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Chapter 15: Most People Return Unopened

It feels so hopeless. I feel ashamed to have been a sannyasin for ten years and still be in this state. I hesitate to ask for your help, because even your words become mechanical in me after a few repetitions. Would you please comment?

Prem Indivar, it is not yet hopeless enough. Just make it a little more hopeless. There comes a point in hopelessness where you stop hoping.

Hopelessness is still deep down nothing but hope. Let the hope fail completely and totally, and a dramatic experience arises out of that space when you don’t have any hope - because hope is another name of desire, another name of expectation, another name of ambition. And before you can realize yourself, all desires, all expectations, all ambitions must have failed you, must have left you alone. Hoping nothing, desiring nothing, expecting nothing - where will you be? There is no way to go out.

Hope is a way of going out, desire is a way of going away, ambition is a way to avoid going in. On the path, to be utterly hopeless, so hopeless that you stop hoping.suddenly you are in - without taking a single step.

Hope is a kind of opium; it keeps you intoxicated. To tolerate the miserable present, your eyes remain fixed on a faraway star: your hope. Millions of people live without finding themselves - not because of any sin that Adam and Eve committed, or that they committed in some of their past lives. The sin is that people go on looking in the future and the present goes on passing by. And the present is the only reality; the future is a dream, and howsoever sweet, dreams never come true.

Self-realization is not a dream. It is a realization in the present moment of your own being. So don’t be worried; you are on the right path, Prem Indivar - becoming hopeless. Go on more and more, exhaust hopelessness. Come to the optimum hopelessness. Then hope disappears automatically.

And when there is no hope, you are.

When there is no hope, the present is.

An old spinster died, and her two old friends went to a stone mason to have a gravestone made. “And what message would you like to have on the stone?” asked the mason. “Well,” said one of the old maids, “It’s quite simple really. We would like ‘She came a virgin, she lived a virgin, and she died a virgin.’“

The mason replied, “You know, you ladies could save a lot of money by just saying, ‘Returned unopened.’“

Most of the people return unopened, and nobody is responsible except themselves.

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