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Chapter 18: A Gathering of Friends

And knowingly I don’t come, because I want you not to take me for granted. I want you to wait for me. And sometimes I disappear, I don’t come. But even then lovingly you wait - perhaps tomorrow I will be coming, or the day after tomorrow. And those days of waiting are not without significance. They are as significant as the days when I am with you. I want you to be absolutely free of me, absolutely independent.

I don’t impose any doctrine, any cult, any philosophy. I don’t want followers. I simply want people who know freedom, who know love, who know the dignity of man, who know the peaks of awareness. Only those who will know the peaks of awareness will be my friends, only those who will go to the depths of love will be my friends.

I talk to give you hints, not forcing anything on you, but simply whispering in your ear. It is said that if you want a woman to hear you, you have to whisper to somebody else. Don’t talk directly, nobody is going to hear you, but whisper to somebody else. And it will be more perfect if you can find another woman. Whisper anything and your wife will hear it.

I am simply whispering to you things which cannot be managed in words, in language, things which need to be understood only in the silences of the heart. Perhaps in a gesture or perhaps in the depths of the eyes, I come to you.

And, Anand Murti, I have known you for almost twenty-five years. You were here in the ashram when I was away, you are here in the ashram now. I have never talked to you because I don’t want to destroy the silence that is growing between me and you. I have not even said hello to you. And this is the same about everybody who is here.

And there are a few more things.. In the Mumbai days I was surrounded by Indians. Now, to be with Indians you have to be serious; otherwise they don’t think you are a religious man. You will not believe me, that in the whole Indian history of ten thousand years there has not been a single Indian joke. Laughter is simply a foreigner. India does not even allow laughter a tourist visa.

You are saying, “In the old days in Mumbai, even though I felt physically so close to you, you were so far away. Now, sitting here with you in Buddha Hall where thousands of us move around you - compared to the room in Mumbai - I feel you so intimately and personally.”

The reason is simply that now I am surrounded by my own people. They are not Indians, they are not Germans, they are not Americans; they don’t have a religion, they don’t have a race, they don’t have a nation; they are purely individuals. It is a gathering of friends. It is because of this that you can feel me intimately and personally, although I don’t know where in the ashram you live. I have never invited you even for a cup of tea.

In this way I am showing to you what a spiritual relationship is. It does not depend on anything visible. It is purely invisible, an energy that transpires in hearts, that makes them aflame. And my people know in the deepest of their depths that they are part of this commune, part of me, and part of this universe. They have thrown away all limitations and have become citizens of the universe.

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