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Nothing More Practical Than Meditation

Osho, I am a practical man. My mind cannot see that any purpose is fulfilled by meditation.

Vishnudas Sethia,

It is better to tell you from the very beginning that I am also a practical man, much more practical than you can ever be. I don't believe in theories, I believe in experiments. I don't say that religion begins in belief, I say religion begins in experience.
But I am a different kind of practical man than you are. You are only halfheartedly practical; maybe you are practical in the outside world. But there is an inner world too, which needs as much scientific approach as the outside world does. In fact, it needs more accurate observation, more unprejudiced mind, more existential approach than the outside world. But I can understand your problem. It happens to all the so-called practical people who think in terms of money, power and prestige, who are basically extroverts, who only look to that which is outside,who have never tried to explore their inner world; that dimension they have not even touched. They have completely forgotten that they have got a within too.

Langley said to his wife, "This bell is used only for emergencies. Now I am going out in the field and if anything like an Indian attack happens, ring the bell."
So the Old West settler went off to plow and a couple of minutes later the bell started ringing.
Langley hurried to the house screaming, "What's the matter?"
"I thought I saw an Indian," said his wife.
He said, "The bell is only for real important things." So he went back out to work.
Suddenly the bell began pealing. He rushed back to the house.
"I made some cookies and I thought you would like some," said Mrs. Langley.
"I told you, don't ring the bell unless something really happens."
Langley went back to the field. Thirty minutes later the bell started ringing again. He ran back to the house and saw that it was on fire and his wife lay dead with an arrow in her back.
"Now this is more like it!" said the settler.

You must be this kind of a practical man. That's why you cannot see that there is any purpose in meditation. In fact, in a totally different sense you are right: it will not serve any purpose if you are interested in money, power, prestige, fame. Meditation will not be of any help; in fact, it will destroy all your desires for money. It will destroy your greed, it will take away your ambitiousness, it will show you the stupidity of all power trips. It will kill the very root of your ambition: the ego. In that sense it will not serve any purpose. But money, power, prestige you can have, still inside you will remain a dark continent, unknown to yourself You will remain unaware of your infinite treasures, and outside treasures cannot fill your inner emptiness. Whatsoever you try is bound to fail; you will feel only frustrated.

You say:

My mind cannot see that any purpose is fulfilled by meditation.

The mind cannot see, that is true, because mind and meditation cannot coexist. If the mind exists, there is no meditation; if meditation happens, there is no mind. Mind has never seen meditation; hence, naturally, how the mind can say what purpose it can serve? Mind and meditation are exactly like light and darkness.

I have heard that once darkness approached God and said to him that, "I have never harmed your sun, but the sun rises every morning and starts torturing me, goes on and on chasing me farther and farther away. I have to run the whole day and in the night I cannot even rest – in the morning again the same thing starts. Why, when I have done nothing wrong? You should stop the sun chasing me. This is unfair!"
And God said, "I can understand. I will call the sun immediately." And the sun was called and told that "Why have you been torturing darkness? What darkness has done to you?"
The sun said, "I have never come across darkness, I don't know darkness. I have not even been introduced to darkness! What do you mean by darkness? Where darkness is? Please let me see her. Bring her in front of me so that I can see about whom you are talking!"
And God has been seeing darkness and the sun, but he has not been yet able to bring them together face to face; it is impossible. And the sun is also right. She says, "Unless you bring the person in front of me who is complaining against me... how can I stop anything of which I am not even aware that I have done ever?"

The same is true about mind and meditation. When the light of meditation arrives, mind disappears like darkness. Hence meditation is incomprehensible to the mind. Mind is very mediocre – all minds are mediocre, even the very talented minds are mediocre. Real intelligence is intrinsic to meditation, not to mind. Mind is a fool, mind is an idiot. And we live in the world of the mind, and it goes on and on telling us, "Do this stupidity, now that stupidity." If you are tired of this stupidity, the mind produces another stupidity. It is very inventive, certainly, but not intelligent at all.

All minds are Polack!

The Polack was stationed in Germany. One day his wife telephoned him from Detroit.
"We have a new baby," shouted his wife excitedly, "born thirty minutes ago!"
"Is it a boy or a girl?" asked her husband.
"I don't know," she replied.
"Didn't you look between its legs?"
"Don't be nasty!" said his wife. "Who could think about sex at a time like this!"

At his evening performance, a ventriloquist had told jokes about the Jews, the Africans, the Japanese, and the Americans. Addressing his audience he then said, "Now it is time for a Polack joke." At this, a large, stubble-bearded man in a beer-stained tee shin got up and shouted, "I don't want to hear no jokes about the stupidity of us Polacks. We are not as thick as you think!"
"Please sit down, sir, and keep calm," consoled the ventriloquist.
The Polack replied, "Shut up, you! I am talking to the little guy on your lap!"

The mind cannot comprehend what meditation is all about. How it can decide, Vishnudas Sethia, that there is no purpose fulfilled by meditation? The only way to decide is to experience meditation. No outer purpose is fulfilled, agreed, but there are inner purposes, higher purposes, greater purposes, more intrinsic, more valuable purposes which will make your life significant, meaningful, which will give you something of the eternal, which will make you available to God and God available to you.
Meditation is the only way to transcend death. Otherwise man lives in fear, lives in trembling, anxiety and anguish. Unless man comes to know that he is not the body nor the mind but something transcendental to both, he remains afraid, scared. And if you are surrounded by death, if your life is just like a small island in the ocean of death, what life you can live? In such fear there is no possibility of life. Life happens only to those who know that life is eternal, that it is forever and forever, that you have been always here and you will be always here. Meditation reveals to you your Buddhahood. It will not make you Alexander the Great, it will not make you a Rockefeller or a Ford or a Morgan, but it will make you a Christ, a Zarathustra, a Lao Tzu. And these are the people who have really known fulfillment.

When Alexander the Great died, he died like a dog, died like a beggar. And he recognized the fact, he had to recognize it, because twice he was told by two great mystics. One was Diogenes, a Greek mystic who lived like Mahavira, naked, but in utter ecstasy, always in a dance, always in celebration.
When Alexander had gone to see him he felt jealous of him. He said that "You are the first man I amfeeling jealous of."
Diogenes said, "That is strange, because I have nothing! I am just a beggar and you are one of the greatest kings. You have almost conquered the whole world; soon you will be the greatest conqueror ever. And I have got nothing, no possessions. How you can be jealous of me?"
Alexander said, "Still I feel jealous of you – because I may have the whole kingdom of the world, but I don't see any joy in my life. My life is barren, empty, like a desert, no greenery. Not even a single flower has opened up within my being, and I can see in you flowers and flowers. Your heart is in a dance, your each breath is a song. If next time God is kind enough to give me another opportunity, I would like to be born not as Alexander but Diogenes."
Diogenes said, "Then why wait for the next time? You can be Diogenes this very moment!" But Alexander must have been, Vishnudas Sethia, a practical man like you. He said, "Right now it is not possible, it is not practical. I am on the conquest of the world. First I have to finish that, then only can I think about it.'
Diogenes said. "Remember my words: you will not be able to finish it – you will be finished before it. Nobody ever finishes life's work. Life is too short and our ambitions are so big, so many. Our desires are infinite - impossible to fulfill them. And each desire goes on begetting new desires, so don't think that you will be able to fulfill your desires and then you can become a Diogenes. One becomes a Diogenes as a jump; it is a quantum leap."
Thanking him, Alexander went on his conquest. And he has met another mystic in India. His name he remembers in his memoirs as Dandamesh; it must be a Greek form of some Indian name. There are no Indian records about it so we don't know exactly what was the Indian name, but he calls him Dandamesh. He wanted Dandamesh to go with him. Dandamesh laughed and refused. Alexander became angry. He said, pulling out his sword that "If you don't come with me I will cut your head!"
And Dandamesh said, "Please cut it. In fact, I have cut it long before, and when it will fall on the earth you will see falling it on the earth and I will also see falling it on the earth. You are as separate from my head as I am separate from my head. I am a witness to it."
Again Alexander says, "I felt jealous of this man who is not afraid of death at all." And he died on the way back home; he did not reach home. Diogenes' prophecy was fulfilled. Just a twenty-four hours' journey more and he would have reached. He told to his physicians, "I am ready to give whatsoever you want, but save me for twenty-four hours." They said, "We cannot save you even for twenty-four seconds. Your life is finished." He said, "I had promised my mother that I will come back." The physicians said, "A man who is mortal should not give promises, because tomorrow is never certain." He died. His last wish was that "My hands should be left hanging out of the coffin." "Why?" the people asked him. "This is not conventional!"
He said, "Conventional or not conventional, I want everybody to know that I am dying empty-handed."

Vishnudas Sethia, by meditation you will not become an Alexander, but you will become a Buddha. Your hands will be full; not only the physical hands, your invisible soul will be full. There will be great contentment, bliss, benediction. That is the purpose of meditation. You cannot calculate it in terms of mathematics; you cannot weigh it, measure it. It is immeasurable inestimable. You have to experience it.
And the problem is: a man like you would like first to be convinced that it has some purpose, but that is not possible and that cannot be done. You cannot be convinced that it has purpose because the way you understand purpose it has no purpose at all. But there is a totally different dimension of purpose, a different dimension of meaning and significance, fulfillment and contentment, bliss and benediction, but that language you won't understand. The only way to understand that language is to learn that language.
I am here to help you learn it. And I don't say believe in it: I say just hypothetically experiment. Just few glimpses of your inner being and that will be enough, and that will convince you that all that you have done before was not really practical; it was all impractical because death will take away all that you have gathered. It is only meditation that gives you something which death cannot destroy, which is indestructible.
If you are really a practical man, then go into meditation. And I am talking to you as a practical man. I am a practical man, I am not a theoretical man at all. No Buddha has ever been theoretical; they have always been very practical people. And they all have found that there is nothing more practical than meditation.

(Osho - Zen, The Special Transmission #4)