1984 in Lao Tzu House, Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, USA
I apologize because this morning I did not mention a few books that I should have mentioned. I was so overwhelmed by Zarathustra, Mirdad, Chuang Tzu, Lao Tzu, Jesus and Krishna that I forgot a few of the books which are even far more significant. I could not believe how I could forget Kahlil Gibran’s THE PROPHET. It is still torturing me. I want to unburden – that’s why I say I am sorry, but not to anybody in particular.
How could I forget the book which is the ultimate: THE BOOK of the Sufis! Perhaps I forgot because it contains nothing, just empty pages. For twelve hundred years Sufis have been carrying THE BOOK with tremendous respect, opening its pages and studying it. One wonders what they study. When you face an empty page for a long time, you are bound to rebounce upon yourself. That is the real study – the work.
How could I forget THE BOOK? Now who will forgive me? THE BOOK should have been the first to have been mentioned not the last. It cannot be transcended. How can you create a better book than one which contains nothing, and the message of nothingness?
Nothingness should be written in your notes, Devageet, as no-thing-ness; otherwise nothingness has a negative meaning – the meaning of emptiness, and that’s not it. The meaning is ’fullness’. Emptiness in the East has a totally different context... SHUNYATA.
I called one of my sannyasins Shunyo, but the fool goes on calling himself Doctor Eichling. Now, can stupidity be greater? ’Doctor Eichling’ – what an ugly name! And he has shaved off his beard just to be Doctor Eichling... because with a beard he was looking a little beautiful. In the East shunyata – emptiness – does not mean emptiness as in the English language. It is fullness, overfullness, so full that nothing is needed any more. That is the message of THE BOOK. Please include it in the list.
First, THE BOOK of the Sufis.
Second, THE PROPHET by Kahlil Gibran. I could easily drop THE PROPHET for the simple reason that it is only an echo of Friedrich Nietzsche’s THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA. In our world nobody speaks the truth. We are such liars, so formal, so full of etiquette.... THE PROPHET is only beautiful because it echoes Zarathustra.
Third, THE BOOK OF LIEH TZU. Lao Tzu I mentioned, Chuang Tzu I mentioned; Lieh Tzu I forgot, and he is the very culmination of both Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu. Lieh Tzu is the third generation. Lao Tzu was the master, Chuang Tzu was the disciple. Lieh Tzu was the disciple of a disciple, perhaps that is why I forgot him. But his book is immensely beautiful and has to be included in the list.
Fourth – and this is really amazing – I did not mention Plato’s DIALOGUES OF SOCRATES. Perhaps I forgot because of Plato. Plato is not worth mentioning, he was just a philosopher, but his DIALOGUES OF SOCRATES AND HIS DEATH is impossible to overpraise and should be included.
Fifth... I also forgot THE NOTES OF THE DISCIPLES OF BODHIDHARMA. When I talk of Gautam Buddha I always forget Bodhidharma, perhaps because I feel as if I have included him in his master, Buddha. But no, that is not right; Bodhidharma stands on his own. He was a great disciple, so great that even the master could be jealous of him. He himself did not write a word, but a few of his disciples, unknown because they did not mention their names, wrote some notes of Bodhidharma’s words. These notes, though few, are as precious as the Kohinoor. The word Kohinoor, do you know, means the light of the world. Noor means the light, kohi means of the world. If I had to describe anything as Kohinoor, yes, I would indicate towards those few notes by the anonymous disciples of Bodhidharma.
Sixth: I also forgot the RUBAIYAT. Tears are coming to my eyes. I can apologize for forgetting everything else but not the RUBAIYAT. Omar Khayyam... I can only cry, weep. I can only apologize with my tears, words won’t do. The RUBAIYAT is one of the most misunderstood and also one of the most widely read books in the world. It is understood in its translation, it is misunderstood in its
spirit. The translator could not bring the spirit to it. RUBAIYAT is symbolic, and the translator was a very straight Englishman, what in America they would call a square, not hip at all. To understand RUBAIYAT you need a little bit of hip in you.
The RUBAIYAT talks of wine and women and nothing else; it sings of wine and women. The translators – and there are many – are all wrong. They are bound to be wrong because Omar Khayyam was a Sufi, a man of tasawuf, a man who knows. When he talks of the woman he is talking about God. That is the way Sufis address God: ”Beloved, O my beloved.” And they always use the feminine for God, this should be noted. Nobody else in the world, in the whole history of humanity and consciousness, has addressed God as a woman. Only Sufis address God as the beloved. And the ’wine’ is that which happens between the lover and the beloved, it has nothing to do with grapes. The alchemy which happens between the lover and the beloved, between the disciple and the master, between the seeker and the sought, between the worshipper and his God...the alchemy. the transmutation – that is the wine. RUBAIYAT is so misunderstood, perhaps that is why I forgot it.
Seventh, MASNAVI of Jalaluddin Rumi. It is a book of small parables. The great can only be expressed in parables. Jesus speaks in parables: so speaks the MASNAVI. Why did I forget it? I love parables; I should not have forgotten it. I have used hundreds of parables from it. Perhaps it has become so much of my own that I forgot to mention it separately. But that is no excuse, apology is still required.
Eighth: the eighth is the ISA UPANISHAD. It is easy to understand why I forgot about it. I have drunk it, it has become a part of my blood and bones; it is me. I have spoken on it hundreds of times. It is a very small Upanishad. There are one hundred and eight Upanishads and ISA is the smallest of them all. It can be printed on a postcard, on one side only, but it contains all the remaining one hundred and seven, so they need not be mentioned. The seed is in the ISA.
The word Isa means divine. You may be surprised that in India we don’t call Christ ’Christ’, we call him ’Isa’ – Isa, which is far closer to the original Aramaic Yeshua, in English Joshua. His parents must have called him Yeshu. Yeshu is too long. The name traveled to India and from Yeshu became Isu. India immediately recognized that Isu is so close to Isa, which means God, that it would be better to call him Isa.
The ISA UPANISHAD is one of the greatest creations of those who have meditated.
Ninth... I forgot to say something about Gurdjieff and his book ALL AND EVERYTHING – perhaps because it is a very strange book, not even readable. I don’t think there are any living individuals except me who have read from the first page to the last. I have come across many Gurdjieff followers, but none of them had been able to read ALL AND EVERYTHING in its totality.
It is a big book – just the opposite of the ISA UPANISHAD – one thousand pages. And Gurdjieff is such a rascal saint – please allow me this expression, rascal saint – he writes in such a way that it becomes impossible to read. One sentence may go running on for pages. By the time you come to the end of the sentence you have forgotten its beginning. And he uses words he made up himself, just like me. Strange words... for example when he was writing about kundalini, he called it kundabuffer; that was his word for kundalini. This book is of immense value, but the diamonds are hidden among ordinary stones. One has to seek and search.
I have read this book not once but many times. The more I went into it the more I loved it, because the more I could see the rascal; the more I could see what it was that he was hiding from those who should not know. Knowledge is not for those who are not yet capable of absorbing it. Knowledge has to be hidden from the unwary, and is only for those who can digest it. It has to be given only to those who are ready. That’s the whole purpose of writing in such a strange way. There is no other book stranger than Gurdjieff’s ALL AND EVERYTHING, and it certainly is all and everything.
Tenth: I remembered this book but did not mention it because it was written by P.D. Ouspensky, a disciple of Gurdjieff who betrayed him. I did not want to include it because of this betrayal, but the book was written before he betrayed his master so finally I decided to include it. The name of the book is IN SEARCH OF THE MIRACULOUS. It is tremendously beautiful, more so because it was written by a man who was only a disciple, who himself had not known. Not only was he a disciple but later on a Judas, the man who betrayed Gurdjieff. It is strange, but the world is full of strange things.
Ouspensky’s book represents Gurdjieff far more clearly than Gurdjieff’s own. Perhaps in a certain state of being Gurdjieff had taken possession of Ouspensky and used him as a medium, just as I am using Devageet as my medium. Right now he is writing the notes, and with my half-closed eyes I am watching everything. I can watch even with closed eyes. I am just a watcher, a watcher on the hills. I have no other work left but to watch.
Eleventh: This is a book written by an unenlightened man, neither master nor disciple: LEAVES OF GRASS by Walt Whitman. But something has penetrated, come through the poet in him. The poet has functioned as a bamboo flute, and the notes are not of the flute itself; they don’t belong to the bamboo. Walt Whitman is just an American bamboo. But LEAVES OF GRASS is immensely beautiful. Something overflowing from God has been caught by this poet. No American as far as I know, except Walt Whitman, may have touched it – that too, partially; otherwise no American has been so wise.
Don’t interrupt! – at least once in a while write your notes. Later you will repent that you missed this, you missed that. Just write your notes. When the time is ripe I will say stop.
Is my time over? My time was over long ago; not today, more than twenty-five years ago. I am living a posthumous life, just a P.S. to a letter. But sometimes the P.S. is more important than the whole letter itself.
What a wonderful world. Even at these heights one can hear a giggle in the valley. In a way it is good, it joins them together.
Alas it will soon be over.
Can we not make it last forever?
At least for now don’t betray me.
Man is the only coward.
Can’t disciples avoid being Judases?
When it is over you can stop.
So good... Alleluia!