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The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty Talks on Kabir

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Man is deep asleep. What does his sleep consist of? He is asleep because he has forgotten the route to his heart. He is alert as far as mathematics is concerned; he is fully alert as far as calculation is concerned, he is awake as far as the world is concerned and worldly concerns are concerned -- for money, for power, for prestige, respectability, he is fully awake! He is awake only for the mundane. He is awake only for the meaningless. He collects garbage with great alertness. But he is asleep for the precious, for the sacred. He sees the trees, but he cannot see the green life flowing in them. He sees the mountains, but he cannot feel the beauty and the virgin silence. He sees people, but people look like machines. He cannot feel their souls -- he has not even felt his own soul, how can he feel anybody else's soul? He has not even become aware of who he is.


And in this sleep, when the heart is in darkness and the whole light has become focussed on the head, even if you are told the ultimate truths you will misunderstand them. Even if a Buddha tries to wake you up, you will be angry at him. Naturally, obviously! because you will think he is disturbing you. He is disturbing your dreams, not you, but you have invested too much in your dreams. He will say one thing, you will understand another. Either you will go on listening according to your prejudices, choosing -- choosing only those things which can support you -- or you will become very angry, you will crucify, you will poison, you will destroy such a person who comes and unnecessarily disturbs your sleep.

Your sleep is deep. It has been long, long there. You have become accustomed to it -- so much so that the heart goes on sleeping and still you can manage your life. YOU are a sleep-walker, a somnambulist. There are people who walk in their sleep; they can go to the fridge, they can eat something, they can come back to their beds -- and they will not stumble anywhere. And if you wake them up in the middle, they will be very much surprised; they will not be able to figure it out, where they are and what they are doing. They will be shocked.

They move with open eyes, remember; somnambulists move with open eyes. But those open eyes are not really open; they simply manage a few steps. And because they have become accustomed to those few steps, they can be done mechanically; no consciousness is needed. Just watch your life: you are doing a thousand and one things, but all those things are mechanical. You go on doing them like a robot.

And when you talk to robots, it is really very difficult to reach them. They misunderstand.
It seems there were two brothers by the name of Jones. John Jones was married and Jim was the owner of an old dilapidated rowboat. It just so happened that John's wife died on the same day that Jim's boat filled with water and sank. A few days later, a kindly old lady saw Jim on the street, and mistaking him for John said, "Oh, Mr. Jones. I heard about your terrible catastrophe. You must feel heartbroken."

Replied Jim, "Why, I am not a bit sorry. She was a rotten old thing from the start. Her bottom was all chewed up and she smelled like old dead fish. She had a bad crack in back and a pretty bad hole in the front and every time I used her she started leaking all over the place. Oh, I could handle her all right, but when anybody else used her, she would go to pieces. Well, here is what finished her. Four guys came across town looking for a good time and asked me to rent out. I warned them she was not so hot, but they said they wanted to take a crack anyway. Well, the damn fools, all four of them tried to get inside at once and she split right up the middle."

The old woman fainted before he could finish.
That's how it goes on: one thing is said, something else is understood. Communication is very very difficult. Even ordinary communication is difficult, and when a man like Kabir talks it becomes almost impossible -- because he is talking from the sunlit Himalayan tops and you are listening from your dark holes in the valley. By the time it reaches you its colour has changed, its flavour has changed, its meaning is no more the same.

And, obviously, you interpret it according to your own conditionings, your own past. Hence, you hear but you don't listen. You will have to learn how to listen. Listening means being utterly silent, not interpreting, not judging, not evaluating -- neither for nor against -- just being present.

Listen to these words of Kabir, just as a silent presence. Don't be in a hurry to decide whether he is right or wrong. The beauty of listening is that if he is right, you will simply know that he is right. If he is true, truth is self-evident; you will know it as sure as you know when you have a headache -- nobody needs to prove it to you.
All the elephants in Greece were ordered to evacuate the country. Behind the last one was a small mouse. The elephant turned, "Why are you running, my friend?"

"Haven't you heard the decree?" replied the mouse. "Yes, but you are a mouse," the elephant said.

"Ah yes," the mouse sighed, "but if they say I am an elephant, then how will I prove that I am not?"
It is difficult to prove, but there are things which need not be proved -- a mouse knows that he is a mouse. Proof may be difficult. When you listen to the truth, it may be difficult for you to prove that it is true, but YOU WILL KNOW. It will be an inner feeling that it is true, and that feeling is enough, because that feeling simply transports you into another world. It is not a question of your deciding whether it is true or untrue. If you decide, you will miss the whole point, because how are you going to decide? You will decide by your past. And you don't know what truth is! If you had known there would have been no need to listen to the Buddhas -- you would be a Buddha yourself You don't know, so your past has no idea of what truth is. How can your past decide what is what? Put the past aside. Just listen.

And I am not saying believe -- just listening is not synonymous with believing. It has nothing to do with belief or disbelief -- just listening is just listening. You are neither in favour nor disfavour; you are simply open. You allow it inside you.

And let me repeat: the beauty of truth is that when it reaches you, your heart simply jumps in joy. It knows! Truth synchronizes with your heart. It has the same rhythm. Suddenly the heart starts dancing, and that dance is the proof. And if it is not true, the heart will not dance, and then you will know that it is not true. But it is not a question of logical decision, of logical evaluation.

Listen to these words very meditatively:


Kabir calls you 'friend' -- that's how all the Buddhas have always felt. The disciple thinks, "Buddha, Krishna, Christ or Kabir, they are Masters and we are disciples." From the disciples' side this is so, but how is it from the Master's side?

The Master knows there is no Master and no disciple. The Master knows that it is a company of friends. The Master is not holier-than-thou; the Master has no superiority complex. The Master is a nobody; the Master is just ordinary, but his ordinariness is luminous. The whole existence is either ordinary or extraordinary -- but the whole. It is not that a few things are ordinary and a few things are extraordinary. For the Master, everything is unique. His reverence for life is infinite.

When a disciple comes and bows down to the Master, deep down the Master is also bowing down to the disciple. His bowing down may not be visible, because he is not visible; his gestures are invisible. The disciple slowly slowly becomes capable of deciphering, slowly slowly capable of decoding -- slowly slowly he understands that the Master loves him, that the Master thinks of him as a friend, as a beloved.

THIS IS A VERY STRANGE STATEMENT. To those who know, life is night and death is the day. In life people remain asleep; it is death that wakes them up. In ordinary thinking, life is life and death is the end of life. To the Buddhas, to the awakened ones, death is far more valuable than life, far superior, far more precious, far more significant.Why? Because it is the crescendo of life, the ultimate flowering. If life is the night, then death is the morn.

Kabir says: THE NIGHT IS OVER... you are getting old, time is slipping by. Death is coming closer and closer every moment.



You have lost the night; you could not wake up in the night. But it can be forgiven: it was night and you slept. But you cannot be forgiven when death is coming closer -- now it is time to wake up! And if even death cannot wake you up, then what is going to wake you up? And if a person wakes up in death, then for him there is no more any birth, no more any death.

But a person can wake up in death only if he has tried hard to wake up in life, if his whole life has been a consistent effort to find a center in his being, a persistent effort to know "Who am I? Only then is it possible that when death comes... and death is a great shock! It shatters all that you have made. It takes away all that you have been clinging to; it dispossesses you of all your possessions. It simply leaves you utterly naked and alone. If death cannot wake you up, then you are not simply asleep -- you are in a coma. And that's how people are.

Every day millions of people die. They lived in darkness. they die in darkness. They lived dreaming, they die dreaming. They lived in a stupid way, they die in a stupid way. They miss all opportunities.

And three are the great opportunities in life. The first is birth. Only once in a while is a man so intelligent that he uses that opportunity -- only very rarely. Maybe a Lao Tzu -- hence the story.

It is said Lao Tzu lived in his mother's womb for eighty-two years. Now this is nonsense, but it has some truth in it. It is not factual, but it has some truth in it. And that is the difference between the Western way of thinking and the Eastern. If you tell such a story to the Western mind, he simply says, "This cannot be. How can a person live for eighty-two years in the mother's womb? And what will happen to the mother? Eighty-two years? This is not believable; this cannot be historical."

The Western mind immediately asks about the facticity of the phenomenon -- but it is a parable! It has nothing to do with facts; it certainly has something to do with truth. And truth can only be expressed through parables; there is no other way to express truth. Truth can only be expressed through metaphors, through poetry, not through history. It is poetry, pure poetry, and of tremendous power.

It means that when Lao Tm was born he was already so mature, so ripe, that he used his first opportunity to wake up. Ordinarily it takes eighty-two years for a person to wake up, and even then, how many people wake up? People wake up at the time of death, but how many? -- that too is very rare.

Lao Tzu must have been of immense intelligence, must have carried the intelligence from his past lives -- maybe just a little bit was missing, just the last straw on the camel. He used the opportunity. The first opportunity is birth. It is as important as death. It is a death in a way, because the child in the mother's womb lives in one way, one kind of life, and then is simply thrown out, expelled. He wants to cling to his home where he has lived for nine months, and so peacefully, so silently, without any worry, without any responsibility, in such warmth.... He clings to the womb, he does not want to go out. He feels it as a death, and it is natural -- because what does he know about what is going to happen? One thing is certain: his home is being shattered; he is being thrown out of all his comfort and security. He knows he is dying! Hence the birth trauma -- because the birth enters into the child's consciousness as death. He dies and is reborn.

Lao Tzu used his first opportunity. And the same is the case with Zarathustra, another beautiful story.

It is said that Zarathustra is the only child in the whole history of man who laughed when he was born. Children cry, they don't laugh -- and Zarathustra laughed -- must have shocked his mother and... a real belly-laughter. He must have used the first opportunity.

These two names are known TO have used the first opportunity. The first shock, and they became awakened.

The second opportunity in life is love. A few people have become awakened through love. And the second opportunity is available to more people than the first or the third -- because birth is almost unconscious and so is death, but love can bring a little consciousness to your heart.

Hence my insistence on love -- and Kabir's insistence is also on love, because this is the opportunity many many people can use and become awake. If you love, you will have to drop your ego -- and that will be the death, the death of the ego. If you love you will have to learn how to melt, merge, disappear. If you love you will have to know that there is much more to life than logic, calculation... there is much more to life than having money, more possessions, power.

If you love, you will have a glimpse of the divine. And if you go deep in love, you will start entering into the temple of God -- that is the second opportunity. The society has destroyed it.

The first opportunity is very rare, but the second opportunity could have been available to almost everybody -- that has been destroyed by the society. Your love has been contaminated. You have been brought up in fear, not in love. You have been brought up to fight, not to love. You have been brought up as if the whole existence is your enemy, not your friend -- how can you love? Love has been made impossible by the society.

The only possibility of people turning to religion, the only possibility of revolution in people's lives, has been destroyed by the society. Society is so much afraid of love that it is not afraid of anything else like it is of love. Love is the most potential and dangerous thing for your so-called society, because love will wake up people, love will stir people's hearts. And they will start living through the heart, and they won't listen to the head. And if they don't listen to the head then the society will be at a loss; it will be impossible to dominate people who live through the heart. Only the head can be dominated only heads can be reduced to slaves. The heart is always the king, the master.

And the third opportunity is death -- the last. If you have missed birth, if you have missed love, don't miss death. At least the last chance should not be missed. Kabir says:
ONE THING OF TREMENDOUS IMPORTANCE TO BE remembered, because Kabir will repeat it again and again: he calls the seeker 'the woman' -- and that has been my effort too. I go on telling my sannyasins "Be feminine!" because to be feminine means to be receptive, to be open, to be loving. To be feminine means to be non-aggressive -- and you cannot conquer God! Aggression won't help. You cannot attack the citadel of God. All that can be done is that you can be a feminine welcome. You can invite, you cannot attack. You can absorb: you cannot possess. You can allow God to enter in you. YOU can be pregnant with God -- that's the only way.

Kabir says: OTHER WOMEN... You will be surprised -- why is he talking about women?

OTHER WOMEN WHO MANAGED TO GET UP EARLY HAVE ALREADY FOUND AN ELEPHANT OR A JEWEL.... He says: The impossible has happened -- they have found something which makes life meaningful, something which gives life the colour of a rainbow and the dance of a peacock and the song of a cuckoo. OTHER WOMEN WHO HAVE MANAGED TO GET UP EARLY... Gautam Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed. Mahavira -- these are the other women. Don't be offended by it!

Friedrich Nietzsche condemned Buddha and Christ as feminine. His insight was right, but he was using it as a condemnation, as a criticism, because his idea of beauty was that of masculine power, muscular power. His idea of beauty was not that of feminine roundness, softness. His idea of the right person was that of a brave soldier, ready to attack.

He said, "The most beautiful experience of my life was when I saw an army moving and the sun shining and the sound of their boots, the music, the melody of their boots, and their guns shining in the sun. That was the most beautiful experienCe of my life.

He did not talk about a sunrise or a sunset, or the starry night, or a roseflower, or a beautiful woman -- no. Soldiers walking in step, and the sound of their boots and their guns shining in the sun. Of course, he created the philosophic background for Adolf Hitler to follow. Just as Karl Marx created communism, Friedrich Nietzsche, knowingly or unknowingly, created fascism; he was the father of the fascist mind. Of course he was against Buddha, against Christ, because Christ says: Love is God. And Christ says: If somebody slaps you on one cheek, give him the other too. And Christ says: Love your enemies as yourself And Buddha says continuously: Be rooted in the heart, forget the head. Move to the center of your being; the head is just the periphery. And if you see a statue of Buddha, it looks feminine, it has a feminine beauty.

I tell each of my sannyasins -- man or woman, it doesn't matter -- one has to be spiritually feminine, only then can God be received. You have to be a host, only then can the guest come to you.

But the problem is that down the ages the crowd has been telling you just the opposite. It makes you aggressive, violent, competitive. It takes away all that is soft in you. And now the women's liberation movement is there, which is even destroying the softness of women too. The women's liberation movement is not really a liberation movement. It is in fact just the opposite: it is trying to imitate man, to become as hard as men are, to do whatsoever men are doing.

And remember one thing: if women try to imitate men they will always be carbon copies; they will not attain to their fulfillment, they will not attain the full potential. And they will always remain lagging behind. And they will become ugly too! The real liberation movement has not started yet. The real liberation movement will insist that the woman has to be more and more feminine, that she has to be rooted in HER nature, that she is not to follow men in retaliation, in reaction, in rebellion -- that is stupid. No reaction ever helps.

The woman has to be herself. And not only that: the woman has to be herself and she has to help man to become a little more feminine. Not only does the woman have to be liberated from men, the man has also to be liberated from men. There is a great need for a men's liberation movement -- not liberation from women, but liberation from all the nonsense that has been taught to him down the ages: Be hard! Be steel! Don't bend! Break but don't bend! Man has been taught to be hard like a rock -- man has missed much.

And now women are following in the same tracks. It is a dangerous situation. If the woman also follows the man, she will be a second-rate citizen, she will never be equal to man.

And not only that: if she follows man and becomes hard, as lib women ARE becoming -- their faces are becoming hard, their bodies are losing roundness, softness, vulnerability, they are becoming more and more angry and less and less loving -- the danger is that that will be the end of the whole of humanity, if it happens.

The only hope for humanity is in the quality of feminineness -- the only hope. The hope is not with Friedrich Nietzsche, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini: the hope is with Buddha, Chaitanya, Meera -- with a totally different kind of people. And we have to turn men and women BOTH into a kind of feminine lovingness.

That's what Kabir means, but you have been taught something else -- and we have learnt the lesson. And when it is told by everybody, the whole crowd goes on teaching you the same thing again and again, the whole crowd goes on singing a chorus... and down the ages. And you want to satisfy everybody -- your father, your friends, your priests, your politicians -- you are trying to satisfy everybody, and in satisfying everybody you are destroying your own soul.

I have heard:
Even in biblical times they knew that too much good advice can produce bad results.

Remember the ancient story of the old, old man in the Holy Land trudging barefoot down a dusty, rocky path? The rocks were sharp and they made his feet bleed, and by his side trudged a small boy with torn sandals, and the sharp rocks cut into his feet too and made them bleed. And behind them ambled a strong, healthy donkey.

They came to a group of travellers resting beside the road. "Look at that," said the travellers, "that poor old man with his bleeding feet while that fat, indolent donkey carries no one on his back."

So the old man shrugged and climbed up on the donkey to continue his journey. In a mile or so, another group of travellers resting by the roadside looked up and said, "For shame, that grown man riding on the donkey while the poor little boy has his feet cut and bleeding by the sharp stones of the road."

Once again, the old man shrugged, got off the donkey and put the young boy up in his place.

A third group of travellers had still more advice to give. "Look at that fat healthy donkey with that small boy his only burden. He should carry both the boy and the man."

Again the old man followed advice and climbed on the donkey behind the boy. Within a few miles they came to a rickety bridge over a fast-flowing river, and with both man and boy on the donkey's tired back, they started over the bridge.

In the very middle, the bridge gave way to the combined weight -- and man and boy and donkey plunged into the raging current.

Thanks to their ride, the man and the boy were rested and managed to swim to shore. But the tired, weary, overburdened donkey was drowned. And it only proves one thing: if you take advice from everyone... you will only end up losing your ass.

If you object to any of the language in that story, don't blame me... that is the way they talked in biblical times.

You have been listening to good advice from every nook and corner. Everybody is giving you ROTTEN traditional ideas. Everybody is conditioning you, hypnotizing you. And because the crowd is big and you are alone, unless you bring your energies together you will not be able to get rid of this prison -- the prison of the crowd. Unless you sharpen your intelligence a little more, unless you start meditating a little more, you will not be able to break the chains that the society goes on putting on you.

And they go on telling you it is just for your welfare. They are destroying you, but they go on saying, "We are serving you." And the strangest thing is that you also think that they are well-wishers -- they think they are well-wishers, you think they are well-wishers, and just look at humanity! So dull, so dead, so ugly... something has to be done urgently, something has to be done very urgently.

And the most important thing will be to bring a little more femininity, a more soft heart to human beings -- men and women both. A little more liquidity. You need not be like rocks: please be like water. Lao Tzu says that his path is that of the watercourse way -- liquid, fragile, feminine, non-resisting, flowing, dynamic

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