Almost Dead With Thirst

I LOOK into you... and I don't see any other barrier than yourself. You are standing in your own way. And unless you understand it, nothing is possible towards inner growth.
If somebody else was the barrier, you could have dodged him, you could have bypassed him. If somebody else was the barrier, you could have escaped. But you are the barrier. You cannot dodge -- who will dodge whom? You cannot bypass -- who will bypass whom? You cannot escape, because wherever you will go you will be there.
Your barrier is you, and it will follow you like a shadow.
This has to be understood as deeply as possible. How does this barrier arise? What is the mechanism of the ego which becomes the barrier? A hard crust around you -- and you cannot fly into the sky, you cannot open into the world of love and prayer. This shell of the ego, how is it born? If you can understand the birth of the ego, you will know the secret of how to dissolve it. The very understanding of the arising of the ego becomes the freedom.
The ego is born -- not that you know yourself -- the ego is born through reflections. You see your reflection in the eyes of others, in the faces, in their words, and you go on accumulating those reflections. Not knowing who you are, you have to find an identity.
A child is born -- he does not know who he is. But he has to know who he is, otherwise it will be impossible to live in the world. And he cannot become a buddha immediately. He does not even know the problem. He has not entered into the world yet. He will really enter into the world when he starts feeling who he is.
That's why you cannot remember many things of your child hood. If you go backwards, you will be able to remember up to the age of three, four. Beyond that you will not be able to penetrate. What is the matter? Was not memory functioning? Were not there any experiences, imprints on the mind, impressions? They were there! In fact, a young child of three years or two years of age is more impressionable than he ever will be. And millions of experiences are happening to the child. But why is the memory not there? Because the ego is still not ripe. Who will carry the memory? What will be the nucleus of the memory? The child has not yet identified who he is. No identification has come up yet.
How will he get the ego? He looks into the eyes of the mother. The eyes are happy, smiling. He gathers the impression, `I must be beautiful, I must be lovely, valuable, precious. Whenever the mother comes near, she becomes so happy. She comes and kisses me.' The child is gathering impressions. The father comes and the father goes crazy -- throws the child into the air, plays with the child... and the child is watching. The father becomes the mirror. The mother becomes the mirror. Neighbours come -- and, by and by, he's accumulating. He is filing into the mind who he is.
That's why, if a child has been brought up without a mother, he will always be lacking something in his identity. And he will not be able to love himself, because the basic impression of somebody loving is not there. He will be in certain ways always shaky; he will not be sure. The mother gives the surety and the certainty -- that you are loved, that you are precious, that you make people happy, you are valuable. And as the child moves, neighbours, friends, school-teachers, millions of impressions, millions of mirrors are all around. And he goes on gathering.
Of course, very soon, he starts filing impressions in divisions. Those who love him, he cherishes. Those who hate him, he does not like. So, many impressions which are not good for the ego, he goes on throwing them in the basement of the mind, in the unconscious. Somebody hits him, somebody says, `You are ugly'; the teacher says, `You are stupid' -- these impressions he goes on throwing in the unconscious. A division has started.
The conscious is that which you cherish and love -- your beautiful image. And in the unconscious you go on throwing the ugly image. Division has entered into the mind. This is the beginning of schizophrenia. If it goes to the very extreme, you will be come split into two personalities. Normally, also, you are not one; you are two.
When you are angry, the suppressed personality takes possession. Watch somebody who is getting into anger: the face changes, the eyes change, the behaviour. Suddenly, he is not the same person. It is as if something foreign has entered. He is possessed. And he will do things he himself could not imagine that he can do. He can commit a murder in rage and anger -- and he will not be able to understand how it happened. Many murderers in the courts say that they never did it. And they are not lying. In fact, they never did it.Somebody else, a faraway personality, with which they are not identified, possessed them.
See a person who has fallen in love -- suddenly a transfiguration happens. His eyes are no more the same; a new light shines through the eyes. His face is no more the same; a softness has entered. He is more flowing. Suddenly, out of darkness a morning is born. Deep down inside him, birds are singing, and flowers are opening.
In love, a man is totally different. In anger, you cannot make these two persons meet. They are separate personalities. In anger, your identity comes up which you have suppressed in the unconscious; in love, your identity which you always cherish.
This split is the cause of all the miseries that happen to humanity, and all the mental agonies that happen to the human mind. Unless this split disappears, you will never be whole. And unless this split disappears, you will never be able to know who you are. The conscious is as false as the unconscious, because both are just reflections gathered from others. You have not encountered yourself directly, but via the others. There are some mirrors in which you look beautiful. There are some mirrors in which you look ugly. There are some mirrors in which you look divine. There are some mirrors in which you look just animal.
This has been my observation, that whatsoever your identity, whatsoever your ego, deep down there is confusion -- because the other condemned part is always there. In your foundations it is always there, and you are always shaky and confused. If somebody really asks you `Who are you?' the answer is not there. If nobody asks, you know who you are. But if somebody asks, persists, `Who are you?' you don't know.
St. Augustine has said, `I know, when nobody asks, what time is. But if somebody asks what time is, I don't know.'
And exactly the same is the case with the ego. If nobody asks, you know. If somebody asks, suddenly the certainty is gone.
That's why it is polite not to ask anybody, `Who are you?' -- because the certainty is just on the surface. How can you be certain just by gathering reflections? And reflections from many sources -- they are antagonistic, contradictory, confusing. You are a chaos. Your ego is just a trick to hide the chaos, just a blanket word in which you can go on hiding everything. You are a madness within.
This is the first thing to be understood: that nobody can know himself through mirrors -- because mirrors will interpret. In fact, a mirror never shows who you are. A mirror simply says how he reacts to you. The mother smiles: it is not that she is saying something about you; she is saying something about herself. She is happy; she has become a mother. And every mother smiles -- even to the ugliest child the mother smiles. A very ordinary child, but the mother always thinks that he is going to be a Napoleon, or Alexander, or a Buddha. The mother is not saying something about you. She is happy in being a mother. She is saying something about herself. And if the child smiles, the mother is also gathering ego. If the child smiles, the mother feels very good -- she thinks the child is smiling at her.
Everybody is in the same boat. The child is not smiling at the mother; he is not saying anything about the mother. Every child smiles at the mother because she is the source of food and love. And this is just diplomacy that the child should smile, because that's how he gets more love, more nourishment. Within a few days, the child becomes a politician. He knows when to smile and when not to. He starts giving punishment, prizes. If he is not feeling good about the mother, he will not smile, he will not look at her. She will have to persuade him.
The child is showing something about himself, not about the mother. The mother is showing something about herself, not about the child. When you go to the mirror, the mirror is saying something about itself, not about you. If it is a good mirror from Belgium, it shows something about itself, that `I am from Belgium.' And if it is Indian-made, it shows that `I am made in India' -- nothing about you. If your face looks beautiful, that shows only that the mirror has been made in a beautiful way. It reflects, it reacts!
This has to be understood -- particularly for the seeker, this is one of the basic things -- that everybody else around you, all the mirrors, reflect. They are their reactions. They are not saying anything about you. How can they say? You yourself don't know yourself -- how can they know? Impossible! They do not know themselves -- how can they know you?
Ego is the accumulation of impressions, shadows, reflections. And with this ego you live, you live in a hell. Unless you drop this ego, the possibility for heaven will always remain closed.
And don't try to drop it -- because right now, the dropper will be the same: the ego. And then you will gain a subtle ego, that `I am dropping the ego. I have dropped the ego.' And again you will look around to see how people are feeling and they will say, `We have never seen such a humble man!' And you will collect the reflection that you are the most egoless person, that you are so beautiful, so humble, so simple, you don't have any ego. And you go on collecting.
You cannot drop it, you can only understand.
And there is no need to drop, because there is nothing to drop! -- just shadows. You have to understand how you have accumulated your self-identity, how you have gathered your self-image. And this self-image is confusing because you have gathered it from many sources -- divergent, diametrically opposite -- so you are always a crowd, you don't have a unity. These impressions can't have unity.
If you had lived with one man and you had never come across another man, your ego would have been absolutely certain -- but that too is difficult, because one man is not one man either. One moment he is something, another moment something else. In the morning the mother was smiling, and by the afternoon she is angry and hitting you. If you had lived with one man of one single mood, then your ego would have been one. But you have lived with many many people, with millions of moods -- all impressions are there. Your ego is a crowd. It is not a crystallization, it is not a center; it has no center. It is just a crowd, a mob.
You cannot drop it. You can simply look and watch and understand. Once you understand, suddenly you feel it is dropped. YOU NEVER DROP IT! When you understand, it is there no more. It is just like darkness: you bring a candle, and the darkness is not there. You bring understanding, there is light, and the ego disappears, the shadows have gone. And when the ego disappears, for the first time you become a unitary being. Your unconscious and conscious simply lose their boundaries. There are not any boundaries in fact.
And Freud is absolutely wrong, because he thinks the unconscious and conscious have some substantial boundaries. They have none. It is only because of the ego. The accepted part of the ego has become the conscious because you accept it; it can come to the surface. The rejected part of the ego, because you reject it, you throw it away -- where will it go? -- it falls deeper in you. There is no darkness: you are just standing with your back towards the rejected part.
Once you understand that the ego is just a crowd of multi-million impressions -- and the rejected and the accepted are of the same quality, because both are false -- to understand that the ego is false and a crowd, suddenly the crowd disappears and the falsity drops. In a single moment, the boundaries between the conscious and the unconscious are dissolved. A merger, a flood-like merger happens.
And your unconscious is very big, nine times bigger than your conscious. So unless you are joined with the unconscious, your life will be very, very fragmentary, superficial. You will live only a part; you will not be able to live the whole. You will do everything, but it will be done only by the part. The whole will never be in it.
And to me, to be whole in anything is to be meditative: to be whole in anything. Meditation is not something apart from life. Meditation is just a quality of being whole and total in something. You can fetch water from the well and it can become meditation -- if you are totally in it. When you are drawing water out of the well, you are totally in it. Just the movement of drawing exists. You fill the pots. You carry the water. Just the movements. Nobody else separate, divided. It is meditation.
Lin chi was asked when he became enlightened, `Now, since you have become enlightened, what do you do?'
He said, `I chop the wood. I carry the water from the well.' Only this much he said. And at that moment he was chopping wood. He said, `Everything is perfect and beautiful. I chop the wood and I carry the water from the well and everything is perfect.'
If you become total in ANYTHING, I say -- walking, listening, talking -- if you become total, it is meditation. Otherwise, you can go on chanting mantras with part of your mind, and the other part goes on on its own. The crowd goes on. One member of the crowd goes on chanting, `Ram, Ram, Ram.' Another part of the crowd goes on with its own work. Some part is in the market, some is in the house, some has moved to the future, some is in the past, some is chasing a woman, some is reading the Koran and the Gita, and some part is chanting, `Ram, Ram, Ram.' You are a crowd. And this crowdedness can never become meditative.
So the dropping of the ego, not by you -- dropping of the ego, not by you but by your understanding -- dropping of the ego... it drops itself. Suddenly you are flooded. Your unconscious rushes into your conscious. You become one. Now whatsoever you do, you are totally in it. And this is the ecstasy -- no past, no future; just in the moment here and now; totally in it and of it.
Only in that state do you for the first time become aware of who you are. Before that, all identities are false. You have to come to yourself directly. It is going to be an encounter face to face with yourself, with your own reality. No other mirror is needed -- because mirrors can show only the form. They can never show the formless that you are. Mirrors can only show that which can be seen by others. Mirrors can never show that which cannot be seen by others but only by you.
When you stand before a mirror, what happens? That which is reflected in the mirror is just the periphery of you. Your center cannot be reflected in a mirror -- just the periphery, the form. When you look in the mirror, it is not you who is reflected in the mirror, because you are not the seen but the seer. You are not that which is reflected in the mirror; you are that who is looking at the reflection, who is watching the reflection.
You are always the seer, and the seer cannot be reduced to the seen. You are subjectivity, and you can never become an object. You are irreducible... so how to encounter oneself?
One has to move withinwards. One has to drop all the mirrors -- the mirrors of the eyes; friendly eyes, inimical eyes, in. different eyes, all sorts of mirrors one has to drop. One has, really, to close one's eyes and move withinwards, and to see that which cannot be seen -- to meet the seer. It happens.
It is very absurd. It is illogical, but it happens. How can you see the seer? Logically, it is impossible. But it happens -- because life does not bother about logic. Life is more than logic. It happens! It can happen to you, but you have to move from the reflective, the mirror-like world that surrounds you.
This story about the master Shibli is very beautiful. Shibli is one of the very famous masters. I would like to tell you something about Shibli.
The first time Shibli's name became known was the time when Mansoor Al Hillaj was being murdered. Shibli was a companion, a friend to Al Hillaj. Many people have been murdered in the past by so called religious people. Jesus was murdered... but there has been never such a murder as happened with Al Hillaj. It is the most horrible. Jesus was simply crucified, but Al Hillaj was not simply crucified. He was crucified and first his legs were cut -- and he was alive -- then his hands were cut. He was really tortured. Then his tongue was cut, then his eyes were taken out -- and he was alive. And then his neck was cut. He was cut in pieces.
The first time we hear about Shibli is at that moment. One hundred thousand people had gathered to throw stones at Mansoor, to ridicule him. And what crime had Mansoor committed? What sin had he committed? He had not committed any sin; he had not committed any crime. The only crime was this, that he had said, `ANAL HAK.' It means `I am the Truth, I am God.' Had he been in India, people would have worshipped him for centuries. All the seers of the Upanishads declare this, `AHAM BRAHMASMI -- I am Brahma, the Supreme Self.' ANAL HAK is nothing but a translation of AHAM BRAHMASMI. But Mohammedans could not tolerate it.
All the three religions which have been born in the West are very intolerant. Jews -- very intolerant; that's why they crucified Jesus. Mohammedans -- very intolerant, almost blind. Christians, always talking about tolerance, but it is just a talk -- not tolerant at all. Even in their tolerance there is deep intolerance. And all these three religions have been murderous, violent, aggressive. Their only argument is violence, as if you can convince somebody by killing him.
Mansoor is one of the greatest Sufis. No other man is comparable to him in the Sufi tradition. He was killed. People were throwing stones at him. Shibli was standing in the crowd. Mansoor was laughing and enjoying. When his feet were cut, he took the blood in his hands and he spread the blood on both his hands. Just like Mohammedans do with water when they go into the mosque for prayer: cleansing of the hands with water -- wazu. And somebody asked from the crowd, `What are you doing, Mansoor?'
Mansoor said, `How can you do wazu with water? How can you cleanse yourself with water? -- because crime you commit with your blood, sin you commit with your blood, so how can you purify yourself with water? Only blood can be the purification. I am purifying my hands. I am getting ready for prayer.'
Somebody laughed and said, `You are a fool! You are getting ready for a prayer? or you are getting ready to be murdered?'
Mansoor laughed and said, `That is what prayer is -- to die. You are helping me for my final prayer, the last. And nothing better can be done by this body; this body cannot be used in a better way -- on the altar of the Divine you are sacrificing me. That will be my last prayer in the world.'
When they started cutting his hands he said, `Wait a minute Let me pray, because when hands are no more there it will be difficult.' So he looked at the sky, prayed to the God and said,`Forgive these people, because they don't know what they are doing.' And he said to God, `You cannot deceive me, you great deceiver! I can see you in everybody present here. You are trying to deceive me? you have come as the murderer? as the enemy? But you cannot deceive me, I tell you. In whatsoever form you come, I will recognize you -- because I have recognized you within myself. Now there is no possibility of deception.'
People are throwing stones and mud in ridicule, and Shibli is standing there. Mansoor is laughing and smiling. Suddenly he started crying and weeping, because Shibli had thrown a rose at Mansoor. Stones -- he was laughing. A rose -- and he started weeping and crying. Somebody asked, `What is the matter? With stones you laugh -- have you gone mad? And Shibli has thrown only a rose-flower. Why are you crying and weeping?'
Mansoor said, `People who are throwing stones don't know what they are doing, but this Shibli has to know. For him it will be difficult to get forgiveness from the God.'
Shibli was a great scholar. He knew all the scriptures. He was a man of knowledge. Mansoor said, `Others will be forgiven because they are acting in ignorance; they cannot help it. Whatsoever they are doing, it's okay. In their blindness that's all they can do. More is not expected; more cannot be expected. But with Shibli -- a man who knows! a man of knowledge -- it will be difficult for him to get forgiveness. That's why I weep and cry for him. He is the only person who is committing a sin here. He knows! That's why.'
This is something to be understood. You cannot commit a sin when you are ignorant. How can you commit a sin when you are ignorant? The responsibility is not on you. But when you know, the responsibility is there. Knowledge is the greatest responsibility. Knowledge makes you responsible. And this statement of Mansoor's changed Shibli completely. He became a totally different man. He threw the Koran, the scriptures, and he said, `They could not make me understand even this: that all knowledge is useless. Now I will seek the right knowledge.' And later on when he was asked to comment about the statement of Mansoor: `What was the matter? Why did you throw the flower?' Shibli said, `I was standing in the crowd and I was afraid of the crowd -- if I don't throw anything, people may think that I belong to Mansoor's group. The crowd may feel that I am also his companion and friend. They may get violent towards me. I could not throw stones, because I knew Mansoor was innocent. But I could not gather the courage also not to throw anything. That's why I threw the flower -- just a compromise. And Mansoor was right that he wept: he wept at my fear, my cowardice. He wept because my whole knowledge, all that I had gathered in my whole life, was futile -- I was compromising with the crowd.'
All scholars compromise with the crowd. All pundits compromise with the crowd. That's why you have never heard of any pundit being crucified by the crowd. They are the followers of the crowd; they always compromise. And their compromise is this: when they go to the Buddha, or to Mansoor, they bow down to them, and they bow down to the crowd also. They are cunning people, very cunning.
But Shibli changed completely. He understood. The feeling of Mansoor for him, the crying of Mansoor for him, became a transformation. And then later on Shibli became a master in his own right. It took at least twelve years for him, of wandering like a vagabond, a beggar. And people would ask him, `Why are you wandering? What are you repenting for?' -- because he would continuously beat his chest and cry and weep. In the mosque when he entered, he would cry and weep such that the whole village would gather. It was so heart-rending, such deep anguish, that people would ask, `What are you doing? What sin have you committed?'
And he would say, `I have murdered Mansoor. Nobody else was responsible there, but I could have understood. And I threw a flower at that man. I compromised with the crowd. I was a coward. I could have saved him, but I missed the moment. That's why I am repenting.'
His whole life he repented. Repentance can become a very, very deep phenomenon in you if you understand the responsibility. Then even a small thing, if it becomes a repentance -- not just verbal, not just on the surface; if it goes deep to your roots, if you repent from the roots; if your whole being shakes and trembles and cries, and tears come out; not only out of your eyes, but out of every cell of your body, then repentance can become a transfiguration. That is the meaning of Jesus when he again and again says, `Repent!'
Jesus' master, John the Baptist, has nothing much to say. His whole message was just this: `Repent! -- because the Kingdom of God is near at hand. It is just coming -- you repent before it comes!' Repentance -- not just mental, but total -- cleanses, purifies. Nothing else can purify you that way. It is a fire. It burns all rubbish in you.
Mansoor's weeping haunted Shibli continuously his whole life. Waking or asleep, the tears of Mansoor haunted him continuously. And that became a transformation. This is what a master, only a great master, can do -- Mansoor did it. Even while dying, he transformed a man like Shibli. Even while dying, he used his death also to transform this man. A master goes on, while alive or dying, or even when already dead, he goes on using every opportunity to transform people.
Now this small story.
A man who is ready to learn can learn from anywhere. A man who is not ready to learn cannot learn even from a Buddha. It depends on you. A dog can become a god if you are ready to learn. Even a god will not look like a god if you are not ready to learn. It depends. Finally it depends on you. To be ready to learn means to be open to all possibilities. With no prejudice. Watching, with no preconcepts. Otherwise, who will watch a dog You would not have been even aware; you would have passed by, and you would have missed the opportunity which made Shibli a changed man, which became the guide.
You have been missing opportunities every day. Every moment the guidance is there. The Divine goes on calling you, from different quarters, but you don't listen. In fact, you think you already know. That is the trouble. If an ill man thinks that he is already healthy, why should he listen to any doctor? And then there is no possibility of his illness being treated. The very possibility of treatment is closed. If you know that you already know, you will not be able to know. First recognize that you don't know, then suddenly, from everywhere, things start happening.
`Who guided you on the Path?' somebody asked Shibli.
He could never have imagined that he would say: `A DOG. ONE DAY I SAW HIM, ALMOST DEAD WITH THIRST, STANDING BY THE WATER'S EDGE.'
That is where you all are standing: at the water's edge, almost dead with thirst. But something withholds you. You are not jumping. Something keeps you. What is that? Some sort of fear. Because the bank is known,-familiar, and to jump into the river is to move into the unknown.
The known is always dead like a bank, and the unknown is always fluid, flowing like a river. The fear: cling to the familiar. The fear always says, `Cling to the familiar, to the known.' Then fear makes you move in a circle, because only a circular path can be familiar. You move in the same rut again and again. Everything is known.
People come to me in deep misery, but they are not ready to even leave their misery -- because even misery looks familiar. At least, they think, their own. They are not ready to surrender even their misery.
Why can't you surrender your misery? Familiar, habitual; you have lived with it so long that now you will feel lonely without it. This I always feel. And if you cling to misery, how is bliss possible? Both cannot live together. The bliss cannot enter you. It can enter only if misery leaves from this door; then the bliss enters from another door -- immediately it enters and fills you.
Nature abhors a vacuum. God also. But you are already filled, and you cling to your misery as if it is a treasure. What have you got? Can't you renounce your misery? Have you not lived enough with it? Has it not already crippled you too much? For what are you waiting?
You are in the same situation.
Says Shibli, `ONE DAY I SAW HIM ALMOST DEAD WITH THIRST...' Dead with thirst! And the water just in front! `... STANDING BY THE WATER'S EDGE, BUT EVERY TIME HE LOOKED AT HIS REFLECTION IN THE WATER HE WAS FRIGHTENED AND WITHDREW...' The fear of the unknown and the fear of the reflection. He saw himself reflected in the water and he thought there was another dog. He was seeing himself. There was nobody else.
This is a very, very pregnant sentence. Let me say to you that you are alone in your world. There is nobody else. And all else that you are seeing is your own reflections. You have never moved out of yourself. And, in fact, there is nobody else but you -- in your world. All is reflections. And because of those reflections, you are closed in, caved in.
When you meet a person, do you really meet the person he is, or do you simply meet the reflection of your own self in him? Have you ever met anybody? -- or just your own reflections, your own interpretations? When you meet a person, you immediately start interpreting the person. You start creating an image about him. That image is yours. The person is not important -- just your image. The person goes far away. More and more the image becomes clear; the person is forgotten. And then you live with this image. When you talk to the person, you talk to your image of the person, not to the person really.
You meet a man or a woman, you fall in love -- do you think you are falling in love with the other? Impossible. You are falling in love with an image that you have created around the other. And the other is also falling in love with an image that he or she has created around you. Whenever two persons fall in love, at least four persons are there; more are possible, less not. And then there is trouble, because you never fall in love with the person -- you fall with your own image. And he is not there to fulfill your image. Sooner or later, the reality comes in. A conflict arises between your dream and the real, between your image and the real person who is there, absolutely unknown. And then there is a clash.
Every love affair shatters on the rocks -- every love affair. And the deeper the love, the more intense the feeling, the sooner it shatters on the rocks. Why does it happen? It has to happen -- because two persons falling in love with their own images, how can they be together? Those images will always be in between them. And those images will be false.
A real person is totally different. He's not your image. And he is not there to fulfill your expectations. Neither are you there to fulfill anybody's expectations. A real person is real. He has his own destiny. You have your own destiny. If you can walk together hand in hand for a few moments on the path, so far so good -- beautiful. But you cannot expect that `You do this -- you don't do that.' Once you start expecting, you are bringing your image in: love is almost dead; now it is going to be a dead thing.
Look at husbands and wives. You cannot see why they look so dead and bored -- with each other. They simply tolerate. They somehow simply drag. The mystery is lost. The dance is no more in the step. They don't look into each other's eyes any more. Those eyes are no longer lakes in which you can go on and on and on for an eternal journey. They take each other's hands -- dead, nothing flows. They embrace and they kiss and they make love, but just manoeuvres, things like yoga postures; dead, controlling, doing. But the flow is no more there, the ecstasy is no more there. It is no longer a happening. They don't come out of it refreshed, rejuvenated, reborn. They go into it dead, and they come out deadlier, deader than before. The whole thing becomes rotten. Why does this happen?
This happens because you are always creating a reflection of your own self in the other. You are creating an illusion. And then you are in love, and then you are in hate, then you find friends and then you find enemies, and they are all your reflections.
There is an old Hindu story: A great king made a palace. The palace walls were covered with mirrors, millions of mirrors. To enter into that palace was beautiful. You could see your faces in millions of mirrors all around you; millions of you all around. You could have taken a candle -- and millions of candles; and a small candle would be reflected from millions of mirrors, and the whole palace would be filled with light, by a small candle.
One night it happened that by accident a dog entered. He looked around. He was so scared, scared to death -- millions of dogs! He was so scared that he completely forgot the door he had come in from. Of course, millions of dogs all around -- death was certain. He started barking -- millions of dogs started barking. He became aggressive -- millions of dogs became aggressive. He crashed with the walls. By the morning he was found dead. And there was nobody except the dog himself.
And this is the whole situation in this world. You bark, you fight, you fall in love, you make friends and enemies, and every person is functioning like a mirror to you. It has to be so! Unless you awake, and unless you realize who you are, you will continue seeing in the mirrors of others your own reflection -- making love to your own reflection, fighting with your own reflection. The ego is absolutely masturbatory. It is a masturbation -- doing everything to yourself through your own reflections.
The dog was almost dead with thirst, but even that was not enough. The fear. I see into your eyes, I see into your heart -- dead with thirst. But that thirst still doesn't seem to be enough -- so that you can take the jump, so that you can drop the fear, so that you can choose the unknown. The thirst is there, but doesn't seem to be enough. Fear seems to be more important, more significant, more heavy on you.
Many of you reach to the point in the meditations when the river is flowing and you can jump. But then fear arises. It looks like death. Meditation is like death. Fear arises. The thirst is there, but it seems not to be enough. If you are really thirsty, then you will take the jump whatsoever the cost. And a master is needed to make you more and more thirsty, more and more aware of your thirst -- because that is the only way. The more thirsty you become, a fire arises in your heart, and you are burning with thirst. Only then can you drop the fear and take the jump -- when the thirst is more than the fear.
Somebody asked Buddha, `You say Truth cannot be taught. Then why do you teach? And you say that nobody can force any body towards enlightenment, but then why do you work so hard with people?'
Buddha is reported to have said, `Truth cannot be taught, but thirst can be taught. Or, at least, you can be made aware of your thirst -- which is already there, but you are suppressing it.' Because of the fear you go on suppressing the thirst.
You go on suppressing that which is continuously there. A deep discontent with all that is around you. A divine discontent. A thirst.
Remember these words. I cannot do anything unless the moment comes for you when you can feel such is your necessity that you have to take the jump, that you have to explode into the unknown, that you have to step into it.
 because when you jump into the water, the mirrorlike river is no more mirrorlike. The reflection disappeared. The dog was no more there. And Shibli must have been watching, sitting by the bank, looking at this dog -- his fear, his continuous effort to go and then withdrawing again and again and again. He must have watched very keenly for what was going to happen. And then the dog jumped. The reflection disappeared.
`THE DOG FOUND THAT THE OBSTACLE...' was not outside, it was he himself. The dog was not there in the water. The dog in the water was not preventing him, as he was thinking before. It was he himself `... WHICH WAS HIMSELF, THE BARRIER BETWEEN HIM AND WHAT HE SOUGHT, MELTED AWAY.'
He was himself the barrier between his thirst and the water, his hunger and the satiety, his discontent and the contentment, his search and the goal, his seeking and the sought. There was nobody else, just his reflection in the water.
And that is the case, absolutely the case, with you all, with everybody. Nobody is hindering you. Something of the sort of your own reflection between you and your destiny, between you as the seed and you as the flower -- there is nobody else hindering, creating any obstacle. So don't go on throwing responsibility on others. That is a way of consoling oneself. Drop consoling yourself. Drop all self pity. Look deep in the mirror. And everybody is a mirror around you. Look deep -- you will find your own reflection everywhere.
The Way is shown to you from millions of directions. People have become enlightened through watching a dog, through watching a cat. People have become enlightened through watching a dead leaf falling from the tree. People have become enlightened through every sort of situation. But one thing is absolutely necessary, and that is watching. Dog, cat, the tree, the river -- irrelevant. People become enlightened through watching.
So whatsoEVER the situation, you watch. And watch without any prejudice. And watch without the past. Watch without any thinking on your part. Don't interpret. Watch! If your eyes are clear, if your perception is clear, and you watch silently, every situation leads towards the Divine. And this is how it should be! Every situation, every moment of life, leads toward the Divine.
Somebody asked Rinzai, a Zen Master, `What is the way to know the Ultimate?'
Rinzai had gone for a morning walk with his staff in his hand. He raised his staff in front of the eyes of the questioner, and said, `WATCH this staff! If you can watch this, there is no need to go anywhere else.'
The man must have found it a little puzzling. He looked here and there and he said, `But how can one attain to enlightenment just by watching a stick?'
Rinzai said, `It is not a question of what you watch. The question is that you watch. Right now it happened that the staff was in my hand, that's all.'
Anything, if you watch, will give you the clue. Watching is the only method. Call it awareness, call it observation, call it witnessing -- but watch. Live life with a watchful eye. And every thing, the smallest, leads to the greatest. Everything leads to God.
You have heard the saying that `Every road leads to Rome.' It may not be true -- but every path leads to God.
Wherever you are, become watchful, and your face is immediately turned toward the Divine. Through watching, the quality of your inner consciousness changes. Be watchful!
Jesus goes on saying to his disciples, `Be watchful!' But as it happens, disciples are almost deaf. When it was the last night, and Jesus was going to be crucified the next day, that night he said, `Now I will do my last prayer, and you all watch. Be alert! Don't fall asleep!'
After an hour, Jesus came back from the tree where he was praying -- all the disciples were fast asleep, snoring. He woke them and said, `What are you doing? I had told you: be watchful, alert! -- and you have fallen asleep.'
They said, `We were tired. And we tried, but the sleep took over.'
Jesus said, `Now be more watchful -- because this is the last night! I will no more be with you again.' And again after half an hour he came back, and they were fast asleep.
What was he saying? He was giving them the key word: `Be watchful.' And what else can a master give when he is departing? In this word, `Be watchful,' all the scriptures exist in their essence.
Thrice Jesus came again. There are only two things infinite I say: the compassion of a master and the stupidity of the disciple. Infinite, two things. Thrice he came and he said, `Again you are asleep?' And that night would have become enlightenment for all those disciples, because Jesus was at his pinnacle -- the very peak. And he was praying: in that moment of Jesus' prayer the whole atmosphere in that Garden of Gethsemane was CHARGED. If those disciples had been watchful, immediate sudden enlightenment would have been possible. But they were fast asleep.
To you also, I say, be watchful! -- because I will not be here for long. A little while more. You can miss and you can find excuses. Be watchful! Be alert!
Jesus always used to tell a story, that a master went for a journey. And he told his servants, `Be watchful twenty four hours a day, because any moment I can come back. And if I find you asleep, I will throw you out. So keep alert! Somebody must be alert and aware. You can divide the time by shifts, but I must find a few servants alert and aware whenever I come.'
But the servants thought, `The journey is very long, and it will take almost years, so no need to worry about it right now. After a year we will be watchful. For this whole year we can enjoy and indulge and sleep well. And we are free -- the master is gone.'
And when the master came.... He came after three years, but when for one year completely you sleep and indulge and become lazy, then it is not easy. Then they started postponing: `He has not come yet, and no message has come. Who knows whether he is alive or dead? And we have not heard anything at all.' They forgot completely. When the master came, they had not only forgotten that the master existed, they had not only forgotten that they had to be alert, they had completely forgotten that they were servants. They had become the masters by that time.
This is what has happened to every mind, to every consciousness.
And remember: God can knock at your door any moment. If you are not watchful, you will miss. He can knock from a dog. He can knock from a flower. A bird takes wing -- and He can knock there. He can use any opportunity to knock at your door.
Remain alert so that when the Guest comes He does not find you asleep; when He knocks at your door, you are ready and you have prepared the house for the Guest -- and your heart is ready to receive.
Be watchful. Through being watchful, by and by, the ego will die, because ego is created by a non-watchful mind, an unalert mind. Through watching, witnessing, the ego dies. And nothing is possible until you die

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