Chapter 2: Desire for Life
What can happen by my telling you this? Even if you understand it intellectually, it will bear no fruit - you will have to experience it. For the few days that we have, make a decision that at least during this time you will not ask for happiness, you will not ask for peace, you will not ask for contentment - and see what happens.
If you experience just once that you attain happiness by not asking for it, then I don’t think you will make the mistake of asking for it again, because nobody wants unhappiness. If this much is realized, that it is through asking that you receive unhappiness, then asking can be dropped. There is no intrinsic need to ask - nobody feels good about asking anyway. But only if this extraordinary sutra is experienced will you understand this.
Work as those work who are ambitious.
Let go of ambition, but work hard like those people who are ambitious. Have you watched ambitious people and how madly they work? Someone has to become a member of the legislative assembly, someone has to become a member of the country’s parliament, someone has to become a minister in the government - how madly they work for it! Just see their rat race! They never sleep, they never rest: for twenty-four hours a day they have only one concern. What devotion they have, what feelings they have for their cause!
The sutra says drop ambition, but work as hard as the people who are ambitious. The way the ambitious man runs madly after money, after power, after prestige - this madness has a quality to it, and it is worth learning from this type of madness. Have you seen the concentration of a man who is in search of money? When you sit for meditation, you sit down with the attitude, “Okay, if it happens it happens, and if it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen.” But when you run after money, you don’t say to yourself, “If it happens it happens, and if it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen.” Instead you stake your life on it, you stake everything that you have.
In the search for dirt, man stakes all that he has. In the search for nectar he doesn’t want to stake a thing.
Learn something - even from a person who is mad after money. Don’t be mad about money but at least imbibe the madness. That madness will be useful. If you can put that same kind of madness into the search for truth, no one can keep it from you.
Look at Majnu, how crazy he is for Laila! If you can become love-struck for God in the same way, who will be able to stop you? What wall can hinder you? But many people become Majnus for Laila, many people go madly after useless things, but no one goes madly after something worthwhile. As far as the worthwhile is concerned, they show great prudence.