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Chapter 9: The Bird Has Flown

Words can be mere words if you are repeating them and you are not the source of their origin. They look exactly like Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, but that is only the surface. The container is the same, but where is the content? The content comes from experience. They are like corpses. When you repeat a sutra, a tremendously significant statement of Buddha or Jesus, you are just carrying a corpse; the soul is no more in it. You are carrying only the cage; the bird has flown away. The cage may be beautiful in itself: it may be golden, studded with diamonds, very valuable. But where is the living bird, the bird who can sing, the bird who is alive? The bird is dead. Or maybe you have placed inside just a toy which looks like the bird, which pretends even to sing; it can have a hidden gramophone record in it, but still there is no life.

Once a drunkard was coming home from his pub. Before he went to the pub he thought that “The night is very dark and when I will be coming back it will be late and I will be very much drunk, so it is better to take a lamp with myself.” So he carried a lamp. And when he fell almost on the floor in the middle of the night he became a little bit alert that “Now it is time to go back home.” Everybody had already left. The owner is waiting for him to leave so that he can close the shop.

So he took his lamp. But he was very much puzzled: on the way he started stumbling. He stumbled with a buffalo, then with a donkey, then with a tree. He looked again and again at his lamp: What is the matter? He is carrying the lamp - why he is stumbling? Finally he fell by the side of the street. In the morning he was carried home by some friends.

In the middle of the day the owner of the pub came and said, “Please return my cage. Instead of taking your lamp you have carried my parrot!”

Then he looked.. But when a man is drunk it is bound to happen.

You are reading the Bible, but are you meditative enough to understand the message of Jesus?

Once I was invited by the biggest college in the East which prepares Christian missionaries, Leonard Theological College - a six-years course to prepare missionaries. Thousands of missionaries it has prepared, and every year hundreds of people pass through the examinations and they become missionaries. I went to look around; the principal was showing me everything. I asked him, “Do you teach these people any kind of meditation?”

He said, “Meditation? For what? We are preparing missionaries! We teach them the Bible, how to interpret it, how to support it by logical arguments, by proof - because the world is turning atheistic - how to argue against pagan religions which are not true religions, how to prove that Christianity is the only true religion and Christ the only-begotten son of God. Meditation is not needed; they need scholarship. And these six years we devote for great scholarship.” And they had a very huge library.

And I went around, and they were teaching every kind of thing - it looked so silly. In one class I saw the professor was teaching the would-be missionaries how to deliver a sermon: how to stand, how to make gestures by the hands, where to give a pause, where to speak slowly and where to shout loudly, where you have to hit on the table with your fist to emphasize the point..

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