I have heard one anecdote:

An Englishman touring the States remarked to a man in the West, “You have a remarkable country here. Lovely women, big cities, but you have no aristocracy.”

“No, what?” asked the American.

“No aristocracy.”

“What is that?” asked the American. “Oh, you know,” he said. “People who never do anything, whose parents never did anything, and whose grandparents never did anything – whose families have always been people of leisure.”

“Oh, yeah!” said the American. “We have them here, but we call them hoboes!” But when you call somebody an aristocrat it looks very grand. When you call somebody a hobo, suddenly you fall from the peak of Everest into the deepest valley possible. But aristocrats have been hoboes, and hoboes think of themselves as aristocrats.

I have heard that two hoboes were talking to each other, leisurely sitting on a full-moon night. The first said, “What do you want to become in your life?”

The other said, “I would like to become a prime minister.”

The first said, “What? Don’t you have any ambition in your life?” A hobo thinking of becoming a prime minister. Hoboes have their values.

If you look at your past references, what are they? Language games. Somebody says that he is a brahmin. Because society accepts that there are four classes. In India the brahmin is the highest caste and the sudra is the lowest caste. Now this type of caste system does not exist anywhere in the world; it exists only in India. Of course it is imaginary. You cannot sort out who is a brahmin if he does not say so. The blood will not show, the bones will not show – no examination, no X ray will show who is a brahmin and who is a sudra. But in India the game has been played so long, it has become so deep rooted in the mind, the moment somebody says he is a brahmin, look at his eyes, look at his nose – the ego radiates. When somebody says that he is a sudra, look at him. The very word humiliates; the very word makes him feel guilty. Both are human beings, but just a labeling that a society has accepted destroys their humanity.

When you say you are rich, what do you mean? You have a certain account in the bank. But that too is a game, money is a game. Because society has agreed upon something to believe in, the game continues.

I have heard about one miser who had a great treasure of gold hidden in his garden somewhere.

Every day he will go and remove a little earth and look at his bricks of gold, hide them again, and will come back very happy and glad and smiling, all smiles. By and by one neighbor started suspecting because every day – it was almost a religious ritual – every day exactly in the morning he will come – it was just like a prayer – remove a little soil, look at his bricks of gold shining in the morning sun, and immediately something will flower in him and he will be so happy the whole day.

One night the neighbor removed all the bricks of gold. Instead of gold bricks, he put ordinary bricks there and covered the earth. Next morning he came. He started crying and weeping and shouting that he had been robbed. The neighbor was standing in his garden; he said, “Why, for what are you crying?” He said, “I have been robbed! My twenty gold bricks have been stolen!” The neighbor said, “Don’t be worried, because you were never going to use them. You can do the same with these ordinary bricks. Come every day in the morning, remove the earth, look at them, be happy and go back. Because you were never going to use them in the first place, so whether of gold or of mud, what difference does it make?”

You may have money. That does not make any difference. You may not have. That too does not make any difference. You may have great recognition, degrees, awards from the society, praise, certificates. That does not mean anything – it is a game. Once you look into this game through and through and you realize that in this game you will never be able to find yourself, who you are….

Society goes on befooling you and giving you some illusory ideas about who you are, and you go on trusting and believing in them. Your whole life is wasted.

So when for the first time meditation starts really working in you and starts destroying you, destructuring you – your name disappears, your caste disappears, your religion disappears, your nationality disappears – by and by you are simply nude and naked in your pure aloneness. It is scary in the beginning because you cannot find any place to put your feet on and you cannot find any place to continue, to remain in the ego. No help, all props withdrawn, your structure starts falling.

Stand by the side, have a good laugh, and let it fall. Have a good laugh that now there is no way to move back.

In fact there is never a way to move back; people only believe so. Nobody can go back; in time there is no possibility to go back. You cannot become a child again. You cannot go back into the womb of your mother. But the illusion, the idea that it is possible will haunt you and will not allow you to grow.

There are many men I see who go on seeking their mother in their love affairs, which is foolish. Out of a hundred, almost ninety-nine men are searching for their mother. The mother has been lost in the past; now they cannot enter the womb of the mother again. Have you watched yourself? Lying in the lap of your beloved, a fantasy arises in you – as if you have found your mother.

Why are men so interested in women’s breasts? The interest is basically of the search for the mother because the child knew the mother through the breasts and he still hankers for the mother. So a woman who has beautiful, round, big breasts becomes more attractive to men. A flat chested woman simply becomes unattractive. Why? What is wrong? Nothing is wrong with the woman; something is wrong with the mind. You are seeking the mother, and she cannot help your imagination. She does not fit with your illusion. How can she be your mother? She has no breasts? Breasts are the basic necessity.

You go in Indian temples in Khajuraho or in Puri and you will see such big breasts that it seems almost impossible. How were these women walking? The weight seems too much. But that simply shows the search, the search to go back, to find the mother again. Then your love life will be a disturbance because the woman who loves you is not in search of a child. She is in search of a friend, of a beloved, of a lover. She does not want to become your mother. She wants to become your friend, your companion, your consort. And you are asking her to be your mother, to take care of you as your mother used to take care. And you go on expecting the mother and she goes on frustrating it.

The conflict arises.

Nobody can go back. That which is past is past. Past is past and cannot be reclaimed. This understanding makes you a grown up; then you don’t hanker for it.

And remember, if you hanker for the past, you hanker for the future. Your future is nothing but your modified, renovated past. What you desire in the future is nothing but all that was happy in the past minus all that was not happy. Your future is nothing but your repainted past – closer to the heart’s desire, the painful accidents dropped and the pleasant exaggerated. Once you drop the past you drop the future also because it is nothing else but the repainted past, and then suddenly you are here now.

Then I can tell you, “Look at the cypress in the courtyard.” Or I can take a flower in my hand and just let you see it. And if you can see it just here-now, a mysterious phenomenon starts happening within you: a flower within you starts opening. Something spreads over your being – something existential. It is not a dream. It has no hallucinatory quality in it. It has no ideas, no thoughts, no pictures, nothing; just a tremendously austere emptiness – beautiful, but totally empty.

Don’t get afraid. That’s the way, how one comes to meet the present and how one comes to meet oneself.


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