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Chapter 15: The Smokeless Flame

Desire has to be purified, transformed, because it is your energy - you don’t have any other energy. How to transform desire? One way, the ordinary way, the mediocre way, is to change the object. Don’t go after money, start going after God. You are frustrated with money - become religious, go to the church, to the temple, to the mosque. Let your desire have a new object called God, which is as illusory as the object called money, even more illusory, because what do you know about God? Money at least is something visible, objective; you have known it, you have seen it. What do you know of God? You have only heard the word. God remains a word unless experienced. God remains an empty word unless you pour some content into it through your own existential experience.

People, when they are frustrated with worldly desires, start changing the object: they start making otherworldly objects of desire - heaven, paradise, and all the joys of heaven. But it is the same trick, the mind is again befooling you. This is not the way of the intelligent person, this is the way of the stupid.

What is intelligence? Intelligence means the insight that no object can fulfill your desire. I say no object, and I say it categorically, no object can ever fulfill your desire. Your desire is divine. Your desire is as big as the sky - even the sky is not a limit to it. No object can fill it. Then what is to be done? The intelligent person stops desiring objects. He makes his desire pure of all objects - worldly, otherworldly. He starts living his desire in its purity, moment to moment. He is full of desire, full of overflowing energy. His ordinary life becomes so intense, so passionate, that whatsoever he touches will be transformed. The baser metal will become gold, and the dead tree will come to bloom again.

It is said of Buddha that wherever he moved, dead trees would start growing leaves; out of season, trees would bloom. These are beautiful poetic expressions of a certain metaphysical truth. Buddha is pure desire, just desire. Not a desire for anything; he has abandoned all objects.

Let me remind you, first he abandoned the world. He was a prince, he was born to be a king. Seeing the futility of money, seeing the futility of all kinds of relationships, seeing the futility of all that the world can give - he was only twenty-nine years old - he escaped. He did well, because after thirty it becomes more difficult, more and more difficult.

Hippies are right. They say, “Don’t believe a man who is over thirty.” Buddha escaped at the right time - he was exactly twenty-nine - because the more you become experienced in worldly ways, the more cowardly you become. Religion is for the courageous, religion is for the brave, religion is for the young, those who are still able to take the risk, those who are still able to gamble.

Buddha escaped. Seeing the futility, he escaped in search of God, in search of truth. He replaced his desire for the world with the desire for God, truth, nirvana. For six years he worked hard. By the time he was thirty-five he was utterly spent. He had done all that was possible, humanly possible to do. He fasted for months, meditated, practiced yoga. And in those days there were different kinds of schools. He went from one teacher to another, from one school to another, he practiced all possible methods. And one day it suddenly flashed.

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