That's why everybody enjoys a drumbeat. And it is very primitive, it is not sophisticated. Go into the jungles of Africa or deep into the Indian forest where only aboriginals live. You will find everywhere the drum.

The drum is the most primitive instrument. When you feel that drum beating, your body responds, sways, you start falling into the beat, moving with the beat, and suddenly you have become a primitive, a natural being: all civilization drops. You are no longer here in this twentieth century and all the nonsense that goes on around -- you have moved back almost ten thousand years.

Just the other night, someone came to show me a few Ethiopian dances. They were wonderful. He danced with a very primitive beat, very, very primitive. Ethiopia is one of the oldest lands on earth, it is the country of Solomon. Since Solomon they have been dancing with the primitive beat. It has a deep appeal. There is no need to understand it, your body will understand it. Nobody could understand the song that was following the beat but everybody understood the beat. There were Americans, there were English, there were Indians here and everybody could follow it. The language of the drum is universal.

It is very unsophisticated, simple, nothing much to it, anybody can learn it. In fact, everybody drums. Knowingly or unknowingly, if you are sitting at a table you start beating; if you feel good, you start beating the table. It is primordial. Your natural being is called again, and it responds. All the centuries of civilization disappear in a second. Suddenly you are again under the stars, you have moved back thousands of years. Everything is natural, dark, mysterious. That is the appeal.

And the man who does not respond to a drum and its beat has no heart. He lacks something. He has become completely plastic, a twentieth century model, absolutely. He has lost all contact with history, with the past, with the millennia that have passed. In his heart nothing of nature lives any more; it is dead.

And this story is also very, very beautiful:

Almost two thousand years ago in China, a woman dreamed that a wonderful drum fell from heaven.

Of course, how can man invent the drum? Such a beautiful phenomenon. It has been so long on the earth that nobody can visualize that there was ever a time when man was and the drum was not. So God must have created them simultaneously. It is possible that he may have created the drum first and man later, because immediately the man will need the beat, the vibration of it. Otherwise how will he be alive? Every child comes later; the mother's heart is beating first.

The heart is ready to beat and flow with love -- and then comes the child. The drums must have been in existence before man was created.

This story is symbolic. It says: In China a woman dreamed that a wonderful drum fell from heaven. Good, perfectly true. Man cannot make the drum; the beat is biological, it precedes man.

That night she conceived. Now the path of the story is absolutely clear. First she dreamed that a drum was going to fall from heaven, and then she conceived.

She bore a son and named him Tenko -- heavenly drum. Some years later a drum did fall from heaven and whenever Tenko beat upon it, it made beautiful music.

Man is from heaven and the drum is from heaven. The meaning is symbolic. Man is from heaven and the music is from heaven and whenever you know the keys of how to open the doors of music you have opened the doors of heaven also. The secret lies in the music. If there is a choice between philosophy, religion, science and music; if you ask me to choose one, after which all the remaining ones will disappear from the earth, I will choose music. Because if there is music, religion will follow. It cannot disappear.

If there is music how is it possible that religion can disappear? Music will give such a mysterious feeling to everybody that people will start thinking about what this mystery is. If music is, philosophy cannot disappear; if music is, science cannot disappear; if music is, literature cannot disappear.

But it is possible for philosophy to be there, and no music. If you choose philosophy, then philosophy will be there, but there will be no necessity for music to be there.

Music is the most primordial phenomenon because it is in nature, in the breeze passing through the trees, in the birds singing -- you will never find a bird being a philosopher but all birds are musicians. You go and search -- you will not find a stream religious, but all streams are musical. Go and ask these winds passing through the trees -- they may not have ever heard about the Bible and Koran and Gita but they know music. Music is involved in life itself. It is existential.

So if there is a choice for me to make I will choose music and drop all else, because I know they will have to come back. Music is so vast that it will create them all again. Music is heavenly.

She bore a son and named him Tenko -- heavenly drum. Some years later a drum did fall from heaven and whenever Tenko beat upon it, it made beautiful music.

If you really want to enter into music you will have to go as deep as the music is. Music is the greatest mystic discipline. Islam has denied music completely, and that's why Islam has remained a crippled religion. How can there be religion without music? It will be very poor. Sufis again revived it, they had to revive it. That's why Islam always feels an antagonism, a deeply antagonistic attitude toward Sufis, because they revived music again after Islam had completely denied it.

Sufis again revived dancing and music and everything, because no religion can be without music. Mohammedans feel deeply hurt by the fact. They suspect that Sufis are somehow enemies and they tried to kill Sufis but they could not. And the irony is that Sufis are the real core of Islam, they are the substantial religion: in fact, they are the flowering.

Music is a milieu in which religion arises and develops and grows. Anything that is growing needs music. All your prayers should be musical, your meditations should be musical, your whole being should by and by become musical.

The emperor demanded the drum. But Tenko took it into the forest and hid. He was captured and drowned. The drum was taken to the emperor's palace but it made no sound.

The drum in itself will not make any sound, the drum in itself is nothing. An alive heart, a loving heart, has to be brought to it. You have to put life into it, you have to get involved in it -- only then does it make a sound. That sound is the meeting of the man with the drum. The sound is not possible only with the drum, it is not a technical thing. The king could have called technicians, but music is a love affair, it is not technology. You can learn the technique and you can miss the music.

The emperor demanded the drum but Tenko took it into the forest and hid. He was captured and drowned. The drum was taken to the emperor's palace, but it made no sound.

A deep love is needed. You may have seen Indian musicians: before they start playing on their instruments they bow down to them. It looks absurd to Western eyes. What are they doing bowing down to their own instrument? It is sacred. It is divine. You have to take its permission: Do you allow me to play on you? Am I accepted?

I have heard about one musician who will actually ask his veena: Am I allowed? And then he will wait. And sometimes it will happen that he will say: No. The veena is not ready. At this moment I am not pure enough. I will have to wait. Today I cannot play.

It will be difficult for the Western mind to understand. What are you saying? A veena is an instrument, there is no need to ask. You can force, you can command -- but there you miss. You can force, and there will be a certain kind of music; but it will not be a response, it will be a reaction. If you hit the veena there will be a reaction, of course. But it will not be a response. A reaction is a rape of a woman; a response is the response of your beloved. They are totally different.

Tenko's father came to the palace and touched the drum and it sang. The emperor repented and granted a memorial service for the son. Tenko's spirit appeared and danced in gratitude for their prayers.

Everybody who has been violent with life will repent. Don't be violent with life. Persuade it. Persuasion is needed. Don't be aggressive and violent -- otherwise all music will disappear.

I will tell you a story.

It happened that in a house there was a very ancient veena. For centuries it had been there. And through the generations the people of the family had by and by completely forgotten what it existed for, what its function was. It had become a nuisance in the house, because it was so big and it needed space. And not only that, sometimes the children would go and play on it and they would disturb the peace of the whole house. Sometimes in the night the cat would jump on it, or the rats would run through it. So it was a nuisance, always creating noise, disturbing the sleep, disturbing the people of the house and the neighbors.

Finally one day they thought: Why are we keeping it here? Throw it out. Every day we have to dust and clean it, and it is useless. So they went and threw it outside the house.

A beggar passed. He saw the veena lying there and he started playing on it. It created such a divine music that the whole neighborhood gathered. Even the people who had thrown it out came running out of their house. They were stupefied, hypnotized. They couldn't believe that this veena could create such beautiful music, so mysterious. It created such a milieu around that all the traffic stopped, houses were empty and whosoever heard, came. The whole town gathered, and when the beggar stopped, the people to whom the veena had belonged for centuries jumped on him and said: Give this veena to us, this is ours.

The beggar said: The veena belongs to one who can play on it. It is not a possession. It is a love. If you can play on it, play on it -- then it belongs to you. If you cannot play on it, don't be possessive -- it belongs to me. I was waiting for it and the veena was waiting for me. Now we have met and now nobody can separate us. If you insist, you can take it, but it will be a dead veena and I will be a dead musician. Between us two something meets and mingles, between us two something becomes one and organic. I am half, the veena is half, and when we meet we become one -- then there is music and there is love and there is life.

Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 2, Chapter #10, Archive code: 7506300


Ready for Music



What is the difference between music and the gymnastics of music? In the last couple of years my experience has been of frantic non-harmonious music. Instead of feeling silent and meditative, I am getting tendonitis in my arms from drumming. Can you comment?

The difference is simple, just the difference between madness and sanity. Your music is not music; it is simply your madness.

But to express it directly you will be in trouble. So to express it through music, the trouble is avoided and you will find fools to say, "What a great musician you are!"

So on both accounts, your madness is released That helps you. And the appreciation of other mad people, gives you an egoistic satisfaction. But the reality is you are deceiving yourself.

Real music is born out of a silent mind. Real music is meditation manifested. Your music is madness manifested.

You must have a certain talent for music, but it is being used by madness. You can change; it can be used by your meditation.

In the East, the music has a totally different quality. It can even cure people from diseases. It can cure even a madman. It is so silent, so subtle, so delicate. In the East, nobody will recognize your jazz and other kinds of music, as music.

A musician works hard, because he has to bring something which is beyond words, but is not beyond music, which cannot be said but it can be played on a sitar. And it is tremendously relaxing, not only for the person who is playing -- he completely forgets his ego; only then his music reaches to its ultimate height -- but for those who hear it, they also forget their ego. They become simply a listening. There is no listener.

I am reminded of a story that actually happened.

In Lucknow, there was a crazy king, Wajid Ali Shah. He was crazy in many ways: the whole day he slept, and the whole night he enjoyed food, dance, music. He was a night man.

He had gathered all the greatest musicians into his court, all the great dancers. His court was really rich, but he was always feeling a little sad that one musician who was perhaps the greatest in the country, had not come to his court. Again and again messengers were sent, but the musician said that it would create unnecessary trouble.

Finally, Wajid Ali Shah said, "Whatever trouble it creates, I will take care of it, but you have to come."

The musician came. He said, "The trouble is the condition I make. When I play on my sitar, nobody in the audience must move his head with my music. That is a great disturbance and I don't want it. So you will have to promise me that anybody who moves his head and sways with my music, should have his head cut off immediately."

Wazid Ali Shah was a crazy man. He said, "There is no difficulty."

In Lucknow it was announced that you have to come knowing perfectly well that the king has accepted this condition. So only those should come who are capable of sitting silently, frozen. If your head is found moving or you sway -- Wazid Ali Shah has put one thousand soldiers with naked swords around the audience -- immediately your head will be gone.

Thousands of people wanted to come, because the man was so well-known all over the country, and his music was something like a miracle. But only a few came, because the condition was such that even though you were not swaying because of his music, just a fly sitting on your head and you... And that was enough. That Wajid Ali Shah is such an idiot, the head is gone. It is too dangerous.

But still, a few hundred people came.

Lucknow was, in those days, a capital of artists, musicians, poets, painters. Even Wajid Ali Shah was surprised. He was thinking that perhaps nobody would turn up.

The musician started playing. Everybody was holding himself tight, so that not even accidentally would be allow the head to move. They were sitting like statues. And then a moment came, a few people started swaying.

Wajid Ali Shah was immediately going to order those people's heads to be cut . The musician said, "Wait, until after the music is finished; but keep note who the people are."

After the music was finished, Wajid Ali Shah had gathered almost one hundred people. And he asked the musician, "Now, what do you say?"

He said, "Now these are the people who can understand me. I will play for them now. The others have no guts. These people -- even though they tried hard to remain unmoving -- when the real moment came, when the music reached its height, they forgot themselves, they forgot the condition, they forgot their life, they forgot everything. And the way they swayed was in tune with my music. These are the people.

"Just to sort them out I have made the condition. So now let the others go, and for these hundred people I will play my best. There is still half the night. And there is no condition.

"I can feel a kind of at-one-ment with these people. I can feel a certain synchronicity with these people. They know what the heights of music are, where ego disappears, mind stops, there is no thinking." Music in the East has been used as a meditation. "And these people are capable of reaching to meditation through music." And he played for them.

In the morning, Wajid Ali could not believe what was happening. It was as if people had completely forgotten who they were -- just trees in the wind, swaying, dancing. Their faces had a luminosity. The place was full of a new kind of liveliness that Wajid Ali had never experienced. There was dance, there was joy, and there was something which can only be called spiritual.

You say, "You play drums madly." That is not music. That is simply throwing up your madness. And of course the world is full of mad people. They will get identified with you; they will enjoy it.

Who were the people who were enjoying the Beatles and other music groups that emerged among the younger generation? Who were the people?

The Beatles were mad and their fans -- thousands of young people -- were mostly hippy. Nobody knew anything about music, but they became great heroes. To become a hero in a mad world, you need to be a great madman.

If you listen to Eastern music, perhaps it will simply go above your head. First, the Eastern musician just prepares for half an hour or more. He is not yet going into depth; he is just preparing his instrument and himself. And you will be tired by that alone. He is just getting ready to take the quantum leap. Infinite patience is needed.

Your music... Stop it, and start Dynamic Meditation. That is your music. Why unnecessarily beat the drum? The poor drum has done no harm, no harm to anybody.

And do the Dynamic Meditation as madly as you can. In fact, the more madly you do it the better, because you will be throwing out all rubbish and you will come out of it clean, just as if you have come from a shower.

And you feel that now there is nothing to throw out and your Dynamic Meditation has become silent -- even if you want, nothing comes out -- then take the drum again. That will be an existential experience. Then you can play the drum, and it will not be madness; it will be music.

But first, be ready for music.

Music does not come from the drum; music comes from you. The drum only reflects it. Music is just a mirror. If you are mad, the madman is reflected. If you are enlightened, then the enlightened man is reflected.

It is good that you have an interest in music, but first please be sane. And don't feel guilty that you are not sane. This whole world that we have created is insane, and they all are throwing their insanity in worse ways than you are doing.

You are at least beating the drum, which is dead anyway. They are beating living people. They are raping living women. They are murdering, they are doing all kinds of crimes around the world. And in spite of all the police, all the courts, all the magistrates, all the laws, the crime goes on growing. It has become almost a way of life for millions of people.

So don't feel bad. In fact, beating a drum is far better than killing a man. But when music can come out of the drum... Just a little preparation is needed. And this is the place of meditation. Meditate a little more, and wait for the right moment when you feel that there is music inside you and you would like to share it with your friends.

From Death to Deathlessness, Chapter #40, Archive code: 8509140


We have heard your comments about jazz music.

This question comes from two jazz musicians: is our love of jazz music an obstacle on the path to enlightenment?

My comments about jazz music were made in a totally different context. Compared to classical music, jazz music is in the lowest category, because rather than creating a spirituality in you it simply activates your sexuality. The great classical music takes you higher, beyond your mind, to silences which can give you a taste of meditation, a taste of existence.

But always remember that a certain reference in a certain context does not mean my whole approach to a thing. You are saying, "This question comes from two jazz musicians. Is our love of jazz music an obstacle on the path to enlightenment?" It depends on you. You can make your jazz music free from the lower gravitation of sexuality. You can make it connected with your higher centers of being, and then it will not be an obstacle on the path to enlightenment.

In fact, as far as my people are concerned, they are going to enter enlightenment with jazz music! It has never been tried; hence it is a great challenge and must be tried.

Nothing is wrong in the world if it is used in the right direction -- with awareness, with clarity. You can purify anything, just as you can make anything impure. It is wholly a question of your clear understanding. If your meditation goes on growing side by side with your music, soon you will find that even jazz music starts having some quality of meditativeness. And if the distinction between music and meditation drops, then whatever classical music was able to do, you can also do it. And you can do it more rejoicingly, more dancingly, with a greater celebration.

So I don't say that there is any obstacle, but meditation must become part of your music; otherwise just your music cannot help you to go beyond the lower instincts, biological drives. It will keep you closer to the earth, but far away from the stars.

Hari Om Tat Sat, Chapter #9, Archive code: 8801215


Sex seems to be dropping me. Is music next?

Music is not something biological; it is not something concerned with your chemistry or physiology. Music is not even of the mind. Music is something... a space between mind and meditation. It is one of the most mysterious phenomena. To conceive of it in intellectual terms is almost impossible for the simple reason that it is beyond mind -- but it is not yet meditation.

Music can become meditation -- it has both possibilities -- it can come down and become mind. Then you are only a technician, not a musician. You may be playing perfectly on the instruments, without any faults, but still you are only a technician. You know the technique perfectly and entirely, but it is not your heart and it is not your being; it is just your knowledge.

Music can go higher and further away from mind, and then it starts becoming closer and closer to peace and silence. One is a musician only when he understands the sound of silence, and one who understands the sound of silence is capable of creating sounds which are synonymous with silence. That is the most miraculous thing. Then the musician has come to his full flowering. Beyond this music starts the world of meditation.

In fact, as far as the East is concerned, the ancientmost sources say one thing definitively about music, and that is that it was born out of meditation. People who went deep into meditation enjoyed the silence of it, loved the peace that seems to be unfathomable. They wanted to convey that you are far more than you think you are, far bigger than you think you are; you are as big as the whole universe -- but how to say it? Words are very poor philosophical concepts, almost like beggars.

The ancient meditators tried to find some way to convey their peace, their silence, their joy, and those were the people who discovered music. Music is a by-product of meditation.

But you can go both ways: either from meditation you can come to music as an expression, a creative expression of your experience; or you can go from music to meditation, because music brings you closer and closer to meditation as music becomes immense silence, sounds merging into silence, sounds creating deeper silences than you have ever known. Then you are very close to the boundary of your meditation.

You need not be worried about music. Music is not in the same category as sex, although in the West the modern music has fallen so low that it has come very close to the category of sex. Only that music is appreciated in the West which provokes sexuality in you. Sex is the lowest point of your life energy, and if music is used to provoke sexuality, then naturally it has to fall to the same category.

Superconsciousness is the highest point of your life energy. When music reaches superconsciousness, it provokes within you unknown territories, unexplored skies. It can become a door to the divine. Just as it can become a door to the animal on the lowest, on the highest it can become the door to the divine.

Man is only a bridge to be passed. Man is only a bridge between the animal and the divine. You should not make your house on the bridge -- bridges are not for making houses on -- you have to pass on, from this shore to that further shore.

Your fear that perhaps music is going to be the next to be dropped comes from your Western conditioning, because in the West only that music is appreciated which is sexual. The West has completely forgotten its own great musicians who have almost touched the superconscious. But even the greatest musicians in the West could not go beyond life energies, they could not reach to the cosmic energies.

Satyam Shivam Sundram, Chapter #22, Archive code: 8711175

I have heard a story. It happened in Ajmer... You must have heard about one Sufi mystic, Moinuddin Chishti, whose dargah, whose tomb, is in Ajmer. Chishti was a great mystic, one of the greatest ever born, and he was a musician. To be a musician is to be against Islam because music is prohibited. He played on the sitar and on other instruments. He was a great musician and he enjoyed it. Five times every day, when a Mohammedan is required to pray the five ritual prayers, he wouldn't pray, he would simply play on his instrument. That was his prayer.

This was absolutely anti-religious but nobody could say anything to Chishti. Many times people would come to tell him so and he would start singing, and the song would be so beautiful they would forget completely why they had come. He would start playing on his instrument and it would be so prayerful that even scholars and pundits and maulvis who had come to object, wouldn't object. They would remember at home; when they were back at home they would remember why they had come.

Chisthi's fame spread over the world. From every part of the world, people started coming. One man, Jilani, himself a great mystic, came from Baghdad just to see Chishti. When Chishti heard that Jilani was coming he felt, "To pay respect to Jilani it will not be good to play my instrument now. Because he is such an orthodox Mohammedan, it will not be a good welcome. He may feel hurt." So only for that day, in his whole life, he decided he would not play, he would not sing. He waited from morning and in the afternoon Jilani came. Chishti had hidden his instruments.

When Jilani came and they both sat in silence, the instruments started to make music -- the whole room was filled. Chishti became very puzzled over what to do. He had hidden them, and such music he had never known before. Jilani laughed and said, "Rules are not for you, you need not hide them. Rules are for ordinary people, rules are not for you -- you should not hide them. How can you hide your soul? Your hands may not play, you may not sing from your throat, but your whole being is musical. And this whole room is filled with so much music, with so many vibrations that now the whole room is playing by itself."

A Bird on the Wing, Chapter #4, Archive code: 7406130

When music becomes perfect it does not drop; you become music itself. Your every gesture, your eyes, your hands, your feet, your whole being starts throbbing into a music which is in tune with the universal music. Don't be worried about it.

London fog was swirling over the river Thames as a young tramp settled himself for a night on the embankment. Suddenly he was awakened by the sound of a beautiful woman alighting from her Rolls Royce. "You poor man," she said, "you must be terribly cold and wet. Let me drive you to my home and put you up for the night."

Of course the tramp climbed into the car beside her. After a short drive they came to her mansion. The door was opened by the butler whom she instructed to give the tramp a meal, a hot bath and a comfortable bed in the servant's quarters.

Some while later the woman slipped on her negligee and hurried along to the servants' wing. Knocking on the door she entered the room and seeing that the light was on, asked the young man why he was not sleeping.

"Surely you are not hungry?" she asked innocently.

"No, your butler fed me royally," he answered.

"Then perhaps your bed is not comfortable?" she continued.

"But it is," he said, "it is soft and warm."

"Then you must need company," she said. "Move over a little."

The young man was overjoyed. He moved over and fell in the river Thames.

So don't be worried. All that is dream will drop. All that is real will remain.

Satyam Shivam Sundram, Chapter #22, Archive code: 8711175

Expressing the Inexpressible


Can you please talk about music?

Music is the only language that comes very close to silence, the only sound which is able to create the soundless. It has to be understood that music has no meaning. It is sheer joy, celebration. It is the only art that can somehow impart the inexpressible.

The ancientmost tradition of music is that it was born out of meditation. The people who meditated could not find any way to impart their experiences. They invented different instruments so that something can be said without creating a meaning in you but certainly a joy, a dance.

It must have been a tremendously valuable revelation for those who in the beginning discovered a language which is not a language. Sounds in themselves have no meaning. Meaning is man's imposition on sounds. Sounds are natural. The wind blowing through the pine trees has a sound and a music of its own. Or a river, descending from the mountain through the rocks, has its own sound and its own music.

It is my assumption that meditators, listening to the inner silence, must have felt the tremendous difficulty of how to share it. It was in those beginning days that music was discovered. The discovery is simple: take away the meaning from the sounds and instead of meaning, give the sounds harmony, a rhythm which penetrates to the very heart. It says nothing, but it says the unsayable too.

There are two possibilities, either meditators found music, or musicians found meditation. But they are so immensely and deeply connected with each other... my own experience is that because meditation is a far higher, far deeper experience, music must have been found by the meditators -- as a language to bring something from their inner dance, inner silence, to the people they loved.

The ancient music in the East needs not only the training for the musician, it needs immense training for the listener. Everybody cannot understand the ancient classical music. You have to be capable of falling in tune with the harmony. In a certain way you have to disappear and let only the music remain.

It has been the experience of all great musicians, dancers, painters, sculptors, that while they are deepest in their creativity, they are no more. Their very creativity gives them the taste of disappearing into the universal. That becomes their first acquaintance with meditation. So both are possibilities: either music has led people to the point of meditation, or meditation has tried to find a means to express the inexpressible. But in any case, music is the highest creation that man is capable of.

Meditation happens. Music is your creativity.

But we have lost contact with the authentic music. And slowly slowly, as humanity has become less and less interested in the inner world, its music has become lower and lower. The contemporary music is absolutely the lowest that has ever existed. It touches you, but it touches you at your lowest center of sexuality. The contemporary music is sexual, and the classical music was spiritual. I would like my people to create music on the path of meditation -- or create music if you have found meditation, as a language to express the silence of it. Many mystics have done that.

The mystic Nanak always was accompanied by a musician, his disciple Mardana. Before he would speak, he would tell Mardana to play on his veena and create the atmosphere for him to speak. And as he would stop speaking, he would again ask Mardana to create music as beautiful as possible..."So that these people who have come to listen to me understand perfectly well that words are impotent. The beginning is music and the end is the music. I have to use words, because you are not aware that there are higher ways of communicating."

Mardana followed Nanak... and Nanak is a mystic who stands aloof in a way, because he traveled the most. He traveled all over India; he went to Ceylon. And finally, he traveled to Afghanistan, to Saudi Arabia, and reached the holy place of the Mohammedans, Kaaba.

It was evening time when he arrived. His fame, his name, had already reached ahead of him. But the people, the priests of Kaaba, could not believe that a mystic of the quality of Nanak, as they have heard about him, should behave in this way. The night was falling and he prepared his bed and told Mardana to make arrangements for sleeping. And they both kept their legs towards the Kaaba! That was absolutely insulting to the Mohammedans. They are so touchy about it that even the graves of all the Mohammedans in the world are made in such a way that their heads in the grave are pointing towards Kaaba. They don't allow even the dead people any freedom.

Certainly they were offended. And they told Nanak, "You are not a mystic and you don't know even how to behave in a gentlemanly way. You are insulting us."

Nanak said, "Don't be annoyed with me. I have my own troubles. My trouble is, wherever I keep my feet they are always pointing towards the divine. Because except the divine, nothing else exists. I have not knowingly done it, but if you feel offended, you can move my legs in any direction you want."

And the story is so tremendously beautiful: As Nanak's legs were moved in all directions, the priest became puzzled -- the Kaaba started moving in the same direction where Nanak's feet were moved! Perhaps that is a parable. Kaaba is only a stone, and stones are not supposed to be so sensitive. But one thing it indicates clearly -- that the whole existence is full, throbbing with only one music, one dance, one godliness.

So if you can feel in my words the sound of silence, my purpose is fulfilled. Because my words are not being used in the same way they have been used by everybody. I am using words just as instruments of music. I am not a musician, but I can create the same situation with words and the silences in between. Those who cling to my words, miss me. Because they start interpreting. They start finding contradictions, they start an agreement or disagreement, but certainly a process of judgment starts in their being. That was not my purpose. My purpose was to start a silence, a music, a fragrance in you.

You have to change the gestalt. From words -- which is the ordinary way humanity has used words forever, and nobody has insisted on changing the gestalt -- listen to the silences. Read between the lines and you will find a tremendous explosion of silence, music, celebration. And flowers go on growing in your being.

Alvin Pimpleburger turns sixteen years old, so his proud father gives him twenty dollars and sends him off to the local whorehouse.

On his way into town, Alvin passes his grandmother's house and she calls him in. He explains where he is going, and his granny insists that he saves the twenty dollars and makes love to her instead.

Alvin returns home with a big smile on his face. "How was it?" his father asks.

"Great!" replies Alvin. "And I saved the twenty bucks."

"How did you do that?" asks his father.

"I did it with granny," Alvin explains.

"Do you mean to say," screams his father, "that you fucked my mother?"

"And why not?" replies Alvin. "You have been fucking mine!"

Just be silent and you will discover an immense laughter that is going on all around the earth. Trees are laughing, birds are laughing. Except man, there seems to be nobody who is sad. This sadness is because of your clinging to the words.

Let your life be a life of a dancing and laughing silence, and you have entered into the only authentic temple of godliness.

Om Mani Padme Hum, Chapter #22, Archive code: 8801010


Would you please explain your statement of how music can be next to silence?

Music is certainly next to silence.

There is a certain thing to be understood: Music does not consist, in the first place, of words, language. It consists of pure sounds, and it consists of pure sounds only to those who don't know anything beyond sound. Those who know silence -- for them, the whole gestalt changes.

You see my five fingers, but somebody can see the five gaps between my fingers. Ordinarily you will not see the gaps, you will see five fingers. But the gaps are more real: fingers may come and go, gaps will remain.

Between sounds of music there are gaps of silence. The authentic music consists not of sounds, but of the gaps. Sounds come and go; those gaps remain. And music can make you aware of those gaps more beautifully than anything else; hence I have to say that music comes next to silence. But it is possible even the musician may not be aware of it, unless his music is his meditation too. Then, soon, the shift from sounds to silence.

The ancient Chinese story is that whenever a musician becomes perfect, he throws away his instruments; whenever a swordsman becomes perfect, he throws away his sword.

It is a very strange saying and goes back almost five thousand years, because it has been quoted by Lao Tzu as an ancient saying. What does it mean? Chuang Tzu was asked, "This seems to be a very strange kind of proverb. When the musician becomes perfect we should have thought that he would have purchased perfect musical instruments, and the saying says he throws away his instruments."

Chuang Tzu told a very beautiful story to explain it. There are things which cannot be explained without beautiful stories, because stories give you enough space and freedom, enough gaps for you to fill with your own being. Prose is too tight and too mundane, so either poetry has to be used or a story has to be used. These stories are such that even a small child may be able to understand, or even an old man may not be able to understand; the question is whether he gets the undercurrent of the story. The story is:

A man reached to the emperor of China and said, "I am the greatest master of the art of arrows, targets, archery, and I have come to ask you to declare in the whole empire that if anybody wants to compete with me, he should come forward; otherwise give time, and if nobody comes, then declare me the champion archer of your empire."

The king knew that man. He never missed a target. As far as human understanding is concerned, he was perfect. What more can you expect? One hundred percent success -- success cannot be more than that. The king said, "I know about you. And I know that there is nobody who can compete with you."

When he was saying this, the servant of the king, who had raised him from his childhood... he was not just a servant but almost a father to him. The emperor's father had died, and he had given the responsibility to his servant to take care of the child till he is of age, and see that no trouble arises and that he succeeds to the throne. So the emperor respected the servant as much as perhaps he would have respected his own father. The servant had done immense service to him; he had taken care of the whole empire till he was of age.

The servant said, "Before you say anything to this man, I would like to interrupt. First listen to me. I know a man far in the hills who is really the champion. Compared to him, this man is just a child. He is a giant!"

The king said, "How do you know he is a giant?"

And the servant said, "He is so perfect in archery that he has thrown away his arrows, his bow -- and you know the ancient proverb.... Send this man to that old man in the hills."

The archer could not believe it. What kind of perfection is this, when you throw away your arrows and your bow? But the emperor said, "You will have to go. I cannot deny anything to the man you have seen. Although he is my servant, deep down in my heart he is as great as my father. So you will have to go to that man, and if he recommends it, you will be declared the champion."

The man had to go, although feeling a little weird and awkward: What kind of a stupid thing...? The hills were great and very steep and it was a long journey, but he managed. Slowly, slowly he also became interested -- what kind of perfection...? He reached finally to a small cave. He met an old man and asked him, "Are you the famous archer?"

He said, "Archery? I remember, I have heard the word. It must be fifty years ago."

The archer said, "How old are you?"

The old man said, "I am not capable of saying, because here there is no calendar, one does not know how time passes, but maybe one hundred and twenty, or one hundred and thirty."

The man said, "I am the greatest archer in the empire and by a stupid servant's advice the emperor has sent me to you. Unless you give me a certificate, I cannot be accepted as the champion."

The old man said, "Champion? -- so you have been learning archery to be a champion? Then you don't love archery -- it is motivated, it is goal-oriented. You can never be perfect because you are not directly related to archery. Archery is only a means; the end is championhood. But don't be worried. You will have to pass just a little test, and I will give you the certificate -- although as long as I am alive, remember that you are just a so-called champion. But because I am not a competitor, you can enjoy being the champion. Just come out with me."

The old man was so old... his back was bent, he had become hunch-backed. He took the young man, who was in the prime of his youth, to a cliff. The rock of the cliff, a small rock, hung high over a valley, thousands of feet below. And the old man went on that small rock -- just a little missed step and nobody would be able to find you, not even your pieces could be gathered. He went to the very end of the cliff and stood with his feet on the edge of the cliff, just on his toes. He was standing there unwavering, as if he was standing on solid ground, and he said to the young man, "Come."

The young man took the first step and started trembling. "My god, what kind of test is this? and what has it to do with archery?" But he has to do it because the championship is in his hands. After the first step he fell down on the cliff, holding the cliff and saying, "Please forgive me, I cannot come that far. And I cannot stand with half my feet over the edge and just my toes on the rock. And I can see -- I have never seen such a deep valley. It must be the very hell! Forgive me...."

The old man said, "Then what kind of archer are you? The real archery is not to hit the target; the real archery is that you should be unwavering. Your unwavering is the real qualification of being an archer. Then your target cannot be missed."

The old man came back, helped the young man to stand up -- he was perspiring, trembling, almost half dead -- and the old man said, "Why are you carrying this bow and these arrows? A perfect archer throws them away."

The young man said, "Again the same thing! I don't understand why a perfect archer should throw them away."

The old man said, "Look!" And he pointed towards the sky, where seven cranes were flying. The old man simply looked at those seven cranes, and they all fell on the ground. He said, "If you are absolutely stable, absolutely unmovable, you become such a magnet that your eyes are enough; no arrows are needed. How many cranes could you have brought to the earth?"

The young man said, "Of course by one arrow, one. And by that time the others would have gone far away."

The old man said, "You are just a learner. You have not even found a master who can initiate you. So my suggestion is, go back, and unless and until you have forgotten what archery is... I will send my son to check you and if he can certify you, you can go to the emperor."

He said, "Strange, I have got into such a mess! With great effort I have learnt archery -- but certainly I am not that kind of archer whose eyes become arrows, whose absolute immobility becomes a magnet." But he touched the feet of the old man. He was certainly unique. He knew he was no comparison to him.

He went back. The man had said, "Try to remain unmoving..." That's a way of meditation: no movement of thoughts... utter stillness.

After twelve years the old man's son came. He said, "My father is dead, but he has left this message with me. I waited for twelve years before I came, because to be perfect in anything is not easy." And then he suddenly said, "What is that thing that is hanging on your wall?" It was his bow.

He said, "I somehow remember, it was something known to me. But these twelve years, just meditating, just remaining unmoving... You have to forgive me, I have forgotten what it is."

The young man said, "That's enough! This is the certificate the old man has left for you. Now you can go to the emperor and be the champion."

But he said, "Now who wants to be the champion?" He tore up the certificate and threw it away.

Chuang Tzu has told many beautiful stories unparalleled in the whole world, stories not without great spiritual significance.

When a musician starts shifting his attention from sounds to silence, his music becomes almost perfect; when he starts listening only to the silence and forgets all about sounds, his music is perfect. And to show the perfection he throws away his instruments; they are a kind of disturbance... the most beautiful disturbance in silence -- but a disturbance is a disturbance.

A violinist was convinced he could use his art in music to tame wild animals. So, violin in hand, he traveled to the heart of the African jungle to prove it. He had no sooner begun to play than the jungle clearing was filled with animals of all kinds. Birds, lions, hippos, elephants all stood round, entranced by his beautiful music.

Just then a crocodile crawled out of the nearby river and into the clearing and -- snap! -- gobbled up the violinist. The other animals were extremely angry. "You idiot! What on earth did you do that for?" they demanded. "We were enjoying that."

The crocodile put his hand on his ear and said, "What?"

Music can be understood only by those who have a musical ear. And those who have a musical ear should think themselves fortunate because beyond music, just one step more, they enter the world of meditation, silence.

Silence is the ultimate music.

The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here, Chapter #18, Archive code: 8709150

A Meditation:

Shiva says: While listening to stringed instruments, hear their composite central sound; thus omnipresence.

You are hearing an instrument -- a sitar, or anything. Many notes are there. Be alert and listen to the central core, the backbone of it around which all the notes are flowing, the deepest current which holds all the notes together -- that which is central, just like your backbone. The whole body is held by the backbone. Listening to the music, be alert, penetrate the music, and find the backbone of it -- the central thing which goes on flowing, holding everything together. Notes come and go and disappear, but the central core flows on. Become aware of it.

What are you doing when you listen to music? You are not meditating. On the contrary, you are using music as something like alcohol. You are using it to be relaxed, you are using it for self-forgetfulness. This is the misfortune, the misery: the techniques which were developed for awareness are being used for sleep.

With the music, finding the composite central core, you will become awake, and with that awakening you will be everywhere.

Right now, you are somewhere -- a point which we call the ego. If you can become awake, this point will disappear. You will not be anywhere then, you will be everywhere -- as if you have become the all. You will have become the ocean, you will have become the infinite.

The finiteness is with the mind. The infiniteness enters with meditation.

Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, Chapter #27, Archive code: 7301245


Please tell us about the remarkable people you have met in your travels.

It is strange that a majority of the people whom I met and can describe as remarkable were musicians. It cannot be accidental. Music has some similarity with meditation.

While playing any instrument there are two possibilities. One can be lost completely -- only the music remains -- then the person will be a great musician, unique but not enlightened. The other possibility is -- which is a little difficult as far as music is concerned and perhaps was the reason they were lingering just on the borderline -- the other possibility is to be total in music and yet remain aware.

In any other activity you can be total and aware. In music, dance, it is different. When you are total in it the experience is so beautiful, so exhilarating, you forget completely to be aware. The experience is so valuable that you would like it to remain forever, enveloping you. But the need for enlightenment is that even in this tremendously beautiful experience you can stand aloof.

It is easy when you are suffering to stand aloof, to be aware. It is easy when you are miserable to be aware, because who wants to be miserable? Who wants to be in suffering? The experience of suffering, anguish, misery, itself helps you to get out of it. But the experience of music, the experience of dance, the experience of a great painter, sculptor -- any creative activity that absorbs you and needs you to be total in it, does not leave even a small part out of it, is the most difficult. The experience is so fulfilling that it is impossible to conceive what is missing.

One of the musicians asked me, "Can you help me to figure out what can be the missing thing? -- because I don't see that anything is missing: I am totally in it."

And he was surprised when I said to him, "That's what the problem is: you have to do a very contradictory act simultaneously -- be total in your music and yet a watcher too."

He said, "It is difficult."

"I know it is difficult," I said, "but there is no other way. It is not impossible. Just because your experience is so juicy, you don't want to get away from it. Your whole being is drowned in it and you don't want to get out of it. But you don't know that if you can get out of it, you are not going to be a loser. Far more blissfulness, far greater benediction, is waiting for you.

"You just give it a try. You have nothing to lose. If you feel that you are losing something, come back to your old involvement with the music and live your life joyfully. There is no hurry, either. You have come very close; some day in some life you may take the step."

He asked, "How in this life, or in another life, can I take the step? I cannot conceive the possibility."

I said, "You do not understand one thing: howsoever beautiful is the experience, howsoever wonderful, you will get bored with it one day. Maybe it takes a few lives for you to get bored, but because it is the same experience, sooner or later boredom is going to come in, and that will be the time that you will become aware. But that is for the unintelligent man -- to wait for boredom. The intelligent man can do it now."

And he managed... He was the teacher of Ravi Shankar and also Ravi Shankar's father-in-law. He was an old man; he lived beyond one hundred and ten. But the day he managed it, he died. He died with his sitar in his hands. But you could see on his face the marks, the footprints: the Buddha had just walked on the wet sand. At the age of one hundred and ten he was looking so silent, so peaceful, so young.

He was a remarkable man in many other ways too. I was afraid that this was going to happen: if he tries, he is so old, so fragile, that he may not be able to keep his body and his soul together. The sudden lightning experience will become the death of the body, the separation from the body. And that's what happened.

I have seen many musicians but none was of his quality. He could use anything as an instrument -- just iron rods and he would start playing with those rods. And you would be amazed that he could create such beauty out of those iron rods which can only create noise and nothing else.

This old man could not live as an enlightened man, but he could die as an enlightened man. The other musicians I have known have not dared to be aware while they are completely absorbed in music. I can understand their problem: it is really so absorbing that they forget that they have to keep watchfulness.

Secondly, when they became aware that one man has tried my method and has died, a great fear arose in their minds because they cannot understand that death coming through enlightenment is not a death: it is a door to the divine. But to everybody looking from the outside it is a death.

Once your watchfulness becomes grounded... For example, watch a tree, watch the ocean, watch things with which you don't have any emotional attachment. Watch the people walking on the street, cars moving. Just watch. Just a training in watchfulness.

So first get grounded in your watchfulness and then try it on small things. Eating, be watchful. Taking a shower, be watchful. Small things which don't mean anything... putting your dress on, be watchful. It is simply to consolidate more and more your watchfulness, so that when you watch something with which you are emotionally concerned your watchfulness is strong enough to cut through all emotional investment.

And if your watchfulness becomes really strong, then it may be music, it may be dance, it may be love -- it makes no difference: it simply cuts like a sharp sword between you and the object, whatever it is.

The artists are the closest to enlightenment -- the aesthetic experience is just on the border -- and the so-called religious people are the farthest away from enlightenment. I have never heard of any religious person becoming enlightened.

And watchfulness is the magic: it makes everything from your mind disappear and leaves you in utter silence, stillness. From that stillness arises the feel of your being and the being of the whole universe.

The Path of the Mystic, Chapter #43, Archive code:8605255

Sounds of Silence


In the Bible I have found so many places to argue against. From the very beginning, it does not appeal to me. The Bible says, "In the beginning there was the word, the word was with God and the word was God." I absolutely disagree with this stupid beginning. How can there be a word in the beginning? Because "word" means a sound with meaning, and meaning can be given only by someone else. The sound itself is meaningless. It would have been better if they had said, "In the beginning there was sound." But even that would not have been the perfect beginning, because even for sound to exist you need some ears. Without the ears, there are no sounds. The best and the most perfect would have been, "In the beginning there was silence." From that statement in the Bible it already starts in a wrong direction and goes on moving into that wrong direction. Silence is the greatest spiritual experience.

And the universe consists only of silence. Silence can become expressive as sound if there is someone to listen to it, and the sound can become meaningful if someone is there to give meaning to it. But silence is absolutely and utterly pure, untouched by human hands. Its purity is its godliness.

Its purity is what every meditator comes to know. Every meditator stands in the beginning of existence. It is not a question of time. Each moment can be transformed into the beginning of existence, if you can fall into silence. And silence does not divide people because it is not an ideology, it is an experience.

Om Mani Padme Hum, Chapter #22, Archive code: 8801010

Someone was asking Mozart, "Which music do you like most?" And Mozart is reported to have replied, "No-music, sir. No-music I like most."

Difficult to understand, difficult to penetrate, but very significant. The reply is just unique, unexpected -- and from a musician. He says, "No-music is the best." Have you ever heard the music which Mozart calls "no-music"? You have heard sounds. And if sounds can be put in a system, in a rhythm, it becomes music. Music means rhythmic sounds, but sounds. If they are unrhythmic it becomes noise; if they are rhythmic it becomes music. But what is "no-music"? No-music means no sounds, silence.

Silence has a music of its own, but you cannot hear it as you are.

You are filled with words, so you can understand sounds. You are filled with noise; that's why music has so much appeal. You are so filled with noise, crowdy noise, mad noise, that when someone creates music outside you forget your noise inside. You are magnetized by the music outside. You forget yourself, you become concentrated on the music outside; that's why music is loved so much. Music is a hypnosis created by sounds, rhythms, technique. Unless your inner noise ceases; unless your constant inner talk, chattering, ceases; you cannot hear no-music.

The Upanishad is concerned with no-music. No-music means meditation, the state of mind when there is no noise within. Then suddenly you become aware of a silence without. When you are silent the whole universe becomes suddenly silent.

When the whole universe is suddenly silent, for the first time you are authentically existent. For the first time you have being. For the first time you know who you are.

No-music is meditation. No noise inside creates the possibility, the situation in which you can hear the soundless silence -- which is everywhere. Just here and now it is there, but you are chattering inside; you cannot hear it. You are too engaged, too occupied; it cannot penetrate you.

Become silent, and silence begins to penetrate you. And when your silence and the silence of the universe meet, you have encountered God; you have come face to face. This is what is meant by "immediate brahman," immediate experience of the divine -- when your silence meets the silence of the universe. When these two silences meet they become one, because two silences cannot be two. Remember this: Two noises are two; two silences cannot be two, because there is nothing in between them which can become a wall, which can become a division. Two silences immediately become one. They cannot remain two, because where is the point which can divide them? So when your inner silence meets the silence of the universe, you are no more, neither is the universe. A new oneness... you explode into a new oneness.

That Art Thou, Chapter #35, Archive code: 7210135


Why should silence be threatening?

Silence is great death, the greatest that one can pass through. The ordinary death is nothing compared to it, because in the ordinary death you still carry the seed of being reborn. The ordinary death is not real death. One dies really in silence -- that is utter death. Hence the fear. Zen calls it 'The Great Death'.

Why call it death? -- because when you are silent, you are not. You are only when you are noisy; you are only when the mind is full of garbage; you are only when mind is mad. In madness you are: in health you disappear.

Neurosis is very substantially needed for the ego to exist. Once the neurosis is gone, the chattering mind disappeared, you are not. Not that nothing is; something is, but you cannot identify yourself with that something. Something unknown, never known before, never even dreamed about, something utterly unfamiliar, something very disconnected from you, discontinuous with you -- hence the fear. In silence you commit suicide.

In India we have the same word for death and for ultimate meditation -- samadhi. Samadhi has two meanings: death and the ultimate attainment of super-consciousness. Very significant, indicates two aspects of that ultimate silence. On one hand you die -- as you have always been you will never be again. That old man simply evaporates.It is not modified, it is not continuous in any way. It has nothing to do with the new consciousness that arises in you. The new is absolutely new.

So on one hand you die, on the other hand a new kind of life, the life of egolessness, starts. That is not the life of humility, remember. Egolessness has nothing to do with humility or humbleness. Humbleness, humility, are again the ways of the same ego, subtle ways. A really egoless man is neither arrogant nor humble. If you find somebody humble, then he is just standing upside down; it is the same ego doing shirshasan -- headstand.

Arrogance can become humbleness. But when the ego disappears, it simply disappears leaving no trace behind -- not even of humbleness. Hence the fear. One trembles to take the jump. It is committing suicide.

You ask: “Why should silence be threatening?”

One: it is a death. Second: all that you know about your mind, all that you know about yourself, all that you are identified with, has been given to you by the society. It is borrowed. Your identity is borrowed. You don't know who you are; you only know what others say that you are. In silence, all those opinions will disappear. In silence you will come naked, without any clothes, to your utter loneliness. I call it utter because there is no why to change it. You can go on playing games of being together with people, but deep down you remain alone. Aloneness is something which cannot be corrupted, it is our very nature.

You can create many illusions around yourself, and you can create safeties and securities, bank balance and love affairs and friendships and families -- I'm not against them. All is good if you know that it is a game. Play it as well as you can, but never be befooled by it. Underneath you remain alone. That aloneness is not changed by your relationships -- not even love changes your aloneness.

So when you are silent, your whole world disappears. Not only do you disappear, your whole world disappears. Your whole world consists of words, opinions, ideas, thoughts. Your whole world consists of language.

Christians are right when they say, "In the beginning is the Word." In the end, too, is the word. The day the word ends, you have entered again into the source. Language is social; mind is a social product. You are not social: you are individual. And all our security is with society. So the moment you are silent, you start feeling great insecurity arising. You don't know even who you are; you start trembling -- a great nervousness.

In Zen they call it 'The Great Doubt'. It comes to everybody when they reach closer to satori: a great moment of doubt -- because the old is disappearing and the new you cannot even see. All that you have believed in is no more valid, and nothing is yet clear as to what is going to substitute it. You are left in limbo. In that trembling, anguish, anxiety, great doubt, you would like to go back; you would like to cling to the shore that you have left.

But there is no way to go back! Once you have come to the moment of Great Doubt, there is no way to go back. You can only go ahead. Remember this basic dictum of human growth. growth of consciousness: that there is no way ever to go back. Whatsoever you have known, you have known as there is no way to make it unknown again. Wherever you have arrived you have arrived; you cannot escape from it. The only way goes ahead.

All growth points are points of no return. So you can be troubled, you can remain in anguish, you can go crazy, but there is no way to go back. The Master is needed at the moment of the Great Doubt, because there you will be very helpless. You will become again like a small child, helpless.

The child was perfectly okay in the womb, there was no problem for the child. The child was absolutely secure, comfortable. Never again in his life will he be so secure and so comfortable. Those nine months in the womb were the last thing in luxury -- no worry, no responsibility; all warmth, floating, relaxing; not even the effort to breathe for oneself -- the mother was doing all. Then suddenly the child comes out of the womb after nine months. He is absolutely helpless. He will need a mother. He would like to go back to the womb, but that's not possible; that is not possible in the very nature of things. You have left that home, you cannot go back. You will have to seek your home somewhere further ahead. You will have to create a home and warmth and everything again. The mother will be needed, otherwise the human child will die.

Exactly that is the function of the Master; exactly, precisely that is the function of the Master. When you come to the Great Doubt, you are leaving one womb -- the womb that you had created with society, with people, in relationship, you are leaving that womb. You are entering into silence. You are getting into another dimension: the non-linguistic, the non-verbal, the no-mind dimension. You will again become like a child, very helpless -- even more so, because the child's helplessness was more physical and your helpless will be more of the spiritual. It will be deeper -- the deepest possible.

You will need somebody to give you courage, to push you ahead, to seduce you to move forward, to allure you, to promise you a thousand and one things....

Once you have passed the moment of Great Doubt, the silence is no longer threatening; then it is the very benediction. then it is satchitananda -- then it is truth, consciousness, bliss. There is nothing higher than it. But before it, before the last barrier falls down, before you leave your clinging to the past, you will feel almost as if uprooted, as if a tree is being uprooted from its soil where it has become very, very comfortable -- a child is being uprooted from the womb. Exactly the same is going to happen... hence, you feel silence as threatening.

But one has to go through it. It is only through the fire of silence that you become purified gold. It is only through the fire of silence that mind burns and no-mind becomes a flame in you. It is a blessing if you understand. On one hand it is a crucifixion, on the other hand it is a resurrection.

Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 3, Chapter #8, Archive code: 7707080


Would you like to say something about the famous tibetan mantra, "om mani padme hum"?

The only country in the world which has devoted all its genius to the inner exploration is Tibet. Its findings are of tremendous value. “Om mani padme hum” is one of the most beautiful expressions for the ultimate experience. Its meaning is "the sound of silence, the diamond in the lotus."

Silence also has its sound, its music. The outer ears cannot hear it. Just as these six senses are used to experience the outer, exactly the same six senses exist to experience the inner -- to see it, to hear it, to feel its utter balance, its beauty. It is invisible to the outer eyes but not to the inner. You cannot touch it with your outer senses, but the inner senses are absolutely immersed in it.

OM is the sound when everything else disappears from your being -- no thought, no dream, no projections, no expectations, not even a single ripple -- your whole lake of consciousness is simply silent; it has become just a mirror. In those rare moments you hear the sound of silence. It is the most valuable experience because it not only shows a quality of the inner music -- it also shows that the inner is full of harmony, joy, blissfulness. All that is implied in the music of OM.

You are not to say it. If you say it you will miss the real thing. You have to hear it, you have to be utterly calm and quiet and suddenly it is all around you, a very subtle dance. And the moment you are able to hear it, you have entered into the very secrets of existence. You have become so subtle that now you deserve that all the mysteries be exposed to you. Existence waits till you are ready.

In the East all the religions without exception agree on this point, that the sound which is heard in the final, highest peak of silence is something similar to OM.

All music, particularly the classical music, has been trying to catch the sound of silence so that even people who have not entered into their beings can experience something similar. But the similar is not the same, it is a very faraway echo. Even the greatest musician has to use sounds, but howsoever beautifully he arranges them, he cannot be absolutely silent. He gives gaps of silence in between; the whole play is between sound and silence. Those who don't understand hear the sounds, and those who understand hear the silence, the gaps between two sounds.

The real music is in the gaps. It is not created by the musician -- the musician is creating the sounds and leaving the gaps as a contrast, so that you can experience something of what happens to the mystic in his inner world.

OM is one of the great achievements of the seekers of truth. There have been cases which are absolutely unbelievable, but they are historical....

When Marpa, a Tibetan mystic, died, his closest disciples were sitting all around him ... because the death of a mystic is as tremendously valuable as his life, perhaps more. If you can be close to the mystic when he is dying, you can experience many things, because his whole consciousness is leaving the body -- and if you are alert and conscious, you can feel a new fragrance; you can see a new light, you can hear a new music.

When Marpa died he was living in a temple. And all his disciples became suddenly surprised -- they looked all around -- from where is the sound of OM coming? Then finally they realized that it was not coming from anywhere -- it was coming from Marpa! They heard it by putting their ears to his feet, to his hands, and they could not believe it -- inside his whole body there was a vibration creating the sound of OM. He had been hearing that sound for his whole life since he became enlightened. Because of his constant inner experience of the sound, the sound had entered even into his physical cells. Every fiber of his body had learned a certain synchronicity, the same wavelength.

This has been experienced with other mystics also. The inner starts radiating, particularly at the moment of death when everything comes to a crescendo. But man is so blind and so utterly unintelligent: knowing that the mystics experience the music of silence within them and they name it OM, people started repeating OM as a mantra, thinking that by repeating it they will also be able to hear it.

By repeating it you will never be able to hear it. Your mind is functioning when you are repeating it. But perhaps I am the first person to tell it to you; otherwise for centuries people have been teaching: Repeat OM. That creates a false experience, and you can be lost in the false and you will never discover the real.

Mystics say the whole existence is made up of the soundless sound OM. And even electricity or fire are nothing but a certain condensed form of the sound.

In the East it has been known: there have been musicians who could create by their music a flame on an unlit candle. As the music falls over the unlit candle suddenly the flame arises. It was a test in the ancient days, that unless a musician could create light, fire, flame, with his music he was still amateur. He was not recognized as a master.

This mantra has many secrets in it. The first wordless word is OM, and the last is HUM. The first is the flowering and the last is the seed.

The Sufis don't use the whole name of Allah -- that is the Mohammedan name for God. They use allah hoo, and slowly, slowly they change allah hoo into simply hoo, hoo. They have found that the sound of hoo strikes exactly at the life source just below the navel. You were connected with your life, with your mother, from the navel. Just below the navel is the source of your own life.

Just try: when you say hoo the hit is below the navel. That's what we are using in our Dynamic Meditation. It is a Sufi discovery, but it can also be done in the Tibetan way. Rather than hoo -- hoo seems to be a little harsh -- hum seems to be a little softer. But the softer will take a longer time to wake up your energies. It is possible that in the particular climate of Tibet, the softer was perfectly good. They did not need such a harsh sound in order to hit the life source. But in the harsh desert of Arabia where Sufi mystics started using hoo....

Hum is the hit to create OM in you. If you hit the seed of your life it starts disappearing in the soil and green leaves, sprouts start growing. Between the two -- OM and hum -- is mani padme. I don't think anybody has been able to express the ultimate experience, the ultimate beatitude, better than mani padme. You have to visualize it. The lotus flower in the East is the most beautiful, the biggest flower. And if you put diamonds on the lotus flower in the early morning sun, you will have a tremendously beautiful experience... the lotus flower with diamonds.

It is very difficult to say anything about the ultimate experience, but Tibetan mystics have tried the best. Many things have been said about it, but "diamond in the lotus" seems to be the best expression -- because it is the greatest, most beautiful experience, and they have chosen two of the most beautiful things of the ordinary world, the lotus and the diamond. It is just a visual expression of the beauty that you come to see within yourself.

This mantra om mani padme hum has a whole philosophy within it. Start with hum, the last word, and the first will arise on its own accord. And when your inner being is filled with the sound of silence, you will also have the beautiful experience of seeing a lotus with a diamond in the early morning sun. The diamond is radiating. The lotus is so soft, so feminine, so delicate -- it has no comparison in any other flower.

It became so important to the mystics... you must have seen Gautam Buddha's statues sitting on a lotus. They are showing symbolically that he has reached the ultimate; his own inner lotus has flowered. And not only the lotus has flowered, the diamond hidden behind it, inside it... as it opens its petals, you find a Kohinoor. The diamond has a quality -- that's why it has been chosen. It is symbolic of eternity. The diamond is for ever, it knows no death; it is immortal. The experience is beautiful and eternal.

The word mantra is untranslatable in English, in any Western language, but its meaning, its significance, can be explained to you. A mantra is not just something to chant. It is not chanting. A mantra is something to let sink deep in your being, just as roots go deep into the earth. The deeper the roots go into the earth, the higher the tree will go into the sky. A mantra is something like a seed to be allowed to go deep into your being so that it can send its roots to the sources of your life and finally to the universal life. Then its branches, its foliage will go high into the sky, and when the right time comes, when the spring comes, it will be filled with thousands of flowers.

Unless a tree blossoms, it knows no blissfulness. It goes on feeling something is missing. You may have all the pleasures and comforts and luxuries of the world, but unless you know yourself, unless your inner lotus opens, you will go on missing something. You may not be certain what you are missing but a feeling... that something is being missed, that "I am not complete," that "I am not whole," that "I am not what existence wanted me to be." This "missing" feeling goes on nagging everybody. Only the expansion of your consciousness will help you to get rid of this feeling, of this nagging, of this anguish, this angst.

Unless you disappear into the universal ocean just like a dewdrop, you will not find significance. You will not find your real dignity. You will not find that existence showers so much joy and so much celebration on you that you cannot contain it; you have to share it. You become a raincloud which is so much burdened with rain that it has to shower. A man of deep insight, a man of intuition, a man who has reached to his being becomes a raincloud. He is not just a blessing to himself, he becomes a blessing to the whole world.

This Tibetan mantra om mani padme hum is a condensed form of the whole inner pilgrimage. It says how to start, what will happen when the flower opens, what will be your ultimate experience of your inner treasures.

Have you ever thought that when you receive a long letter... the longer the letter, the less is the meaning. But when you receive a telegram, naturally... just eight or ten words, but the meaning is immense and the impact is immense.

These are telegrams. They can easily be remembered, they can be passed from one generation to another generation without any fear that they will be distorted.

You have not to repeat the mantra, you have to understand its meaning and let that meaning sink into you. Sitting silently, be utterly quiet, unmoving. Watch your mind. A few thoughts will be there, but as you become silent those thoughts will disappear, and suddenly you hear a humming sound all around you.

That humming sound is not made by you. It is at the very center of existence. It is the sound of the skies. It is the sound of space. It is the sound of the universe; it is its indication of aliveness. It is vibrating with dance and music.

This OM is perhaps the greatest symbol in the whole world.

Om Mani Padme Hum, Chapter #1, Archive code: 8712070

Part VIII:

Beyond Words

From the Head to the Heart



I belong to the intelligentsia; I believe in intellect and reason. Is there a way out for me?

It is going to be difficult. The intellect has no why out; the intellect is a cul-de-sac. The intellect moves in a vicious circle. It creates its own world of concepts, words, theories, and lives there. There is no way out from the head. The way out is from the heart, because the heart opens -- so the way out is possible. Intellect lives in a closed way. Intellect has no doors to go out from; it is a closed existence, encapsuled.

But the intellect has been praised down the centuries because intellect is very useful. The intellect is capable of exploitation. The intellect is capable of domination. The intellect is capable of cheating nature, of oppression. The intellect is very, very useful as far as the world of things is concerned. So man has cultivated his intellect and has denied his heart, because the heart is dangerous. You cannot exploit if you are a heart man. You cannot use somebody's life as a means if you are heart-oriented. The other becomes an end unto himself. You cannot become a politician and you cannot become a scientist. The politician exploits other human beings, and the scientist exploits nature. Both are destructive. The politician has destroyed humanity, and the scientist has destroyed nature.

The heart-oriented man can become a poet, but of what use is a poet? Of what use is poetry? A heart-oriented man can become a musician, but of what use is music? A heart-oriented person can become a lover, but the world does not need lovers. It needs soldiers; it needs people to kill and to be killed. It needs butchers. It needs mad people. It does not need sane people, who love, who live -- who live peacefully and who help others to live peacefully. The world does not believe in rose flowers. It believes in swords, in rifles in atom bombs.

Intellect has been very destructive. I am not saying that intellect has to be dropped completely. That will be foolish. Intellect has to be used -- but not as a master, rather as a slave. The mind is very beautiful as a slave, but it is a very lousy master. Never make the intellect your master. Use it. It is a beautiful instrument, a biocomputer. No computer yet made by man is so delicate, so evolved as the human mind. The human mind is such a beautiful, delicate mechanism. It can be of much use, but it should be in the service of love.

The head should be in the service of the heart; then you are really intelligent. Remember the difference. I don't call an intellectual an intelligent person. An intelligent person is one whose intellect is in the service of the heart, whose logic is in the service of love, whose reason is in the service of life.

The First Principle, Chapter #2, Archive code: 7704120

If one wants to be a poet one has to learn a few fundamental things. The most fundamental is that one has to drop thinking and move more and more towards feeling. One has to be less intellectual and more aesthetic, less of the head and more of the heart.

There is an ancient meditation technique:

Look into a mirror and go on trying to imagine you don't have a head. It takes three months to nine months and one day the miracle happens: you are standing before the mirror and the mirror does not reflect your head. Not that the mirror has changed but your idea of yourself has changed so much that you can't see the head any more. In ancient days this was one of the techniques used because after it one becomes absolutely ecstatic.

It is the head where all the disturbances happen. The head is hell and the heart is heaven. The distance is not much, just a few inches; one can jump it in a single leap. And the time has come!

Even Bein' Gawd Ain't A Bed of Roses, Chapter #24, Archive code: 7910245

A man who lives from his thinking centre, lives in a totally different world from the person who lives from his feeling centre. The man who lives from his thinking centre, lives in flat prose, mathematics, logic, calculation. The man who lives from the feeling centre lives in a poetic way. He is not logical.

His approach is not for consistency; his approach is for beauty. He does not approach life's problems through logic, argument -- no! He approaches life's problems through wonder, awe, reverence. In fact, the word 'problem' never arises in the person who lives through the feeling centre. The problem -- the very word 'problem' -- belongs to the thinking mind.

For the feeling person the same thing appears more like a mystery rather than a problem. Not that it has to be solved, but that it has to be lived and loved.

If a man of thinking looks at a flower, the flower poses itself before him as a problem. The man living through the head would like to know what the name of the flower is, to what species it belongs, from what country it has come. He would like to know about it. He is not interested in the flower itself, in the beauty that is there... in the joy that is moving with the flower itself.

A man of feeling is not concerned with what the name of the flower is, to what species it belongs. He is not even concerned whether it is a flower or not -- words don't count. The presence, the reality of this flower is so tremendously overwhelming that he feels in awe, reverence, wonder. He is feeling a mystery. His feeling is that of love, of beauty.

Blessed Are the Ignorant, Chapter #14, Archive code: 7612185

Thinking is a substitute. When you don't know, you think. When you know, what is the point of thinking? You know it already. Thinking is a state of blindness. If you are sitting here and you are blind and you want to go outside, then you will have to think about where the door is. You will have to enquire of other people where the door is. You will be afraid to stumble, you will be afraid to knock against the wall and you will become worried about where the door is. But a man who has eyes does not enquire. He knows where the door is, he can see it, so he does not think about it. The question 'Where is the door?' is irrelevant because he sees it. A wise man has eyes, he can see, so there is no need to think. Only blind people think.

In the West the idea of a thinker is utterly different to the Eastern idea of the seer. You must have seen Rodin's statue of 'The Thinker', or at least a picture of it, a photograph. We don't call it a thinker. Rodin's 'Thinker' seems to be ill, worried. You can look into the statue and you can see millions of thoughts rushing about in his mind -- it is rush-hour traffic. You can see them, in the way he is sitting, his head in his hand, the lines of worry on his forehead. You can almost feel that if this man continues in this same posture he will go mad.

Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1, Chapter #2, Archive code: 7706120

Mind knows only questions. The heart knows only answers, and the being is beyond both. It knows neither questions nor answers. It is simply beyond all kinds of duality.

I have told you many times, but I love the incident so much, because in the contemporary world, and particularly in the West, nothing like it has ever happened .... In the East it has been happening to the Sufis, to the Zen monks, to the masters of meditation, but in the West this small incident stands unique -- just like a burning torch in a dark night.

Gertrude Stein, a great poetess, is dying, she is breathing her last breaths. And she was loved by many people, she had many friends. She was a woman of tremendous creative qualities. Her poetry comes closest to the haikus of the Zen masters or to the poetry of Kabir, Nanak, Farid. Her poetry has something essentially of the East; she had some glimpses of the mystic experience.

At the last moment -- it is evening and the sun has set and darkness is settling -- she opens her eyes and asks, "What is the answer?"

And those who have gathered to say good-bye to her are puzzled: "Has she gone senile, insane? Perhaps death has shocked her and she has lost her rationality." Certainly no man with a reasonable mind will ask, "What is the answer?" because unless you have asked a question, asking, "What is the answer?" is very irrational.

There was silence for a moment. Then one very close friend asked, "But you have not asked the question. How can we answer?"

And Gertrude Stein had a faint smile and said, "Okay, so tell me, what is the question?"

And then she died, so they had no time left to say, "This question is as absurd as your first. First you asked for the answer without asking the question; now you are also asking the question from us! There are thousands and millions of questions. Who knows what question you want to be answered?"

In fact, Gertrude Stein was passing beyond mind when she asked, "What is the answer?" She was passing beyond the heart when she asked, reluctantly, smilingly, "Okay, what is the question?" And then she passed beyond.

It was one of the most beautiful deaths in the West. In the East we have known many beautiful deaths. It is very difficult for people to make a beautiful life. But there have been people who have lived beautifully and died even more beautifully! Because to them death comes as a culmination, as a climax of life, as if the whole life becomes a flame of fire -- in a single moment, in total intensity -- before disappearing into the universal. She was not losing her mind in the sense that it is usually understood, but she was certainly going beyond mind and she was also going beyond the heart.

Beyond these two diametrically opposite centers in you is a being which is utterly innocent of any questions or of any answers. It is so fulfilled in itself, so completely contented that there is nothing left to ask and there is nothing left to answer.

My own understanding is that Gertrude Stein died enlightened. The West has no understanding of enlightenment. They simply thought she was going crazy. But it was not craziness, it was a moment of great celebration. What she could not attain in her life, she attained in her death. And she gave the sure indications: no question, no answer and you have arrived home.

Sat Chit Anand, Chapter #13, Archive code: 8711280

Words Words Words



"We're playing those mind-games together pushing the barrier, planting seeds.

Playing the mind-guerilla, chanting the mantra 'peace on earth'.

We've all been playing those mind-games forever...

Love is the answer, and you know that's for sure. Love is the flower, you got to let it grow.

Yes is the answer, and you know that's for sure.

Yes is surrender and you got to let it grow..."

This song was written by John Lennon. I am very touched by his words.

Words have their own magic, and the poets, the singers, live in the magical world of words, not of realities. They are skillful, very skillful and efficient, as far as the delicate, subtle waves of words, imagination, dreams is concerned, but all that they go on doing is utterly unconscious.

John Lennon on the one hand sings: "Love is the answer, and you know that's for sure."

He himself does not know it. He says: "Love is the flower, you got to let it grow."

But to know it you have to be absolutely awakened, because love is the ultimate peak of consciousness. The poet can imagine about it, the singer can sing about it, the painter can paint about it, but they have seen only reflections of the moon in the lake; they have not seen the moon itself. And, of course, the moon reflected in the lake is just made of the same stuff as dreams are made of. The poets, the singers, are dreamers, they are not seers. So he says:

The poet lives unconsciously, the seer lives consciously. Sometimes their words are exactly the same -- don't be deceived by the words. If you really want to know whether those words represent reality or just empty wishes you have to look into the life of the man.

Kahlil Gibran has written tremendously beautiful words. He may even surpass Lao Tzu and Buddha and Christ as far as expression is concerned; his expression may be far more beautiful because he is a skilled poet, a very skilled painter. He has the sensitiveness to appreciate beauty, but howsoever he is appreciating it is unconscious.

You have to look into the life of the person, because only that is decisive. Now, Lennon was continuously fighting with his own woman -- many times they separated and many times they got together again -- and he is talking about mind-games, and he was playing those mind-games himself!

The words are beautiful: Love is the answer. I also say love is the answer, but I mean it! He does not mean it, he is simply saying beautiful words. Beautiful words have their own hypnotic quality. They catch the mind of the singers and the poets and the musicians; they fall in love with beautiful words.

Philosophia Ultima, Chapter #10, Archive code: 8012200

Jean-Paul Sartre has named his autobiography, Words. This christening of his autobiography as Words is significant, deeply significant.

Everybody's biography is just words and nothing else because what is your mind? -- words and words and words.... If you analyze the mind, then what are you? Just words? A long sequence, a long procession of words; this is everybody's autobiography. But if you are nothing but words, then you are not. Then you are yet unborn, then you are yet to exist authentically. Because words are just words, sounds; they mean something, but basically they are meaningless. The meaning is given to them.

And mind is just a mechanism, a natural computer. It feeds on words and then creates more words out of them. Then you go on associating those words, you go on creating principles, philosophy systems. And ultimately, where are you?

Truth is not a by-product of a long process of words. Truth is not a word at all. Truth is outside of words: truth is beyond words or below words. Truth is experience, not words. Truth cannot be said, because when you say something, language has to be used, words have to be used. And truth is not a word, so when you say it, you miss it. The moment you say it you have missed it -- it cannot be said. It can only be experienced; it can only be lived. Unless you live it, you cannot know it.

That Art Thou, Chapter #35, Archive code: 7210135

Glimpses of the Beyond



When an artist is on the stage or painting, sometimes suddenly the mind stops and there is no one on the stage or doing the painting. As you say, the creativity passes through the artist while he is a hollow bamboo.

Then a beautiful work of art is done because no one but existence has done it.

I wonder if it is like a glimpse of enlightenment. But it lasts the time of a soap bubble. Back to normal, the poor guy is back in the desert of daily life which is very mediocre, and he doesn't have the passport to reach the reality of his glimpses. The work of art stays at this height -- it is far beyond the creator -- but the poor fellow stays down there in the valley. Sometimes he can ride on another soap bubble, but he'll soon be back in the valley.

Mozart, Beethoven, Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, and many others, burnt themselves in this search, but it seems they didn't arrive anywhere.

Why doesn’t the boat of creativity have enough fuel to reach the shore of enlightenment?

The creative people -- whether painters, musicians, poets or dancers -- reach to a place once in a while that can be called "a glimpse of enlightenment" but it is only a glimpse. It is not a realization. They have not prepared themselves for it. It has come accidentally.

The painter was absorbed in painting. He was so absorbed in painting that he forgot himself, forgot the ego, forgot his thoughts, and without knowing it he was in a state of meditation, and accidentally a door opened and he saw the beauty of the beyond.

But because he is not prepared, he cannot remain in meditation. He does not even know the ABC of meditation; he may never have heard the word. He was doing something else. It was just because he got lost in his work -- in dance, in music, in singing -- he fulfilled the condition for a glimpse.

Soon he will be back -- when the dance is over, when the painting is complete, he will be back in the desert of daily life. And he will be worse than the ordinary man because he has known something which the ordinary man has not even dreamt of. His misery is more. He has seen the door open, he has seen the door closed, and he feels utterly helpless.

Now a great problem has arisen for him, that there is something far more beautiful than any painting, far more musical than any music, far more poetic than any poetry. There is a dance beyond dance, but how to reach there? All that he can manage is his ordinary dance. In his ordinary dance, if he becomes conscious that he's doing it to get the glimpse back, he will not get the glimpse because the condition will not be fulfilled, he will not be lost in the dance. Technically he will be doing the dance but his ego will remain watching for the window to open; it will not open. It will open only when he forgets himself.

The problem is that this situation has been only in the West, not in the East.

The East is poor, immensely poor, but in a way tremendously rich. In the East if the poet or the painter or the musician had the glimpse, he would not bother about the dance or the painting, he would look for a master, because it is understood -- it is in the atmosphere, and it has been there for thousands of years -- that creativity can give you a glimpse but not more than that. If you want something that becomes part and parcel of you, then you have to find a master, a path; you have to change yourself, your ways of living. You have to bring awareness to everything that you do, and you need somebody to tell you -- not only to tell you, but somebody whose presence becomes a proof that you are not chasing some shadow, some hallucination.

The West is poor. It has created great artists, but unfortunately in the West there has been no atmosphere for enlightenment, no masters who could show you the way. The Western artists have suffered more than anybody else -- they have gone mad, they have committed suicide, they have drowned themselves in drugs. The Western artist suffered more than anybody else in the West, because he had a glimpse of the beyond and he could not manage to make that glimpse a reality which remained twenty-four hours with him like the heartbeat. His anguish is tremendous.

In the East I have not found the name of any painter, any sculptor, any musician, any poet, who has gone mad, who has committed suicide, who has drowned himself in drugs, for the simple reason that in the very air it was possible to find a master. And if you had a glimpse, you were fortunate because you would know that something exists beyond, you had just to find the bridge to go there, to just be there.

The division of East and West has been one of the greatest tragedies. It should be dissolved.

The Eastern science of inner being should be brought to each Western seeker or potential seeker or possible seeker.

And Western science and technology should reach to every nook and corner of the East to destroy the poverty, the uneducatedness.

Both have something and both are missing something. And this is really amazing, that what the East is missing the West has, and what the West is missing the East has.

It is a simple question of understanding, to let there be a meeting of East and West so that the outer poverty disappears from the East and the inner poverty disappears from the West. The whole earth can be rich, rich in both ways. There is no need for choice, no need to choose; both can be ours, and both should be ours. There is no conflict.

My whole work is basically this, but neither is the East ready to listen to me nor the West.

The West has not known the experience of enlightenment. But I am insistent that we are going to make hundreds of Western people, for the first time in history, enlightened.

The Transmission of the Lamp, Chapter #17,  Archive code: 8606035

Kahlil Gibran has written almost thirty books. The Prophet, which we are going to discuss, is his first book; the remaining are rubbish. This is a strange phenomenon -- what happened to the man? When he wrote this, he was just young -- twenty-one years of age. One would have thought that now more and more would be coming. And he tried hard; for his whole life he was writing but nothing came even close to the beauty and the truth of The Prophet. Perhaps the window never opened again.

A poet is accidentally mystic. It is just by accident... a breeze comes, you cannot produce it. And because he became world famous -- this is one book which must have been translated in almost all the languages of the world -- he tried hard to do something better, and that's where he failed. It is unfortunate that he never came across a man who could have told him a simple truth: "You had not tried when you created The Prophet, it happened. And now you are trying to do it."

It has happened; it is not your doing. You may have been a vehicle. Something that was not yours... just like a child is born of a mother. The mother cannot create the child, she is simply a passage. The Prophet belongs to the category of a very small number of books which are not dependent on your action, your intelligence, on you; on the contrary, they are possible only when you are not, when you allow them to happen, when you don't stand in the way. You are so relaxed that you don't interfere.

This is one of those rarest of books. In it, you will not find Kahlil Gibran -- that's the beauty of the book. He allowed the universe to flow through him; he is simply a medium, a passage, just a hollow bamboo which does not hinder the flute player.

In my experience, books like The Prophet are holier than your so-called holy books. And because these books are authentically holy, they have not created a religion around themselves. They don't give you any ritual, they don't give you any discipline, they don't give you any commandments. They simply allow you to have a glimpse of the same experience which happened to them.

The whole experience cannot come into words, but something... perhaps not the whole rose, but a few petals. They are enough proof that a rose exists. Your window just has to be open, so a breeze sometimes can bring petals.

The Messiah, Vol 1, Chapter #1, Archive code: 8701085

Kahlil Gibran is a category in himself. That is what is most surprising in him, and the most mysterious. There are moments when he seems to be a mystic of the highest order -- a Gautam Buddha, a Jesus, a Socrates. And at other times the mystic simply disappears, leaving behind only a poet who sings beautiful but contentless songs, who speaks in words of gold. But there is no authentic experience in those words, no existential taste.

It is very difficult for an ordinary man to distinguish between when Kahlil Gibran is a mystic and when he is just a poet. Sometimes, when he is just a poet, he appears more beautiful. He is a born poet; he is like a river that sometimes becomes very shallow -- but when the river is very shallow it sings songs. And sometimes the river becomes very deep -- but then there is only silence.

As a poet, the greatest mystic will look poor in comparison to Kahlil Gibran; but as a mystic, Kahlil Gibran only once in a while spreads his wings in the open sky and reaches to the boundless, to the unlimited -- without any fear, without even looking back.

In his soul, the poet and the mystic are both present -- he is a very rich man. The poet is more often awake, the mystic once in a while, but the mixture of these two has created a new category to which only one other man, Rabindranath Tagore, can belong. I know only of these two persons who belong to this strange category.

Once in a while, when his mystic is a little awake, a window opens into the unknown. He catches a glimpse and he is articulate enough to bring that glimpse into words, to translate it into such words that perhaps he himself may not be able to explain what he means.

It happened once... a professor of English in the University of London was stuck at a certain point while he was teaching the poems of Coleridge, one of the great poets of England. The professor must have been very honest. Ordinarily professors are never honest; even if they don't understand, they go on pretending that they understand. Even if they don't know, they never say, "I don't know." It is rare to find a professor who can say, "Forgive me, I can understand the words but I cannot catch the meaning behind them. So just give me one day's time, because Coleridge lives in my neighborhood so it is not a difficult problem.

"I will go to him and ask him directly, `What do you mean? I understand the beauty of your words, the linguistic meaning of your words, but that is not all. I feel continually that something is missing, that I am missing the real meaning and the significance. I am able to catch hold of the rose, but the fragrance simply eludes me -- and the fragrance is the significance of the rose.'"

The next day he approached Coleridge. He was watering his plants in the garden -- an old man. The professor said, "Forgive me for disturbing you, but it has become absolutely necessary for me.... I cannot be dishonest to my students. If I know something, I say I know; if I do not know, I cannot pretend. Although they will not be able to figure out, they will not be able to see, that they have been deceived, I can see that I am deceiving them.

"This is your poem and this is the part where I am stuck. The whole night I tried to figure it out -- I have found layers upon layers in it -- but still the meaning is missing. So I have come to ask you: What is the meaning of these words?"

Coleridge said, "You are asking a very difficult question. At the time when I wrote this poem, two persons knew the meaning."

The professor was very happy. He said, "Then there is no problem. I don't care about the other person -- you just tell me what the meaning is."

He said, "You misunderstand me. When I was writing it, two persons knew the meaning: I knew the meaning and God knew the meaning -- and now only God knows. I have tried hard myself... beautiful words, but nothing substantial. You have to forgive me. If you meet God somewhere you can ask your question to Him; and you can also ask on my behalf, because I am very much disturbed.

"This is not the first time you have come to me; this has happened three or four times before. Other people who have a deep insight into poetry have approached me and this is the point where they get stuck. Those closed words are clear, but empty, words."

Kahlil Gibran is one of the greatest poets -- with a unique quality: once in a while his poet transforms into a mystic. And when that mystic speaks it is not Kahlil Gibran who is speaking.

In the words of Coleridge, "It is God who is speaking." He has become just a vehicle, allowing that existence to express itself. If you go to him, he himself may perhaps not be able to explain to you many things that he has said -- and said so beautifully that they have never been said so beautifully ever before.

The Messiah, Vol 2, Chapter #9, Archive code: 8702025

It is one of the destinies of those who are born with genius. A genius never finds that what he has created is enough. He is always discontented. He goes on creating more and more beautiful things, but nothing satisfies; he knows that he has much more to give. His heart has to pour out more songs, more paintings, more music. He is fully aware that whatever he does falls short of the target; his target is such a faraway star.

It is not just about Rabindranath Tagore -- these words are true about any genius in any part of the world, in any time, in any age. These words are the very essence of the discontent -- because the painter feels in his dreams that he can paint something unique that has never been done before. It is so clear in his dreams, but the moment he starts translating his dream onto the canvas, he starts feeling that what is happening on the canvas is only a far away echo.

Coleridge, one of the great poets of England, left forty thousand poems unfinished when he died. During his life again and again he was asked, "Why don't you complete them? It is such a beautiful poem -- just two lines are missing and it will be complete."

He always said, "It reflected something that was hovering in my being; but when I brought it into words, it was not the same thing. To others it may appear very beautiful, because they don't have anything to compare it with. But to me... I know the real poem which is within me, still trying to find new words."


Rabindranath himself used to write each poem many times. His father was a very talented man, though not a genius; his grandfather was a very talented man, but also not a genius. Both tried to convince him, "You are mad. You go on destroying.... You go on making beautiful poems and then you destroy them. Why do you destroy them?"

Rabindranath said, "Because they are not authentic representations of my experience. I wanted to do something, and something else has happened. It may look beautiful to you, but to me it is a failure, and I don't want to leave any failure behind me. That's why I am going to destroy it."

Rabindranath's father has written, "he has destroyed such beautiful poems... we cannot conceive how they can be more beautiful. He seems to be mad..." And when he used to write poems he would close his doors and inform the whole house that for no reason at all should he be disturbed -- not even for food. Sometimes days would pass -- two days, three days -- and the whole family would be worried... he was constantly writing and destroying. Until he came to a settlement where something of his inner vision had been caught in the net of words, he would not open the door.

In this book Gitanjali -- `gitanjali' means `offering of songs', it is an offering to God -- Rabindranath says, "I don't have anything else. I can only offer my deepest, heartfelt dreams, that I have brought into the poems." Hence he gave the name Gitanjali -- `offering of songs'. These are the very few chosen poems which he has not destroyed. They are immensely beautiful. But he was not satisfied even with these poems, although he got a Nobel prize for this book.

The original was in Bengali, which is a very poetic language and for ten years the world remained absolutely unaware of it. Then, just an accidental suggestion by a friend: "Why don't you translate it into English?" -- and he tried.

He was dissatisfied with the original Bengali, but he was more dissatisfied with the translation. Because there are a few nuances to every language which are not translatable. Particularly a language like Bengali is almost impossible to translate word to word. You can translate, but the sweetness, the quality of music in each word... from where you can bring it? Still, he got the Nobel prize for the translation. His friend said, "Now you must be satisfied."

He said, "I am more dissatisfied than ever. This shows that humanity is not yet mature enough to understand poetry. These are my failures, these poems of Gitanjali. I have saved them after many, many efforts. I became tired, and felt that perhaps something that is in my heart cannot be brought into words. The best I could do I did, but in my own eyes it was a failure, at the best, a very good failure. It can deceive everybody else, but it cannot deceive me."

The Rebellious Spirit, Chapter #19, Archive code: 8702195

Rabindranath Tagore is the very heart of India. He is the most contemporary man, and yet the most ancient too. His words are a bridge between the modern mind and the ancientmost sages of the world. In particular, Gitanjali is his greatest contribution to human evolution, to human consciousness. It is one of the rarest books that has appeared in this century. Its rarity is that it belongs to the days of the Upanishads -- nearabout five thousand years before Gitanjali came into existence.

It is a miracle in the sense that Rabindranath is not a religious person in the ordinary sense. He is one of the most progressive thinkers -- untraditional, unorthodox -- but his greatness consists in his childlike innocence. And because of that innocence, perhaps he was able to become the vehicle of the universal spirit, in the same way as the Upanishads of old are.

He is a poet of the highest category, and also a mystic. Such a combination has happened only once or twice before -- in Kahlil Gibran, in Friedrich Nietzsche, and in Rabindranath Tagore. With these three persons, the whole category is finished. In the long history of man, it is extraordinary.... There have been great poets and there have been great mystics. There have been great poets with a little mysticism in them, and there have been great mystics who have expressed themselves in poetry.

The Golden Future, Chapter #26, Archive code: 8705245


But I have grown weary of this spirit: and I see the day coming, when it will grow weary of itself.

Already I have seen the poets transformed; I have seen them direct their glance upon themselves.

I have seen penitents of the spirit appearing: they grew out of the poets.

Zarathustra is saying that if a poet gets weary of his own poetry and, rather than looking at somebody else to appreciate him he starts looking at himself, he is very close to the transformation of becoming a mystic.

The poet should not stop at being a poet; his destiny can be fulfilled only if he becomes a mystic. A poet is interested in others: a mystic is exploring his own being. The poet says things which you will appreciate: the mystic says things which he has found in the depth of his own being. And he says them in order that, perhaps they will create an urge for search and exploration in you.

... Thus spake Zarathustra.

Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet, Chapter #4, Archive code: 8704095

Friedrich Nietzsche is a strange philosopher, poet and mystic. His strangeness is that his philosophy is not the ordinary rational approach to life; his strangeness is also that he writes poetry in prose. He is also a strange mystic, because he has never traveled the ordinary paths of mysticism. It seems as if mysticism happened to him.

Perhaps being a philosopher and a poet together, he became available to the experiences of the mystic also. The philosopher is pure logic, and the poet is pure irrationality. The mystic is beyond both. He cannot be categorized as rational, and he cannot be categorized as irrational. He is both, and he is neither.

The Golden Future, Chapter #5, Archive code: 8704245


The Fourth Way


Life is three-dimensional, and man is free to choose. The freedom that man has is both a curse and a blessing. He can choose to rise, he can choose to fall. He can choose the way of darkness or he can choose the way of light.

No other being has the freedom to choose. Their lives are predetermined. Because they are predetermined they cannot go astray -- that's the beauty of it. But because it is predetermined they are mechanical -- that's what is ugly about it.

Man is not yet a being in the true sense. He is only a becoming, he is on the way. He is searching, seeking, groping; he is not yet crystallized. That's why he does not know who he is -- because he is not yet; how can he know who he is? Before knowing, being has to happen. And the being is possible only if you choose rightly, consciously, with full awareness.

Jean-Paul Sartre is right when he says that man is a project, that man creates himself by his own effort, that man is born only as an opportunity, as a possibility, not as an actuality. He has to become actual -- and there is every possibility that he may miss the target. Millions of people miss the target; it is very rarely that a person has found his being. When a person finds his being, he is a buddha.

But the basic requirement is: choose your life with awareness. You have to choose anyway -- whether you choose with awareness or not makes no difference, choice has to be made. You are not free in the sense that if you don't want to choose you will be allowed not to. You are not free not to choose -- even not choosing will be a choosing.

You can choose between these three dimensions. If you choose one dimension you will attain a certain integrity, but because it is one-dimensional it will not be total and it will not be whole. The first dimension is the dimension of science, of the objective world, of objects, things, the other. The second dimension is of aesthetics: the world of music, poetry, painting, sculpture, the world of imagination. And the third dimension is that of religion -- subjective, inner.

Science and religion are polar opposites: science is extrovert, religion is introvert. And between the two is the world of aesthetics. It is the bridge; it is both and neither. The world of aesthetics, the world of the artist, is in a way objective -- only in a way. He paints, and then a painting is born as an object. It is also subjective, because before he can paint he has to create the painting in his inwardness, in his subjectivity. Before a poet can sing his song, he sings it in his innermost recesses of being. It is sung there first, only then does it move into the outer world.

It is scientific in the sense that art creates objects, and it is religious in the sense that whatsoever art creates is first envisioned in one's own inner being. It is the bridge between science and religion. Religion is absolute inwardness. It is moving into your innermost core, it is subjectivity.

These are the three dimensions.

If you become a scientist and lose contact with aesthetics and religion, you will be a one-dimensional man. You will be only one third; you will not be whole. You may attain to a certain integrity that you will see in a man like Albert Einstein -- a certain individuality, a beauty, a truth, but only partial.

You can choose to be an artist: you can be a Picasso, a Van Gogh, a Beethoven, a Rabindranath, but then too...you will be a little better because aesthetics is the world of in-between, the world of twilight. You will have something of religion in you. Each poet has something of religion in him -- he may be aware of it, he may not be aware of it, but no poet can be without some flavor of religion. It is impossible. Even the most atheistic artist is bound to have some kind of religiousness. Without it he will not be a genius. Without it he will remain only a technician, a craftsman, but not an artist.

Even a man like Jean-Paul Sartre -- who is determinedly an atheist, who will never concede that he is religious -- even he is in some way religious. He has created great novels, and those novels and the characters of those novels have great interiority. That interiority has been lived by this man, otherwise he could not write about it. That interiority is experienced.

And the man that moves into aesthetics is bound to have some scientific qualities around him too. He will be more logical than the religious person, more object-oriented than the religious person -- less object-oriented than the scientist of course, less logical than the scientist, but more logical than the religious person. He will be in a more balanced state.

It is better to move in the world of art because somehow it has something of all the three dimensions -- but only something, still it is not total.

The religious man is again one-dimensional, just as the scientist is. Albert Einstein is one-dimensional, so is Gautama the Buddha.

And between these two a few artists exist who have something of both the dimensions. But even the artist is not satisfied, because he is something of both but he is neither a scientist nor a religious person -- just having a few glimpses of both the worlds. He remains in a kind of limbo; he never settles, he remains a vagabond. He moves like a shuttle between these two worlds. He does not contribute much: because he is not a scientist he cannot contribute scientifically and he is not religious so he cannot contribute religiously. At the most his art remains decorative; at the most it can make life a little more beautiful, a little more comfortable, convenient. But that is not much.

I propose the fourth way. The true man will be all three simultaneously: he will be a scientist, an artist, and religious. And I call the fourth man the spiritual man.

My effort here is to create the fourth way: a man who joins all these three dimensions of life into himself, who becomes a trinity, a trimurti, who has all these three faces of God to him. Who has as much of a logical mind as is needed by science and who is also as poetic as is needed by aesthetics, and who is also as meditative and watchful as is proposed by the buddhas.

The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 1, Chapter #7, Archive code: 7906270


A friend told us that she once heard you say that you want us to become enlightened in the most aesthetic way possible.

Will you speak on the aesthetics of consciousness?

You have raised a very significant question. All the religions that have existed on the earth have been very unaesthetic, because they denied life, they denied all the beauties, all the flowers, all creativity, sensitivity.

They killed millions of people's possibility of attaining to enlightenment through aesthetic creativity. They simply closed the door, and for centuries nobody has even asked the question, "Is it possible that just to be a musician is enough to become enlightened?" I say yes.

Nobody will agree with me -- neither Mahavira nor Gautam Buddha nor Mohammed nor Jesus. Knowing it well, that the whole history will stand against me, I am absolutely certain that music can become meditation, that sculpture can become meditation, that dancing can become meditation, that painting can become meditation. These doors have simply been closed. It is one of the greatest crimes committed against man.

And people who are uncreative are praised as saints. All that they have done may be fasting. But being hungry is not a great quality, and it does not enhance humanity in any way. They may have lived naked, but that does not mean they are making life more beautiful.

I teach an aesthetic consciousness. You should learn to appreciate beauty, you should learn to create beauty, you should behave in a beautiful way. Your life should be a long story of beauty, grace, love, peace. And whatever you are doing, there is no need to renounce the world -- there is nowhere to go. This is our world. We have to make it more beautiful, more graceful, more lovable. And it is possible, whatever you are doing, to do it meditatively.

There have been mystics like Kabir, who was a weaver. He remained a weaver, although he had kings as his followers, thousands of followers. And he was a poor man. Very few poor people have attained to the same grace and radiance as Kabir. And all his disciples prayed, "You stop weaving. You don't have to, we are all here to support you, give you anything you need."

Kabir said, "But my meditation and my weaving have grown so together that neither can I meditate without weaving, nor can I weave without meditation. So please don't disturb me, just let me do whatever I have been doing."

Another mystic was Gora. He was a potter and he continued to make beautiful pottery after his realization. His pottery also became of a different quality. Something of his beauty became part of what he was making.

His disciples said, "Stop, we feel ashamed. People say, `You go to a potter?'" -- in India a potter is counted as an untouchable -- "`And you touch the feet of that man?'" But still, thousands of people became illuminated by Gora's experience. And he remained a potter to the very end.

Whatever you are doing, my approach is, make your doing your meditation. Don't think in terms that you have to leave something and then you will meditate.

My basic interest is in bringing religiousness to life, to the marketplace, and in destroying the antagonism that has been created by all the religions between religiousness and the world. There is no antagonism. Religiousness is a beautiful flower; it can blossom in the marketplace, there is no problem, because religiousness can be reduced to a simple principle of meditation. There is no need of any other discipline.

Moishe Finkelstein gets a nasty letter from the tax office and he has to go for an interview. He phones his son, Fagin the lawyer, for some advice, and Fagin suggests that he wears old clothes so that he does not look too prosperous.

On the way to the tax office, Moishe bumps into Mendel Kravitz who tells him that dressed in this way he looks like a rascal and that the tax officer would immediately suspect something.

Moishe is very confused so he goes to visit Rabbi Nussbaum. The rabbi is out, but his wife lets Moishe into the house.

"What is your trouble?" she asks. And Moishe tells her his story.

"Aha!" she replies at the end of the tale. "This reminds me of when I was about to get married. I could not decide whether to wear a white nightdress and look like a virgin, or a black one and look experienced and seductive, so I asked my grandmother for advice."

"Oy!" cries Moishe. "And what did she say?"

"Well," says the rabbi's wife, "she told me, `It doesn't matter what you wear -- you'll get fucked anyway.'"

Hari Om Tat Sat, Chapter #20, Archive code: 8802045


How will your new man express himself? Will he find new ways or will the existing ways just develop into higher forms?

What is art and what do you feel is lacking in it today? How will it be connected with the new man? What can we do to create a new beginning?

You have asked many questions in one. First, "How will your new man express himself?" Nobody knows. If you know it already, it is not much of a new man. You cannot conceive of it, because whatever you will conceive will be something of the old -- modified, changed a little bit here and there, painted in new colors, but it will remain a continuity with the past. So only negatively can something be said, not positively.

One thing is certain: the new man will not express himself the way the old man has been expressing. The new man will express himself intelligently, objectively, meditatively. He will not be vomiting on the canvas. He will be painting some ecstasy that has happened to his innermost being. The painting will be an expression of sharing what he cannot say by words; what nobody can say by words, he is trying to say by colors. Somebody may be saying it by sculpture, somebody may be saying it by making a garden.

The new man will not be insane. His expressions will show sanity and will bring you a feeling of well-being, a health, a certain joyousness -- a certain song will start resounding in your heart. And when you will be coming back from seeing a painting or listening to poetry or to music, you will find you are not walking, you are dancing. Something has touched you, something has bypassed your mind and reached your being. But exactly what he will do, we will have to wait for him to come and do it.

You are asking, "Will he find new ways...?" Certainly, he will find new ways about everything. He will not have to seek far away; his very being will be creative of new ways, new expression, new art, new forms of poetry, new ways of relating with people -- "or will the existing ways just develop into higher forms?"

No, absolutely no. The existing ways have developed to their highest form already. Their highest form is nuclear weapons, their highest expression is Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Their greatest men are Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Ronald Reagan -- they have come to their highest form. The old man has exhausted himself, has spent himself.

Mr. Levy had given his friend, Goldstein, some of his first red wine, which Goldstein tasted and drank, but he made no comment. Mr. Levy felt very disappointed in Goldstein's apparent lack of appreciation, so he decided to offer him some strong, inferior wine that he had kept in his store.

Goldstein had no sooner tasted it then he exclaimed, "What excellent wine this is!"

"But you said nothing of the first," remarked Levy.

"Ah," replied Goldstein, "the first required no comment. It spoke for itself. The second was so poor, it required somebody to speak on its behalf. I thought the second needed someone to speak up for it."

The new man will not be a reformed, developed, modified continuity of the past. He will be absolutely discontinuous. He will be as fresh as a fresh leaf coming out of the tree. It is not the refined old leaf, fully developed, highly developed; the old has gone, the new has taken its place. The new will be absolutely fresh, otherwise it is not worth calling it new.

And you are also asking, "What is art?" Art is the expression of your heart. When your heart overflows in any dimension -- in painting, in poetry, in dancing, in singing -- it becomes art. Art is not something of a technique. It is the overflowing heart which creates its own technique. It is alive enough to bring its own technique into existence.

The artist is not a technician, that you should remember. A technician only copies, imitates. The artist brings something new into existence which has never existed before. He himself is surprised; unless you are surprised by your art, it is not of much value. If you recognize it, it means it is old -- otherwise how can you recognize it?

"And what do you feel is lacking in it today?" Everything. There is nothing in it except sheer madness.

"How will it be connected with the new man?" There is no need to connect. The new man will bring with himself his new ways of seeing things, his new ways of loving, his new ways of living. He will have new tastes -- they will not even reflect the old and the dead.

"What can we do to create a new beginning?" Please, just don't do it. You are old, anything you will do will remain old. You have to disappear, that's all you can do. You have to die as an ego and you have to become almost absent, a nobody. Out of your nobodyness, something absolutely new will be born. And that will be the sunrise of a new humanity, of a new man, of a new future.

The young minister was in the pulpit for the first time and he was a little nervous. He read the text, "Behold, I come." Then his mind went blank. He could not remember what he was going to say. So he repeated, "Behold, I come." Still, his memory was a blank. Trying to cover up his embarrassment, he repeated again, "Behold, I come."

Suddenly the whole pulpit gave way, and he landed in the lap of the wife of one of the elders. "I am awfully sorry," he stammered.

"Ah, that's all right," the lady smiled, "I should have been ready after you warned me three times -- `Behold, I come.'"

... So don't be surprised if the new man suddenly comes. I have been warning you millions of times: Behold, I come!

The Rebel, Chapter #34, Archive code: 8706175


What about art and enlightenment?

Art depends on you. If you are pathological, your art will be pathological. If you are enlightened, your art will be enlightened. The art carries your quality.

Art has nothing to do directly with enlightenment, but enlightenment has much to do with art. When many enlightened people exist in the world, they create a different kind of world, they create different kinds of things, naturally. Zen art has a quality of its own. Watching a Zen painting you become meditative; watching a Zen painting you are transported into another world. Listening to an ancient song like Bhagavad Gita, just listening -- even if you don't understand, even if you don't know the language, the Sanskrit language -- just listening, just the tonality of it, just the timbre of it, just the music, the melody of it, and suddenly you feel great silence arising in you, flowers showering inside you, something opening, something blossoming.

The world needs enlightened art. But that cannot be managed by teaching people how to create more art. That can be managed only if people start moving towards their inner core of being.

Whenever somebody arrives at his innermost core, he is bound to express it. Every enlightened experience is bound to bloom into a thousand and one lotuses. When Buddha became silent, when Buddha arrived home, when he knew who he is, he started speaking -- his words are his expression. When Meera arrived, she started dancing -- her dance is her expression.

Each enlightened person will find a way to express that which has happened to him, because is part of that happening that it has to be expressed. You cannot hold it, it overflows. But to different enlightened persons it will happen in different way. Buddha never danced; that was not his way, that was not his thing. He never sang, he never composed poetry -- that was not his thing! But if you watched deeply, the way he walks is poetry, the way he sits is poetry, the way he gestures is dance. Even while sitting under his Bodhi Tree, unmoving, there is a great dance inside. Those who have eyes, they will be able to see it. This is his way of expressing.

So different people arriving will express differently. Somebody may become a painter and somebody may become a singer -- it depends! It depends on what potentiality you are carrying. Your enlightenment will become a rider on that potentiality and will be expressed through it.

But the basic thing is not art -- the basic thing is samadhi. Let there be samadhi first, and then whatsoever you are capable of giving to the world, will be given. Whatsoever you are capable of sharing, will be shared. And there will be no ego arising because you have painted, because you have sung, because you danced -- there will be no ego arising. And there will be no motive in it. There will be no tension behind it. If nobody comes to listen to you, you will not miss. You will remain like a flower, blooming in the deep, dark forest -- nobody passes by, but the fragrance goes on being released to the winds. It does not matter.

The artist hankers to express. To an enlightened person expression is natural, like breathing; there is no hankering. The artist is continuously fighting to pave his way; the artist is motivated; hence, he lives in great tension. It is not just accidental that artists suffer more than anybody else from mind diseases -- too much tension. They have to create, and they have to compete, and they have to prove, and they have to leave a signature in the world -- all ego efforts.

An enlightened person lives without any motive. He simply enjoys it the way it is, and whatsoever happens is good. He is blessed and he goes on blessing. If somebody receives it, good; if nobody comes to receive it, that too is good.

Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 3, Chapter #8, Archive code: 7707080

Part IX:

Personal Questions from Artists and Meditators



I would like to make my hobby of painting a meditation.

Art is meditation. Any activity becomes meditation if you are lost in it. So don't just remain a technician. If you are just a technician then painting will never become meditation. You have to be crazily into it, madly into it, completely lost, not knowing where you are going, not knowing what you are doing, not knowing who you are. This state of not-knowing will bring meditation.

Let it happen. The painting should not be painted but only allowed to happen. And I don't mean that you just remain lazy -- no; then it will never happen. It has to ride on you. You have to be very very active and yet not doing it. That is the whole knack, that is the whole crux of it: you have to be active and yet not a doer. You allow your activity to be possessed by something that is beyond you.

You have seen a sunset. It is there in you and it wants to be expressed. Whenever there is a great experience, either of beauty or of truth or of love, it is followed by a deep desire to express it. That desire to express it is part of it, intrinsic to it, built-in. You have seen a sunset and you are full of it. The dream of it is surrounding you. It is there inside you -- all those colours and all those nuances of the clouds and the wind and the birds and the sand. All are there and they want to be expressed. So you become available.

Go to the canvas. For a few minutes just meditate. Just sit silently there before the canvas. It has to be like automatic writing: you take the pen in your hand and you sit silently and suddenly you find a jerk in the hand. It is not that you have done it -- you know that you have not done it. You were simply waiting for it; the jerk comes and the hand starts moving. Something starts happening.

One is surprised in automatic handwriting. One cannot believe that this is your hand doing things and you are not doing at all. It is moving on its own, as if it has its own being and spirit. You are possessed by the whole, or call it your unconscious or call it anything; those are just names. But your tiny conscious mind is no more alone. Something bigger than it has taken possession, has become more powerful. The conscious mind is only an instrument to it, whatsoever it is -- god, the mystics call it god, or nature, or the psychologists call it the unconscious. 'It' has possessed you -- something nameless.

That way you should start your painting. A few minutes for meditation -- just being available. Whatsoever is going to happen you will allow to happen. You will bring all your expertise into letting it happen. Take the brush and start. Go slowly in the beginning so that you don't bring yourself in. Just go slowly. Let the sunset start flowing through you of its own accord and then be lost in it.

And don't think of anything else. Art has to be for art's sake, then it is meditation. No motive should be allowed to enter into it. And I am not saying that you are not going to exhibit it. That's perfectly okay, but that is a by-product; that is not the motive. One needs food so one sells the painting, but it hurts that one sells it. It is almost like selling your child, but one needs to so it is okay. You feel sad, but it was not the motive; you had not painted it to sell. It has been sold -- that's another thing --  but the motive was not there. Otherwise you will remain a technician.

And that is the difference between a technician and an artist: the artist is a meditator and the technician is not. The technician has to concentrate on what he is doing, and the meditator, the artist, has to be lost in it. There is no concentration; there is nobody to concentrate. There is great joy if you can be lost into your painting. It will be sold, it will be appreciated, it will be exhibited. That is another thing; that is just a by-product.

We are very much afraid of uncontrol because it looks like madness. And this world is so mad that if you really become sane, you will look mad to people.

This control will never allow you to become a great artist. The artist has to be mad in that way. He has to go whole-heartedly into the unknown, wherever it leads. He has to risk his neck.

Don't Just Do Something, Sit There, Chapter #21, Archive code: 7709235


Is it ever possible to paint a totally satisfying painting?

While painting, each moment can be totally satisfying. But once the painting is complete it can never be totally satisfying, because if it is totally satisfying the painter will have to commit suicide. There will be no need to live any more.

That's why I say life is longing, pure longing -- longing to attain higher and higher peaks, longing to go deeper and deeper into existence. But each moment can be utterly satisfying; that difference has to be remembered. When you are painting, each brush, each color that you throw on the canvas, each moment of it, is totally satisfying. There is nothing more to it. You are utterly lost, possessed, if you are a creator.

If you are only a technician then it is not so. The technician is not lost while he is painting, he is separate from his painting. He is just using his knowledge. He knows how to paint, that's all. There is nothing in his heart to paint -- no vision, no poetry, no song. He has nothing to create, but just the technology. He is a technician, not an artist. He can paint -- but while painting it is not meditation for him, it is not a love affair for him. He is doing it; he is a doer, separate. But the creator is not separate while he is creating, he is one with it. He is utterly lost, he has forgotten himself.

That's why when painters are painting they forget about food, forget about thirst, forget about sleep. They forget about the body so much that they can go on painting for eighteen hours without feeling at all tired. Each moment is absolutely satisfying.

But once the painting is complete, a great sadness descends on the real painter. These differences have to be remembered. When the painting is complete, the technician feels very happy: a good job done, finished. He is feeling tired; it was a long tiring process, no contentment on the way. He was just waiting for the result, he was result-oriented. He wanted to finish it somehow, and now it is finished. He takes a deep sigh of relief. He is happy, not while he is painting but only when the painting is complete.

Just the opposite happens to the creator. He is happy while he is painting; once the painting is complete, a great sadness descends on him. "So it is over? That peak, that climax, that orgasmic experience is over? That thrill, that adventure, that going into the unknown is over?"

Your question is significant. You ask: "Is it possible to paint a totally satisfying painting?"

Yes and no. Yes, while you are painting it will be totally satisfying. And no, once it is over you will feel great sadness. But that sadness is also creative, because it is only out of that sadness you will again start moving towards the sunlit peaks.

The Book of Wisdom  Chapter #20, Archive code: 7903020


Since I am here, creativity is becoming more intense and vast, and my song is becoming more and more full of colors and dance and grace.

But on the other side an empty space is calling me gently and seducing, more and more scary, because in this silence all the colors of my creativity fade away and there I am sadly, empty-handed, with no song to sing any more.

If one becomes ecstatic, blissful, one loses silence, because ecstasy, after all, is a beautiful kind of excitement. It is a disturbance -- lovely, but a disturbance all the same.

Blissfulness brings its own chaos, its own turmoil, its laughter, its tears, its creativity, its song. And one is bound to get tired of it -- it is exhausting. You cannot be ecstatic all the time. Sooner or later you would like to move to the other polarity: silence.

Ecstasy is the logical end of all that is beautiful, passionate, intense, but because it is such a peak of passion and intensity you cannot remain on that peak for long. You have to go back into the deep, dark valleys of silence to rest, to sleep, to get nourished, to be rejuvenated.

Hence the desire for silence arises, a tremendous desire for silence, and of course it feels as if you are going to lose all your creativity, all your joy. And from the peak of ecstasy, silence naturally looks empty and the very idea of moving into silence seems to be suicidal  -- alluring, enchanting, seducing, but suicidal too, because you will lose your song, your dance, and a sadness arises. Hence the fear, the scary feeling.

Those who have tried to live on the peak of ecstasy have remained only poets; they have not been able to become mystics. A few people have tried, but then they have to find a certain kind of relaxation on the peak. Hence all the poets, all the creators -- painters, dancers, singers -- sooner or later become attracted towards intoxicating drugs, because the excitement is too much. One has to forget it all. Either you move to the silent valley, or you can remain on the peak but fall into deep oblivion.

This has been one of the most significant problems for all the meditators: either you choose silence, but then you become dead, cold, unloving, hard, frozen, or if you choose creativity, you live an intense life, passionate, but very tiring.

My effort is to bring these two polarities into your life together. If you ask me to define meditation, I would define it as the art, the alchemy of transforming the polar opposites into complementaries. There is no need to choose. One should be liquid, fluid, flexible, to move from one pole to the other, knowing that they are supportive to each other, they are not against each other; they are not enemies, they are friends. Just as electricity cannot exist without the positive and the negative poles, just as the day cannot exist without the night, just as life cannot exist without death, creativity cannot exist without silence. And vice versa is also true: silence cannot exist without creativity.

And my own experience and observation is this: that a life which has both is really a whole life.

You can move from the peak of creativity easily, gracefully, into silence, and you will enjoy it and it will not be empty. It will be overflowing, it will be pregnant, not empty, because it will nourish you; it will nourish your sources of creativity.

Your songs will be born in your silence; they may not be expressed in your silence, but they will be born in your silence. And when the creative phase comes  -- which automatically comes, just as the day follows the night and the night is followed by the day... it will come. There is a balance: half the time you will be silent and half the time you will be creative. When the creativity comes you will know these songs were sown in your silence, your silence was pregnant with them.

You feel sad because the ego is disappearing and that has been your joy up to now. The only joy that people know is the joy of ego succeeding. Now the ego is by and by withering away and you feel sad, empty-handed, because your hands were full of the ego.

Once you have understood it you will not see your hands as empty, in fact you will see them having the whole space of the sky available -- sky in your hands, not emptiness. You will see it as spaciousness, not emptiness.

Philosophia Ultima, Chapter #6, Archive code: 8012160


When I am writing a book, I am full of flowing energy and delight. But, when I have finished, I am so empty and dead that I can hardly bear to live.

This question is from a novelist. I have gone through her novels, and they are beautiful. She has the knack of it: how to tell a story beautifully, how to weave a story. And this experience is not only hers, it is of almost everybody who is in any way creative. But still, the interpretation is wrong, and much depends on the interpretation.

When a woman carries a child, she is full. Of course, when the child is born, she will feel empty. She will miss the new life that was throbbing and kicking in her womb. The child has gone out; she will feel empty for a few days. But she can love the child, and she can forget her emptiness in loving the child and helping the child to grow.

For an artist, even that is not possible. You paint, or you write a poem or a novel; once it is finished you feel deep emptiness. And what can you do with the book now? So the artist is in an even more difficult situation than a mother. Once a book is finished, it is finished. Now it needs no help, no love; it is not going to grow. It is perfect, it is born grown-up.

One has to look into this emptiness. Don't say that you are exhausted; rather, say that you are spent. Don't say that you are empty, because each emptiness also has a fullness in it. You are looking from the wrong end.

When you are working, creating, your mind is full of many things. The mind is occupied. Writing a novel the mind is occupied; writing a poem the mind is occupied. Then the book is finished.You feel empty. But there is no need to become sad. If you look at it rightly -- this is what Buddha called right-vision -- if you look rightly, you will feel freed of an obsession, of an occupation. You will feel clean again, unburdened.

Those characters of the novel are no longer moving there. Those guests are gone and the host is totally at ease. Enjoy it. Your wrong interpretation is creating sadness for you, and fear. Enjoy it. Have you never observed that when a guest comes you feel good; when he goes you feel even better? He leaves you alone, and now you have your own space.

To write a novel is maddening because so many characters become guests, and each character has his own way. It is not always that he listens to the writer, not always. Sometimes he has his own way, and he forces the writer in a certain direction. The writer starts the novel, but never ends it. Then those characters end it by themselves.

It is just like giving birth to a child. You can give birth to a child, but then the child starts moving on his own. The mother may have been thinking that the child would become a doctor, and he becomes a hobo. What can you do? You try-hard, but he becomes a hobo.

The same happens when you write a novel: you start with & character -- you were going to make a saint out of him, and he becomes a sinner. And I tell you, it is exactly as it happens to a child: the mother is worried; the novelist is worried. He wanted him to become a saint and he is becoming a sinner, and nothing can be done. He feels almost helpless, almost used by these characters. They are his fantasies, but once you cooperate with them they become almost real. And unless you get rid of them, you will never be at peace. If you have a book in your mind, it has to be written to get rid of it. It is a catharsis, it is unburdening yourself.

Remember, when a book is finished and a child is born, feel happy, enjoy that space, because sooner or later a new book will arise. As leaves come out of trees, as flowers come out of trees -- exactly like that, poems come out of a poet, novels come out of a novelist, paintings come out of a painter, songs are born out of a singer. Nothing can be done; they are natural.

You need a rest period. And if the child is going to be a lion, then a long rest period is needed. And a lion only gives birth to one child, because the whole being is involved in it. And then there is a rest period, a long rest period to recupe, to regain the energy that you have given to the child, to regain yourself again so that something can be born out of you.

So, don't take it amiss. That emptiness is beautiful, more beautiful than the days of creativity, because that creativity comes out of emptiness, those flowers come out of emptiness. enjoy that emptiness, feel blissful and blessed. Accept it, welcome it like a benediction, and soon you will see that you are again full of activity, and a greater book is going to be born again.

Come Follow To You, Vol 4, Chapter #10, Archive code: 7512300


Yesterday you commented on the creativity of Buddha's religion. Since I started meditating, my urge to create has slowly dropped away, while I've become more sensitive, more open, more alive. Everything feels fine as it is, more than enough, and to add to it by making anything else whatever, seems like painting the river.

That is true. The creativity that you ordinarily know is not the creativity I am talking about. The ordinary creativity is nothing but an ego trip. You want to show to the world that you are somebody -- a painter, a sculptor, a poet, a musician. You want to show to the world that you are somebody. Your creativity is not really creative, it is just a prop to the ego.

When you come to me, that kind of creativity will start disappearing -- because in the first place it was not real creativity. All that creativity will simply disappear from your mind. But you will become more sensitive, more open, more alive. Just wait -- out of this aliveness, sensitivity, openness, another kind of creativity will take possession of you soon. You will be possessed by something from the beyond. It will not be your ego trip; you will be just a vehicle, a hollow bamboo. And the music will flow through you -- it will not be of you, it will only flow through you. You will be just a hollow bamboo, a flute. You have only to allow it.

And for that I am preparing you. The openness, the aliveness, the sensitivity, is nothing but making your bamboo as hollow as possible, so when God starts singing through you, you don't hinder him.

Take It Easy, Vol 1, Chapter #14, Archive code: 7804240


You implore us constantly to give up memory, to live in the herenow. But in giving up memory I must also give up my greative imagination, for I am a writer and all that I write about has its roots in what I remember.

What does memory have to do with creative imagination?

You have not understood me, but that's natural. It is impossible to understand me, because to understand me you will have to drop your memory. Your memory interferes. You only listen to my words, and then you go on interpreting those words according to your memory, according to your past. You cannot understand me if you are not herenow... only then the meeting. Only in that moment you are with me; otherwise, you are physically present here, psychologically absent.

I have not been telling you to drop your factual memory. That will be stupid! Your factual memory is a must. You must know your name, who your father is and who your mother is and who your wife is and who your child is and your address; you will have to go back to the hotel, you will have to find your room again. Factual memory is not meant -- -psychological memory is meant. Factual memory is not a problem, it is pure remembrance. When you become psychologically affected by it, then the problem arises. Try to understand the difference.

Yesterday somebody insulted you. Again he comes across you today. The factual memory is that "this man insulted me yesterday." The psychological memory is that seeing that man you become angry; seeing that man, you start boiling up. And the man may be coming just to ask for your apology; the man may be coming to be excused, to be forgiven. He may have realized his mistake; he may have realized his unconscious behaviour. He may be coming to befriend you again, but you become boiled up. You are angry, you start shouting. You don't see his face herenow; you go on being affected by the face which was yesterday. But yesterday is yesterday! How much water has flowed down the Ganges? This man is not the same man. Twenty-four hours have brought many changes. And you are not the same man either.

The factual memory says, "This man insulted me yesterday," but that 'me' has changed. This man has changed. So it is as if that incident had happened between two persons with whom you have nothing to do any more -- then you are psychologically free. You don't say, "I still feel angry." There is no lingering anger. memory is there, but there is no psychological affectation. You meet the man again as he is now, and you meet him as you are now.

A man came and spat on Buddha's face. He was very angry. He was a Brahmin and Buddha was saying things which the priests were very angry about. Buddha wiped it off and asked the man, "Have you anything more to say?"

His disciple, Ananda, became very angry . He was so angry that he asked Buddha, "Just give me permission to put this man right. This is too much! I cannot tolerate it."

Buddha said, "But he has not spat on your face. This is my face. Secondly just look at the man! In what great trouble he is -- just look at the man! Feel compassion for him. He wants to say something to me, but words are inadequate -- that is my problem, my whole life's long problem. And I see the man in the same situation. I want to relate things to you that I have come to know, but I cannot relate them because words are inadequate. And this man is in the same boat: he is so angry that no word can express his anger. Just as I am in so much love that no word, no act, can express it. I see this man's difficulty -- hence he has spat. Just see!"

Buddha is seeing, Ananda is also seeing. Buddha is simply collecting a factual memory; Ananda is creating a psychological memory.

The man could not believe his ears, what Buddha was saying. He was very much shocked. He would not have been shocked if Buddha had hit him back, or Ananda had jumped upon him. There would have been no shock; that would have been expected, that would have been natural. That's how human beings react. But Buddha feeling for the man, seeing his difficulty.... The man went, could not sleep the whole night, pondered over it, meditated over it. Started feeling a great hurt, started feeling what he had done. A wound opened in his heart.

Early in the morning, he rushed to Buddha's feet, fell down on Buddha's feet, kissed his feet. And Buddha said to Ananda, "Look, again the same problem! Now he is feeling so much for me, he cannot speak in words. He is touching my feet.

"Man is so helpless. Anything that is too much cannot be expressed, cannot be conveyed, cannot be communicated. Some gesture has to be found to symbolize it. Look!"

And the man started crying and he said, "Excuse me, sir. I am immensely sorry. It was absolute stupidity on my part to spit on you, a man like you."

Buddha said, "Forget about it! The man you spat upon is no more, and the man who spat is no more. You are new, I am new! Look -- this sun that is rising is new. Everything is new. The yester-day is no more. Be finished with it! And how can I forgive? because you never spat on me. You spat on somebody who has departed."

Consciousness is a continuous river.

These psychological memories go on burdening you They destroy your freedom, they destroy your aliveness, they encage you. Factual memory is perfectly okay.

And one thing more to be understood: when there is no psychological memory, the factual memory is very accurate -- because the psychological memory is a disturbance. When you are very much psychologically disturbed, how can you remember accurately? It is impossible! You are trembling, you are shaking, you are in a kind of earthquake -- how can you remember exactly? You will exaggerate; you will add something, you will delete something, you will make something new out of it. You cannot be relied upon.

A man who has no psychological memory can be relied upon. That's why computers are more reliable than men, because they have no psychological memory. Just the facts -- bare facts, naked facts. When you talk about a fact, then too it is not fact: much fiction has entered into it. You have moulded it, you have changed it, you have painted it, you have given it colours of your own it is no more a fact! Only a Buddha, a Tathagata, an enlightened person, knows what a fact is; you never come across a fact, because you carry so many fictions in your mind. Whenever you find a fact, you immediately impose your fictions on it. You never see that which is. You go on distorting reality.

You ask: “What does memory have to do with creative imagination?”

In fact, the more memory you have, the less creative you will be -- because you will go on repeating the memory! And creativity means allowing the new to happen. Allowing the new to happen means: put aside the memory so the past does not interfere. Let the new penetrate you. Let the new come and thrill your heart. The past will be needed, but not now; the past will be needed when you start expressing this new experience. Then the past will be needed, because the language will be needed -- language comes from the past. You cannot invent language right now, or if you do invent it, it will be gibberish; it will not mean anything. And it will not be a communication; it will be talking in tongues, it will be baby talk. Not much creativity will come out of it. You will be talking nonsense.

To talk sense language is needed; language comes from the past. But language should come only when the experience has happened! Then use it as a technique. It should not hinder you.

When you see the rose opening in the early morn-ing sun, see it, let it have an impact, allow it to go deepest in you! Let its rosiness overpower you, overwhelm you. Don't say anything! Wait. Be patient. Be open. Absorb. Let the rose reach you, and you reach to the rose. Let there be a meeting, a communion of two beings -- the rose and you. Let there be a penetration, an interpenetration.

A moment comes when you become the rose and the rose becomes you, when the observer is the observed, when all duality disappears. In that moment you will know the reality, the suchness of the rose. Then, catch hold of your language, catch hold of your art. If you are a painter, then take your brush and colour and your canvas, and paint it. If you are a poet, then rush into your factual memory for right words so that you can express this experience.

But while the experience is happening, don't go on talking inside yourself. The inner talk will be an interference. You will never know the rose in its in-tensity and depth. You will know only the super-ficial, the shallow. And if you know the shallow, the shallow is going to be your expression; your art will not be of much value.

The real creativity is not out of remembrance but out of consciousness. You will have to become MORE conscious. The more conscious you are, the bigger the net you have, and of course the more fish will be caught.

Walk Without Feet, Fly Without Wings and Think Without Mind, Chapter #7, Archive code: 7801070


I have been playing whith the idea of studying your words in relation to the works of the poet, Rilke, whose ideas I find akin to yours.

It is always good to enjoy poetry, but there is no need to go into its analysis -- that is futile. You will destroy even the enjoyment that you are getting from it. Poetry is poetry; don't reduce it to philosophy because then it becomes mediocre. Poetry is like a bird on the wing: it is beautiful in the open sky, but when you catch the bird and put it in a cage it is no more beautiful because the freedom is gone. And concepts are cages, thoughts are cages.