The Smokeless Flame
(This Chapter title does not exist in the new edition and questions and answers from this chapter has been placed in the "Responses to Questions" at the end of Chapter 4 in the new edition)
The first question:
You must have told us so many times already, but I still don’t get it : What is the seed of desire? Is it only in the existence of mind? And how is the desire of the body for sex related to the mind?
Anurag, the energy called desire has been condemned for centuries. Almost all the so-called saints have been against it, because desire is life and they were all life-negative. Desire is the very source of all that you see, and they were against all that which is visible. They wanted to sacrifice the visible at the feet of the invisible; they wanted to cut the roots of desire so there would no longer be any possibility of life.
A tremendously great urge to commit total suicide has dominated humanity down the ages.
I have a totally different concept of desire. First, desire itself is God. Desire without any object, desire without being goal-oriented, unmotivated desire, pure desire, is God. The energy called desire is the same energy as God.
Desire has not to be destroyed, it has to be purified. Desire has not to be dropped, it has to be transformed. Your very being is desire; to be against it is to be against yourself and against all. To be against it is to be against the flowers and the birds and the sun and the moon. To be against it is against all creativity. Desire is creativity.
The Eastern scriptures are perfectly right when they say that God created the world because a great desire arose in him -- a desire to create, a desire to manifest, a desire to make many from one, a desire to expand. But these are only metaphors; God is not separate from desire. Desire means a longing, a great longing, to expand, to become huge, to be enormous -- as huge as the sky.
Just watch people, watch desires, and you will understand what I mean. Even in your ordinary desires, the basic thing is present. In fact what the man who wants to have more and more money really wants is not money but expansion, because money can help you expand. You can have a bigger house, you can have a bigger garden, you can have this, you can have that -- your territory will be bigger, your freedom will be bigger. With more money you will have more alternatives to choose from.
The man who is after money may not know why he is after the money. He may himself think and believe that he loves money, but that is only on the surface of his consciousness. Go deeper into his unconscious, help him to meditate, and you will be surprised and he will be surprised to find that the desire for money is not really the desire for money, it is the desire to expand.
And the same is the case with all other desires. Men want more power, more fame, longer life, better health, but what are they desiring in these different things? The same, exactly the same: they want to be more. They don't want to remain confined, they don't want to be limited. It hurts to feel that you are definable, because if you are definable then you are just an object, a thing, a commodity. It hurts that you have limitations, because to have limitations means to be imprisoned.
But all these objects of desire, sooner or later, disappoint. Money becomes possible one day, and yet expansion has not happened; you may have a little more freedom of choice, but that does not satisfy. The desire was for the infinite, and money cannot purchase the infinite. Yes, you have more power, you are more well-known, but that doesn't really matter in the long run. Millions of people have lived on this earth and were very famous, and now nobody even knows their names. Everything has disappeared into dust -- dust into dust, not even traces are left. Where is Alexander the Great? What is he? Would you like to be a dead Alexander the Great or an alive beggar? Ask yourself, and your being will say it is better to be alive and be a beggar than to be dead and be an Alexander.
If you watch carefully, money, power, prestige -- nothing satisfies. On the contrary, they make you more discontented. Why? -- because when you were poor there was a hope that one day the money was going to happen and all would be settled and settled forever, and then you would relax and enjoy. Now that has happened, and there seems to be no sign of any relaxation. In fact, you are more tense than before, you are more anxiety-ridden than before.
Money has brought a few blessings, but in the same measure it has brought many curses too. You can have a bigger house, but now you will have less peace. You can have a bigger bank balance, but you will also have a bigger madness, anxiety, neurosis, psychosis. Money has brought a few things which are good; in the wake of it many other things have arrived which are not good at all. And if you look at the whole thing, the whole effort has been a sheer wastage. And now you cannot have even the hope that the poor man can have.
The rich man becomes hopeless. He knows now the money will go on increasing and nothing is going to happen -- just death, only death. He has tasted all kinds of things; now he only feels a tastelessness. A kind of death has already happened, because he cannot conceive of how to fulfill that desire for expansion.
But desire in itself is not wrong. The desire for money, the desire for power, the desire for prestige, are wrong objects for desire -- let it be very clear. By having wrong objects of desire, desire itself does not become wrong. You can have a sword and you can kill somebody -- that does not make the sword something wrong. You can also save somebody with the same sword. Poison can kill and poison can become medicine too. In the right hands, poison is nectar; in the wrong hands, nectar is poison.
This is the essential wisdom of all the buddhas of all the ages. What the priests say is one thing; what the buddhas have brought to the world is totally different, it is diametrically opposite.
Desire has to be purified and transformed, because it is your energy -- you don't have any other energy. How to transform desire? One way, the ordinary way, the mediocre way, is to change the object. Don't go after money, start going after God. You are frustrated with money -- become religious, go to the church, to the temple, to the mosque. Let your desire have a new object called God, which is as illusory as the object called money, even more illusory, because what do you know about God? Money at least is something visible, objective; you have known it, you have seen it. What do you know of God? You have only heard the word. God remains a word unless experienced. God remains an empty word unless you pour some content into it through your own existential experience.
People, when they are frustrated with worldly desires, start changing the object: they start making otherworldly objects of desire -- heaven, paradise, and all the joys of heaven. But it is the same trick, the mind is again befooling you. This is not the way of the intelligent person, this is the way of the stupid.
What is intelligence? Intelligence means the insight that no object can fulfill your desire. No object, I say, and I say it categorically, no object can ever fulfill your desire. Your desire is divine. Your desire is as big as the sky -- even the sky is not a limit to it. No object can fill it. Then what is to be done? The intelligent person stops desiring objects. He makes his desire pure of all objects -- worldly, otherworldly. He starts living his desire in its purity, moment to moment. He is full of desire, full of overflowing energy. His ordinary life becomes so intense, so passionate, that whatsoever he touches will be transformed. The baser metal will become gold, and the dead tree will come to bloom again.
It is said of Buddha that wherever he moved, dead trees would start growing leaves; out of season, trees would bloom. These are beautiful poetic expressions of a certain metaphysical truth. Buddha is pure desire, just desire. Not a desire for anything; he has abandoned all objects.
Let me remind you, first he abandoned the world. He was a prince, he was born to be a king. Seeing the futility of money, seeing the futility of all kinds of relationships, seeing the futility of all that the world can give -- he was only twenty-nine years old -- he escaped. He did well, because after thirty it becomes more difficult, more and more difficult.
Hippies are right. They say, "Don't believe a man who is over thirty." Buddha escaped at the right time -- he was exactly twenty-nine -- because the more you become experienced in worldly ways, the more cowardly you become. Religion is for the courageous, religion is for the brave, religion is for the young, those who are still able to take the risk, those who are still able to gamble.
Buddha escaped. Seeing the futility, he escaped in search of God, in search of truth. He replaced his desire for the world with the desire for God, truth, nirvana. For six years he worked hard. By the time he was thirty-five he was utterly spent. He had done all that was possible, humanly possible, to do. He fasted for months, meditated, practiced yoga. And in those days there were different kinds of schools. He went from one teacher to another, from one school to another, he practiced all possible methods. And one day it suddenly flashed.
He was crossing the river Niranjana. It is a small river -- when I went to see the river I could not believe the story. The story says that he could not cross the river Niranjana, he could not swim it, because he was so weak. The river is so narrow, the river is so small, but he must have been very weak from years of fasting. It is said that he had fasted so long that you could count his bones, his ribs. He had become simply bones, he was a skeleton; his stomach had completely disappeared, his stomach and his back had become one. He must have been really weak; he could not cross the river, and was hanging onto the root of a tree, having no energy to get out of the river.
In that moment, a great insight happened. Insights happen only in such moments. When the frustration is total, when the disappointment is complete, when the disillusionment is utter, when there is nothing left to hope for... in that moment he saw the pointlessness of it all. The worldly objects were meaningless; he had had all of them and they did not satisfy. And those otherworldly desires were just as foolish as the worldly desires. In that moment, in that insight, he became objectless.
Let me tell you, the scriptures report it very wrongly. They say that in that moment he became desireless. But try to understand what I am trying to convey to you. He became objectless, not desireless. You cannot become desireless. Desire is your very life, your breath, your heartbeat; desire is your being. But certainly a transformation happened; he became objectless. This-worldly, otherworldly, all desires in toto disappeared as objects, not desire as energy. There was no object; pure energy was felt, a desiring for nothing, a pure desire moving nowhere, a pure desire herenow.
That very night he attained enlightenment. Having nothing to desire, he rested under a tree and fell asleep. For the first time he really slept. When there is nothing to desire, there is nothing to dream about either, because dreams are reflections of your desires. Dreams are reflections of your frustrations, dreams are reflections of your repressions, dreams reflect your day-life. That night there was no dream, it was a dreamless deep sleep.
Patanjali says dreamless deep sleep is closest to samadhi -- just one step more, and you have come home. And that one step happened early in the morning. Rested, Buddha opened his eyes. For the first time in his life there was nowhere to go, nothing to do. For the first time in life he must have been at a loss. Now what? There was nothing to cling to, nothing to hold on to. There must have been an utter emptiness. Time must have stopped. There was no program any more. Every day he used to get up with so many ideas to be cultivated, so many methods to be practiced, so many religious rituals to be done, and all that. Today there was nothing left! Utter emptiness.
But do you think he died? No, he was born. Objects were not there. Now the desire was pure -- just a throb, a pulsation, just a passion for nothing in particular. Resting under the tree with open eyes, he must have been seeing the sky in the east becoming red, and then the sunrise. And with the rising sun and with the sky turning red, and with the last star of the night disappearing, he became enlightened.
What does this word enlightenment mean? It simply means desire was freed from all objects. He became pure love, compassion, pure life. And this pure life has tremendous beauty and ecstasy; with this pure life you have attained the infinite. Desire remains small because you confine it to small objects, desire remains small because you desire small things. Seeing it, people start desiring big things -- but big things are also small things; howsoever big they are, they have limitations.
Just think of your God. How big is he? Egyptians used to say he is seven feet tall -- nothing much. There are many Dutch sannyasins here. Whenever I see a Dutch sannyasin, I remember the Egyptians and the Egyptian gods. Indians say he has three faces. So what? Our politicians have one thousand and one faces, and everyone has many faces. Only three? When you talk to your wife you have one face, when you talk to your girlfriend you have another face, when you talk to your servant still another, when you talk to your boss still another. Just watch the whole day, how many faces you have! And God seems to be very poor -- only three faces? How does he manage with only three faces?
All concepts of God are bound to be limited. Concepts as such are bound to be limited. Even if you say he is infinite, what do you mean? What do you mean by infinite? Try to comprehend the meaning of the word infinite and you will be in a difficulty. Even your word infinite will be found to be finite. You can say he is unbounded, but just think, what do you mean? The boundary must be somewhere; how could it be that one just goes on and on and on? There must be a boundary -- maybe it is very far away, far far away, maybe you will never reach it, but what do you mean by "unbounded"? You simply mean unmeasured, nothing more.
What do you mean when you say the ocean is unfathomable? Do you think there is no bottom to it? The bottom is there, although we may not have fathomed it. Our ways of measurement are small, our yardsticks are small.
Any word that we can use is bound to remain limited. Hence, those who have known God, they say nothing can be said about him. Buddha did not even say this much, that nothing can be said about him, because he said if you say nothing can be said about him, you have already said something. You have already defined him! "Nothing can be said about him" is a statement, and all statements define.
You can move from small objects to bigger and bigger objects, but still your desire, your life, will not feel fulfilled. It cannot feel fulfilled unless it is really infinite, not in conceptions but in experience, and unless you taste the infinity of existence.
Desire is beautiful, there is nothing wrong in it -- only free it from objects. With freedom from objects, desire is divine.
Anurag, you say, "You must have told us so many times already, but I still don't get it...."
Just by my saying it, you are not going to get it. You will have to move into experience. It is not a philosophical system of thought that I am conveying to you. I am only pointing towards a path; the path has to be followed. You will not get it just by listening to me. Yes, you can get it if you sit silently by my side. You can get it in the intervals, when I am here and you are here and no word interferes, intervenes.
Words don't communicate. On the contrary, for higher things they become barriers. For lower things they are bridges; the higher you move, the less and less they are bridges, the more and more they are walls.
You say, "You must have told us so many times already, but I still don't get it...."
I will go on saying it, Anurag, again and again, but remember, you will not get it just by listening to me. You will have to be something like me. You will have to imbibe me, you will have to digest me. It is not something verbal that is happening here, it is something existential. It is a love affair.
I am not a teacher, I am not teaching you anything, I am simply imparting something to you. What has happened to me, I am inviting you to partake of it. Be my guest, let me be your host. And if you can even be a guest for a single moment, that which has not been understood for so long will be immediately understood. And not only will it be understood, you will be surprised how you went on missing it. It is so simple; to have understood it would have been simple.
But it is a question of an energy communication. And, slowly slowly, I will turn the commune into an energy communication. Words can take you only so far, then it has to become a meeting of energies. You have to be electrified by me. You have to allow my pure desiring, my pure energy. It is objectless; I don't desire a thing, I am simply desire. If you allow yourself to come in contact with this energy, there will be a transformation, a turning point, a conversion.
You say, "What is the seed of desire?"
There is no seed of desire. Desire is the seed of all. Desire is the ultimate seed. God desired to be man, God desired to expand, God desired to create.
Desire is the seed of everything!
If you ask me, I will say God is desire -- that's why he could desire. Only desire can desire.
You ask, "Is it only in the existence of mind?"
No. The mind has only a very tunnel vision. The mind is as if you are hiding behind a door and looking through the keyhole. Yes, sometimes you can see a bird on the wing, but for only a split second, and then it is gone. You see somebody passing by -- a beautiful woman, a beautiful man, or a dog -- just for a moment, and it is gone. A moment before, it was not there; a moment afterwards, it is no more there. That's how the mind creates time. It is a keyhole.
You see a bird on the wing, and you see it only for just a second. Before that, it was not -- do you think it was not? It was, but for you it was in the future, because it was not in front of your keyhole. And after a moment it is no more again -- do you think it is no more? It still is, but for you it is past.
Mind is limited, hence it creates divisions -- past, present and future. The present is that which for a moment appears on the screen of the mind, and the past is that which is no more on the screen, and the future is that which is not yet. But let me tell you: all is, and always is. Nothing ever goes out of existence, and nothing ever comes into existence. Everything persists, remains.
Time is a false notion created by the mind.
Eternity is truth, timelessness is truth.
Somebody asked Jesus, "Tell us something more about the kingdom of God. What will be special there? Something unique. Yes, we have heard that there will be pleasure, but pleasure we know -- maybe it will be thousands and thousands of times greater, but we know what pleasure is. We have heard there will be celestial music -- okay, we know something about music. But what will be special?"
And you will be surprised what Jesus said. It is not recorded in the Christian scriptures, but there are a few sayings scattered here and there in other scriptures. This is recorded by the Sufis. Jesus said, "There shall be time no longer." A tremendously significant answer. There shall be time no longer -- this will be special. You have known everything, but you have not known timelessness. "There shall be time no longer" means there shall be mind no longer. Mind and time are synonymous.
In the ultimate reckoning, time is mind, mind is time. Both are aspects of the same coin, they both disappear together. Drop one, and the other is gone also.
You ask me, "What is the seed of desire?"
Anurag, there is no seed of desire. Desire is the ultimate seed of all other seeds.
And you ask, "Is it only in the existence of mind?"
No. The mind has only a little glimpse of desire, just a flickering glimpse of desire. Mind knows nothing of desire; mind only knows about desiring this and desiring that. Desiring money, desiring power, desiring prestige -- mind knows about desires for objects. When the objects are no more there, desire is no more part of the mind. Then desire is beyond mind; then desire is simply an overflowing energy.
William Blake says desire is energy and energy is delight. I have heard a rumor that Sargama, one of our sannyasins, is a direct descendant of William Blake. We have beautiful people here. William Blake is one of the most beautiful persons who has ever walked on the earth, one of the most penetrating mystics. Sargama must have something of William Blake's quality in him. But it may be just a rumor, because I have heard another rumor also that William Blake had no son at all. But that may be applicable only to legal sons; one can have illegal sons.
William Blake's (His) insight is true. Desire is energy, energy is delight. Contemplate over it. Just pure desire, just overflowing energy, for no particular object, for no destination.
That's what you have to remember when you come to me for an energy darshan, for a "close-up." Just become pure desire, just an overflowing desire, for nothing in particular. Don't wait for any experience. Experiences will come, but don't wait for them. If you wait, you will miss, because when you are waiting for an experience you are no more in the herenow. You have already missed the point; the mind has come in. The object has obstructed the purity of desire.
When you are in an energy darshan with me, when you are partaking of something of my energy, just be pure desire -- going nowhere, moving nowhere, just thrilled for no reason at all, just madly ecstatic for no reason at all. And in those few moments you will have the contact with me, because those few moments are my reality.
But if you are sitting there, waiting to have some great experience of light inside, then maybe you may experience some light, but you have missed. You have thrown the diamonds away and gathered pebbles on the shore. You may be waiting for your kundalini to rise, you may have a certain sensation rising in your spine, but what is it? It is pointless. It may give you a kick, a spiritual kick, but then it is gone.
With me, just be pure desire -- swaying with me, moving with me, dancing with me, allowing me to penetrate you to your deepest core, to the deepest core of your desire, to the very seed. And then something immense, something incredible, something you cannot imagine, is possible -- an entry of the beyond into you, the meeting of the earth and sky.
You say, "Is it only in the existence of mind?"
No, the mind is a barrier. It allows desire only little outlets -- and desire is an ocean. The mind has to be dropped, not desire; the mind has to be dropped so that you can have total desire.
And you ask, "And how is the desire in the body for sex related to the mind?"
The mind is not separate from your body, it is the inner part of the body. You are separate from the body and the mind, both. You are an entity, transcendental, you are a witness to the mind and the body, both. But your mind and your body are both one and the same energy. The body is visible mind, the mind is invisible body. The body is the exterior mind, and the mind is the interior body.
Hence sex is not only physical. It is far more cerebral, it is far more psychological than physical. In fact, sex is triggered not by your physiology but by your psychology. The physiology cooperates with it, but deep down sex comes from the inner body to the outer body.
You may be aware, you may not be aware, because you are not at all aware of what goes on happening to you. But watch, the first thing about sex happens in the head, in the mind. And then immediately the body is affected, because the body and the mind are not separate.
There can be a physiological sex too. That's what happens when you go to a prostitute; it is physiological, it is just a relief for the body. The body is overburdened with energy and you don't know what to do with it. You have to throw it out somehow to unburden yourself, so that you can feel a little relaxed, because you have too much energy and you are so uncreative that you don't know what to do with it.
You can't sing a song totally. If you can, you will be surprised; the energy disappears into the song and becomes the song. There is no need to go to a prostitute. But you cannot dance, you cannot play on the guitar, you are so uncreative.
Prostitutes will exist in the world unless man becomes more creative. And now in the West where the Women's Liberation movement is demanding equality in everything, even male prostitutes have come into existence. They were bound to, because why should there be only female prostitutes? Why not male prostitutes too? Equality is equality.
Man is uncreative. Have you observed? Any time when you are creative, sex disappears. If you are painting and totally absorbed in it, you don't have any sexual desire. Sex simply does not cross the threshold of your mind; it is simply not there.
Only in deep creativity are people celibate, in no other way. Your saints, so-called saints, are not celibate -- because they are so uncreative, they cannot be. It is impossible; it is just against the very science of energy. They are doing nothing, sitting in the temples and ashrams repeating Ram-Ram, Ram-Ram, or just stupidly playing with their malas -- how can they be celibate? How can brahmacharya happen to them? It happens only when creativity takes all your energy, and no energy is left as a tension in you.
Poets can be celibate more, painters can be celibate more, dancers can be celibate more, musicians can be celibate more. I am not saying that they are all celibates, I am saying that whenever a poet is a poet, he can be celibate -- because a poet is not twenty-four hours a day a poet. It is very rare to find a poet who is twenty-four hours a day a poet. Then he becomes a seer, then he becomes a rishi, then he is no more an ordinary poet.
It is from people like these who were for twenty-four hours poets that great poems like the Upanishads, the Koran and the Gita were born. It is not ordinary poetry. Ordinary poets are only once in a while poets, otherwise they are ordinary people -- maybe far worse. Ordinary painters are only once in a while painters.
It is said about a great Indian poet, Rabindranath, that whenever he was in the mood to create, he would close his doors and disappear into his room for days together -- three or four days. No food, no bath, he would not even come out. Only when his energy had moved into creativity and he was unburdened would he open his door and come out. And people who saw him coming out of his room after four days of fasting and remaining lost in his creativity, all observed that his face was no more the same. He looked as if he had gone to some other world. He looked so delicate, like a roseflower; he looked so beautiful, so feminine, so graceful, so buddhalike. But only for a few hours would that fragrance surround him, and then it would disappear. And even for months together, the mood might not come.
Poets are only once in a while poets. And when you read a whole poem, the whole poem is not a poem either. Only a few lines here and there are really poetry; the other lines are just managed by the poet, they did not descend on him.
A great poet, Coleridge, died. He left forty thousand incomplete poems. Many times in his life he was asked, "Why don't you complete these things? They are so tremendously beautiful, and only one line is missing. Just complete one line and the poem will be complete."
But Coleridge always refused. He said, "I will not complete it unless it comes from the beyond. I am not going to do it. These lines have come from the beyond, I have just noted them down. I am not the writer, I am not the author, I am just a steno; I have simply noted down something that has been dictated from the beyond. And that one line is missing. I cannot add it, because many times I have tried to add it, and I have always failed. It looks so ugly, it looks so different, so mundane, so mediocre. It does not have that luminosity."
When Rabindranath for the first time translated his great book Gitanjali into English, he was a little worried as to whether the translation had come through or not. English was not his mother tongue, in the first place. And secondly, to translate prose is one thing, it is easy; to translate poetry is very difficult, and more so to translate poetry from a language like Bengali which is so poetic. The whole language is poetic, its flavor is of poetry.
He was worried: "Has the translation come true to the spirit of my original?" He showed it to one great Englishman, C.F. Andrews. Andrews went through it, and at just four points he said, "Four words have to be changed, grammatically they are wrong." Naturally, Rabindranath changed them.
Then when he read Gitanjali and his poems for the first time in a poets' gathering in London, he was surprised, he could not believe his ears. One English poet, Yeats, stood up and said, "Everything is perfectly right, but at just four points something is very mundane, something is not poetic. The whole poetry flows beautifully, but at four points the river comes across rocks."
With a trembling in his heart, Rabindranath asked, "What are those four points?" And they were exactly the same as those which C.F. Andrews had suggested. Rabindranath told him, "These are C.F. Andrews' words, he knows English better than me."
Yeats said, "That is right -- it is better English, but not better poetry. The grammar is right, but poetry is not grammar. The language is right, but poetry is not only language. Poetry is something that hovers above language and grammar. Please go back to your old words!"
Rabindranath got his Nobel prize with this book, Gitanjali.
All poets are not always poets, all poems are not poems. Hence you may not be able to understand what I am trying to convey to you, but whenever a poet is a poet, he is celibate. Sexuality simply disappears, evaporates. And whenever a poem is born in a poet he is part of God, he is a creator. In that moment it is impossible to give any object to your desire. Sex gives an object to your desire. Sex is not pure, cannot be, because the object is always there.
The moment sex becomes pure, it is samadhi.
The mind and the body both are sexual. The body has come out of sex, and the mind is always hankering for objects, hence it is sexual. But both can be purified through creativity.
My message, my key, my golden key to transform your energies, is creativity. Be more and more creative, and slowly slowly you will see a transformation happening of its own accord. Your mind will disappear, your body will have a totally different feel to it, and constantly you will remain aware that you are separate, that you are a pure witness.
And that pure witness is pure desire and nothing else.
I am not against desire. I am all for desire, but I am not for desires with objects. Let objects disappear, and then you will have a desire like a flame without any smoke. It brings great liberation.
The second question:
I understand everything that You say, but why does my life still remain unchanged?
Sudhas, to understand something intellectually is one thing, but to understand something intellectually is not going to transform your life. You will remain the same. To understand something intellectually is really to deceive yourself. You have not understood, the mind has only pretended to have understood. This is a trick, because if you really understand it then change is bound to happen. And the mind does not want any change.
The mind is very traditional, conventional, conformist, orthodox. The mind is never revolutionary; it is against all change. And the change I am talking about is a total change.
You say, "I understand everything that you say...."
You only believe that you understand. You understand the words, naturally. My words are simple, I don't know many words. In fact, if you count, I must be using not more than four hundred words. But see the turnout! I am not a man of language. You can understand what I am saying as far as words are concerned -- but do you comprehend it? That is the question, that is the crux of the matter. Do you comprehend what is being imparted to you?
Sudhas, you must have a very philosophical bent of mind. Meditate over this anecdote:
A patient of his, a great philosopher in his thirties, eagerly responded at the beginning of therapy to each interpretation his analyst made by saying, "I hear you, I hear you."
"I'm sorry," said the doctor. "I didn't know you were a little deaf."
"I'm not. I hear you. It means I comprehend," said the philosopher.
"Well, what is it that you comprehend?"
The philosopher paused. "Jesus," he finally replied, "I don't know."
Understanding is not the question, but comprehension. Understanding is of the head; comprehension is something deeper, of the heart. And if it is really total then it is even deeper, of the being.
When you understand something then you have to do something about it. When you comprehend something you need not do anything about it; the very comprehension is enough to change you. If you comprehend something, it has already changed you; there is no need to do anything about your comprehensions.
Please don't try to understand me intellectually. I am not an intellectual, in fact I am anti-intellectual. I am not a philosopher, I am very anti-philosophic. Try to comprehend me.
And how does one try to comprehend? How does one try to understand in the first place? Understanding means listening with the head, continuously interpreting, evaluating, judging: "This is right, this is wrong. Yes, this is true, I have read about it. This must be right, because Jesus also said it in the same way. This is also in the Gita and in the Vedas."
This goes on, this constant chattering inside that you call understanding. And then out of this hotch-potch you create a hypothesis, and you think this is what I have been telling you. Comprehension cannot come this way; this is the way to prevent comprehension.
Listen silently with no inner chattering, with no inner talk, without evaluating. I am not saying believe what I say, I am not saying accept what I say. I am saying there is no need to be in a hurry to accept or reject. First at least listen -- why be in such a hurry? When you see a roseflower, do you accept or reject it? When you see a beautiful sunset, do you accept or reject it? You simply see it, and in that very seeing is a meeting.
Don't let your mind wander. Listen silently, attuned, and then something will stir in the heart. Truth has that quality, it stirs the heart. Truth has the quality of being self-evident, it needs no proofs.
If what I am saying has anything of truth in it, it will be understood by your heart. But the mind has to give way. And then you will not need to change your life according to it, it will be changed of its own accord.
The third question:
What? What?? What???
Patren, you remind me of a story. A man was troubled for many years with a sore arm. He had been to many doctors and could not find out what was causing the problem. Finally a friend urged him to see a doctor who was famous for his ability to diagnose illnesses. The doctor was very expensive and he had to wait a long time for an appointment. Finally he sat waiting in the office. The doctor walked in, handed him a jar and told him to return it the next day with his first morning's urine. Then he promptly left the room.
The man was infuriated! "He did not even look at me," he thought. "And how can he tell what is wrong with my arm from my urine?"
The next morning, the man, still angry, peed in the jar. Then he had his wife pee in it, then he had his daughter pee in it. Then as he walked out the door he saw his dog peeing on a tree and he got some of that also. He gave the urine to the doctor and sat there laughing to himself.
Just then, the doctor re-entered the room and exclaimed, "Please sir, this is no laughing matter! Your wife has been fooling around on you, your daughter is pregnant, your dog has worms, and if you don't stop jerking off, your arm will never get better!"
Now, Patren, you ask me, "What? What?? WHAT???"
I am not this kind of doctor, you will have to go somewhere else.
The fourth question:
Why can’t I feel any wonder in existence?
Shivananda, you are too knowledgeable, you know too much. And all that you know is just holy cow dung -- all knowledge always is. Wisdom is a totally different matter. Knowledge is all rot, junk; you gather it from here and there, it is not your own. It has no authenticity, it has not grown in your being, you have not given birth to it.
But it gives you a very gratified ego to feel "I know." And the more you become settled in the idea of "I know," the less and less will you feel wonder in life. How can a man of knowledge feel wonder? Knowledge destroys wonder. And wonder is the source of wisdom, wonder is the source of all that is beautiful, and wonder is the source for the search, the real search. Wonder takes you on the adventure to know the mysteries of life.
The knowledgeable person already knows -- knows nothing, but thinks that he already knows. He has come to a full stop. He has not reached anywhere, he has not known anything. He is a computer, his mind is simply programmed. Maybe he has M.A.'s, Ph.D.'s, D.Litt.'s, maybe he has been to the biggest education centers of the world and he has accumulated much information, but that information is destroying his sensitivity to feel the mystery of the flowers, the birds, the trees, the sunlight and the moon, because he knows all the answers.
How can he see any beauty in the moon? He already knows everything about the moon. And if you say to him, "My beloved's face looks like the full moon," he will laugh. He will say, "You are simply foolish. How can you compare the moon with your beloved's face? There is no comparison possible!"
He is mathematically right, scientifically right, but poetically wrong. And life is not only science. Just as Jesus said, "Man cannot live by bread alone," I say to you, "Man cannot live by science alone." A few windows are to be left open for poetic experiences, so some sun, some wind and some rain can come from real existence.
You cannot be thrilled by life if you are too full of knowledge.
I used to go for a long walk every evening when I was in the university. A professor used to follow me. For two or three days I tolerated it, and then I said, "Either you stop coming, or I will have to stop coming."
He said, "Why?"
I said, "You are destroying my whole walk."
He said, "How?"
He knew too much about everything, and he would talk. "This tree belongs to that species." Now, who bothers? The tree is beautiful; it is dancing in the wind, the foliage is so young, so fresh. The green of it, the red of it, the gold of it, all is so beautiful -- and he is talking about the species. He was a very very informed man about everything. A bird on the wind, he would immediately label it. He was a great labeler.
I said, "Please, either you stop coming -- you are destroying my evening walk -- or I will have to stop."
Shivananda, you must be too burdened. You are, I know you. You are burdened with great scriptures, mountains of scriptures; nothing can ever surprise you.
A man comes into a bar, obviously nervous and obviously in a hurry, walks over to the counter, picks up an empty glass and starts eating it. When he is finished he goes over to the wall, walks up the wall, walks along the ceiling, walks down the other wall and disappears out the door.
The barkeeper can't believe his eyes. "What the hell," he says, "is going on here?"
A man who has been sitting on a bar stool and seen the whole thing, says with a shrug of his shoulders, "Don't worry, I know that guy. It's always the same thing with him -- comes and goes without even saying hello."
There are millions of people who are living like this. Miracles are happening all around but they can't see anything, they are blind with their knowledge.
Drop your knowledge. Knowledge is worthless, wonder is precious. Regain the wonder that you had when you were a child -- and the kingdom of God belongs only to those who are able to become children again.
The last question:
I am in a jam. I love three women. This is hell, and this has been going on for three months. Now what do I do?
You must be something of a man! One woman is enough. You need legal protection. But if you have tolerated it patiently for three months, wait a little more. Time settles everything. And women are always more perceptive than men -- if you cannot do anything, they are bound to do something.
John and Mary began making love in a railway cutting. As their lovemaking progressed, they rolled down onto the railway tracks in the path of the oncoming express.
The driver, seeing the two bodies ahead on the line, halted the train just in time. Now, delaying the train is a serious offense, and at the trial the judge demanded an explanation.
"Now look, John," he said, "I am a man of the world and I can understand you and your girlfriend having a little fun. But why didn't you get out of the way of the train?"
"Well, it's like this, Your Honor," said John. "I was coming, the train was coming and Mary was coming, and I thought that whoever could stop would stop!"
Enough for today.