OSHOMEDITATION - Chapter 8. The Useless

OSHOMEDITATION - Chapter 8. The Useless


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Osho - The Empty Boat
Chapter 8. The Useless

Hui Tzu said to Chuang Tzu:
"All your teaching is centered on what has no use."
Chuang Tzu replied:
"If you have no appreciation for what has no use
You cannot begin to talk about what can be used.
The earth, for example, is broad and vast,
But of all this expanse a man uses only a few inches
Upon which he happens to be standing at the time.
"Now suppose you suddenly take away
All that he is not actually using,
So that all around his feet a gulf yawns,
And he stands in the void
With nowhere solid except under each foot,
How long will he be able to use what he is using?"
Hui Tzu said:
"It would cease to serve any purpose."
Chuang Tzu concluded:
"This shows the absolute necessity
Of what is supposed to have no use."
Life is dialectical, that is why it is not logical. Logic means that the opposite is really opposite, and life always implies the opposite in itself. In life the opposite is not really the opposite, it is the complementary. Without it nothing is possible.
For example, life exists because of death. If there is no death there cannot be any life. Death is not the end and death is not the enemy - rather, on the contrary, because of death life becomes possible. So death is not somewhere in the end, it is involved here and now. Each moment has its life and its death; otherwise existence is impossible.
There is light, there is darkness. For logic they are opposites, and logic will say: If it is light, there cannot be any darkness, if it is dark, then there cannot be any light. But life says quite the contrary.
Life says: If there is darkness it is because of light; if there is light it is because of darkness. We may not be able to see the other when it is hidden just around the corner.
There is silence because of sound. If there is no sound at all, can you be silent? How can you be silent? The opposite is needed as a background. Those who follow logic always go wrong because their life becomes lopsided. They think of light, then they start denying darkness; they think of life, then they start fighting death.
That is why there exists no tradition in the world which says that God is both light and darkness.
There is one tradition which says that God is light, he is not darkness. There is no darkness in God for the people who believe God is light. There is another tradition that says that God is darkness - but for them there is no light. Both are wrong, because both are logical, they deny the opposite. And life is so vast, it carries the opposite in itself. It is not denied, it is embraced.
Once somebody said to Walt Whitman, one of the greatest poets ever born, "Whitman, you go on contradicting yourself. One day you say one thing, another day you say just the opposite."
Walt Whitman laughed and said, "I am vast. I contain all the contradictions."
Only small minds are consistent, and the narrower the mind, the more consistent. When the mind is vast, everything is involved: light is there, darkness is there, God is there and the devil too, in his total glory.
If you understand this mysterious process of life which moves through the opposites, which is dialectical, where the opposite helps, gives balance, gives tone, makes the background, then only can you understand Chuang Tzu - because the whole Taoist vision is based on the complementariness of the opposites.
They use two words, yin and yang. They are opposites, male and female. Just think of a world which is totally male or a world which is totally female. It will be dead. The moment it is born it will be dead. There cannot be any life in it. If it is a female world - women, women and women, and no men - women will commit suicide. The opposite is needed because the opposite is attractive.
The opposite becomes the magnet, it pulls you; the opposite brings you out of yourself, the opposite breaks your prison, the opposite makes you vast. Whenever the opposite is denied there will be trouble. And that is what we have been doing, hence so much trouble in the world.
Man has tried to create a society which is basically male, that is why there is so much trouble - the woman has been denied, she has been thrown out. In past centuries the woman was never to be seen anywhere. She was hidden in the back chambers of the house, and she was not even allowed in the drawing room. You couldn't meet her on the streets, you couldn't see her in the shops.
She was not part of life. The world went ugly, because how can you deny the opposite? The world became lopsided, all balance was lost. The world went mad.
The woman is still not allowed to move in life; she is really not yet a part, a vital part of life. Men move in men-oriented groups - the exclusively male club where boys meet, the market, politics, the scientific group. Everywhere it is lopsided. Man dominates, that is why there is so much misery. And when one of the polar opposites dominates, there will be misery, because the other feels hurt and takes revenge.
So every woman takes her revenge in the house. Of course, she cannot go out and move in the world and take revenge on humanity, on mankind. She takes revenge on her husband. There is constant conflict.
I have heard that Mulla Nasruddin was saying to his son, "It is none of your business, don't ask such things. Who are you to ask me how I met your mother? But I will tell you one thing: she sure cured me of whistling."
Then he said, "And this is the moral of the story: if you don't want to be unhappy like me, never whistle at a girl!"
Why is the wife always in conflict? It is not the person, it is not a personal thing. It is the revenge of the woman, of the female, of the denied opposite. And this man in the house, the husband, is the representative of the whole male world, the male-oriented world. She is fighting.
Family life is so miserable because we have not heard what Chuang Tzu says. There are so many wars because we have not heard that the opposite has to be merged. By negating it you invite trouble, and on every path, on every level, in every dimension, it is the same thing.
Chuang Tzu says that if you deny the useless, then there will be no use in the world. If you deny the useless, the playful, the fun, there cannot be any work, any duty. This is very difficult because our whole emphasis is on the useful.
If somebody asks you what a house consists of, you will say, walls. And Chuang Tzu would say, just like his master Lao Tzu, that a house consists not of walls but of doors and windows. Their emphasis is on the other part. They say that walls are useful, but their use depends on the useless space behind.
A room is space, not walls. Of course, space is free but walls have to be purchased. When you purchase a house, what do you purchase? The walls, the material, the visible. But can you live in the material? Can you live in the walls? You have to live in the room, in the vacant space. You purchase the boat, but you have to live in the emptiness.
So really, what is a house? Emptiness surrounded by walls. And what is a door? There is nothing.
'Door' means there is nothing, no wall, emptiness. But you cannot enter the house if there is no door; if there is no window then no sun will enter, no breeze will blow. You will be dead, and your house will become a tomb.
Chuang Tzu says: Remember that the house consists of two things: the walls, the material - the marketable, the utilitarian - and the emp-tiness surrounded by the walls, the non-utilitarian which cannot be purchased, which cannot be sold, which has no economic value.
How can you sell emptiness? But you have to live in the emptiness - if a man lives only in the walls he will go mad. It is impossible to do that - but we try to do the impossible. In life, we have chosen the utilitarian.
For example, if a child is playing you say, "Stop! What are you doing? This is useless. Do something useful. Learn, read, at least do your homework, something useful. Don't wander around, don't be a vaga-bond." And if you go on insisting on this to a child, by and by you will kill the useless. Then the child will become just useful, and when a person is simply useful, he is dead. You can use him, he is a mechanical thing now, a means, not an end unto himself.
You are really yourself when you are doing something useless - painting, not to sell, just enjoying; gardening, just to enjoy; lying down on the beach, not doing anything, just to enjoy, useless, fun; sitting silently at the side of a friend.
Much could be done in these moments. You could go to the shop, to the market, you could earn something. You could change time into money. You could get a bigger bank balance because these moments will not come back. And foolish people say that time is money. They know only one use for time: how to convert it into more money and more money and more money. In the end you die with a big bank balance but inside totally poor, because the inner richness arises only when you can enjoy the useless.
What is meditation? People come to me and say, "What is the use of it? What will we gain out of it?
What is the benefit of it?"
Meditation...and you ask about the benefit? You cannot understand it because meditation is just useless. The moment I say useless, you feel uncomfortable because the whole mind has become so utilitarian, so commodity-oriented that you ask for a result. You cannot concede that something can be a pleasure unto itself.
Useless means you enjoy it, but there is no benefit from it; you are deeply merged in it and it gives you bliss. But when you are deeply in it, you cannot accumulate that bliss, you cannot make a treasure out of it.
In the world two types of people have existed: the utilitarians - they become scientists, engineers, doctors; and the other branch, the complementary - poets, the vagabonds, the sannyasins - useless, not doing anything useful. But they give the balance, they give grace to the world. Think of a world full of scientists and not a single poet - it would be absolutely ugly, not worth living in. Think of a world with everyone in the shops, in the offices, not a single vagabond. It would be hell. The vagabond gives beauty.
Two vagabonds were arrested once... Magistrates and police are the custodians of the utilitarians.
They protect, because this useless part is dangerous - it can spread! So nowhere are vagabonds, useless people, allowed. If you are just standing on the street and somebody asks you what you are doing, and you reply, "Nothing," the police will immediately take you to court - because nothing is not allowed! You must do something. Why are you standing there? If you say simply, "I am standing and enjoying it," you are a dangerous man, a hippy. You may be arrested.
So the two vagabonds were arrested. The magistrate asked the first one, "Where do you live?"
The man said, "The whole world is my home, the sky is my shelter; I go everywhere, there is no barrier. I am a free man."
Then he asked the other, "And where do you live?"
He said, "Next door to him."
These people give beauty to the world, they are a perfume. A Buddha is a vagabond, a Mahavira is a vagabond. This man, this vagabond, answered that the sky was his only shelter. That is what is meant by the word DIGAMBER. Mahavira, the last TIRTHANKARA of the Jainas, is known as digamber. Digamber means naked, only the sky for clothing, nothing else. The sky is the shelter, the home.
Whenever the world becomes too utilitarian you create many things, you possess many things, you become obsessed with things - but the inner is lost, because the inner can flower only when there are no outer tensions, when you are not going anywhere, just resting. Then the inner flowers.
Religion is absolutely useless. What use is the temple? What use is the mosque? What use is the church? In Russia they have converted all the temples, mosques, churches into hospitals and into schools, something useful. Why is this temple standing without any use? Communists are utilitarians. That is why they are against religion. They have to be, because religion gives way to the useless, to that which cannot be in any way exploited, to that which cannot be made a means to anything else. You can have it, you can be blissful in it, you can feel the highest ecstasy possible, but you cannot manipulate it. It is a happening. When you are not doing anything, it happens. And the greatest has always happened when you are not doing anything. Only the trivial happens when you are doing something.
Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher, has written something very penetrating. He said, "When I started praying, I would go to the church and talk to God..." That is what Christians are doing all over the world. They talk to God in a loud voice as if God is dead. And as if God is just a foolish entity they advise him what to do and what not to do. Or, as if God is just a foolish monarch they persuade him, bribe him, to fulfill the desires that are in them.
But Kierkegaard said, "I started talking, then suddenly I realized that this was useless. How can you talk before God? One has to be silent. What is there to be said? And what can I say which will help God to know more? He is omnipotent, he is omniscient, knows all, so what is the purpose of my telling him?"
And Kierkegaard said, "I talked to him for many years, then suddenly I realized that this was foolish.
So I stopped talking, I became silent. Then after many years I realized that even silence wouldn't do. Then the third step was taken, and that was listening. First I was talking, then I was not talking, and then I was listening."
Listening is different to just being silent, because just being silent is a negative thing - listening is a positive thing. Just being silent is passive, listening is an alert passiveness, waiting for something, not saying anything, but waiting with the whole being. It has an intensity. And Kierkegaard said, "When this listening happened, then for the first time prayer happened."
But it seems listening is absolutely useless, especially listening to the unknown; you don't know where he is. Silence is useless, talking seems to be useful. Something can be done through talking; with it you do many things in the world. So you think that if you want to become religious you will also have to do something.
But Chuang Tzu said: Religion begins only when you have understood the futility of all doing, and you have moved to the polar opposite of nondoing, inactivity, of becoming passive, becoming useless.
Now we shall enter the sutra, The Useless.
Hui Tzu said to Chuang Tzu:
"All your teaching is centered on what has no use."
This teaching doesn't seem to be worth much, but Chuang Tzu and his master were always talking about the useless, they even praised men who were useless.
Chuang Tzu talks about a man, a hunchback. All the young people of the town were forcibly entered into the military, into the army, because they were useful. Only one man, a hunchback, who was useless, was left behind. Chuang Tzu said: Be like the hunchback, so useless that you are not slaughtered in the war.
They go on praising the useless because they say that the useful will always be in difficulty. The world will use you, everybody is ready to use you, to manipulate you, to control you. If you are useless nobody will look at you, people will forget you, they will leave you in silence, they will not bother about you. They will simply become unaware that you are.
It happened to me. I am a useless man. In my childhood days I would be sitting down just next to my mother. She would look around her and say, "I would like to send someone to fetch vegetables from the market, but I cannot see anyone to send" - and I would be sitting there just next to her!
She would say, "I can't see anyone here!" And I would laugh inside myself - she couldn't send me to the market, I was so useless that she was not aware that I was there.
Once, my aunt came to stay, and she was not aware of my uselessness. My mother was saying, "Nobody is in to go to the market. All the children have gone out and the servant is ill, so what can I do? Some-one has to be sent."
So my aunt said, "Why not send Raja? He is sitting there, not doing anything."
So I was sent. I asked the market vendor there, "Give me the best vegetables you have got, the best bananas, the best mangoes." Looking at me and the way I was talking he must have thought I was a fool, because nobody ever asks for the best. So he charged me double and gave me all the rotten things he had, and I came home very happy.
My mother threw them away and said, "Look! This is why I say nobody is here."
Chuang Tzu insists very much: Be alert and don't be very useful; otherwise people will exploit you.
Then they will start managing you and then you will be in trouble. And if you can produce things, they will force you to produce all your life. If you can do a certain thing, if you are skillful, then you cannot be wasted.
He says that uselessness has its own intrinsic utility. If you can be useful for others, then you have to live for others. Useless, nobody looks at you, nobody pays any attention to you, nobody is bothered by your being. You are left alone. In the marketplace you live as if you are living in the Himalayas.
In that solitude you grow. Your whole energy moves inwards.
Hui Tzu said to Chuang Tzu:
"All your teaching is centered on what has no use."
Chuang Tzu replied:
"If you have no appreciation for what has no use
You cannot begin to talk about what can be used."
He said that the useless is the other aspect of the useful. You can talk about the useful only because of the useless. It is a vital part. If you drop it completely, then nothing will be useful. Things are useful because there are things which are useless.
But this has happened to the world. We have cut out all playful activities thinking that then the whole of our energy will move towards work. But now work has become a bore. One has to move to the opposite pole - only then one is rejuvenated.
The whole day you are awake, at night you fall asleep. What is the use of sleep? It is wasting time - and no little time. If you live to ninety, for thirty years of your life you will be asleep, one-third, eight hours every day. What is the use of it?
Scientists in Russia have been thinking that this is a wastage of labor, of energy. This is very uneconomical, so something must be done about it: some chemical changes or some hormonal changes are nee-ded. Or, even if something has to be changed in the very genes, the very cell, it must be done. We have to make a man who is aware, alert, awake for twenty-four hours.
Just think... if they succeed, they will kill! Then they will make you an automaton, just a mechanical device, which goes on working and working, no day, no night, no rest, no work. There is no opposite to which you can move and forget!
And they have started many things. They have started sleep teaching for small children. Now thousands of children in Soviet Russia sleep with tape recorders plugged to their ears. While they are sleeping, the tape recorder is teaching them. Throughout the whole night the tape recorder is repeating something or other. They go on listening to it and it becomes part of their memory - sleep teaching, hypno-pedia. And they say that sooner or later all that we do in schools can be done while the child is asleep, and then the day can be used in some other way.
Even sleep has to be exploited. You cannot be allowed to be yourself even in your sleep. You cannot even be allowed the freedom to dream. Then what are you? Then you become a cog in the wheel.
Then you are just an efficient part of the wheel, of the mechanism. If you are efficient it is okay; otherwise you can be discarded, thrown to the junkyard, and somebody else who is more efficient will replace you.
What happens after the whole day's work? You fall asleep. What happens? You move from the useful to the useless. And that is why in the morning you feel so fresh, so alive, so unburdened.
Your legs have a dancing quality, your mind can sing, your heart can again feel - all the dust of work is thrown off, the mirror is again clear. You have a clarity in the morning. How does it come? It comes through the useless.
That is why meditation can give you the greatest glimpses, because it is the most useless thing in the world. You simply don't do anything, you simply move into silence. It is greater than sleep because in sleep you are unconscious; whatsoever happens, happens unconsciously. You may be in paradise, but you don't know it.
In meditation you move knowingly. Then you become aware of the path: how to move from the useful world of the without to the useless world within. And once you know the path, any moment you can simply move inwards. Sitting in a bus you are not needed to do anything, you are simply sitting; traveling in a car or train or an airplane, you are not doing anything, everything is being done by others; you can close your eyes and move into the useless, the inner. And suddenly everything becomes silent, and suddenly everything is cool, and suddenly you are at the source of all life.
But it has no value on the market. You cannot go and sell it, you cannot say, "I have great meditation.
Is anybody ready to buy it?" Nobody will be ready to buy it. It is not a commodity, it is useless.
ChuangTtzu replied:
"If you have no appreciation for what has no use
You cannot begin to talk about what can be used.
The earth, for example, is broad and vast,
But of all this expanse a man uses only a few inches
Upon which he happens to be standing at the time.
"Now suppose you suddenly take away
All that he is not actually using,
So that all around his feet a gulf yawns,
And he stands in the void
With nowhere solid except under each foot,
How long will he be able to use what he is using?"
This is a beautiful simile. He has got the point. You are sitting here, and you are using only a small space, two by two. You are not using the whole earth, the whole earth is useless; you are using only a small portion, two by two. Says Chuang Tzu: Suppose the whole earth is taken away, only two by two is left for you; you are standing with each foot using a few inches of earth. Suppose only that is left and the whole earth is taken away - how long will you be able to use this small part that you are using?
A gulf, an infinite abyss, yawns around you - you will get dizzy immediately, you will fall into the abyss. The useless earth supports the useful, and the useless is vast, the useful is very small. And this is true on all levels of being: the useless is vast, the useful is very small. If you try to save the useful and forget the useless, sooner or later you will get dizzy. And this has happened, you are already dizzy and falling into the abyss.
All over the world thinking people have a problem: life has no meaning, life seems to be meaningless.
Ask Sartre, Marcel, Jaspers, Heidegger - they say life is meaningless. Why has life become so meaningless? It never used to be so. Buddha never said it; Krishna could dance, sing, enjoy himself; Mohammed could pray and thank God for the blessing that he showered upon him as life.
Chuang Tzu is happy, as happy as possible, as happy as a man can be. They never said that life is meaningless. What has happened to the modern mind? Why does life seem so meaningless?
The whole earth has been taken away and you are left only on the part on which you are sitting or standing. You are getting dizzy. All around you see the abyss and the danger; and you cannot use the earth on which you are standing now, because you can use it only when the useless is joined with it. The useless must be there. What does it mean? Your life has become only work and no play.
The play is the useless, the vast; the work is the useful, the trivial, the small. You have made your life completely filled with work. Whenever you start doing something the first thing that comes to the mind is, what is the use of it? If there is some use, you do it.
Sartre sets one of his stories in the coming century, the twenty-first. A very rich man says, "Love is not for me, it is only for poor people. As far as I am concerned my servants can do it."
Of course, why should a Ford go and waste time loving a woman? A cheap servant can do that.
Ford's time is more valuable. He should put it to some greater use.
It is possible! Looking at the human mind as it is, it is possible that in the future only servants will make love. When you can depute a servant, why bother yourself? When everything is thought of in terms of economics, when a Ford, a Rockefeller can make so much better use of their time, why should they go and waste their time with a woman? They can send a servant, that will be less trouble.
It looks absurd to us hearing this but it has already happened in many dimensions of life. You never play, your servants do that. You are never an active participant in any fun, others do it for you. You go to see a football match: others are doing it and you are just watching - you are a passive spectator, not involved. You go to a movie to see a film, and others are making love, creating war, violence - everything; you are just a spectator in the seat. It is so useless you need not bother to do it. Anyone else can do it, you can just watch. Work YOU do, fun others do for you. Then why not love? Using the same logic, somebody else will do it.
Life seems meaningless because the meaning consists of a balance between the useful and the useless. You have denied the useless completely. You have closed the door. Now only the useful is there and you are burdened too much by it.
It is a sign of success that if by the age of forty you get ulcers, it shows that you are successful.
If you have passed forty and are now fifty and still the ulcers have not appeared, you are a failure.
What have you been doing all your life? You must have been wasting time.
By fifty you really ought to have your first heart attack. Now scientists have calculated that by forty a successful man must have ulcers, by fifty the first heart attack. By sixty he is gone - and he never lived. There was no time to live. He had so many more important things to do, there was no time to live.
Look all around you, look at successful people; politicians, rich men, big industrialists - what is happening to them? Don't look at the things they possess, look at them directly, because if you look at the things you will be deceived. Things don't have ulcers, cars don't have heart attacks, houses are not hospitalized. Don't look at things, otherwise you will be deceived. Look at the person bereft of all his possessions, look directly at him and then you will feel the poverty. Then even a beggar may be a rich man. Then even a poor man may be richer as far as life is concerned.
Success fails, and nothing fails like success, because the man who succeeds is losing his grip on life - on everything. The man who succeeds is really bargaining, throwing away the real for the unreal, throwing away inner diamonds for colored pebbles on the shore; collecting the pebbles, losing the diamonds.
A rich man is a loser, a successful man is a failure. But because you look with the eyes of ambition you look at the possessions. You never look at the politician, you look at the post, the prime ministership. You look at the power. You never look at the person who is sitting there absolutely powerless, missing everything, not even having a glimpse of what bliss is. He has purchased power, but in purchasing it he has lost himself. And it is all a bargain.
I have heard that once, after a mass rally, a political leader was screaming at his manager. The manager couldn't understand it. The leader said, "I have been cheated!"
The manager said, "I don't understand, the rally was so successful. Many thousands of people came, and look at your garlands. They have covered you with flowers, count them."
The leader said, "There are only eleven and I paid for twelve."
In the end, every successful man will feel that he has been cheated. That has to happen, it is bound to happen, it is inevitable, because what are you giving, and what are you receiving? The inner self is being lost for futile possessions. You can deceive others, but how will you be able to deceive yourself? In the end you will look at your life and you will see that you have missed it because of the useful.
The useless must be there. The useful is like a garden, neat, clean; the useless is like a vast forest, natural, it cannot be so neat and clean. Nature has its own beauty and when everything is neat and clean, it is already dead. A garden cannot be very alive, because you go on pruning it, cutting it, managing it. A vast forest has a vitality, a very powerful soul. Go into a forest and you will feel the impact; get lost in a forest and then you will see the power of it. In a garden you cannot feel the power; it is not there, it is manmade. You can look at it, it is beautiful, but it is cultivated, it is managed, manipulated.
Really, a garden is a false thing - the real thing is the forest. The useless is like a vast forest and the useful is just like a garden you have created around your house. Don't go on cutting into the forest.
It is okay, your garden is okay, but let it be a part of the vast forest that is not your garden, but God's garden.
And can you think of anything more useless than God? Can you use him in any way? That is the trouble; that is why we cannot find any meaning in God. And those who are very meaning-oriented become atheists. They say there is no God, there cannot be. How can there be a God when God seems so useless?
It is better to leave him out, then the world is left for us to manage and control. Then we can make the whole world a market, we can change temples into hospitals, into primary schools. But the uselessness of God is the very basis of all the utility that goes on. If you can play, your work will become pleasure. If you can enjoy simple fun, if you can become like children playing, your work will not be a burden to you. But it is difficult. Your mind keeps thinking in terms of money.
I have heard that once Mulla Nasruddin came home and he found his wife in bed with his best friend.
The friend was very embarrassed and scared. He said, "Listen, I cannot do anything about it. I am in love with your wife and she is in love with me. And you being a rational man, we should come to some arrangement. It is no use fighting about it."
So Nasruddin said, "What arrangement do you suggest?"
His friend said, "We should play a game of cards, and let the wife be the stake. If I win, you simply leave; if you win, I will never see your wife again."
Nasruddin said, "All right, it's settled." But then he said, "Let's have some cash stakes, one rupee for each point, otherwise the whole thing is useless. Just for a wife the whole thing is useless. Don't waste my time, have some money stakes too."
Then the thing becomes useful. Money seems to be the only useful thing. All those who are utilitarians will be money-mad, because money can purchase. Money is the essence of all utility.
So if Buddha and people like Buddha renounced, it was not because they were against money, it was because they were against utility, against the useful. So they said: Keep all your money. I am moving into the forest. This garden is no more for me. I will move in the vast, in the uncharted, where one can be lost. This neat, clean pebbled path, everything known, mapped out, is not for me.
When you move into the vastness of uselessness your soul becomes vast. When you go into the sea with no map you become like the ocean. Then the very challenge of the unknown creates your soul.
When you are secure, when there is no problem, when everything is mathematically planned, settled, your soul shrinks. There is no challenge for it. The useless gives the challenge.
"Now suppose you suddenly take away
All that he is not actually using,
So that all around his feet a gulf yawns,
And he stands in the void
With nowhere solid except under each foot,
How long will he be able to use what he is using?"
Without God the world cannot continue any more. Nietzsche declared just a hundred years ago that God was dead. He did not realize it, but at the same time he was declaring that we also cannot live any more. He never thought about that, he thought just the contrary. He said: God is dead and man is now free to live. But I say to you: If God is dead, man is dead already. The news may not have reached him yet, but he is dead - because God is the vast uselessness.
Man's world is the utilitarian world, the useful; without the useless the useful cannot exist. God is the play and man is the work; without God, work will become meaningless, a burden to be carried somehow. God is the fun, man is serious; without the fun the seriousness will be too much, it will be like a disease. Don't destroy the temples, don't destroy the mosques, don't transform them into hospitals; you can build other hospitals, you can create other buildings for schools, but let the useless remain there at the very center of life. That is why the temple has been placed in the very marketplace, in the very center of the town, just to show that the useless must remain at the very center, otherwise all utility is lost. The opposite must be taken into account, and the opposite is greater.
What is the purpose of life? People keep coming and asking me this. There is no purpose. There cannot be any. It is purposeless, fun. You have to enjoy it, you can only enjoy it, you cannot do anything else about it. It is not marketable. And if you miss a moment you have missed; you cannot go back.
Religion is just a symbol. One man came to me and said, "In India there are five hundred thousand sannyasins. This is very uneconomical. And what are these people doing? They live on others' labor. They should not be allowed to exist."
In Russia they are not allowed to exist, not a single sannyasin. The whole land has become like a prison. You are not allowed to be useless. In China they are killing Buddhist monks and BHIKKUS, they have killed thousands of them, and they are destroying all the monasteries. They are turning the whole country into a factory, as if man is just the stomach, as if man can live by bread alone.
But man has a heart, and man has a being which is not in any way purpose-oriented. Man wants to enjoy without cause and without reason. Man wants to be blissful just for nothing.
That man asked, "When are you going to stop these sannyasins in India?" And he was very much against me. He said, "You are increasing the number of them. Stop it. What use are these sannyasins?"
And his question seems relevant. If he had gone somewhere else, if he had asked some other religious head, he would have been given the answer that they have a use. But he was very disturbed when I said that they have no use at all.
But life itself is without use. What is the purpose of it? Where are you going? What is the result?
No purpose, no result, no goal. Life is a constant ecstasy, moment to moment you can enjoy it but if you start thinking of results you miss enjoying it, your roots are uprooted, you are no longer in it, you have become an outsider. And then you will ask for the meaning, for the purpose.
Have you observed that when you are happy you never ask, "What is the purpose of happiness?"
When you are in love, have you ever asked, "What is the purpose of all this?" When in the morning you see the sun rising and a flock of birds like an arrow in the sky, have you asked, "What is the purpose of it?" A flower blooms alone in the night, filling the whole night with its fragrance; have you asked, "What is the purpose of it?"
There is no purpose. Purpose is part of the mind, and life exists mindlessly; hence the insistence on the useless. If you are looking too hard for use, you cannot drop the mind. How can you drop the mind if you are looking for some use, some result? You can drop the mind only when you have come to realize that there is no purpose and mind is not needed. You can put it aside. It is an unnecessary thing. Of course, when you go to the market, take it with you. When you sit in the shop, use it: it is a mechanical device, just like a computer.
Now scientists say that sooner or later we will supply each child with a computer which he can carry in his pocket. He need not carry much mathematics in his mind, he can just push the button and the computer will do it. Your mind is a natural computer. Why be burdened constantly by it? When it is not needed, put it aside. But you think it is needed because you have to do something useful. Who will tell you what is useful and what is useless? The mind is constantly sorting out: This is useful, do this; and that is useless, don't do it. Mind is your manager. The mind represents use. Meditation represents the useless.
Move from the useful to the useless, and make this movement so spontaneous and natural that there is no struggle, no conflict. Make it as natural as moving in and out of your house. When the mind is needed, use it as a mechanical device; when it is not in use, put it aside and forget it. Then be useless and do something useless and your life will be enriched, your life will become a balance between use and no use. And that balance transcends both. That is transcendental - neither use nor non-use.
"How long will he be able to use that which he is using?"
Hui Tzu said:
"It would cease to serve any purpose."
Chuang tzu concluded:
"This shows the absolute necessity
Of what is supposed to have no use."
Even the useful cannot exist without the useless. The useless is the base. I say to you, your mind cannot exist without meditation, and if you try to do the impossible you will go mad. That is what is happening to many people. They go mad. What is madness? Madness is an effort to do without meditation, to live only with the mind, without any meditation. Meditation is the base, even the mind cannot exist without it. And if you try, then the mind goes mad, goes crazy. It is too much. It is unbearable. A madman is a man who is a perfect utilitarian. He has tried the impossible, he has tried to live without meditation, and that is why he goes mad.
Psychologists say that if you are not allowed to sleep for three weeks you will go mad. Why? Sleep is useless. Why will you go mad if you are not allowed to sleep for three weeks? A man can live without food for three months but a man cannot live without sleep for three weeks. And three weeks is the ultimate limit. It is not for you - you will go mad within three days if you are not allowed to sleep. If the useless is thrown out, you will go mad.
Madness is growing every day because meditation is not thought to be valuable. Do you think that whatsoever can be priced, only that is valuable? whatsoever can be purchased and sold, only that is valuable? whatsoever is a market commodity, only that is valuable? Then you are wrong. That which has no price is also valuable. That which cannot be sold and purchased is far more valuable than all that can be purchased and sold.
Love is the basis of sex. If you deprive people of love completely, sex becomes perverted. Meditation is the basis of mind. If you deny meditation, the mind goes mad. Fun, play, is the basis of work. If you deny fun and play, work becomes a burden, a dead weight.
Look at the useless sky. Your house may be useful but it exists in this vast sky of uselessness. If you can feel both, and if you become able to move from one to the other without any trouble, then for the first time the perfect human being is born in you.
The perfect human being does not know what is inside and what is out - both are his. The perfect human being does not bother about what is useful and what is useless - both are his wings. The perfect human being flies in the sky with both the wings of mind and meditation, of matter and consciousness, of this world and that, of God, of no God. He is a higher harmony of the opposites.
Chuang Tzu emphasized no-use so much, uselessness so much, because you have emphasized the useful too much. Otherwise that emphasis is not needed. It is just to give you balance. You have gone too much to the left, you have to be pulled to the right.
But remember, because of this over-emphasis you can again move to the other extreme. And that happened to many followers of Chuang Tzu. They became addicted to the useless, they became mad with the useless. They moved too much towards the useless and that was not the point - they missed it.
Chuang Tzu emphasized this only because you have become so extremely addicted to use. That is why he emphasized the useless. But I must remind you - because mind can move to the opposite and remain the same - that the real thing is transcendence. You have to come to a point where you can use the useful and the non-useful, the purposeful and the purposeless. Then you are beyond both, they both serve you.
There are persons who cannot get rid of their mind and there are persons who cannot get rid of their meditation. And remember, it is the same disease: you cannot get rid of something. First you were unable to get rid of the mind, then somehow you managed it; now you cannot get rid of the meditation. Again you move from one prison to another.
A real, a perfect man, a man of Tao, has no addictions. He can move easily from one extreme to another because he remains in the middle. He uses both wings.
Chuang Tzu should not be misunderstood, that is why I say this. He can be misunderstood. People like Chuang Tzu are dangerous because you can misunderstand them. And there is more possibility for misunderstanding than understanding. The mind says, "Okay, so enough of this shop, enough of this family; now I will become a vagabond." That is misunderstanding. You will carry the same mind, you will become addicted to your vagabondness. Then you will not be able to come back to the shop, to the market, to the family. Then you will be afraid of it.
In the same way, medicine can become a new disease if you get addicted to it. So the doctor has to see that you get rid of the disease but don't become addicted to the medicine - otherwise he is not a good doctor. First you have to get rid of the disease, and immediately after you have to get rid of the medicine; otherwise the medicine will take the place of the disease and you will cling to it always.
Mulla Nasruddin was teaching his small son, who was seven years old, how to approach a girl, how to ask her to dance, what to say and what not to say, how to persuade her.
The boy went away and half an hour later came back and said, "Now teach me how to get rid of her!"
That has to be learned too, and that is the difficult part. To invite is very easy but to get rid of is very difficult. And you know well through your own experience: to invite a girl is always easy, to persuade a girl is always easy, but how to get rid of her? Then it becomes a problem. Then you don't go out anywhere, then you forget whistling completely.
Remember, the useless has its own attraction. If you are so very troubled by the useful, you may move to the other extreme too much. You may lose your balance.
To me, a sannyasin is a deep balance, standing in the middle, free from all the opposites. He can use the useful and he can use the non-useful, he can use the purposeful and the nonpurposeful, and still remain beyond both. He is not used by them. He has become the master.
Enough for today.

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