Chapter 7: On the Softest Substance
Even the oak trees were benefited and blessed by his prayers, but he could not be blessed by his own prayers. The oak trees became more beautiful, attained to a new youth and new life, as if touched by eternity. Even in their dark corners of being a light started burning, but the dervish remained empty. He could not be filled because he could never forget himself.
To remember God is good, but until you forget yourself the remembrance is not total. How can you both exist together, God and you? That’s not possible.
And then suddenly, when he left, this eighteen years of constant remembrance, the constant repetition of the mantra, gave the oak grove a new magnetic field. Now the oak grove was a whirlpool of cosmic energy, of consciousness; now the oak grove was ready to give, to return - because life is a give and take, take and give. You cannot go on taking, you have to give. In life there is no miserliness; life only takes to give. Now the oak grove was ready, pregnant, to give. The oak grove was like a woman pregnant and a child was to be born. The oak grove started creating its own vibrations around the forest for anybody to come and accept the gift. In that whirlwind the beggar was caught.
The beggar was an ordinary man, neither very good nor very bad, nothing in particular - in fact a little more balanced than the dervish, who was a good man, a saint. This beggar was sometimes a sinner and sometimes a saint - nothing in particular. And he could never expect because he had never even prayed, he was not even a believer. He was so much engaged in the ordinary activities of the world that his greed had never reached to the point where it became other-worldly.
When he entered the grove he was plain and simple and innocent like a child. Then suddenly he was transformed. He was not self-conscious: that is the key. He was not, in fact, looking for God. When you are looking you will miss, and if you are looking too intently you will certainly miss. But if you are just relaxing you may meet him. God comes to you when you are not particularly after him - because when you are after him you are a little aggressive. God comes to you when you are more like a feminine being than like a male mind. That is the meaning of Lao Tzu’s feminine being - you await.
One very, very rare woman in the West, of this century, Simone Weil, has written a book called Waiting for God. This is the right attitude. What else can you do? What else do you know? You can simply wait, await. You receive, you cannot go and attack.
The beggar was a beggar, attuned to receiving. A beggar is attuned to receiving - always with his begging bowl, a receiver. A beggar is feminine. And here lies the mystery of the Indian concept that unless you become beggars, bhikkhus, you will not attain. It is not exactly that you have to become a beggar and move in rags on the street and create nuisance, no. The meaning is that a beggar knows how to be receptive; a bhikkhu knows how not to aggress upon, how to simply wait at the door, just wait. If nothing is given, then a real beggar has no complaint against you because what complaint can be against you? It is for you to decide whether to give or not.