A serious person cannot be religious. And all religious people are so serious! It seems as if only diseased people with long faces become religious. But meditation is not something that is a must, it is something absolutely purposeless; it is something whose end is intrinsic to it. There is nothing to be achieved by it or through it – it cannot be made a means. But as I see it, people who become interested in meditation are not really interested in meditation, they are interested in something else and meditation is used as a means to attain it. They may be interested in silence, in achieving a non-tense state of mind – they may be interested in anything – but they are not simply interested in meditation as such, so they cannot be open to it.
Meditation comes only to those who are interested in meditation as an end in itself. Silence comes: that is another thing. Peace comes: that is another thing. The divine comes: that is another thing. These are consequences, byproducts; they cannot belong for because that very longing creates tension. The divine comes, or it would be better to say that everything becomes divine, everything becomes blissful. It comes indirectly, unlonged for, as a shadow of meditation. And this is one of the mysteries of life: everything which is beautiful, everything which is true, everything which is lovely always comes indirectly. You cannot go after meditation, you cannot reach for it directly, because if it is approached in that way – as a longing for happiness, for the divine, or for anything else – you will lose it; it will not come and overwhelm you. It must not be made a means, it cannot be made a means. And seriousness is the barrier.
Meditation is play regained. Childhood has gone, but now you have regained your playful mood. You can play with coloured stones, with flowers; you can play with anything. You can just relax into a playful mood but not be playing at all. In this relaxed moment, the situation is created, the ecstasy is created, and there is the happening: the temple becomes a playhouse where everyone becomes a child playing with existence. You ask me what Yoga is and what a Yogi is. A person who is meditative is a Yogi: a person who lives meditatively, eats meditatively, bathes meditatively, sleeps meditatively. His whole existence, everything that he does, is meditative. He does not regard existence as a burden but as play. The Yogi is not concerned with the past, he is not concerned with the future; he lives only in the present moment. Life becomes a constant flow with no goal to be reached because there is no goal in playing. Even when we play, we create a goal; we destroy the playfulness and turn our play into work. Work cannot exist without a goal; play cannot exist with a goal. But we have become so serious that even when we play, we create a goal: there is something to win, somewhere to be reached. We cannot do something just for the sake of doing it – as art for art’s sake. The moment art is for art’s sake, it becomes meditative. When singing is for singing’s sake, it becomes meditative. When love is for love’s sake, it becomes meditative.
If the ends and the means are one, then the thing becomes meditative. But if the means are the beginning, the end is the goal and there is a continuity in between, a process in between, then it becomes work that has to be taken seriously. Then tensions, conflicts and burdens are created and your innocence is destroyed. The means are the end. The end is the means. Anything taken with this attitude becomes meditative. The beginning is the end. Your first step is your last. Your birth is your death. The meeting is parting. These pairs are two poles of a single whole, they are one. If you see them as one, then your mind becomes meditative. Then there is no burden: life becomes just a Leela, a play.
The cross of Jesus is a serious affair, but Krishna lived in playfulness. Krishna’s dance is qualitatively different from the carrying of the cross by Jesus. The cross must have been a burden: it had to be carried. It was not played; it was a serious affair. That is why Christians say that Jesus never laughed. How could he laugh if he had to carry the cross? And he did not just carry it for himself, he had to carry the cross for the whole of mankind – for those who had gone and for those who were yet to come. But I don’t think that this is the real picture of Jesus. This is the Christian picture, but I cannot conceive of a Christ who never laughed. If one is incapable of laughing then one is incapable of being religious. There are, of course, different types of laughter. When one laughs at others it is irreligious, but when one begins to laugh at oneself it becomes religious. And a person who can laugh at himself cannot be serious: he is playful and then life also becomes play with no end, with no purpose; nothing has to be achieved because everything that is possible is in the present.
The achieving mind can never sever itself from the future, the achieving mind is bound to be future-oriented. And a mind that is future-oriented must be past-based because the future is nothing but a projection of the past. We project our past memories into future longings. Our dreams of the future are our experiences of the past painted more beautifully, longed for more aesthetically. A meditative person lives in the present because there is no other way to live. But if you want to postpone living, you can live in the past or in the future. Yoga is not a method of meditation but a way of creating a situation in which meditation happens. And a person who has begun to live – who lives in the moment and is not concerned with any life goals – is a Yogi, a renunciate, a sannyasin. Ordinarily, we think that a sannyasin, a renunciate, is a person who has left life. This is absolute nonsense! A sannyasin is the only person who has begun to live. A sannyasin is not renunciation but initiation into living. It is a renunciation of the dead past and of the unborn future. It is a renunciation of suicidal tendencies and of the postponement of living. It is an initiation into life. And Yoga is nothing more than initiation into the mysteries of life and a method for creating situations in which meditation can happen.
India is not the only land that has developed Yoga: whenever and wherever a person has truly lived he has created Yoga. Buddha had his own Yoga, Mahavira and Jesus had their own Yogas. So, there may be thousands and thousands of different Yogas. Every person, every individual, has his own way, his own door through which he approaches reality. So, no one can follow anyone else. The moment you follow, you cannot become a Yogi. The follower can never be a Yogi because following again means that you are longing for security: you want to be certain of achieving so you follow the path of someone who has already achieved. But what was a path for someone else may not be the path for you. In fact, it cannot be, because individuals are unique, everyone has to create his own path. It is not that a path is a readymade and one just has to walk on it to reach somewhere; it is your own life that creates a path for you to walk on. You create the path and you move on it, and the more you create it, the more you move. A path created by one person cannot be trodden by anyone else because the path of Yoga is inner. There are no outer markings and milestones, there are no outward signs at all. Buddha followed a certain path, but the path was an inner one that existed for him alone. No one else can move on it. No person can ever take another person’s place. You cannot die in my place. You can die for me – that is another thing – but you cannot replace me in my death. Even if you die for me it will be your death, chosen by you; it will not be my death.
In the same way, you cannot love in my place. There can be no substitute, there can be no help, there can be no alternative. My love is bound to be my love and my death is bound to be my death. So how can my life be your life? My life is my life; no one else can make it his way to live. It is absolutely mine, and so individual that it cannot be shared. So, everyone has his own Yoga. Everyone has to create it himself. Everyone has to search in total loneliness, in total darkness. But that very search becomes the light in the dark because the very awareness of being alone destroys the loneliness and creates its own courage. When you know absolutely that you are alone then there is no fear. When you know that there is no possibility of anyone else being with you then there is no fear. The fear comes with the longing, with the dream, with the imagining of the possibility that someone else can be with you. But if you are absolutely aware of the fact that you are alone, there is no fear. If this is the case, then you see that there is no way out of it. The moment you accept your total loneliness you become a Yogi and transcend society. This is the only meaning of leaving society: it does not mean that you actually leave society – no one can leave society – wherever you go, you will create it. Even with the trees, even with the animals, a family will be created and there will be a society. Society is something that follows you like an individual space: wherever you go, you create a space to live, and that space becomes a society; all those who are on the boundary of that space will become members of your society. But a single moment of knowing the realization that you are alone – alone to tread the path, alone to create the path, alone to be committed to living, alone to be involved at the moment – can penetrate you and society vanishes. You are alone.
There is no guru now, there is no one to be followed. There is no leader, there is no guide. You are alone; you are the aloneness. There is no one to adulterate it or contaminate it. It is so pure, innocent and beautiful. This aloneness is the path, this aloneness is meditation, this aloneness is Yoga. Still, you may ask what is to be done with this aloneness. Nothing is to be done, because every doing is nothing but an escape from it, every doing is an occupation to forget the aloneness. This aloneness is not to be escaped from and left behind. You must be deeply in it, you must remain in it, you must live with it. You must walk the path of life totally alone. Amidst the crowd, although there will be fellow travellers, you must be totally alone. When two persons are walking on the road, they are not walking as two, they are walking as one and one – they are two alonenesses walking. There may be five members of a family living together: these are five alonenesses living in a home. So, live in the family but know also that you are alone. And the moment you understand your aloneness, you become compassionate toward others and their aloneness. This compassion is the indication that a person has truly been initiated into Yoga because now that you know your aloneness, you can understand the aloneness of all.
Everyone is lonely: the husband, the wife and the child. But they are without compassion, without sympathy; they live without loving attitudes because they are using others as an escape. The wife uses the husband as a means of escape from her aloneness, and because of this, there is possession. The wife is afraid that if her husband forgets her if he leaves her, then she will become lonely – he has become an escape for her. She is not aware of her aloneness, she does not want to be aware of it, so she becomes aware of her husband instead. She becomes possessive, she clings. And the husband clings in his own way, too: his wife is an escape from his aloneness. We are alone. The moment this realization is there – that man is alone – then there is no escape because then you know that no escape is possible. It is just a wish. There is no escape! The wife is just as lonely with her husband as she was without him. But we create illusory escapes, illusions of togetherness. Our families, our nations, our clubs, groups, and organizations – this whole society is an escape from our aloneness. How ugly it is that no one thinks himself worth living with! If you are alone in your room you are bored with yourself. One bored person goes to another bored person, and together they try to transcend boredom. Mathematically, the possibility is just the opposite: the boredom is doubled. Now each bored person will be doubly bored and will think that it is the other who is at fault somehow. Each will object to the other and there will be conflicts.
A Yogi, a person who has come to Yoga, has come to know this naked fact, that it is everyone’s nature to be absolutely alone and there is nothing to be done about it; one has to live alone with it. Once this awareness is accepted, there is an explosion. Now there is no need to escape because now there is no escape. He has begun to live with himself and now he can live alone but will not be lonely. He will not go to the mountains, he will not go to a cave, because now he knows that wherever he is, even in the marketplace, even in a crowd, he is alone. Now everyone looks different to him – everyone is alone! Then compassion follows, compassion for everyone’s absolute loneliness. When there is compassion for others, the Yogi experiences meditation. This realization is a double headed arrow: one end pointing to meditation, the other pointing to compassion. In your innermost world, there is meditation and in your outer relationships, there is compassion. Buddha has used two words: prajna and karuna because basically religion is concerned only with these two words. Prajna means meditation, the peak of knowing, and karuna means compassion. Prajna, meditation, is the flame, and karuna, compassion, is the light that spreads out and fills the whole world. Both come simultaneously – they are one. Don’t think in terms of this Yoga or that Yoga, this religion or that religion; that whole thinking is basically wrong. Think in terms of existence, life. Begin to live each moment that comes to you: live it totally, live it in total aloneness. Live life moment to moment. Be open: open to the unknown. Accept things as they come. Denial and non-acceptance are the only atheism. Acceptance – a yes-saying spirit that says yes to everything, that welcomes everything unconditionally – is religiousness.
Create the situation and the happening will come by itself. But it cannot be predicted. Nothing valuable can be predicted; only mechanical things can be predicted. We can predict a machine but we cannot predict life; life is unpredictable. One must simply create the situation and wait, letting things happen in their own time, in their own way.