Because you are Buddhas. A rock cannot fall into unawareness. Because you are Buddhas you can fall: only awareness can fall into unawareness, only an alive person can die, only a loving person can heal, and only compassion can become anger. So there is no contradiction. This question arises in the mind: “If everybody is a Buddha. and everybody is God, why are we in so much ignorance?” Because you are gods, you can fall.

It happened: A Sufi mystic, Junnaid, was passing through a forest. He saw a man walking there, just on the bank of a deep lake. The man was completely drunk, a bottle in his hand, and he was wavering like a drunkard – and any moment he could fall in the lake, and it was dangerous. So Junnaid reached him, took his hand in his hand and said, “Friend, what are you doing? This is dangerous. Walking here, so drunk, you can fall. And the lake is very deep, and there is nobody around here. Even if you shout and cry, nobody will hear.”

The drunkard opened his eyes and said, “Junnaid, you may not be knowing me, but I know you. What you are saying to me I would like to say to you also: that if I fall, at the most – at the most – my body will be harmed, but if you fall, then your whole consciousness….” Junnaid went back to his disciples, and he said, “I found a Master today.”

And he was right, the drunkard was right, because Junnaid was on the peak, moving at the peak of consciousness – if he falls from there everything will be shattered. The higher you move, greater is the danger. People who walk on plane ground, even if they fall, what is going to happen? At the most, a little fracture. So they go to the hospital and they can be bandaged. But if you move on the heights, then danger is very much.

Because you are Buddhas, that’s why you have fallen in so much ignorance, in the so deep valley of darkness. So don’t be depressed about it. If you are so deep in the valley, that is just an indication that again you can be at the peaks. The very possibility of falling happens because of the capacity to be on the peak. And it is good – nothing is wrong – because it is an experience. Your Buddhahood will become more clear. When you have passed through this darkness and suffering, and when you come back home, you will not be the same as you were before you fell. Your intensity of awareness will have a different quality now: you have suffered and you have known. You will be more alert. Your awareness will now be more alert, intense, integrated, crystallized.

It happened: A very rich man became frustrated with his riches – as it happens.

In fact this should be the criterion of whether a man is rich or not. If a man is really rich he is bound to be frustrated with his riches. If he is not yet frustrated he is still a poor man; he may have money, but he is not rich – because a rich man is bound to know that whatsoever he has has not satisfied him a bit. The deep anxiety, emptiness, follows him; now it is even more intense – a clarity has come. A poor man can always hope that tomorrow will be good. How can a rich man hope? Tomorrow is going to be the same. The hope is dead. He has all that he can have; tomorrow is not going to add anything more. Andrew Carnegie – when he died he left thousands of millions of dollars. What can tomorrow add? A few thousand more? A few million more? But he cannot use those few million because right now he does not know what to do with his money. He has already more than is needed.

In fact, the more money you have, the less is the value of the money. Value depends on poverty. One rupee in a poor man’s pocket has more value than the same rupee in a rich man’s pocket because the poor man can use it; the rich man cannot use it. The more money you have, the less is the value. A point comes of saturation when the money is of no value – whether you have it or not makes no difference; your life will continue the same. To be rich means to destroy the value of the money; then the money is valueless. You have the house that you wanted, you have cars that you wanted, you have everything that you wanted – now the money is nothing, just a figure. You can go on putting figures in your bank balance – of no use. Then suddenly hope is dead; and suddenly one realizes: “I have not achieved anything.”

This rich man, I was going to tell you, was really rich, and he became so frustrated with his riches that he left his palace in search of a wise man; because he was really cursed, really in suffering. He wanted to feel a little happier. He went from one wise man to another. but it was of no use. They talked a lot, but nobody could show him. And he insisted – he must have been a very empirical man – he insisted: “Show me happiness, then I will believe.” He must have had a scientific mind. He said, “You cannot befool me by talking. Show me happiness – where it is. Exactly if I see it, only then can I become your disciple.” Now it is rare to find a Master who can show you. There are teachers, thousands and thousands, who can talk about happiness, and if you look at their faces you will see that they are in more suffering than you.

This rich man reached a village, and people told him, “Yes, we have a Sufi mystic. He may be of help. He is a little eccentric, so be a little aware of him. Be a little aware, hmm?… Because nobody knows what he will do. But he is a rare phenomenon – you go to him.”

The rich man went; he tried to find him. He was not in the hut. People said that he had just gone towards the forest, so he went there. He was sitting under a huge tree, deep in meditation. The rich man stopped there, got down from his horse. And that man looked to be really in deep happiness, so silent, so calm.

Even everything around him was still – the tree, the birds. It was very peaceful; evening was falling.

The rich man fell into his feet and said, “Sir, I would like to be happy. I have everything – except happiness.”

The Sufi opened his eyes and said, “I will show you happiness. you show me your riches.”

Perfectly right. If you ask him to show happiness, you Show your riches. He had thousands of diamonds in a bag on the horse’s back because he had provided for it. He was always thinking, “If there is somebody who has happiness, he will ask; and the price has to be paid. And there is nothing you can get in life without paying for it.” So he had brought them with him. Those diamonds were worth millions of rupees.

He gave the bag and said, “Look.”

Just in a split second, the mystic took the bag in his hand and ran away. The rich man could not believe for a second what had happened. When he gathered his mind he ran away screaming and crying – “I have been robbed!” Of course, the mystic knew the way in the village, and he could run fast. And he was a fakir, a strong man, and the rich man had never in his life run after somebody. So, weeping, crying, suffering… and the whole village gathered, and people said, “We had told you before,’Don’t go; he’s eccentric. Nobody knows what he will do.’” And the whole village became excited. It was a real suffering for the rich man. His whole life’s earnings were lost – and to no avail.

Running around the whole town, the mystic came back to the same tree where the horse was still standing. He put the bag near the horse, sat under the tree, closed his eyes, became silent. Came the rich man – running, breathing hard, perspiring, tears flowing – his whole life was at stake. Then he suddenly saw the bag near the horse; he took it to his heart, started dancing, became so happy….

The mystic opened his eyes and said, “Look! Have I not shown you what happiness is?”

You have to know suffering; only then you know what happiness is. You need background. Every experience is an experience against a background. A Buddha has to come to the world to feel that he is a Buddha. You have to come into the world and suffer to know who you are. Without it there is no possibility. You are in the same state the rich man was in: running around the mystic, everything robbed, crying and weeping. I can see: everything robbed, you are running in this village of the world. The paths are not known, but you are robbed. You are unhappy to the very core, miserable. Running, running, running… one day you will come back to the tree, you will find the bag again. You will dance; you will be ecstatic. You will say, “Now I know what happiness is.”

The world is a necessary experience. It is a school. One has to pass through it. To know oneself one has to lose oneself first. There is no other way; that’s the only way. Nothing can be done about it. That is that.

Yes, that’s why. Because you are Buddhas, that’s why you suffer. Because you are Buddhas, that’s why you have fallen into unawareness. You can go back home any day. It is for you; you have to decide and return back to the source.

In Christianity one word has been very much misunderstood, and that is “repent.” The original Hebrew word for “repent” means return, not repent. That is the only repentance – if you return! But just by being translated as “repent” the whole thing is lost. Mohammedans have a similar word, toba. Toba means return. It means “go back to the source.” Toba also looks like repentance; that too is not repentance. Jains have a word: they call it pratikraman; that means return.

The whole point is how to go back to the source from where you have come. And that’s all meditation is about: to return, to come back to the source and fall into it again. You are Buddhas, you have been Buddhas, you will remain Buddhas – but Buddhahood has three stages: one, before you have lost it, the childhood of a Buddha; then, you search for it, the youth of a Buddha; then, you attain it, the old age. Every child is a Buddha, every young man a seeker, and every old man should be, if things were right, one who has attained. That’s why we respect and honor old people so much in the East. If everything goes well, a wise man means one who has come back to the source.

A child has innocence, but he is unaware of it, because he has it from the very beginning. How can he become aware of it? He needs the experience of the opposite; only then will he become aware. And then he would long to reach back to it again: everybody hankers to be a child again, to be so innocent. The whole experience was so wonderful.

But it was not so wonderful at that time! Just go back to your childhood. Don’t remember it – relive it. It was suffering. No childhood is happy: every child wants to become an adult, mature, big, strong – every child – because every child feels himself helpless. He does not know what he has. How can you know when you have not lost it? He will have to lose innocence: he will have to move into the world of corruption; he will have to go deep into sins. He was a saint, but that sainthood was not an achievement. It was just a natural gift.

If something is given to you by nature, you cannot appreciate it. That’s why you are not grateful at all.

I have heard a Sufi story. A man came to a Sufi mystic and he said, “I am frustrated and I am going to commit suicide. I was just going to drown myself in the river and I saw you sitting on the bank. I thought, ‘Why not a last effort?’ I would like to know what you say.”

The mystic said, “Why are you so frustrated?”

The man said, “I have nothing. That’s why I’m frustrated – not a single pie. I’m the poorest man in the world, and I am suffering. And everything is so much effort – I’m tired of it. Just bless me so that I can die because I have such bad luck that whatsoever I do I always fail. I am afraid that even in suicide I’m going to fail.”

The mystic said, “You wait. If you are just going to commit suicide and you say that you don’t have anything, just give me one day. Tomorrow, I will manage.”

The next morning he took him to the emperor. The emperor was a disciple of the Sufi. He went into the palace, talked to the emperor, came back, took the man to the emperor and said to the man, “The emperor is ready to purchase your two eyes. And whatsoever cost you demand, he will give.”

The man said, “What do you think? Am I mad – to sell my eyes?”

The Sufi said, “You said you have nothing. Now, whatsoever you demand, whatsoever the cost – a million rupees, two million rupees, ten million rupees, a hundred million rupees – the king is ready to purchase the eyes. And just a few hours before, you were saying you have nothing – and you are not ready to sell the eyes? And you were going to commit suicide. And I have persuaded the king to purchase your ears also, your teeth also, your hands, your legs. You demand the cost and we will cut everything and give the money to you. You will be the richest man in the world.”

The man said, “I was thinking that you are a wise man – you seem to be a murderer!” The man escaped. He said, “Who knows, if I enter the palace and the king is also mad like this and they start taking my eyes out…”

He escaped, but for the first time he realized how much cost you will demand for your eyes. But you have never been grateful for them. You have never thanked God that you are alive. If you were going to die this very moment and somebody was there to allot you one day more, how much will you be ready to give? You will be ready to give all. But you have never thanked… because you got it free of charge. You got it as a gift, and nobody appreciates gifts.

Childhood is a gift. The innocence is there but the child is unaware. He will have to lose it. When he will lose – in his youth he will wander, will get mixed into the ways of the world, will become completely dark, stained, a sinner – then he will hanker. Then he will know what he has lost. And then he will go to the churches and to the temples and to the Himalayas, and seek Masters – and he is asking nothing; he is asking only this – give my innocence back. And if everything goes right and he is a courageous man, in the end, by the time he is going to die, he may have attained that innocence again.

But when an old man becomes a child it is totally different. That is the definition of a saint: an old man becoming a child again, innocent. But his innocence has a different quality because he knows, now, it can be lost; and he knows, now, that when it is lost one suffers tremendously. Now he knows that without this innocence everything becomes hell. Now he knows this innocence is the only blissful state, the only liberation there is.

The same happens with your awareness: you have it, you lose it, you regain it. It becomes a circle. That’s why Jesus says, “Unless you are a child, unless you are like a child, you will not enter my kingdom of God.” That is returning; the circle is complete.

Forget the word “repent,” replace it by “return,” and Christianity becomes guilt – free. That “repent,” the word “repent,” has created the whole misery. Returning is beautiful; repent is an ugly phenomenon. And religion should not create guilt in you, it should create courage. Guilt creates fear. And the only thing needed is courage – fearlessness – to return back home.


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