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Chapter 18: Neither This, Nor That

Theories are boats. If you are aiming for the other shore, rightly, if your eyes are fixed on the other shore, if your mind is meditative on the other shore, any boat will do. Even if you don’t have any boat, swim. Even one individual can cross; there is no need of an organized boat. Swim! And if you know the ways of the wind, then even swimming is not needed - just float! If you know the ways of the wind, then just wait for the right wind. Then drop yourself and relax, and the winds will take you to the other shore.

No boat has any monopoly. Without boats also one can swim. And if one is wise, then swimming also is futile. So the last thing, which cannot be understood intellectually, Hindus say, “If you relax totally, then this shore is the other shore - no going. If you are relaxed totally and surrendered totally, then this shore is the other shore!”

For this Hindu mind, theories, philosophies, systems are just games, devices - helpful, but they can be harmful also if you become too much attached to them. If someone becomes too much attached to a particular boat, he is not going to cross the river in that boat, because ultimately that boat will become the barrier. Even if the boat leads him to the other shore, he cannot go out of the boat. The clinging to the boat will be the barrier.

This attitude about theories and systems as devices is nonphilosophical. Philosophy lives with theories, religion is more practical.

Mulla Nasruddin used to say that practical methods are the only religious methods. One day he was working on his roof. Rains were to come and he was working on his roof. One fakir, one beggar from the street, called to Mulla Nasruddin. He called him down. It was difficult, but yet Nasruddin came down, and he asked, “What is the matter? Why didn’t you speak from here? I could have heard.”

The fakir said, “I have come to beg for something, some alms, and I was ashamed to call so loudly.”

Mulla said, “Don’t be in false pride. Now come up with me.” The fakir followed him.

The fakir was a fat man. It was very difficult to reach the top of the house. When he reached there, Nasruddin started his work again. The fakir said. “And what about me?”

Nasruddin said, “I have nothing to give you, excuse me.”

The fakir said, “What nonsense! Why didn’t you tell me this there on the street?”

Nasruddin said, “Practical methods are more useful. Now you will know.”

Religion is practical, philosophy is nonpractical. What do I mean? If you ask me, “Is there God?” I can take your question in two ways - philosophical or religious. If you ask me, “What is God?” or “Is there God?” and I take it philosophically, then we need not travel anywhere. You are you, and you are where you are. No need of any travel to any point. I will answer you here; I will say whatsoever is my belief. If you argue, I will argue and give you evidence and proof. But this can be done here; no practical traveling is needed.

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