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Chapter 14: The Motionless Flame of a Lamp

In many situations enlightenment has happened, sometimes very ordinary situations. It is told of Nanak that he was serving in an ordinary store, just selling things to people, the whole day weighing, measuring things and selling them to people. One day - he must have been growing inwardly, he was not aware of it - he was weighing something and giving it to a man. He counted: one, two, three, four, five.and then he came to thirteen. Thirteen in Hindi is tera. Tera means thou, thine. The word for thirteen in Hindi is tera. Tera has two meanings: one - thirteen; another - thine.

Suddenly when he said “Tera,” he forgot the shop, he forgot the weighing, he forgot the counting, he forgot that tera means thirteen; suddenly he became aware that tera means thine. Then he went on weighing, but never the fourteen came again. He would weigh something that he was selling and would say, “Tera, tera, tera.”

Evening came. The owner of the shop was informed that Nanak had gone mad; he was not proceeding further, he had become obsessed with tera. The owner came and he looked. He must have been a man who knew scriptures, who knew something about mysticism. He bowed down to Nanak, because his whole face was transformed, he was no more the same man. And after that moment everything became God’s; Nanak was not now his own, he was God’s. The whole existence was God’s.

He left the shop, became a monk, a wandering monk with a follower, Mardana, who would play on an instrument and Nanak would sing the glory of the lord. And then Nanak moved all over the country and even outside the country. He went even to Mecca, everywhere - but the song remained the same: “Thine, tera - everything is yours, nothing is mine.”

It happened just in an ordinary shop. It can happen anywhere, no bodhi tree is needed. It was accidental that Buddha was sitting under the tree and Nanak was sitting in that shop, it was accidental. It can happen anywhere because every spot on the earth is his, and every spot on the earth is sacred. Wherever you are, if you have done the right effort then things will grow, and one day - the happening. And that happening is going to be grace, because you cannot say, “I have done it.” You were not doing anything at all. That’s why so much insistence that the ultimate happens through grace, it is a gift of God. It is nothing which you have produced.

But remember, you have still been doing something which is negative: you were not creating hindrances. If you create hindrances even God’s grace cannot be available to you. There is a reason for it. As I told you, love cannot be aggressive, and grace is the suprememost love - the love that existence has for you. It cannot be aggressive, it cannot even knock at your door. If the doors remain closed the grace will simply wait there for millions of your lives. If the doors remain closed the grace will not knock, because knocking is aggression. Unless you open the doors on your own the grace will not enter. It is not aggressive, it has no sex center in it. It can wait infinitely.

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