From Bondage to Freedom Chapter 24 Learn the art ofliving

CHAPTER 24

Learn the art of living

8 October 1985 am in Rajneeshmandir

Question 1 BELOVED MASTER, OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS I AM AGAIN AND AGAIN REMINDED OF THE WORDS OF KAHLIL GIBRAN: "MAN CANNOT REAP LOVE UNTIL AFTER SAD AND REVEALING SEPARATION AND BITTER PATIENCE AND DESPERATE HARDSHIP." PLEASE COMMENT. It is true about Kahlil Gibran, but not true about love. Kahlil Gibran suffered much despair, anguish. He was not what you find him in his immensely important books, THE PROPHET, THE GARDEN OF THE PROPHET, and JESUS, THE SON OF MAN. Kahlil Gibran was just the opposite. And that is true about almost all the so-called great artists, painters, poets, sculptors, musicians, dancers. They are trying to fulfill their unfulfilled life in writing poetry, literature. That literature simply signifies their dream, not their reality. Never meet any man like Kahlil Gibran. Read his book, THE PROPHET ­ it is immensely beautiful ­ but avoid Kahlil Gibran himself, because you will be very much disappointed, for the simple reason that you cannot believe that this man has produced one of the classics of the whole of history. His book stands like an Everest, but he himself lies deep down in the dark valley of despair, existential meaninglessness: angry about life, angry with life, angry about everything. And the reason is simple.

It is a psychological truth that whatever you miss in your life, you fulfill in your dreams. Your dreams show what you are missing in your life. You can try small experiments and you will be able to see it. Just fast one day, and in the night you can be certain of having a great feast in your dreams ­ all delicious foods, perhaps an invitation from the king, or the president in the White House. Your dream shows that during the day you have been hungry. These creative people are able to put their dreams into their writings ­ but they are their dreams. So what Kahlil Gibran says about love is the experience of a man who wanted to love but could not love. He could not love because of his ego. The first need of love is that you should put aside your ego; and artists, poets, painters, musicians, are very egoistic people. Kahlil Gibran could not put his ego aside. It was not love that became his despair, it was his ego that would not allow him freedom to move into the world of love. He was chained. The longing for love and being chained to the ego created the whole tension, the anguish of his life. He has to be pitied. He is certainly one of the greatest geniuses of this century, but that does not make him a great lover. The very fact that he was a great genius helped him to go on nourishing his ego. He never could become innocent like a child ­ of which he talks again and again in his writings. That is his dream. So remember, while you are reading books written by unenlightened people, looking at paintings, sculpture, architecture made by unenlightened people, beware. These people were not blissful people themselves. They were capable of projecting their dreams, but they were not able to transform their dreams into a living reality within their own being. They were utter failures as far as their own being is concerned. Love does not need you to go into depression, despair, no ­ just the opposite. Love needs you to go into silence, into peace, into meditativeness, into a tremendous rejoicing ­ rejoicing just in the fact that you are alive. And out of this rejoicing, this dance, love radiates. According to Kahlil Gibran's statement, before you reach love you have to pass through hell. Strange training... a great school to teach love! And a man who has been in despair, depression, anguish, anxiety, will become farther and farther away from love. No, if you want to experience love you have to pass through your inner paradise. You have to become centered, you have to become so peaceful that small things of life make you dance. Just a roseflower dancing in the wind, in the rain, in the sun ­ and something in you starts dancing with it. You are ready. You have graduated from the school of paradise; now love is your reward. So I contradict Kahlil Gibran absolutely and categorically, because it goes against my existential experience. I have been through my own paradise, and after that only the fragrance of love remains. You are so blissful that you would like to bless the whole world. Kahlil Gibran is absolutely wrong. But what he is saying is his own experience, and he never graduated from hell. He never could manage to be a loving human being. He was always sad, always a long face, always angry ­ as if he was against existence itself, as if he wanted to ask existence, "Why have you chosen me to be born and suffer?"

If you want to write poetry about love, follow Kahlil Gibran. If you want to experience love, then listen carefully to what I am saying to you. Question 2 BELOVED MASTER, I FEEL HURT SEEING SANNYASINS WITH SUCH UGLY WEAPONS IN THEIR HANDS DURING DISCOURSE. PLEASE COMMENT. I also feel the same way. But the questioner is ignorant; I am not. The questioner is a visitor, a mother of two children. I would like to ask her, "Would you like your two children to be bulldozed? Would that be beautiful?" Before these guns appeared here, fanatic Christians were harassing sannyasins. It became absolutely necessary for sannyasins to have some kind of protection. Hell's Angels were coming to the commune: we had no guns, no weapons. The people of the commune are not interested in guns and weapons ­ this is not an army ­ but to prevent these people from harassing your children we have to accept something ugly, because those people will not understand the meaning of roseflowers. I would like that guards carry roseflowers rather than guns. But who is going to take care of your children? I can tell the security force to give all those guns to the government, if the government of Oregon is ready to protect the commune. You feel they are ugly. You don't feel that all over America the police carrying guns is ugly. You don't feel that your having nuclear weapons is ugly. You know that you are the people who destroyed innocent people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atom bombs ­ that was not ugly? And these toy guns? For five thousand sannyasins only three dozen toy guns! They have not been used, and I have been insistent that they should avoid using them as far as possible, unless it becomes absolutely necessary. If some hooligans come and start raping a woman, will that be beautiful? Roseflowers won't be able to stop the rape; these guns will be able to stop the rape. And since we have made a security force, all those fanatic Christians, Witnesses of Jehovah, Hell's Angels ­ they have stopped coming, knowing that it is dangerous to create a nuisance here. So these guns have been of immense help. They have not harmed anybody, but they have prevented people harming the commune. You are a mother: what do you want to be done with your children? Should they be protected or not? If you say no, they should not be protected, stand up ­ and all the guns will disappear tomorrow. Have courage! Then I will not be responsible at all for whatever happens to the commune; you will be responsible. Before asking a question, please think what you are asking, all its implications.

You have been clapping because I have dropped red clothes, malas. And when you clap, you don't know how it hurts me. That means you have been a hypocrite! Why have you been wearing red clothes if dropping them brings you so much joy? Why have you been wearing the mala? The moment I say, "Drop!" you rejoice. And people rushed to the boutique to change their clothes, they have dropped their malas. But you don't know how much you have wounded me by your clapping and by your changing. Now I have to say one thing more, and I would like to see whether you have the guts to clap or not: that is, now there is no buddhafield. So if you want enlightenment, you have to work for it individually. The buddhafield exists no more. You cannot depend on the energy of the buddhafield to become enlightened. Now clap as loudly as you can. CLAP!... Now you are completely free: even for enlightenment only you are responsible. And I am completely free from you. You have been behaving like idiots! And this has given a good chance to see how many people are really intimate with me. If you can drop your malas so easily.... Even in my own house there is one sannyasin who immediately changed to blue clothes, with great joy. What does it show? It shows that those red clothes were a burden. She was somehow managing to be in red clothes against her will. But I don't want you to do anything against your will. Now I don't want even to help you towards your enlightenment against your will. You are absolutely free and responsible for yourself. Question 3 BELOVED MASTER, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CHRISTIAN, A COMMUNIST AND A COMMUNE MEMBER? Judaism has given birth to very strange children. The first is Christianity. Jesus was a Jew ­ born a Jew, lived as a Jew, died as a Jew. He never knew that he was a Christian. In fact, Christians should take note of it, that Jesus was not a Christian. They are following a Jew. Even the word "Christian" was unheard of by Jesus because it is Greek, and he knew only Aramaic, his mother tongue. In Aramaic, which is a popular version of Hebrew, he was calling himself "the messiah," not "Christ." It was three hundred years afterwards, when the New Testament was translated into Greek, that "messiah" became "Christ" and the followers of the messiah became "Christians." It is one of the most primitive religions. It has not the heights of Buddhism, Taoism, Hassidism, Zen ­ nothing of that sort, it is very primitive. And that is the reason why Christianity has become the biggest religion in the world ­ because it appeals to the retarded mind. No intelligence is needed to understand Christianity. There is nothing to understand; you have simply to believe. You have to have faith, and the faith in Jesus Christ will save you ­ so simple, any idiot can do it. It is not a transformation. Those who do not believe will fall into the darkness of hell.

I am reminded of one English philosopher, Edmund Burke. He used to go to listen to one of his friends who was a bishop, every Sunday, because the bishop was very articulate and a great orator. Edmund Burke asked him, "I have only one question. If faith is the only thing that saves, then what happens to all those people who do not have faith but are good, virtuous, moral? For example, what happens to Socrates? What happens to Gautam Buddha? What happens to Confucius? They all fall into hell? And connected with the same question is the second question: that there have been people ­ murderers, rapists ­ who have done all kinds of crimes; but they believed, they had faith, and they will be saved? You have to answer me." The bishop was in a difficulty. He could not say that men like Socrates, Gautam Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, will go into hell. No intelligent man can say that. Certainly they were not believers; they were very much seekers, searchers. They doubted everything, they were skeptical. Unless they came to some indubitable truth, they were not going to have faith of any kind. And when you realize some truth, the question of faith does not arise: you know it! Faith is only for the ignorant. You don't believe in the sun, you don't believe in the moon. You don't believe in yourself ­ you know you are. You cannot deny that you are, because even your denial will only prove that you are; otherwise, who is denying? Faith is a cover-up for ignorance. The bishop was learned enough; he was a friend of Edmund Burke's, and to say anything stupid to that man would create a great controversy. He said, "I would like seven days' time to think it over. Nobody has asked this question. The question is significant. "Virtuous people, good people who have never done any harm to anybody, will go to hell just because they don't have faith in Jesus Christ. Then goodness, virtue, morality, are all meaningless. Then crime, rape, murder, theft, are perfectly good: just have faith in Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." In seven days he could not figure it out. He could not sleep well; the question was continuously torturing him. The question was such that if he says that good people will enter paradise, then what about faith? Faith is not a necessity. If he says that evildoers will fall into hell even though they have faith, then faith is impotent, it cannot help, it cannot save. So what is the need of faith? Those who are good will go to paradise; those who are bad will go to hell. Faith becomes simply irrelevant. The bishop was going crazy. And the next Sunday came ­ he went to church a little early, because he was not yet ready to answer Burke. He thought perhaps by praying to Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Holy Ghost, he may be able to answer the question. It was dark when he reached the church. He prayed. But he had not slept for seven days; rather than praying, he fell into sleep, and he saw a dream. The dream was: he is at a railway station purchasing a ticket for paradise. The train is just about to leave. He rushes into the train, because he wants to see who the people are who have entered paradise ­ the faithful or the virtuous? He was surprised when the train reached paradise. It looked so dull and so dusty and so dead, he could not believe it. He inquired of other passengers, "It looks like hell! This cannot be heaven." But they all said, "This is heaven."

He went into the streets, looked at people ­ no joy, no laughter, all serious faces. Saints are not supposed to laugh. He could not even find a restaurant... because he was wanting a cup of tea, but saints are not supposed to have such delicacies. No restaurant... and people were looking almost dead. He could not see anybody ­ Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, great painters, great artists, great musicians. Nobody was there, only retarded saints who had become even more retarded ­ sitting there the whole day, playing on the harp, "Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia." That was the whole work they were doing. He rushed to the station to inquire whether any train goes to hell, because he would like to see hell also. And he was surprised: as the train entered the area of hell... fresh air, a new atmosphere. Something beautiful... beautiful gardens, lawns.... He said, "This looks like heaven! Strange, but the sign at the station says 'Hell'." There was everywhere laughter, joy; people were dancing, playing on their guitars. There were painters he recognized, musicians he recognized. He met Socrates, and it was such an ecstasy to see the man! He met Buddha; he could not believe that a man like Buddha should be in hell. He said to Buddha, "I cannot believe my eyes. I have just been to heaven, and it looked like hell! And this place is so lush, green, so many flowers, so much fragrance, so much singing and dancing! All great poets, all dancers, all great philosophers, all geniuses ­ the very cream of humanity is available here. I am puzzled." Gautam Buddha said, "Don't be puzzled. These people are creative people. When we had come, it was far worse than the heaven that you have just seen. But with all these beautiful people, we transformed it. Even the devil is meditating, learning to paint, composing music. He has forgotten his old business." And at that point the bishop woke up, because people had started coming into the church. The dream had given him the answer. He was a sincere man certainly; he said to Edmund Burke, "Please forgive me. It is not a question of who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. We have to look at the whole question from a different angle. Wherever people like Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu are, they create heaven. And wherever dull, retarded, idiotic saints are, they create hell. So it is not a question of you going to hell, it is a question of what you can create. You bring your heaven and hell with you." And that's my whole teaching. Don't bother about heaven and hell. Rather, learn to live in hell, in heaven ­ whichever you choose. You are totally free right now. Discipline yourself. If you want to be in paradise, then be in paradise, and start living in paradise from this moment! Then wherever you will be, it does not matter, you will be in paradise. Learn the art of living. When we came here it was just a desert. When I came here, I was surprised ­ I could not find a single bird; the possibility of finding a man was out of the question. Even a bird was not there, only poor juniper trees here and there. Juniper trees are camels, very stubborn; they defy even the

desert. But they were all without any juice ­ not green, not with an abundance of leaves; very poor, somehow struggling to survive. Within four years we have made it an oasis. Now birds have started coming. Deer have moved here from all the other ranches, because anywhere else their life is in danger; they can be killed. They are being hunted. For ten days every year, Oregon state gives hunters freedom to kill deer. Only on these one hundred and twenty-six square miles nobody can kill any deer. The hunters are very angry, the ranchers are very angry, because all their deer have disappeared, and the deer are here in abundance. I have asked my people to make many small pools of water in the coming winter, and grow as much grass as possible that deer like, so the whole city becomes a deer park. And it is so beautiful to live in harmony.... And have you watched? ­ the junipers are no longer just surviving; they have grown, they are greener. We will make this desert a lush green place, one of the places Oregon can be proud of ­ a beautiful holiday resort. We can create as many lakes as we want. We can bring all kinds of animals, birds. Now we have three hundred peacocks, thousands of deer, dozens of swans. And we are going to plant, this year, twenty thousand evergreen trees. The question is simply to be creative, to be in harmony with nature ­ and you are in paradise. Paradise is within your hands. It has nothing to do with any faith, any belief. Paradise is simply creativity, sensitivity, humanity. Question 4 BELOVED MASTER, QUANTUM PHYSICISTS ARE USING THE TERM "CONSCIOUSNESS." ARE THEY USING THIS WORD IN THE SAME SENSE THAT YOU DO? IF NOT, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CONSCIOUSNESS THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT, AND THE CONSCIOUSNESS YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT? There is a great difference. The physicists are talking about a consciousness which they have not experienced within themselves; it is only a hypothesis. It is their objective observation that consciousness exists: people are conscious ­ you cannot deny it. Because it is an objective observation, they are bound to be defining it in a wrong way, because basically consciousness is your subjectivity. It is irreducible into an object. You cannot study it from outside. From outside you can study only behavior, you cannot study consciousness; hence, there is a school of psychology called behaviorism. People are behaving as if they are conscious. The physicist's consciousness is "as if" ­ a hypothesis, because people are not behaving consciously. So the first, basic mistake is, they are simply taking an objective view of something which can never become an object, which is always the subject. There is no way to make it an object. And because

they are studying it as an object, they are falling into many pitfalls. One is that consciousness is a by-product of biology, physiology, chemistry ­ of all that man is made of. It is simply a by-product, it is not an independent entity in itself. It is just like a clock: the hands move, but that movement does not show that inside there is life that is moving them. It is mechanical; you can separate the parts and the movement will stop. You can put them back together again and the movement will start. You cannot do that to man. Take his physiology, chemistry, biology apart, and then try to put them together again ­ you will have just a corpse, no consciousness. Consciousness is not a by-product. Consciousness experienced subjectively needs some inward journey. No scientist is doing that. He wants to study consciousness in white mice, in guinea pigs. This is very strange. The scientist has the consciousness in himself, what is the need to go to a white mouse? Go inwards! And that's what I call the science of interiority, religio, meditation. You move deeper, leaving your body, your mind, your heartbeat far behind ­ and, still, you are. And you are more than you have ever been, because you had known yourself filtered through the heart, through the mind, through the body ­ thick layers. So you had felt your consciousness in a very slight way. But when you have reached to your own center ­ which is neither chemical nor physical nor biological ­ you experience a totally new reality. Immediately you become aware that it is not a by-product, that it has its own existence. The body may die, but this consciousness is so separate from the body that there is no possibility of its dying with the body. The heart may stop, but you are so far away from the heart, you are no longer identified with the heart. You are part of an eternal life. So when I talk about consciousness, I am talking about my own experience of diving deep into my being. And when the physicists talk about consciousness, they are talking not about experience but about experiments that they are doing with white mice, guinea pigs. Strange people! You have consciousness, the white mouse is in a very backward state of life; why not find it within yourself? Man is the highest expression of consciousness. Science can never know the real being, the real soul, the real consciousness, for the simple reason that it is object-oriented. Hence, a totally different approach is needed, a science which is subjectoriented. You cannot put consciousness in a test-tube. Consciousness is not something material; it is not something like a commodity. It is not something that you can dissect and find out what elements it is made of. It is a single, indivisible life. And the only way to know it is to go within yourself. That is the purpose of the commune. It is not a religion; it is the science of subjectivity. So there is a total difference. What they are talking about is absolutely irrelevant. What I am talking about is the real thing. And you need not go anywhere, because it is within you. No lab is needed, no instruments are needed. All that is needed is that you learn how to relax, how to be silent, how to be just a witness. And slowly slowly your mind stops its unnecessary chattering, your heart stops its moods, feelings. And suddenly you are your reality, your consciousness.

And it reveals all the mysteries. It is the golden key, the master key, because it makes you aware not only of your consciousness, it makes you aware that your consciousness is not separate from other consciousnesses. Consciousness is almost like an ocean. We are all in it, we are all sharing the same consciousness. The trees, the animals, the birds ­ they are all sharing the same consciousness in different stages of growth. You are fortunate to be a human being, because this gives you an opportunity to turn in. Question 5 BELOVED MASTER, TO MOST OF US, IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO BE NEAR YOU THAN ANYTHING ELSE, MOST IMPORTANT TO BE PART OF THE COMMUNE, WHATEVER IT TAKES. PLEASE COMMENT. It is certainly the most important thing ­ to be near any enlightened person ­ for the simple reason that you are a seed, and he has grown, become a tree... has come to fruition, has flowered. He is your future. To be near him is the greatest encouragement that you are not being born just to remain a seed, that you have to grow, that you have to die as a seed and become a living, growing tree. If one seed has managed to come to flower, the other seed can also take the jump. It is a great jump, because the seed will die. You need some proof that after the seed dies, the real life begins. The enlightened man is your ultimate flowering. The person who is enlightened is the only proof that you can also become the same, that you have the same potential ­ just a little courage is needed to die as a seed, as an ego. And the more you die as an ego, the closer you are to me. The only distance between me and you is not that of space: the only distance is that of your ego. Drop the ego. Be innocent like small children, and growth will start happening of its own accord. Seeing anybody coming out of the seed, becoming a sprout, is a tremendous joy. The journey has started. And I created these communes for the simple purpose of protecting those fragile sprouts. There is every danger you will never reach to the flowering state; you may be destroyed in the middle. The commune is not an organization; it is simply a communion of friends who are searching for the same treasure, and helping each other. Somebody is ahead of you, somebody is behind you. Somebody is still more ahead, somebody has blossomed. All that helps you to drop all fear, and you start growing fearlessly. To be close to me is very easy. Just put your ego aside, and then there is no difference, no distance. But I have been seeing... you want to be close to me, but whatever you do takes you farther away, it does not bring you close to me. Just a few days before, in a press conference, I had asked you, "Are you with me? Raise your hands." And ten thousand hands were raised. One woman wrote a letter to me, "I did not want to raise my hands."

There is no problem ­ but then what the hell are you doing here? If you are not with me, then go somewhere else where you can be with someone with your totality. And I had not asked you to jump into a well, I had just asked you to raise both your hands. Even that she could not do. Now, this woman is part of the commune. In what way can she be part of the commune? I don't want to tell you her name because then I will have immediately to go and wash my mouth. Such ugly attitudes! Then I wonder how you can grow, how you can come close to me. Then it is perfectly right ­ pack your luggage and go down the county road, which goes directly to hell. It is made in such a way that you will feel much of hell on the road itself. Question 6 BELOVED MASTER, WHAT IS LIFE? It is not a question. A rose is a rose is a rose. What is a rose? You are alive, and you ask me what is life? Are you alive or dead? If I was in a graveyard and people started coming out of their graves and asking, "What is life?" the question would be relevant. But you are still out of the grave. You are alive, but you have never looked into the source of your life, from where comes your aliveness. Just go in. Forget everything ­ the whole world. Even for a few moments, as if you are alone, just go in. Right now, in this very silence, you will know what life is. You will never be able to say to anybody what life is. It is a mystery to be experienced, but it cannot be explained. That's why I said "A rose is a rose is a rose." It says nothing, there is no explanation, but you can experience it. And the rose is something outside you, but life is all that you are. But for thousands of years you have been conditioned not to live, just to survive. You have been told by religions to renounce everything that can give you a taste of life. My effort is just the opposite of all the religions. That's why I have refused to call my people a religion. I don't want to belong to that category of life-negative people. I am utterly in love with life. My approach is life-affirmative. You dance, you sing, you love, you meditate. And, in different ways, try to feel your aliveness. Whatever you are doing, do it so intensely and so totally that your full life starts functioning, that you start throbbing.

You will know, but you will never be able to say what it is. But there is no need; anybody who asks you, you can show him the way. You cannot explain to him what life is, but you can show him the way, how you have arrived, how you have been able to experience it. It is a taste on the tongue ­ very sweet. I am reminded of a story.... In a cafeteria in paradise, Gautam Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu are all sitting around a table talking about great things of life. A naked, beautiful woman comes with a jar in her hands, and she says, "This jar contains the very juice of life. Would any of you like to taste it?" Buddha immediately closes his eyes. He is for renouncing life, he is for not seeing a woman ­ and that too, so beautiful, and naked. Confucius tries to follow Buddha, because he does not want to be thought less than Buddha. But just out of the corner of his eye ­ the woman is so beautiful, the temptation is so great ­ he looks at her. And the woman says, "Perhaps you would like...?" He says, "First I will have just a sip to taste what it is." He takes a sip and says, "It is bitter!" Lao Tzu is sitting with wide open eyes, enjoying the beauty of the woman. He takes the whole jar, and drinks it completely. The woman says, "What are you doing?" He says, "Keep quiet! I never do anything halfway. Either I do it, then I do it totally; or I do not do it, but then I do not do it totally. And Confucius is right: in the beginning it is bitter ­ one has to learn the taste ­ in the end it is really great, just groovy!" My approach is, drink the whole juice of life. Squeeze every moment to its fullest, and you will know what life is. I cannot answer. It is not a question. It is a quest, and you have to do it. Nobody else can do it on your behalf. I have tasted it, and it is really groovy. Okay?

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