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Glimpses of A Golden Childhood

It is a beautiful morning. Again and again the sun rises and it is always new. It never grows old. Scientists say it is millions of years old; nonsense! Every day I see it. It is always new. Nothing is old. But scientists are grave-diggers, that's why I say they look so grave, serious. This morning, again the miracle of existence. Each moment it is happening, but only very few, very, very few ever encounter it.

The word encounter is really beautiful. To encounter the moment as it is; to see it as it is, without adding, without deleting, without any editorial work, just to see it as it is, like a mirror.... The mirror does not edit, thank God, otherwise no face in the world would be able to fit its requirements, not even the face of Cleopatra. No face at all would be able to fit the mirror, for the simple reason that if it starts cutting you, editing you, adding to you, it will start destroying you. But no mirror is destructive. Even the ugliest mirror is so beautiful in its undestructiveness. It simply reflects.

Before coming into your Noah's Ark, I was standing looking at the sunrise... so beautiful, at least today -- and who cares for tomorrow? Tomorrow never comes. Jesus says, "Think not of the morrow...."

Today it is so beautiful that for a moment I was reminded of the tremendous beauty of the sunrise in the Himalayas. There, when the snow is surrounding you, and the trees are looking like brides, as if they have flowered white flowers of snow, one does not care a bit about the so-called bigwigs, the prime ministers and the presidents of the world, the kings and queens. In fact kings and queens are going to exist only in playing cards, that's where they belong. And the presidents and the prime ministers will take the place of the jokers. They don't deserve anything more.

Those mountain trees with their white flowers of snow... and whenever I saw the snow falling from their leaves I was reminded of a tree from my childhood. That kind of tree is possible only here in India; it is called madhu malti -- madhu means sweet, malti means the queen. I have never come across any fragrance that is more beautiful and more penetrating -- and you know that I am allergic to perfume, so I immediately know. I am very sensitive to perfume.

Madhu malti is the most beautiful tree one can imagine. God must have created it on the seventh day. Relieved of all the worries and hurries of the world, finished with everything, even men and women, He must have created madhu malti on His day off, a holiday, a Sunday... just His old habit of creating. It is difficult to get rid of old habits.

Madhu malti flowers with thousands of flowers all at once. Not one flower here and there, no, that is not the way of madhu malti, nor is it my way. Madhu malti flowers with a richness, with luxury, with affluence -- thousands of flowers, so many that you cannot see the leaves. The whole tree becomes covered with white flowers.

Snow-covered trees have always reminded me of madhu malti. Of course there is no perfume, and it was good for me that snow has no perfume. It is unfortunate that I cannot hold the flowers of madhu malti once again. The perfume is so strong it spreads for miles, and remember I am not exaggerating. Just one single madhu malti tree is enough to fill the whole neighborhood with immense perfume.

I love the Himalayas. I wanted to die there. That is the most beautiful place to die -- of course to live too, but as far as dying is concerned, that is the ultimate place. It is where Lao Tzu died. In the valleys of the Himalayas Buddha died, Jesus died, Moses died. No other mountains can claim Moses, Jesus, Lao Tzu, Buddha, Bodhidharma, Milarepa, Marpa, Tilopa, Naropa, and thousands of others.

Switzerland is beautiful but nothing compared to the Himalayas. It is convenient to be in Switzerland with all its modern facilities. It is very inconvenient in the Himalayas. It is still without any technology at all -- no roads, no electricity, no airplanes, no railroads, nothing at all. But then comes the innocence. One is transported to another time, to another being, to another space.

I wanted to die there; and this morning, standing and looking at the sunrise, I felt relieved, knowing that if I die here, particularly on a day as beautiful as this, it is okay. And I will choose to die on a day when I feel I am part of the Himalayas. Death for me is not just an end, a full stop. No, death for me is a celebration.

Remembering the snow falling from the trees, just like flowers falling from madhu malti, a haiku flashed....

The wild geese

Do not intend to make their reflections.

The water has no mind

To receive their images.

Ahhh, so beautiful. Wild geese not intending to make their reflections, and the water not intending to receive them either, and yet the reflection is there. That is the beauty. Nobody has intended, and yet it is there -- that's what I call communion. I have always hated communication. To me communication is ugly. You can see it happening between a wife and a husband, the boss and the servant; and so on and so forth. It never really happens. Communion is my word.

I see Buddha Hall with all my people... just for a moment like a flash, so many moments of communion. It is not just a gathering; it is not a church. People do not come to it formally. People come to me, not to it. Whenever there is a Master and a disciple -- it may be only the Master and just one disciple, that does not matter -- communion happens. It is happening right now, and there are only four of you. Perhaps with my eyes closed I can't even count, and it is good; only then can one remain in the world of the unaccountable... and tax-free too! If you can count, then taxation comes in. I am unaccountable, nobody has ever taxed me.

I was a professor in a university. When they wanted to raise my pay, I said no. The vice chancellor could not believe it; he said, "Why not?"

I said, "Beyond what I am getting now I would have to pay taxes, and I hate taxation. I would rather remain with the pay I am getting right now than get more and be bothered by the income tax department." I never went beyond the limit which was allowed to remain tax-free.

I have never paid any income tax; in fact there is no income. I have been giving to the world, not taking anything from the world. It is outcome, not income. I have given out of my heart and my being.

It is good that flowers are allowed to be tax-free, otherwise they would stop flowering. It is good that snow is allowed to be tax-free, otherwise it would not snow, believe me!

I must tell you that after the Russian revolution something happened to the Russian genius; Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Maxim Gorky -- they all disappeared. Yet in Russia today, the writer, the novelist, the artist, is the most highly-paid and honored person. So what happened? Why don't they create any more books like BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, ANNA KARENINA, FATHERS AND SONS, THE MOTHER, or NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND?

Why? I want to ask a thousand times, why? What happened to the Russian genius for writing novels?

I don't think any other country could compete with Russia. If you count only ten novels of the world, just out of necessity you will have to include five Russian novels, leaving only five for the whole remaining world. What happened to this great genius? It died! Because flowers cannot be ordered, there are no ten commandments for them. Flowers flower, you cannot order them to flower. Snow falls -- you cannot issue a commandment, you cannot make a date with it. That is impossible. And that is so with the Buddhas. They say what they want to say, when they want to say it. They will say, even to a single person, something which the whole world would have liked to hear.

Now, you are here, perhaps only four. I say "perhaps" because my mathematics are poor, and with closed eyes... you can understand... and with tears in my eyes, not because only four are present but for this beautiful morning, for the sunrise.

Thank God. He thinks of me; although He does not exist, still He thinks of me. I deny Him, and yet He thinks of me. Great God. Existence seems to take care. But you do not know the ways of existence; they are unpredictable. I have always loved the unpredictable.

My tears are for the sunrise. Existence has taken care of me.

I had not asked.

Nor did it reply.

But still the care has been taken.

The wild geese do not intend to cast their reflections.

The water has no intention to reflect their images....

That's how I am speaking. I do not know what the next sentence is going to be or whether it is going to be at all. Suspense is beautiful.

I am reminded again of the small village where I was born. Why existence should have chosen that small village in the first place is unexplainable. It is as it should be. The village was beautiful. I have traveled far and wide but I have never come across that same beauty. One never comes again to the same. Things come and go, but it is never the same.

I can see that still, small village. Just a few huts near a pond, and a few tall trees where I used to play. There was no school in the village. That is of no great importance, because I remained uneducated for almost nine years, and those are the most formative years. After that, even if you try, you cannot be educated. So in a way I am still uneducated, although I hold many degrees.

Any uneducated man could have done it. And not any degree, but a first class master's degree -- that too can be done by any fool. So many fools do it every year that it has no significance. What is significant is that for my first years I remained without education. There was no school, no road, no railway, no post office. What a blessing! That small village was a world unto itself. Even in my times away from that village I remained in that world, uneducated.

I have read Ruskin's famous book, UNTO THIS LAST, and when I was reading it I was thinking of that village. UNTO THIS LAST... that village is still unaltered. No road connects it, no railway passes by, even now after almost fifty years; no post office, no police station, no doctor -- in fact nobody falls ill in that village. It is so pure and so unpolluted. I have known people in that village who have not seen a railway train, who wonder what it looks like, who have not even seen a bus or a car. They have never left the village. They live so blissfully and silently.

My birthplace, Kuchwada, was a village with no railway line and no post office. It had small hills, hillocks rather, but a beautiful lake, and a few huts, just straw huts. The only brick house was the one I was born in, and that too was not much of a brick house. It was just a little house.

I can see it now, and can describe its every detail... but more than the house or the village, I remember the people. I have come across millions of people, but the people of that village were more innocent than any, because they were very primitive. They knew nothing of the world. Not even a single newspaper had ever entered that village. You can now understand why there was no school, not even a primary school... what a blessing! No modern child can afford it.

I remained uneducated for those years and they were the most beautiful years.

Yes, I must confess I had a private tutor. That first tutor was himself uneducated. He was not teaching me, but trying to learn by teaching me. Perhaps he had heard the great saying, "The best way to learn is to teach," but he was a good man, nice, not like a nasty schoolteacher. To be a school teacher one has to be nasty. That is part of the whole business world. He was nice -- just butterlike, very soft. Let me confess, I used to hit him, but he would not hit me back. He would simply laugh and say, "You are a child, you can hit me. I am an old man, I cannot hit you back. When you are old you will understand." That's what he said to me, and yes, I understand.

He was a nice villager with great insight. Sometimes villagers have insight which civilized people lack. Just now I am reminded....

A beautiful woman comes to a beach. Seeing nobody around she undresses. Just before she steps into the ocean an old fellow stops her and says, "Lady, I am the village policeman. It is prohibited to swim in the ocean from this beach." The woman looks puzzled and says, "Then why did you not prevent me from getting undressed?" The old man laughs and laughs, with tears in his eyes. He says, "Undressing is not prohibited, so I waited behind a tree!"

A beautiful villager... that type of people lived in the village -- simple people. It was surrounded by small hills and there was a small pond. Nobody could describe that pond except Basho. Even he does not describe the pond, he simply says,

The ancient pond

Frog jumps in

Plop!

Is this a description? The pond is only mentioned, the frog too. No description of the pond or the frog... and plop!

The village had an ancient pond, very ancient, and very ancient trees surrounding it; they were perhaps hundreds of years old. And beautiful rocks all around... and certainly the frogs jumped; day in and day out you could hear "plop," again and again. The sound of frogs jumping really helped the prevailing silence. That sound made the silence richer, more meaningful.

This is the beauty of Basho; he could describe something without actually describing it. He could say something without even mentioning a word. "Plop!" Now, is this a word? No word could do justice to the sound of a frog jumping into the ancient pond, but Basho did it justice.

I am not a Basho, and that village needed a Basho. Perhaps he would have made beautiful sketches, paintings, and haikus.... I have not done anything about that village -- you will wonder why. I have not even visited it again. Once is enough. I never go to a place twice. For me number two does not exist. I have left many villages, many towns, never to return again. Once gone, gone forever, that's my way; so I have not returned to that village. The villagers have sent messages to me to come at least once more. I told them, through a messenger, "I have been there once already, twice is not my way."

But the silence of that ancient pond stays with me -- again I am reminded of the Himalayas... the snow -- so beautiful, so pure, so innocent. You can only see it through the eyes of a Bodhidharma, a Jesus, or Basho. There is no other way to describe the snow; only the eyes of Buddhas reflect it. Idiots can trample it, can make snowballs out of it, but only the eyes of the Buddhas can reflect it, although...

The wild geese

Do not intend to cast their reflections.

The water has no mind

To reflect their images...

and still the image happens.

The Buddhas do not want to reflect the beauty of the world, nor does the world in any way intend to be reflected by the Buddhas, but it is reflected. Nobody wills, but it happens, and when it happens it is beautiful. When it is done, it is ordinary; when it is done, you are a technician. When it happens you are a Master.

Communication is a part of the world of the technician -- communion is the fragrance of the world of the Master.

This is communion. I am not speaking about anything in particular....

The wild geese and the water....

 

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