Chapter 7: Forgetfulness, the Only Sin
Man moves almost in the same circles. Man as he is, is not sane, cannot be called sane. But because insanity is so widespread, is so normal we don’t become aware of it. Once you become awakened you are surprised how people are living, what they are doing to themselves and to others. Their whole life is nothing but sheer madness. Somebody is mad after money, somebody is mad after power, somebody is mad after fame, and all these things are futile.
Death comes, and the whole edifice that you have built with such labor collapses. Death comes and takes you away, and all that you have created has been in vain.
The sane person is one who creates something which even death cannot destroy. Let this be the definition of the sane: one who knows something of immortality, deathlessness, eternity. He is sane, is a buddha. To be a buddha simply means to be sane. One who is not aware of immortality and lives in time and thinks only in terms of this world is insane. He is not aware of himself, how can he be sane?
We have not yet been able to create a sane society for the simple reason that we have not been able to create many buddhas. The more buddhas there are in the world, the greater is the possibility of humanity rising to higher altitudes of being, understanding, love, compassion. Otherwise you go on moving from one nightmare to another.
A big businessman was praying in the synagogue, pleading to God to help him get a fifty-thousand-dollar deal. Just then a very poor man entered and began praying to God for two dollars.
Angrily the big businessman pulled out two dollar bills, pushed them over to the poor fellow and whispered to him, “Here, take them and get out of here, you fool. Just stop distracting him from my business!”
The poor and the rich, the ignorant and the knowledgeable, the famous and the anonymous, are all in the same boat. Whether you ask God for two dollars or fifty thousand dollars does not make any difference. To go to God desiring is not to go to him at all, because it is only non-desiring that becomes a bridge. To desire is to create a wall between you and the whole.
The moment you desire something you are saying: “I am wiser than the whole.” You are saying: “You don’t know what has to be done and I have come to advise you.” You are telling the whole: “The way things are is not right: they should be according to me.”
Prayerfulness is just the opposite of desire. Prayerfulness means: “The way things are is absolutely perfect, they are as they should be; hence, I have nothing except a deep gratitude.” Real prayerfulness is bowing to existence in tremendous thankfulness because whatsoever is, the way it is, is the most perfect way it can ever be. A prayerful heart knows that the universe is perfect each moment; it is moving from perfection to more perfection.
The world is not moving from imperfection to perfection, remember: it is moving from perfection to more perfection. That’s the understanding of the prayerful heart. But we are full of desires.