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Chapter 36: From Maya (Illusion) to Reality

I was staying in a home with a family. The family was Jaina, so they wouldn’t eat in the night. The old man of the family, the grandfather, he was a lover of my books. He had never seen me, and it is easy to love a book: a book is a dead thing. He came to meet me. He was very old, and even to come from his room was difficult for him. He was ninety-two, and he came to meet me. I told him I would come to his room, but he said, “No! I respect you so much, I will come.” So he came, and he was praising me very much.

He said, “You are just like a tirthankara, like the highest in Jaina mythology, Mahavira.” The greatest teachers are known as tirthankaras, so he said, “You are just like a tirthankara.” He was praising and praising me, and then evening came and darkness descended.

Someone from the house came and said, “Now it is getting late. You come for your evening meal.”

So I said, “Wait a little because of this old man. Let him say whatsoever he wants to say; then I will come.”

The old man said, “What are you saying? Are you going to eat in the night?”

I said, “It is okay with me.”

So he said, “I take my words back. You are no tirthankara. A person who doesn’t even know that to eat in the night is the greatest sin, what else can he know?”

Now this man cannot have any meeting with me. Impossible! If I was not eating in the night, I was a tirthankara, a great master. I had not eaten yet. I had just said that I would eat in the night, and suddenly I am no more a tirthankara. The old man said to me, “I have come to learn something from you, but now that is impossible. Now I feel I must teach you something.”

When this world becomes an illusion, your guru will also be part of it and will disappear. That is why, when the disciple awakens, there is no guru. This will seem very paradoxical: when the disciple really awakens, there is no guru.

There are beautiful songs of Saraha, a Buddhist mystic. With every song the last ending line is “and Saraha disappeared.” He teaches something; he gives some teachings. He says, “Neither the world is nor the nirvana is, neither the good nor the bad. Go beyond, and Saraha disappears.” It has been a puzzle. Why does Saraha go on saying “and Saraha disappears”?

If you really attain to the song, to whatsoever he has said - “There is neither good nor bad, nor the world nor the nirvana” - if the disciple really awakens to this, Saraha will disappear. Where will be the guru? The guru was part of the disciple’s world. Now there will be no entities like the guru and the disciple; they will have become one. When the disciple awakens, he becomes the guru, and Saraha disappears. Then the guru is no more there. Even the guru is part of your dream, of your illusioned world. But because of this many problems arise.