Chapter 7: Difficult and Easy
Let me give you a few examples. You must have heard the name of Archimedes; his story is famous. He was trying to solve a scientific problem. He tried hard, tried his best, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t do anything else. The king had given him a problem to be solved and it had to be solved immediately. And he was the first man to tackle that problem - so there was no precedent, no history, nothing in the past which could be of any help. The problem had never before been raised, this was the first time.
He worked hard, became tense, as tense as one can be. Then what can you do? If you cannot solve you cannot solve! One feels helpless, he felt the helplessness.
One day, while he was taking his bath, lying in the bathtub, relaxed.he had dropped the idea of solving the problem, it could not be solved - and suddenly, it was solved! And he became so ecstatic that he forgot that he was naked in the bath, he ran into the streets crying loud, Eureka! Eureka! - which means I have found it! I have found it!
The king thought that he had gone mad, the whole town thought that he had gone mad. He had not gone mad, he had found the solution. And when the king asked, How? he said, “By non-doing. I was not doing anything, I was not even trying to solve it, in fact I had dropped it. I had stopped completely all activity about it, I was relaxing.”
What happened then? When you relax you become one with the whole. When you relax you are no more the ego. When you relax you are no more the individual. When you relax you become the whole. When you are tense you become individual. The more you are tense, the more you are a concentrated ego.
Ego is very small, how can it solve anything? It can fuss around, but it cannot solve anything. When the ego is not there, you are relaxing in a tub bath - suddenly the problem is solved! It happened to Buddha.
For six years he was doing - and doing really too much; nobody has been in search of the innermost meaning of life as deeply as Gautam Buddha. For six years he did whatsoever could be done, whatsoever is humanly possible. He went to teachers, all the known teachers of those days, and the teachers became helpless because whatsoever they said, Buddha did - and did so perfectly that they couldn’t say, “You are not doing enough,” that’s why you are not achieving. He was doing so well, better than his own masters, that they said, “Now, forgive us, you go somewhere else. It is not happening, and we cannot help you in any way any more. You find some other teacher.”
Then he became fed up with all teachers, fed up with all systems, philosophies, fed up with all techniques, methods; he started doing things on his own - but then too nothing happened.
Six years passed, six years of a nightmarish existence; he lived in deepest anguish. Then one day while passing the river Niranjana near Bodhgaya, he had become so weak, because of a long fast - somebody had suggested that he go on a long fast, that would help - he had become so weak he couldn’t cross the river.