Foreword

Man is born to achieve life, but it all depends on him.
He can miss it. He can go on breathing, he can go on eating, he can go on growing old, but this is not life, this is gradual death.
And because millions of people around you are dying in this grad­ ual, slow death, you also start imitating them. Children learn every­ thing from those who are around them, and we are surrounded by the dead.

So first we have to understand what I mean by “life.” It must not be simply growing old, it must be growing up. And these are two different things.
Growing old, any animal is capable of. Growing up is the pre­ rogative of human beings.

Growing up means moving every moment deeper into the principle of life; it means going farther away from death—not to­ ward death. The deeper you go into life, the more you understand the immortality within you.

Death is the greatest illusion there is.
For growing up, just watch a tree. As the tree grows up its roots are growing down, deeper. There is a balance—the higher the tree goes the deeper the roots will go. You cannot have a tree one hundred and fifty feet high with small roots; they could not support such a huge tree.

In life, growing up means growing deep within yourself—that’s where your roots are.

To me, the first principle of life is meditation. Everything else comes second. And childhood is the best time.
As you grow older it means you are coming closer to death, and it be­ comes more and more difficult to go into meditation.
Mediation means going into your immortality, going into your eternity, going mto your godliness. And the child is the most qual­ ified person because he is still unburdened by knowledge, unbur­ dened by religion, unburdened by education, unburdened by all kinds of rubbish. He is innocent.

But unfortunately his innocence is condemned as ignorance. Ignorance and innocence have a similarity, but they are not the same. Ignorance is also a sate of not knowing, just as innocence is—but there is a great difference too, which has been overlooked by the whole of humanity up to now.
Innocence is not knowledgeable, but it is not desirous of being knowledgeable either. It is utterly content, fulfilled.
A small child has no ambitions, he has no desires. He is so absorbed in the moment.
Innocence is rich, it is full, it is pure.
Ignorance is poor, it is a beggar. It wants to be knowledgeable, it wants to be re­ spectable, it wants to be wealthy, it wants to be powerful.

Ignorance moves on the path of desire. Inno­ cence is a state of desirelessness.
But because both are without knowl­ edge, we have remained confused about their natures. We have taken it for granted that they are the same.

Innocence has to be supported, protected—because the child has brought with him the greatest treasure, the treasure that sages find only after arduous effort.
Sages have said that they become children again, that they are reborn. In India the real Brahman, the real knower, has called himself dwij, twice bom. Why twice bom? What happened to the first birth? What is the need of the second birth? And what is he going to gain in the second birth?

In the second birth he is going to gain what was available in the first birth, but the society, the parents, the people surrounding him crushed it, destroyed it. Every child is being stuffed with knowledge. His simplicity has to be somehow removed, because simplicity is not going to help him in this competitive world. His simplicity will look to the world as if he is a simpleton; his inno­ cence will be exploited in every possible way.

Maturity is a rebirth, a spiritual birth. Vou are born anew. You are a child again. With fresh eyes you start looking at existence. With, love in the heart you approach life. With silence and innocence you penetrate your own innermost core.

the first principle to be brought back is innocence. Drop your knowledge, forget your scriptures, forget your religions, your theologies, your philosophies. Be born again, become innocent—and it is in your hands.
Clean your mind of all that is not known by you, of all that is borrowed, all that has come from tradition, convention. All that has been given to you by others—parents, teachers, universities—
just get rid of it. Once again be simple, once again be a child. And this miracle is possible by meditation.

Meditation is simply a strange surgical method that cuts you away from all that is not yours and saves only that which is your authentic being. It bums everything else and leaves you standing naked, alone under the sun, in the wind. It is as if you are the first man who has descended onto earth—who knows nothing, who has to discover everything, who has to be a seeker, who has to go on a pilgrimage.

The second principle is the pilgrimage. Life must be a seek­ ing—not a desire but a search; not an ambition to become this, to become that, a president of a country or prime minister of a coun­ try, but a search to find out “Who am I?”

It is very strange that people who don't know who they are, are trying to become somebody.
Becoming is the disease of the soul.
Being is you.
And to discover your being is the
beginning of life. Then each moment
is a new discovery, each moment
brings a new joy. A new mystery opens its doors, a new love starts growing in you, a new compassion that you have never felt before, a new sensitivity about beauty, about goodness. You become so sensitive that even the smallest blade of grass takes on an immense importance for you. Your sensitivity makes it clear to you that this small blade of grass is as important to existence as the biggest star; without this blade of grass, existence would be less than it is. This small blade of grass is unique, it is irreplaceable, it has its own in­ dividuality.

And this sensitivity will create new friendships for you—friend­ ships with trees, with birds, with animals, with mountains, with rivers, with oceans, with stars. Life becomes richer as love grows, as friendliness grows.

As you become more sensitive, life becomes bigger. It is not a small pond; it becomes oceanic. It is not confined to you and your wife and your children—it is not confined at all. This whole ex­ istence becomes your family, and unless the whole existence is your family you have not known what life is—because no man is an island, we are all connected.

We are a vast continent, joined in millions of ways.
And if our hearts are not full of love for the whole, in the same proportion our life is cut short.
Meditation will bring you sensitivity, a great sense of belonging to the world. It is our world—the stars are ours, and we are not foreigners here. We belong intrinsically to existence. We are part of it, we are heart of it.

Second, meditation will bring you a great silence—because all rubbish knowledge is gone. Thoughts that are part of the knowl­ edge are gone too … an immense silence, and you are surprised: this silence is the only music there is.

All music is an effort to bring this silence somehow into manifestation. The seers of the ancient East have been very emphatic about the point that all the great arts—music, poetry, dance, painting, sculpture—all are bom out of meditation.
These arts are an effort to in some way bring the unknowable into the world of the known for those who are not ready for the pilgrimage;
they are gifts for those who are not ready to go on the pilgrimage. Perhaps a song may trig­ ger a desire to go in search of the source, perhaps a statue.

In my childhood I used to ask my father, “Can you explain to me how it is possible that twenty-four persons are exactly alike—the same size, the same nose, the same face, the same body . . . ?”
But as my meditation blossomed I found the answer—not from anybody else, 1 found the answer that these statues have nothing to do with the people. These statues have something to do with what was happening inside those twenty-four people, and that happening was exactly the same. We have not bothered about the outside; we have insisted that only the inner should be paid attention to. The outer is unimportant. Somebody is young, somebody is old, somebody is black, somebody is white, somebody is man, somebody is woman— it does not matter; what matters is that inside there is an ocean of si­ lence. In that oceanic state, the body takes a certain posture.

You have observed it yourself, but you have not been alert. When you are angry, have you observed? Your body takes a certain posture. In anger you cannot keep your hands open: in anger—the fist. In anger you cannot smile—or can you? With a certain emo­ tion, the body has to follow a certain posture.
So those statues are made in such a way that if you simply sit silently and watch, and then close your eyes, a negative, shadow image enters into your body and you start feeling something you have not felt before. Those statues and temples were not built for worshiping; they were built for experiencing. They are scientific laboratories—they have nothing to do with religion!
A certain secret science has been used for centuries so the coming generations could come in contact with the experiences of the older genera­ tions. Not through books, not through words, but through some­ thing that goes deeper—through silence, through meditation, through peace.

Have you ever thought about why, all over the world, in every culture, in every society, there are a few days in the year for cele­ bration? These few days for celebration are just a compensation— because these societies have taken away all the celebration of your life.
Firecrackers and colored lights cannot make you rejoice.
True celebration should come from your life, in your life.
And true celebration cannot be according to the calendar, that on the first of November you will celebrate. Strange, the whole year you are miserable and on the first of November suddenly you come out of misery, dancing? Either the misery was false or the first of November is false; both cannot be true. And once the first of November is gone you are back in your dark hole, everybody in his misery, everybody in his anxiety.

Life should be a continuous celebration, a festival of lights the whole year round. Only then can you grow up, can you blossom.
Transform small things into celebration.

And what can be done with tea can be done with everything— with your clothes, with your food. People are living almost in sleep; otherwise every fabric, every cloth has its own beauty, its own feel.
If you are sensitive, then the clothing is not just to cover your body, then it is something expressing your individuality, something ex­ pressing your taste, your culture, your being. Everything you do should be expressive of you; it should have your signature on it. Then life becomes a continuous celebration.

Even if you fall sick and you are lying in bed, you will make those moments of lying in bed moments of beauty and joy, mo­ ments of relaxation and rest, moments of meditation, moments of listening to music or to poetry. There is no need to be sad that you are sick. You should be happy that everybody is in the office and you are in your bed like a king, relaxing—somebody is preparing tea for you, the samovar is singing a song, a friend has offered to come and play flute for you. . . .

These things are more important than any medicine. When you are sick, call a doctor. But more important, call those who love you because there is no medicine more important than love. Call those who can create beauty, music, poetry around you because there is nothing that heals like a mood of celebration. Medicine is the lowest kind of treatment—but it seems we have forgotten everything.