Chapter 4: Buddhas and Fools
With the sense of wonder you are there. When the sense of wonder subsides into mystery you are no longer there, only an oceanic feeling, a oneness with totality remains. The separateness has disappeared.
This is beautiful. The questioner says: “As I watch my thoughts and feelings I am left with a sense of wonder.” Remain! Remain with it. Make it a constant companion. There is no better friend in the world to be found, there is no greater guide to be found - wonder leads to mystery. Wonder is the door to the mystery and the mystery leads you to the infinite, to the divine, to God - or you name it. But don’t start thinking immediately. I know it is arduous, but I also know it can be done - I have done it so I know both. It is arduous, it is almost impossible - you struggle and again and again the questioning comes and you forget. And you are so fast asleep that to remember a certain thing is very difficult.
Just the other night I was telling a Sufi story.
A great king who had been successful in all the ways of life finally started feeling frustrated. It happens, it is natural. When you have succeeded in everything suddenly you feel that you have failed, because when you were not a successful man there was a certain hope that when you succeed everything will be okay, everything will be beautiful. But when you succeed completely, you fail absolutely, because now there is no hope. You become hopeless. Everything that you wanted is there, but something within you remains unfulfilled. Now what to do with this unfulfillment? A man who is a failure can hope that someday when he succeeds, this constant emptiness, this hollowness within, will be fulfilled. He can hope, he can dream. A poor man can hope, a poor man can dream, but for a rich man all dreams are fulfilled. He becomes hopeless.
The king was feeling very frustrated, as only kings can feel. That’s why I say: Nothing fails like success. It fails absolutely. He started searching and he came across a Sufi master. When he went to see him he said, “I am ready to do anything, and you must know that I am a man who has never been a failure in anything; whatsoever I have done, I have done it and I have succeeded.”
The Sufi said, “You may have succeeded in the world but that very success proves that you may not succeed here, because different laws apply to the world about which you are inquiring. A man succeeds in the world if he forgets himself completely. That is the rule.
“A politician succeeds if he forgets himself completely - then you cannot compete with him. If he is obsessive and almost mad, he succeeds. A man succeeds in getting riches if he is completely mad, obsessed, neurotic. You cannot compete with a neurotic man. If you have any sense left you will not be able to succeed in the world: in the market only madness succeeds. One has to forget oneself completely, that is the rule, the law.
“But,” said the Sufi, “here, in our world, just the opposite is applicable: one has to remember oneself.”