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Chapter 9: Save the Cat

They all wanted to save the cat, they all wanted to possess the cat; the cat was really beautiful. But how can a mind which is possessive be silent? How can a mind which is possessive save anybody? It can only kill.

Remember, it was not Nansen who killed the cat, it was these monks who killed it; this is the secret key in the story. Nansen gave an opportunity. He said, “You can save this cat. Say something which comes from no-mind, from your very being. And if you don’t say anything I am going to cut this cat and divide it in two so both parties can possess it.”

It was not Nansen who killed the cat. It seemed as though he killed it, but in fact it is the monks who killed it. Whenever you possess a live thing, you have already killed it. Whenever you claim that you possess a live person, you have murdered, because life cannot be possessed. The cat was moving from this wing to that. The cat was alive, fully alive, more alive than these monks. She had no home, she didn’t belong to anybody. She was just like a breeze - sometimes passing through the left wing, sometimes passing through the right. And the cat never claimed that these monks belonged to her, or those monks belonged to her. She never possessed.

Animals are nonpossessive, trees are nonpossessive; only man is possessive. And with possessiveness man has missed all that is alive. You can possess only a dead thing. The moment you possess something you are making it dead. You love a woman and then you try to possess her: you kill her. A wife is a thing not a person; a husband is a thing not a person.

This is the misery - you love a person and then you start possessing, and unknowingly you are poisoning. Sooner or later the day will come when you have poisoned the person completely. Now you possess. But how can you love a thing? The love happened in the first place because the person was alive. Now the flow has stopped, now life doesn’t move, now all the doors of freedom are closed. Now it has become a frozen thing. The river is frozen, now there is no movement. Certainly now this person cannot go to another. You possess him completely. But how can you love a dead person? This is the misery of love. You cannot love a dead person, yet whenever you love you start possessing. All possession creates death. Only things can be possessed.

These monks have already killed the cat. Nansen is not going to kill it, he is only going to make manifest what has already happened. This story has been used against Zen monks, Zen masters, to show that these people are violent. Think of a Christian theologian reading this story: he will say, “What type of religious man is this Nansen? He killed the cat, a poor cat. Those monks who claimed it were better; at least they were not killing. What type of master is this, what manner of man?” If Jainas - not Mahavira, if Jainas read this story, they will throw Nansen into hell. He has killed a cat.

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