Chapter title: And, Lo, The Heavens Opened
23 October 1975 morning in Buddha Hall, Poona, India
Audio: Come Follow Me, Vol 1, 03
1 IN THOSE DAYS CAME JOHN THE BAPTIST, PREACHING IN THE WILDERNESS OF JUDAEA,2 AND SAYING, REPENT YE: FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND. 11 I INDEED BAPTIZE YOU WITH WATER UNTO REPENTANCE: BUT HE THAT COMETH AFTER ME IS MIGHTIER THAN I, WHOSE SHOES I AM NOT WORTHY TO BEAR: HE SHALL BAPTIZE YOU WITH THE HOLY GHOST, AND WITH FIRE: 13 THEN COMETH JESUS FROM GALILEE TO JORDAN UNTO JOHN, TO BE BAPTIZED OF HIM. 14 BUT JOHN FORBAD HIM, SAYING, I HAVE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED OF THEE, AND COMEST THOU TO ME? 15 AND JESUS ANSWERING SAID UNTO HIM, SUFFER IT TO BE SO NOW: FOR THUS IT BECOMETH US TO FULFILL ALL. RIGHTEOUSNESS. THEN HE SUFFERED HIM. 16 AND JESUS, WHEN HE WAS BAPTIZED, WENT UP STRAIGHTWAY OUT OF THE WATER: AND, LO, THE HEAVENS WERE OPENED UNTO HIM, AND HE SAW THE SPIRIT OF GOD DESCENDING LIKE A DOVE, AND LIGHTING UPON HIM: 17 AND LO A VOICE FROM HEAVEN, SAYING, THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.
I HAVE HEARD A STORY - it happened in the days of knights and castles. A young Englishman was searching for his fortune, wandering all over the land. Tired, he paused under a tree near a castle to rest. The duke of the castle was passing by. He stopped and inquired why the young man was waiting there, for what he was looking. The young man said, "I am an architect and I am in search of employment."
The duke was very pleased because he needed an architect. He said, "You come with me. You be my architect, and whatsoever your needs are, they will be fulfilled from my castle and the land. You can live like a really rich man. But be faithful, and remember one thing: if you leave, you will have to leave as emptyhanded as you are coming in."
The young man agreed. Weeks passed and then months and he worked faithfully, and the duke was very pleased with him. All his needs were fulfilled, he was looked after - he really lived like a rich man in the castle.
But by and by he started feeling uneasy. In the beginning it was not clear what the cause of it was because, in fact, there was no cause to be uneasy. Every need was taken care of. It was like a cloud surrounding him, a heaviness, the feeling of something being missed. But not knowing exactly what it was, he was confused. Then one day it flashed like lightning before him - he understood the cause. He went to the duke and said that he was leaving.
The duke could not believe it. He said, "Why are you leaving? If there is any difficulty you simply tell me and it will be done. I have been very much pleased with your work. and I would like you to be here for your whole life."
The young man said, "No, I am leaving. Please allow me to leave."
The duke asked, "But why?"
The young man said, "Because nothing belongs to me here. Empty-handed I have come; empty-handed I will have to leave. This is a dream: nothing belongs to me here."
This is the point where a person starts becoming religious. If something belongs to you in this world, you are not yet ready to be religious. Empty-handed you come; empty-handed you go. Once you realize this, like a flash of lightning everything becomes clear. This world cannot be your home - at the most an overnight stay. 'In the morning we go.'
Once you have the feeling that you are here only momentarily - you cannot possess anything, you cannot have anything here - it becomes a dream, what Hindus call MAYA. It becomes illusory. That is the definition of MAYA: something which appears to be yours and is not; something which appears to be real and is not; something which seems to be eternal and is only momentary - something which is made of the stuff that dreams are made of.
Unless one understands it, one goes on doing things which are eventually found to be meaningless. The day death comes, your whole life proves to be meaningless. Confronting death you will see that your hands are empty - and you worked hard! You were in so much anguish and anxiety for things which cannot be possessed.
It is not in the nature of things that they can be possessed. Possession is impossible because you are here only for a few moments. Things were here before you; things will be here after you. You come and go, the world remains. Be a guest, and don't start feeling and believing that you are the owner here. Then your life changes immediately; then your life takes on a new hue, a new color, a new dimension. That dimension is religion.
Once you understand it, you need initiation - initiation into the other world. It is available, just by the corner. Once this world is understood to be just a dream, the other becomes available.
This was the whole message of John the Baptist:
REPENT: FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.
It has been tremendously, terribly misunderstood by Christians. From the very beginning the message was misunderstood. People thought that the world was going to end and John the Baptist was forecasting, was predicting, the end of the world.
FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.
People thought that this world was going to end - this was the misunderstanding - so they waited. John the Baptist died, and there was no sign of the kingdom coming. This kingdom continued, and that kingdom never came. Then Jesus was again saying the same thing: REPENT YE: FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND. Then they waited... then he was crucified... and the kingdom never came. And Christians have been waiting for twenty centuries since then.
Now much doubt has arisen in the mind. The priest in the pulpit goes on repeating these words, but they are no longer meaningful. He knows himself they are not meaningful. He goes on saying, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of God is at hand," but he knows that for twenty centuries it has not happened and the world has continued.
But this was not the meaning at all. The world is not going to end: you are going to end. When John the Baptist said, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," he never meant that this world is going to end. He simply meant that you are going to end, and before you die, make contact with the other world. Repent for all that you have done to possess this world, repent for the way you have lived in this dream as if it was reality, repent for all that you have been doing and thinking, because all that is baseless.
Unless you repent, you will not be able to see that the kingdom of God is just by the corner. Your eyes will remain filled with this world; you will not be able to see the other. Before the other can be seen, your eyes have to be completely cleaned of this world - the world af things; the world of matter; the world of lust, possession; the world of greed and anger; the world of jealousy, envy; the world of hatred; the world of the ego. Your eyes have to be completely cleaned, washed, before you can see the kingdom of God. In fact the moment your eyes attain to clarity, this world disappears - just like in the morning when you become awake, the world of dreams disappears; another world opens its door. The kingdom of God is a reality and THIS world is only a production of your mind.
John the Baptist - and later on, Christ - were saying that you are going to end, but that is difficult for the mind to understand. The mind can think and believe that everything else is going to end but not that it is going to end. The mind goes on saving itself, defending itself.
Somebody dies. You see the dead body, but it never occurs to you that you are going to die. You sympathize with the family of the dead man. You say, "Poor man. He could have lived a little longer. He was not yet old enough. His family was so dependent on him - now what will happen?"
The wife is crying and weeping, the children are mad. What will happen? You think about the dead man, you think about the dead man's family, you think about the future of the orphaned children, you think of the widowed wife, but you never think that this death is your death also. You always hide yourself, you always go on defending yourself. Deep down everybody thinks that he is not going to die. Death always happens to others.
The mind interprets in such ways that it misses the whole point. The world is to continue: it has always been there and it will always be there. Only you will not be there; death will take you away. As empty-handed as you entered, you will have to leave. If that understanding penetrates your being, then repentance becomes possible. Repentance is nothing but attaining to this clarity of vision. This word 'repentance' is very, very significant. There is no other word that is more significant in Jesus' terminology because repentance will open the door of the divine. What is this repentance?
You have been angry and you repent. You feel sorry: you have behaved badly with someone. You repent and you ask to be pardoned. Is Jesus' and John the Baptist's repentance the same? Then it cannot go very far, because you have repented many times and you have not changed. How many times have you repented? How many times have you been angry, greedy, violent, aggressive, and you have repented? But your repentance has not transformed you, it has not brought you near the kingdom of God. It has not opened any new doors, new dimensions; you remain the same. Your repentance and Jesus' repentance are not the same. In fact they are almost diametrically opposite.
So whatsoever you have been understanding about repentance is absolutely false. Try to understand. When you repent, you don't in fact repent. When you repent you are in fact trying to repair the image. It is not repentance; it is repairing the broken image that you had of yourself.
For example, you have been angry and you have said many things. Later on when the rage is gone, the madness gone, you cool down and you look back. Now there is trouble. The trouble is that you have always been thinking that you are a very peaceful, peace-loving man; you have always been imagining that you never become angry. Now that image is broken. Your ego is shattered: now you know that whatsoever you have been believing has proved wrong. You have been angry, you have been very angry, and you have said and done things which are against your ego. You have shattered your own self-image. Now you have to repair it.
The only way to repair it is to repent. You go and repent, you say good things. You say, "It happened in spite of me. I never wanted it to be so. I was mad; I was not in my senses. The anger so much possessed me that I was almost unconscious, so whatsoever I have said, forgive me, I never meant it. I may have uttered it, but I never meant it."
What are you doing - repenting? You are simply repairing. The other man relaxes: when somebody asks to be forgiven. he has to be forgiven. If he cannot forgive, then he is not a good man. He was angry about your anger, he was planning to take revenge, but now you have come to be forgiven. If he does not forgive, then he will not be able to forgive himself. Then his image will be broken.
And that is the trick you are playing. Now if he does not forgive you, you are the good guy and he is the bad guy. Now the whole thing has been thrown upon him. This is a trick, a very cunning trick. If he does not forgive you, he is a bad man. Now you are at ease, your image repaired: you have thrown the whole guilt on him. Now he will feel guilty that he cannot forgive and a good man has to forgive. If he forgives, it is good; if he does not forgive, then too it is good for you. Now it is a question for him to decide.
This is not repentance. When John the Baptist and Jesus say, "Repent!" they mean an absolutely, totally different thing. What do they mean?
They mean: try to see, try to understand, what you have been doing. Look through and through, go to the very roots of your existence, being, behavior, and see what you have been doing, what you have been BEING. It is not a question of any particular act that you have to repent for, it is your whole quality of being. Not any anger, not any greed, not any hatred - no. Not any enmity - nothing. It is nothing about any particular act. It is something about your very being: the way, the style, of your existence. It has no concern with any particular fragmentary act.
When you repent, you repent about a certain act. Your repentance is always in reference to certain acts. Jesus' repentance is not about certain acts, it is about your being. The way you have been has been absolutely wrong. You may not have been angry - still you have been wrong. You may not have been full of hatred - still you have been wrong. You may not have possessed much wealth - still you have been wrong. It is not a question of what you have done; it is a question of how you have been. You have been asleep, you have been unconscious. You have not lived with an inner light; you have lived in darkness.
When they say, "Repent!" they mean repent for the whole way you have lived up to now, the way you are. It is not a question of asking forgiveness from somebody - no, not at all. It is just a returning. The word 'repent' originally meant 'return'. In Aramaic, which Jesus and John used as their language, 'repent' means 'return, return to your source; come back to your original being'.
What Zen Masters say - "Search for your original face" - is the meaning of REPENT YE. Drop all your masks. It is not a question between you and others, it is a question between you and your God. REPENT YE means drop all the masks and stand before God in your original face - the way he has made you. Let that be your only face: the way he wanted you to be. Let that be your only being.
Return to the original source, come back to your deepest core of being. Repentance is returning back; it is one of the greatest spiritual turnings.
This is what Jesus means by conversion. A Hindu can become a Mohammedan, a Mohammedan can become a Christian, a Christian can become a Hindu - that is not conversion. That is again changing masks. When a Christian becomes religious, a Hindu becomes religious, a Mohammedan becomes religious, then it is conversion. It does not mean to move from one religion to another because there are not two religions in the world. There cannot be two. Religion is one.
Religiousness is a quality; it has nothing to do with sects and doctrines and dogmas, churches and temples and mosques. If you are in a mosque and you become religious, you will no longer be a Mohammedan; you will simply become a pure being who has no adjective attached to him. If you are praying in a temple, the temple disappears: you are no longer a Hindu; you have become religious. This is conversion.
I was reading the life of a very famous bishop. He went to St. Mary's Church in Cambridge to deliver a university sermon. Thirty, forty years before, when he was a young man, he was an undergraduate there. He was full of reminiscences, memories of his young age. He looked around - could he recognize anybody who was there when he was an undergraduate?
He recognized an old verger. After the sermon he went to him and said, "Do you recognize me? I was a student here forty years before. Everybody else has gone, I can only recognize your face. Thank God you have good health. You served Him well."
The verger said, "Yes, I thank God, I thank Him very much, because after listening - and I have been listening to each and every sermon that has been delivered in this church for fifty years! - thank God after listening to all sorts of nonsense for fifty years, I am still a Christian."
It is difficult to be a Christian if you listen to all sorts of nonsense that has been preached in the name of Christianity. It is difficult to be a Hindu if you know all the nonsense that has been written in the name of Hinduism. It is difficult to be a Mohammedan if you know what it means to be a Mohammedan. Because you don't know, it is easy. You remain a Hindu because you don't know what it means: you don't know the hatred implied in it, you don't know the politics intrinsic to it.
It is easy to be a Christian, not knowing what Christianity has done in the past. It has been murderous: Christianity has killed more people than Communism. But it is easy if you don't know. The more you know, the more it will become difficult to be a Christian, to be a Mohammedan, to be a Hindu. In fact, you will understand that these are the ways of not being religious, these are the ways which prevent you from being religious, these are the ways which are the barriers. They deceive you that you are religious, they give you a false coin; they are fakers, counterfeits. To be religious is not to be a Mohammedan, not to be a Christian, not to be a Hindu: to be religious is just to be religious, nothing else is needed. That is conversion.
If you repent, conversion happens. Conversion is the by-product of repentance. One does not have to repent for his acts, because that is not real repentance. One has to repent for his whole being. Only then transformation is possible.
Now, listen to these words of the gospel:
IN THOSE DAYS CAME JOHN THE BAPTIST, PREACHING IN THE WILDERNESS OF JUDAEA.
John's name has become JOHN THE BAPTIST. Nobody else's name in the whole history of the world has become so connected with baptism. He initiated hundreds of seekers, and his way of initiation was something unique. He initiated them in the River Jordan. First they would meditate with him for a few days, a few months, or sometimes for a few years. When they would be ready, then he would take them into the river. They would stand in the river and he would pour water on their heads - and something would transpire, something would happen in their hidden-most being, and they would no longer be the same people as they were before. It was a secret rite, a secret ceremony. Something was being transferred from the Master to the disciple. The water was used as a medium.
There have been two types of initiation in the world. In one type of initiation water has always been used, and in the other type of initiation fire has been used. In India, fire has been used as a medium of initiation for centuries. Zarathustra used fire as a medium of initiation.
John the Baptist used water. Both can be used, and both have to be understood. Water and fire have different qualities, and yet they are very deeply joined together. They are opposites, but complementary. If you put a pot of water on a fire, the water disappears, evaporates. If you throw water on a fire, the fire disappears.
They are opposite, but in a deep unity. Water flows downwards, fire flows upwards. Naturally water will never go upward; naturally fire will never go downward. They move in different dimensions, different directions. If something has to descend in you, water has to be used as a medium, as a vehicle. If something has to go upwards in you, fire has to be used as a medium and vehicle.
John the Baptist would pour water, and with the falling water.... After a long preparation and meditation, your whole being would concentrate on the falling water and the coolness of it, which would cool you within also. And through the water, the magnetism of this man, John the Baptist, would flow in you. Water is a very, very vulnerable vehicle. If a man who has healing power in his hands just touches water, the water becomes a healing medicine. And water is deeply related to your body: eighty percent or more of your body is nothing but water.
And have you watched what your breathing is doing to you? The breathing brings fire, it is oxidation. Your body is water, your breathing is fire: you exist with these two. When the breathing stops, the fire disappears: then the body loses warmth; then it is dead. If water is gone from the body, the body becomes too hot, feverish - you will die soon. A deep communion between water and fire, a deep balance, is continuously needed.
You eat food - through food, fire from the sun reaches your body. You breathe - through breathing, oxygen reaches in the body. You drink water, continuously water is being rep].:-ed in the body. Between fire and water you exist. John the Baptist used water to bring something within you from the above. That is one way of initiation. There is a higher way: to bring something within you upwards. Then it becomes initiation by fire.
IN THOSE DAYS CAME JOHN THE BAPTIST, PREACHING IN THE WILDERNESS OF JUDAEA, AND SAYING, REPENT YE: FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.
Every moment the kingdom of heaven is at hand. This very moment the kingdom of heaven is at hand, so it is absolutely urgent to repent. That was his meaning. Don't waste a single moment! - because if you waste it, it can never be recaptured, regained. All time gone is gone. It could have been a deep celebration of God. You wasted it - for nothings, for dreams. REPENT YE: FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.
I INDEED BAPTIZE YOU WITH WATER UNTO REPENTANCE: BUT HE THAT COMETH AFTER ME IS MIGHTIER THAN I, WHOSE SHOES I AM NOT WORTHY TO BEAR: HE SHALL BAPTIZE YOU WITH THE HOLY GHOST, AND WITH FIRE.
John the Baptist prepared people so that God could descend in them. Then Jesus prepared people so that God could ascend in them. Both are the possibilities: either you ascend into God or God descends in you. Descendence is easier because you simply wait - receptive, like a womb.
You must have observed: Lao Tzu never talks about fire, he always talks about water. His method of initiation was just like John the Baptist's. That's why he talks about the feminine mind: one has to become feminine to receive. Just like water descends from the clouds, God descends.
"Jesus," John the Baptist says, "will baptize you with fire. He will take you to God; he will help you to go upwards." It is difficult - an uphill task. Before anybody can go uphill, he has to learn how to go downhill. Before one is ready to be baptized by fire, one has to be ready and baptized by water. If you cannot go downwards, you cannot go upwards. To go downwards is very easy, to just wait and receive is easy, but if even that is difficult, then what to say about going uphill? It is going to be very difficult.
So first let God descend in you. The moment God descends in you, you will become very powerful because you will no longer be yourself. Then going uphill becomes very easy: then you can fly, then you can become fire.
John the Baptist prepared people, prepared the ground for the seed to descend. Look - when you throw a seed in the soil, it descends into the soil. When it breaks, it starts rising upwards. The first act is baptism by water: you throw the seed into the soil, it descends deep and rests there. The seed has nothing to do; it just has to rest and everything happens. Then an upward energy - the seed starts moving, sprouts; becomes a big tree, goes to the sky.
The tree needs to be watered every day so that the roots can go deeper and deeper into the earth, and the tree needs sun, the fire, so that the branches can go higher and higher. In the deep forests of Africa, trees go very high because The forests are so dense that if they don't go high they will not reach the fire. They have to rise higher and higher so that they can open their being to the sun and the fire can be received. If you give only water to the tree, the tree will die; if you give only fire to the tree, the tree will die. The tree cannot exist with only water, it cannot exist in a desert only fire. It needs a deep combination.
So a baptism of water is needed in the beginning: that is the first initiation. Then a baptism in fire is needed: that is the second initiation. And between the two, when the balance is achieved, is transcendence. Between the two - when the balance is totally achieved and neither is too much and neither is too little: just the right proportion - suddenly the transcendence. In balance is transcendence.
I INDEED BAPTIZE YOU WITH WATER UNTO REPENTANCE: BUT HE THAT COMETH AFTER ME IS MIGHTIER THAN I, WHOSE SHOES I AM NOT WORTHY TO BEAR: HE SHALL BAPTIZE YOU WITH THE HOLY GHOST, AND WITH FIRE.
HOLY GHOST is just symbolic of balance. In Christianity the concept of three exists as the Trinity. God, the father; Christ, the son - but these are two poles: father and son. Something has to balance these two and that is the Holy Ghost. It is neither son nor father, just pure spirit which is in between the two - the balance. Between fire and water, the Holy Ghost happens.
These are symbolic terms: the Holy Ghost is not a being somewhere. The Holy Ghost is the music, the harmony, between duality. The Holy Ghost is the river between two banks. If you go on looking for him you will not find him. The Holy Ghost is there when any duality ceases within you. Love/hate ceases within you - a sudden balance. You cannot say whether it is love, you cannot say whether it is hate - it is neither. It is something absolutely unknown, you have never known it before... the Holy Ghost has happened.
THEN COMETH JESUS FROM GALILEE TO JORDAN UNTO JOHN, TO BE BAPTIZED OF HIM.
This must have been one of the rarest moments in the history of human consciousness: the Master was to be initiated by the disciple.
BUT JOHN FORBAD HIM, SAYING, I HAVE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED OF THEE, AND COMEST THOU TO ME?
A few things before we can understand it.
Up to now Jesus had lived a very ordinary life. He was just the son of the carpenter Joseph - helping his father in the workshop, doing ordinary things which were needed. Nobody knew anything about him, not even his family was aware of what he was. A shroud surrounded him, a cloud which had to be broken.
He was waiting for the right moment. When John's work was ready, the ground prepared, he could go to him. Then he would break down the shroud, and the cloud would disappear. He needed to be related to John because that was the only way to be related to John's disciples; otherwise there would be no link. John recognized immediately that "This is the man for whom I have been waiting, this is the man for whom I have been working. He has come."
JOHN FORBAD HIM, SAYING, I HAVE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED OF THEE, AND COMEST THOU TO ME? - AND YOU HAVE COME TO BE BAPTIZED BY ME; THAT SEEMS ABSURD.
Jesus is on a higher plane, the plane of fire; John is on a lower plane, the plane of water. John is not yet an absolutely realized soul. He has attained his first satori, otherwise he would not have been able to work for Jesus; he has attained the first glimpse, otherwise he would not have been able to recognize Jesus - but he has not attained to absolute Buddhahood, he is not yet a Christ.
I HAVE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED OF THEE, AND COMEST THOU TO ME? No, he forbad it: don't ask for this.
AND JESUS ANSWERING SAID UNTO HIM, SUFFER IT TO BE SO NOW: FOR THUS IT BECOMETH US TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS. THEN HE SUFFERED HIM.
Jesus said, "Let it be so, because it is written in the scriptures that it will be so." Jesus lived a Jew and died a Jew - he was never a Christian - and he tried hard to become part of the Jewish milieu. These were the ways he tried: It was written in the old scriptures that the messiah who is to come will be baptized by a man named John who will be baptizing people near the River Jordan. It was a long-standing prophecy. Jesus said: "Let it be so - as it is written in the scriptures." He tried in every way to become part of the tradition so that the innermost revolution that he was trying to bring did not become lost in the desert of politics.
But still it happened, still it became lost in the desert of politics, because to bring that inner revolution is almost to ask the impossible from the human mind. The human mind clings to the old. That's why Jesus is saying, "Let it be so. Please baptize me so I don't look like a stranger and an intruder, so I become part of the tradition and from within I can work outwardly, from within I can create a great revolution. I would like to work from within."
But that was not going to be so. Jesus tried, it was impossible; Buddha tried, it was impossible. Buddha remained a Hindu all his life - he just wanted to create a revolution in the Hindu mind from within - but the moment he started saying things, the traditional mind became alert.
I have heard a story: There was a very old church - very ancient, very beautiful, hallowed by tradition, but almost in ruins. It was in danger of falling any day. The worshippers had stopped coming in; any moment it might fall. Even the trustees of the church wouldn't meet in the church, they would meet somewhere else to decide things about the church.
But they were reluctant to destroy it. They asked great architects, but they all suggested that the building was too dangerous, it was beyond repair. It had to be destroyed and a new church had to be built. Reluctantly - they never wanted it to be destroyed: it was very ancient, it had a long tradition, if had become part of their being; to destroy it looked as if they were going to destroy themselves - reluctantly they called a meeting of the trustees, and they passed three resolutions. They are beautiful.
The first resolution - that the church, the old church, had to be destroyed and a new church had to be built - passed unanimously. The second resolution - that until the new church was ready they would continue to worship in the old church - passed unanimously. And the third resolution - that the new church had to be built on exactly the same spot where the old church stood... and with the stones of the old church! - passed unanimously.
This is how the traditional mind functions. It goes on clinging and clinging - even if it becomes contradictory, it goes on clinging. It avoids seeing the contradiction. It avoids seeing the death that has already entered, it avoids seeing that the body is no longer alive - it is a corpse: stinking, deteriorating. Jesus tried to relate himself to the old mind. He says to John: "You baptize me. Let it be so. SUFFER IT TO BE SO NOW: FOR THUS IT BECOMETH US TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS. THEN HE SUFFERED HIM."
John understood his point: otherwise Jesus would have been a foreigner from the very beginning and things would become almost impossible. Things were still impossible - but nobody can say that Jesus has not tried; nobody can say that Buddha has not tried. On their part they did everything that could be done to become a continuous flow with the ancient, with the old, with the traditional. They wanted revolution not against tradition but in it. But it never happened; the old mind is really very, very obstinate, stubborn.
AND JESUS, WHEN HE WAS BAPTIZED, WENT UP STRAIGHTWAY OUT OF THE WATER: AND, LO, THE HEAVENS WERE OPENED UNTO HIM. AND HE SAW THE SPIRIT OF GOD DESCENDING LIKE A DOVE, AND LIGHTING UPON HIM:
The initiation by water, the baptism by water. Jesus saw God descending: AND, LO, THE HEAVENS WERE OPENED UNTO HIM, AND HE SAW THE SPIRIT OF GOD DESCENDING LIKE A DOVE, AND LIGHTING UPON HIM: AND LO A VOICE FROM HEAVEN, SAYING, THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.
Immediately after the baptism by John. Jesus went out of the river and this vision happened on the river bank. This vision was not a dream because John was also a witness to it - and not only John, a few other disciples who were present on the bank. It was an objective reality: everybody saw something descending like a dove - very peaceful. pure... a white bird of heaven descending and lighting on Jesus as if heaven opened. It happens that way: when you become open to heaven, heaven becomes open to you. In fact heaven has always been open to you; only you were not open.
"Up to now Jesus has lived a closed life. It was good; he needed it, otherwise he would have been in danger from the very beginning. Christians have no story about Jesus' youth, about what happened in his youth. He must have lived absolutely unknown. Nobody knew about him - he was just an ordinary young man, like any other. His ministry lasted for only three years: when John baptized him he was thirty, and when he was crucified he was thirty-three. The ancient, the old, the traditional mind could not tolerate him for more than three years, within three years he was crucified. That's the reason he lived absolutely unknown, not revealing his identity - an ordinary man amongst other ordinary mortals.
But when he was baptized he immediately revealed who he was for the first time. John was a witness, a few other disciples on the bank were witnesses. The quality of John's being and of Jesus' being was very different. John was a fiery prophet and Jesus was a messenger of peace. Soon afterwards John was arrested and thrown into jail and Jesus started preaching. News started coming to John: he couldn't believe it because Jesus was saying something that he never meant for him to say. By and by the differences became so great that even John, who had initiated Jesus and who had seen with his own eyes the opening of heaven and the descending of the dove - even he became suspicious.
In the last days of his life, before he was beheaded, he sent a note to Jesus, just a small note asking: "Are you really the one for whom we were waiting? " He became suspicious because this man was saying something else, something absolutely different. "Be humble," this man was saying. "Blessed are the humble because they shall inherit the earth." John was not a humble man, he was really very proud - a very strong man, believing that he could bring revolution to the whole world, almost mad with his strength - and Jesus was saying, "Blessed are the poor...." John must have thought: what nonsense is this man talking about?
Jesus was saying, "If somebody slaps you on one side of the face, give him the other side also" - absolutely unlike John. And Jesus was saying: "If somebody snatches your coat, give him your shirt also." How is this man going to bring revolution? These are not revolutionary teachings.
These are the ONLY revolutionary teachings. But John could not understand them; he had his own idea of a revolution. He could have understood Lenin, he could have understood Trotsky, he could have understood Marx, but he could not understand Jesus, his own disciple. The problem was of a totally different kind of revolution. One revolution is social: it is brought by violence, aggression; it is, in a way, forced. Another revolution is of the heart: it is not brought by force, not even by discipline. It comes by spontaneity, it comes by understanding.
Jesus was bringing a totally new kind of revolution to the world. Nobody had talked about that revolution before. That's why I say that Jesus is the turning point in the history of human consciousness - even more than Buddha. There had been many others like Buddha, talking along the same lines; he was not new. He may have been the end of a long procession of Buddhas, but he was not the first.
Jesus brought something totally new to the earth; he was the beginning of a new line, of a new search, of a new inquiry. John could not understand. Lao Tzu, if he had been there, would have understood - but not John. John was a totally different type of man. In his last days he was very worried that something had gone wrong: "Has this disciple betrayed me or what? " He sent a note: "Are you the one we were waiting for? " When you have a fixed idea of a certain thing, that becomes a barrier to understanding. What to say of the others? - even John could not understand Jesus perfectly.
I have heard one story: There was a very rich merchant who used to go all around the world to collect silk, spices, perfume. In these three things he was one of the most perfect merchants: he knew where to get them at a low price, from what markets of the world, and where to sell them and profit much. And he had profited much. That was his only interest: to find out more and more about perfumes and spices.
One day, passing through a town. somebody told him that a very wise man lived there. "Whatsoever your inquiry, he is always helpful."
The merchant thought. "Maybe he knows something about silk, spices, perfume. Maybe he can be helpful in showing me some market where I can get even more low-priced commodities."
He went to the wise man. Before he had even asked, the wise man said, "Yes, I know. You go to the north, in the Himalayas," and he gave him a particular peak to go to. "Go to that peak and sit on that peak for three days. In those three days you will see something which you have never seen before. Then come back."
The man rushed away. He had the fastest horse in the country and he rushed to the mountains and found the peak. Fasting, praying, for three days he sat there looking around and dreaming about silk, perfume, spices. He was waiting for some unknown door to open so that he would become the master of all the silk in the world, all the spices, all the perfumes. Within these three days, the key was going to be handed to him. He waited and waited; he fantasized, he dreamed. He could not even see the beautiful valley that was around or the beautiful, silent river that passed by, not making even a slight noise. He could not hear the birds singing in the morning, he could not see the beautiful sunset. He could see nothing because he was so full of dreams and so tense, waiting for something. Three days passed and nothing happened. He was very annoyed and angry. He rushed back to the wise man and he said, "Nothing happened. I could not see anything that I had not seen before. What went wrong?"
The wise man laughed and said, "Your idea of riches." Then he said, "Don't go to that valley again, you will never find it, but all around on the bank of the river there were diamonds. Those were not stones, they were diamonds. But you missed them."
Then the man remembered, as if through his dream: he HAD seen something - dim, vague, cloudy, but he had seen something. Yes, in the morning in the sunrays many times he had a glimpse of many stones that were shining. But he had his own idea of riches.
Even John had his own idea of revolution, of what religion is. He became suspicious. But that day, when Jesus was baptized, he was a witness. He had seen the opening of heaven.
AND JESUS, WHEN HE WAS BAPTIZED, WENT UP STRAIGHTWAY OUT OF THE WATER: AND, LO, THE HEAVENS WERE OPENED UNTO HIM, AND HE SAW THE SPIRIT OF GOD DESCENDING LIKE A DOVE, AND LIGHTING UPON HIM:
The dove is one of the oldest symbols of silence, of peace, of purity, of harmony. Have you ever seen a dove descending? Watch a dove descending.... In the very coming down you will feel a silence surrounding the dove. That's why it has become a symbol.
Jesus is peace, silence. He is not war, he is not revolution in the ordinary sense of the word, he is not violence. He is the humblest man and the purest who has ever lived on earth.
Baptism by water always brings descendence of the purest spirit. It is surrounding you always: the moment you are ready it descends in you. It is raining all the time, only your pot is upside down. You cannot collect it because your pot is upside down. Once your pot is right-side up you are immediately fulfilled. In deep initiation the Master tries to put your pot right-side up.
In the West the science of initiation is completely lost. In the East it is also almost lost. In the West it is lost because it never existed there in its totality. Only fragments from the East travelled and reached the West. In the East it is lost because it has become almost a dead thing: everybody knows about it... and nobody knows about it. It has become a businesslike thing: you can go and be initiated by anybody.
Initiation is not so easy. You can be initiated only by one who has attained at least the first satori, the first samadhi.
There are three satoris. The first satori means that you have had a glimpse from far away: you have seen the Himalayas from far away, shining in the sun. That is the first satori. The second satori is when you have reached the peak. You have arrived. And the third satori is when you and the peak have become one. That is the last, the ultimate, SAMADHI.
One who initiates you must have attained at least the first. If he has not attained the first, initiation is just bogus. This is on the part of the Master: that he should have attained at least the first satori.
And much is needed on the part of the disciple, because unless the disciple is ready - through deep meditation and purification, through deep catharsis and cleansing - even if the Master is there, you will not allow him to put your pot right-side up. You will resist, you will not surrender, you will not be in a let-go. The disciple needs to be in deep, trust; only then can the Master do something in the innermost being of the disciple. It is a great turning, a conversion, so much is needed on the part of the disciple. Only then, is initiation possible.
I was just reading a story about a seeker who went to see Bayazid, a great Master. The seeker asked, "Please allow me to be a part of your family." Bayazid said, "But there are requirements to be fulfilled. If you really want to be a disciple, there are many duties you will have to do."
The seeker asked, "What are the duties? "
The Master said, "First, winter is coming. You will have to go to the forest and collect and chop wood for the winter. Then you start working in the kitchen. And after that, I will show you what to do."
The seeker said, "But I am in search of truth. How is it going to help to work in the forest and chop wood? What connection is there between chopping wood and attaining to truth? And working in the kitchen? What do you mean? I am a seeker."
The Master said, "Then you seek somewhere else, because you will have to listen to me. Howsoever absurd the demand, you will have to fulfill it. That's how you will become ready to let go. I know chopping wood has nothing to do with truth, but to be ready to chop it - because the Master has said it - has something to do with truth. I know working in the kitchen has nothing to do with truth: so many people are working, every housewife is working - if that was the way to attain, then everybody would attain. It has nothing to do with truth, but when I say that you have to do it, you have to do it in deep love and trust. That will prepare you, that has something to do with truth. But I cannot reveal that to you right now; you will have to wait."
Reluctantly the seeker said, "Okay, but I would also like to know: what are the duties of a Master? "
The Master said, "The duty of the Master is to sit around and order."
The disciple said, "Then please help me to become a Master, train me to become a Master. I am ready."
The ego is always seeking its own enhancement. The ego is the barrier: because of the ego, your pot is upside down. The rain goes on falling, and you remain empty.
On the part of the disciple, initiation means allowing the Master to do WHATSOEVER - unconditionally. And on the part of the Master, it is possible only when he has attained at least the first satori. Otherwise you can be initiated by a thousand and one Masters and you will not attain anything. When these two things are fulfilled, these two requirements fulfilled, then a communion happens between the Master and the disciple.
This communion happened that day. Jesus was opened, as they say in Subud. Jesus was opened by John the Baptist and the spirit of God descended on him like a dove:
AND LO A VOICE FROM HEAVEN, SAYING, THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.
This happens always. Whenever someone opens up to heaven, it is always heard. Deep down in the heart it resounds: THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.
This has been taken wrongly in Christianity. They think Jesus is the only son of God - foolish. The whole existence comes from God, the whole existence is related to God as son to father.
A few things to be understood. It would have been better if we had thought of God as mother because the son is more deeply related to the mother. He lives in the womb, he is part of the mother - blood and bones and flesh and everything. But there is a very significant meaning in thinking of God as father. It is not baseless.
Father is indirect, mother is direct. You know who your mother is; you simply believe who your father is. The mother knows for certain that you are her son, but the father believes. Father is indirect, mother is very direct. And God is not so direct, God is very indirect. He fathered you. That means you are related to Him, but the relationship is one of trust: a belief, a deep faith. You will come to know your father only when you trust.
Mother is more of a scientific fact, empirical; father is more a poetical fact, not so empirical. Mother is very close, in fact too close; father is very far away, somewhere up in the sky. To feel for the mother is instinctive; to feel for the father-one has to learn it. Mother is already there. God has to be discovered. So the symbol of father is also very meaningful, it carries some hidden meanings in it. And whenever it happens to anybody that the heart opens up and the dove descends, this is always heard: THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.
Why is God well-pleased? You have come back home. You went astray, you did all sorts of things irrelevant to your being. You have repented, you have come back home.
The whole existence is pleased. The whole existence is pleased whenever somebody becomes a Christ or a Buddha, the whole existence celebrates, because if even one person becomes a Buddha or a Christ the whole existence becomes, in a way, more aware and alert.
Certainly the world was different before Jesus than after Jesus. The trees were more alert after Jesus and the rocks were more alive after Jesus because his consciousness, the attainment of his consciousness, spread all over the existence. It has to be so. Flowers flower more. They may not be aware, but the very quality of the whole has changed. If even one drop of consciousness attains to God, the whole ocean cannot be the same. That one drop has raised the being of the whole, the quality is different.
You cannot conceive of yourself if there was no Buddha and no Christ, no Krishna. Just remove twelve names from history and the whole of history will disappear. Then humanity will not be there. In fact the existence that you know around you will not be there. You will be far more asleep and unconscious, you will have gone far more astray. You will be far more violent, aggressive: the glimmer of love that beats in your heart will not be there, the grace that sometimes appears in your eyes will not be there. Your eyes will be more like animals' - ferocious, violent.
But when a Jesus has happened, his eyes become part of your eyes - a very minute part, but still. Sometimes it happens that that part spreads all over your eyes and you look at existence in a totally different way. The world remains the same but your eye changes and, with your eye, the whole changes.
In your heart a very minute part has become Buddha with Buddha, Christ with Christ, Krishna with Krishna. I know it is a very minute part, but the possibility to grow exists with it. Look deep down within yourself to the part that has been contributed by Christ or Buddha. Protect it, help it to grow, sacrifice all that you have for it to grow, and you will be on the right track. Let that part win, let that part be victorious, let the Galilean win within you, and immediately - whenever that part is victorious - you are also going to hear: AND LO A VOICE FROM HEAVEN, SAYING, THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.
Enough for today
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