When you are with trees, the sky, the river, the rocks, the flowers, and you feel okay, it has nothing to do with you. It has something to do with the trees and the river and the rocks. That okay-ness comes from their silence. When you come close to human beings you start feeling mad, in a madhouse, because human beings are mirrors; they reflect you. You must be mad. That’s why you feel when you are with people that you are in a madhouse. I have never felt that way. Even with mad people like you I have never felt that way.

This is one of the basic problems every religious seeker comes to confront.

When you are alone things seem to be settled, because there is nobody to disturb. Nobody gives a chance for you to be disturbed. Everything is silent, so you also feel a certain silence, but this silence is natural. It is nothing spiritual. It belongs to nature. If you go to the Himalayas, to the cool, hushed silence of the Himalayan peaks, you will feel silent. But the credit goes to the Himalayas, not to you. When you come back, you will come back to the same man who had gone. You will not be able to carry the Himalayas with you. So many have gone there and remained there forever, thinking that now, if they went back to the world they would lose something that they had attained. They had not attained anything. Because once you attain it, it cannot be lost; and the world is the test. So if you feel good while there are no human beings, it simply shows that amidst human beings your inner madness starts functioning. So don’t become an escapist, and don’t blame the society, the people, the crowd. Don’t say that it is a madhouse. Rather, start thinking that you must be carrying mad tendencies within you which become manifest when you come into relationship with people.

Two psychiatrists pass each other on the street. One says, “Hello.” The other says, “Now, I wonder what he means by that?”

Just a small thing like somebody saying hello, and a problem arises…”Now, I wonder what he means by that?”

The patient told his doctor that he kept seeing spots in front of his eyes. The doctor told him to stop going out with freckled women. Then he told him to stick his tongue out as he left. “Why?” asked the patient. “Because I hate my nurse.”

Patients and doctors are all in the same boat.

Of course, when you come amongst people, you come amongst people like you. Suddenly, something in you starts responding. They are mad; you are mad – the moment you come close, a subtle dialogue of energy starts happening. Your madness brings their madness out; their madness brings your madness out. If you live alone, you are happy.

Mulla Nasrudin was saying to me, “I and my wife lived for twenty-five years tremendously happily.” I asked, “Then what happened?” He said, “Then we met; since then, no happiness.”

Even two happy persons meet and immediately unhappiness arises. You are carrying subtle seeds of unhappiness in you. The right opportunity, and they sprout. And of course, for a human being to sprout in all his potentialities, a human environment is needed. Trees don’t make; your environment.

You can go to a tree and sit silently and do whatsoever you like; you remain unrelated. There exists no dialogue, no language between you and the tree. The tree goes on brooding in his own being, and you go on brooding in your own being. No bridge exists. A river is a river; no bridge exists between you and the river. When you come near a human being, suddenly you see you are bridged, and that bridge starts immediately transferring things from this side to that, from that side to this.

But basically it is you, so don’t blame the society, don’t blame people. They simply reveal you. And if you are a little understanding, you will thank them for doing a great thing for you. They reveal you; they show you who you are, where you are, what you are. If you are mad, they show your madness.

If you are a Buddha, they show your Buddha-hood. Alone, you don’t have any reference. Alone, you don’t have any contrast. Alone, you cannot know who you are.

I will tell you one very beautiful story, a sad story.

The situation was not unusual. The boss of a large and successful firm employed a beautiful secretary. The boss, in his early forties, was a bachelor. He had a large car, a luxury flat, and was never short of feminine company. But he met his match, in his beautiful secretary. She politely refused his invitations to lunch or dinner, and his offers of expensive presents and salary increases were refused with equal grace and charm. In the early weeks of her employment, he was of the opinion that she was just playing hard-to-get. During the months that followed, he changed his toothpaste, his soap, his after-shave, but all to no avail. Finally, he resigned himself to accept the fact that she was beautiful and highly competent, but that his chances of developing any kind of personal relationship with her were nil. It therefore came as something of a shock when he walked into his office one morning and found his secretary arranging flowers on his desk, and even more of a shock when she looked at him demurely and said, “A happy birthday, sir.” He mumbled his thanks and went through the rest of the day in a complete daze. As the time approached five o’clock, the secretary came into the office and confessed that she had ascertained his birthday from the staff files. “I hope you don’t mind,” she added. He answered that he didn’t mind it at all, and she looked relieved. “In that case, sir,” she went on, “I wonder if you would care to come round to my flat this evening, at about nine o’clock. I have got a little surprise for you that I think you will find very pleasant.” He mentally congratulated himself on the fact that the girl had finally had to admit that she was attracted to him, and tried to appear casual as the arrangements were finalized. Promptly at nine o’clock, a bottle of champagne in his hand, he presented himself at the flat. She was a vision of loveliness, and he hoped that she could not hear his heart pounding as she poured him a large scotch and urged him to make himself comfortable. “Loosen some of your clothes if you are too warm,” she said. “I’m just going into the bedroom to get ready. Please come too when I call you.”

This was too good to be true. “I must be as desirable to her as she is to me,” he thought smugly.

“You can come in now,” she called eventually, “but be careful you don’t fall. All the lights are off in here.” Our hero could take a hint. Quickly slipping out of his clothes, he entered the darkened room and closed the door behind him. As he did so the room became flooded with light and he saw that the whole of the office staff stood in the center of the room singing, “Happy birthday to you….”

People reveal only that which you are hiding within you. If you feel that you are in a madhouse, you must be mad. Try to be in company more with men; try to be in company more with women; try to be with people more. Try more relationships. If you cannot be happy with a human being, it is impossible for you to be happy with a tree or with a river – impossible. If you cannot understand a human being who is so close to you, so similar to you, how can you hope that you will be able to understand a tree, a river, a mountain, who are so far away? Millions of years separate you from a mountain. You may have been a mountain somewhere millions of lives before, but you have completely forgotten the language. And the mountain cannot understand your language. The mountain has yet to become human: a long evolution is needed. A vast abyss exists between you and the mountain. If you cannot bridge yourself with human beings who are so close, so close, then it is impossible for you to bridge with anything else.

First, bridge yourself with human beings. By and by, the more you become capable of understanding human beings, the more you become capable of an inner dialogue, harmony, rhythm. Then you can move, by and by. Then move to animals; that is a second step. Then move to birds, then move to trees, then move to rocks, and only then can you move to pure existence, because that is the source. And we have been away from that source so long and so far away that we have completely forgotten that we ever belonged to it, or that it ever belonged to us.


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