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Chapter 28: Existence Needs You

But it is not meditation. It is just a kind of hypnotic sleep. By repeating your own name continuously you create a certain kind of boredom. Obviously, if you repeat Tennyson, Tennyson, how long can you remain interested? Soon you start feeling boredom, and boredom is a very good state for bringing in sleep. Whenever you feel bored you start falling into sleep. The mind finds a way to get out of boredom - by going to sleep. That’s why in every church you will find almost everybody asleep, just having a good Sunday-morning sleep.

I have heard about a priest who was very famous and his congregation was very big. And the reason for his congregation being big was that there was no other preacher who was so boring. It was a strange reason. But he bored people to such an extent that even people who were suffering from insomnia fell asleep. The whole night they could not manage it, with all their sleeping pills, but the preacher was really a genius. His voice was so boring; what he was saying he had said so many times that people could hear it even in their sleep. And he was also happy; with everybody asleep the whole church was silent.

He had only three sermons; there was no need to have more, three were enough. Nobody was awake so nobody knew which he was giving; nobody could repeat what they had heard. Everybody said that the man certainly cast a hypnotic spell.

Just one old man sitting in front of him, the richest man of the city, was a trouble. He snored. His snoring was not a trouble; the trouble was that because of his snoring, many people could not sleep. The preacher was very much disturbed that if it continued many people would stop coming. They came only to have a good morning sleep on Sunday. It was so rejuvenating, one hour’s sleep, that it was enough to keep them relaxed, calm and quiet for the whole week. He had to find some way - and he found it. The old man always used to come with one of his great-grandchildren, just a small boy, but very alive. In fact, in the whole congregation only he was awake.

The priest pulled the boy aside one day and said, “Listen, I will give you a quarter of a dollar if you can keep your old man awake. Whenever you see he is snoring, just start nudging him. Wake him up. Don’t let him sleep. And a quarter dollar every week is certain.” The boy said, “Done.”

The next week the old man could not figure out what had happened to the boy. He used to sit always silently by his side. The moment he started snoring he started waking him up.

Out of the church he asked, “What is the matter with you? You did not let me sleep at all!”

He said, “The priest is giving me a quarter of a dollar to keep you awake.”

The old man said, “Then you should have told me before. I will give you half a dollar to let me sleep!” He said, “Done.”

The next week the preacher watched. Again many times he gestured to the child, gave all indications, but the child simply sat there smiling, not even bothering about the priest.

The priest thought, “What has happened? Has he forgotten completely?” When everybody was sleeping he even showed him a quarter dollar. The child said no, just waved his hand. “Strange.” After the meeting he got hold of the child and asked, “What is the matter?”

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