BURDENS6 mins 164 6 mins 164
A Sufi mystic had prayed for almost fifty years – and Mohammedans pray five times a day. And each of his prayers consisted only of one desire:
“Lord, why are you so unkind to me? Because I see everybody is happier than me. Only I am miserable. And I don’t ask much, I simply want... can’t you change my destiny with somebody else? Anybody will do. I don’t even ask for a certain person, because I know in this whole place, everybody is in a better position than I am. They smile, they laugh, they giggle, they enjoy, they dance, they sing... and all I do is pray five times a day – and the same prayer for fifty years. And you are completely deaf; it is time you should hear me.”
And that night he went to sleep and saw in a dream... a strange dream he had never seen; a dream in which he heard a voice from the skies, telling the whole town where he lived, “Take out all your miseries, all your sufferings. Put them in a bag, and bring the bag to the mosque in the center of the town.”
The mystic thought inside himself, “Perhaps my prayers have, after all, been heard.” He was immensely happy. He collected all his miseries – they were not many because he had not much time to create many. Prayer five times a day, and the same prayer.... You need some time to create misery, suffering. You have to go out in the world, find people who can help you to be more miserable, pay for it – because nothing is without payment, everything costs here. And he was a mystic, so he always remained in the mosque, either reading the holy scriptures or praying to God.
Naturally, he had not much misery. So just a small bag... and he rushed towards the mosque, and on the way he found people dragging such big bags. He said, “My God!” And he looked at their faces – these were the people he was feeling jealous of, these were the people who were always giggling and laughing, playing cards and going to the movies, gambling, going to the races. And he used to think that these are very happy people.
“What have I done? Now I am going to get into more trouble.” He looked at his bag, it was so small. And these people had such big bags that they could not hold them in their hands, they had to drag them on the road. And because he had a small bag he was faster, he met many people; and the more he saw, the more he became afraid. He saw a few people dragging two bags in both their hands. He said, “My God! What have I done? Now what is going to happen?”
And when all the people had entered into the mosque, another voice from the sky was heard. “Now, put your bags by the side of the wall. Then the lights will go off and an order will be given that you can choose any bag you want. In the darkness it will be easier, so you can choose any. Everybody is free to choose.
” And the voice said to the mystic, “Don’t be worried, it is not only you who has been praying for fifty years. You are the most nagging one, that is true, but all these people have also been praying, ‘Why have you given so much misery to me when others are enjoying life?’”...
Because everybody sees himself in totality, everybody sees himself in his inner being. And everybody sees others in their partial expressions – and only from the outside. So nobody sees their wounds, and nobody knows their anxieties and their anguishes; people know only their false smiles.
The mystic was very much afraid. He had to put down the bag according to the order, but he sat by the side of the bag because, in the dark, if somebody else... and everybody must be watching his bag, it is so small that anybody would like to choose it. So it is better to keep your eyes on your bag and as the lights go off, before the order, just pick up your bag and keep a hold on it, because in the darkness people may try to snatch it away, seeing that their bags...
But he was surprised that not only he was sitting by the side of his bag, everybody else was sitting by the side of their own bags, small or big, one or two. He inquired of a few neighbors, “What is the matter? Why you are clinging to your two big bags?”
They said, “We are sorry that we prayed to God, but that does not mean that we are going to exchange our well-known miseries for somebody’s absolutely unknown miseries. Who knows what kind of miseries that fellow has? And these miseries have lived with us for decades, we have become accustomed – a certain kind of friendship has also grown. In fact, without them we may feel something is missing in life. And at this point, at this age, we are not so foolish to change for new miseries, new anxieties, and to begin life from ABC. Somehow we have come to a settlement.”
The darkness came, the order came, but nobody moved; not a single person. The light came, and everybody heard a great laughter from the sky. And He said, “Now, do you understand why your prayers were not heard? They were heard; but just knowing your stupidity, I did not take any action according to your prayers. You are so unconscious, so unaware of yourselves, that you don’t know what you are asking for.”
Prayer is meaningless if it is not out of alertness. And a man of alertness need not have any prayer – alertness is enough unto itself. So be alert of your questions, of your ego, of your jealousy. And don’t think that everybody else is enjoying life – that only you have fallen into a miserable ditch. The ditch is of your own digging – stop digging it and come out of it. You have made a home in the ditch. It is cozy, it gives you a little shelter, a little shed. Come out of the dark holes you are hiding in. Expose yourself to light. Your questions are nothing but your exposures. And a wound exposed to light and to sun starts healing.
My answers are more medicinal than philosophical. I am answering your thousands of questions, not to make you more knowledgeable, but to heal your wounds and to make you more innocent. If my answer can destroy your question, both the things will be the outcome. It will heal your wound, it will make you more innocent.
You are afraid of being known as ignorant. If you cannot drop that fear, your being here with me is meaningless. My whole effort is to help you see that you are not ignorant – you are innocent. People have condemned your innocence as ignorance. I want you to drop that condemnation of others, and to look to your innocence.
You are still a child, the child never dies. Even in old age, the child still remains within you. You can discover it any moment; and the moment you discover it, you have found meditation, you have found wisdom – not knowledge. Knowledge is answers of questions. Wisdom is a questionless silence, a certain clarity, a certain transparency, a mirrorlike reflectiveness – but not knowledge. It is utter purity.