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Chapter 4: Emptiness

Go to a tree, talk to the tree, touch the tree, embrace the tree, feel the tree. Just sit by the side of the tree, let the tree feel you, that you are a good man and you are not in a mood to harm. By and by friendship arises and you will start feeling that when you come, the quality of the tree immediately changes. You will feel it. On the bark of the tree you will feel tremendous energy moving when you come; when you touch the tree she is as happy as a child, as a beloved; when you sit by the tree you will feel many things. Soon you will be able to come to the tree if you are sad, and just in the presence of the tree your sadness will disappear. Then only will you be able to understand that you are interdependent - you can make the tree happy and the tree can make you happy. And the whole of life is interdependent. This interdependence I call godliness, Lao Tzu calls Tao - this whole interdependence.

God is not a person somewhere, this whole interdependence is godliness, Tao, dharma. The Vedas call it rit, the law. Whatsoever you like to call it, call it, but this interdependence is the whole thing. And if near me you can learn interdependence, you have learned all.

First your independence will drop - that is not very difficult, because independent you feel so burdened, you are always ready to drop the burden. That is not very difficult. Then you become dependent. That can be more difficult, because when the burden is thrown on somebody else you feel good, unburdened, weightless. Then the fear comes: If this man leaves the world, is no more in the body, then what will happen? Then you are afraid, then - panic.

Don’t cling to it. This is a phase - just as the first was a phase this is also a phase, this is the reverse aspect of the first phase. Try to feel more and more interdependence.

I am talking to you here. If you were not here and somebody else was here, if even a single person different was here I would not have talked the same. It would be impossible, because I have no mind to talk. I am simply responding to you. You create the situation, you are here - and I talk. If somebody not present here today had been present I would not have talked the same. It would have been impossible, because his presence would have created a different situation. I am not talking in a vacuum, I am talking to you. And I am not talking from the mind, because when you talk from the mind you don’t bother who is there, you have certain things to say and you say them.

I had a teacher, he was really a philosopher. And he was such a crazy man, as philosophers are, that for years nobody would join his subject. He was eccentric and it was impossible to pass in his subject because he would either give a hundred percent or he would give zero. There was no midway with him - either yes or no. He was absolutely Aristotelian. “Either you are right or you are wrong,” he used to say, “nothing in between.” So students were afraid. But I liked the man. He was really worth watching, and there was only one way to watch him: to join his subject. So I was the only student.

And this was his way - the first day he told me, “Remember, I can start by the bell of the university, but I cannot stop. Unless I finish whatsoever I am saying I cannot stop. So the periods will start with the bell, but they will never stop with the bell. Sometimes I will talk only twenty minutes and be finished, sometimes I will talk for two or three hours. So if you feel very fed up or bored, or if you want to go to the bathroom or something you can go, but don’t disturb me.” And I was the only student! “You can go and you can come, but go and come in such a way that I am not disturbed; I will continue.”