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Chapter 18: Wakefulness Is Awareness

The most surprising thing is that almost everybody thinks that a blind man lives in darkness. And that is wrong, because darkness is also a visual phenomenon, you have to see it. The blind man has no eyes. He cannot even see darkness; light is far away. If he can see darkness, then you cannot prevent him from seeing light. And if he can see things in dreams, he is not blind. The born blind see nothing, just as the born deaf hear nothing.

But what can you do? You have eyes. How can you abandon the visual world?

There was in India a poet, Surdas, who has been worshipped by Hindus as a great saint. Surdas saw a beautiful woman - he had gone to beg, not aware of who was inside the house. He knocked on the door and a beautiful woman opened the door. And suddenly a desire, a fancy for her arose in his being. It was natural; it was not wrong. If you can enjoy a beautiful flower, why can’t you enjoy a beautiful face? But religions are very much against all pleasures. It seems all religions have been founded by masochists. Torture yourself! The more you torture yourself, the more you become spiritual.

Surdas became very much guilty - and he had done nothing; just the face was so beautiful that it was natural a great appreciation arose in him. But it was against the religious precepts. He destroyed both his eyes and he became blind. And because of this blindness, he has been worshipped for centuries as a great saint.

But do you think by destroying his eyes, he would have stopped dreaming? Just the opposite - then he would dream more and more of that beautiful face. The face that was beautiful would become more beautiful, more fancy, in his dreams. And this is the meaning of charity?

Charity simply means an unconditional sharing. It has nothing to do with the eyes and nothing to do with the visual world and its abandonment. It simply means you have something; you should enjoy to share it. Don’t be a miser. Don’t hold on to it because this whole life is going to end one day and you will not be able to take anything with you. So while you are alive, why not share as much as you can? Things which can be taken away any moment.it is better that you share them. And it is a great joy to share. The man who learns the art of sharing is the richest man in the world. He may be poor, but his inner being has a quality of richness that even emperors may feel jealous of.

I have always loved a small Sufi story:

A poor man, very poor, a woodcutter, lived in the forest in a small hut. The hut was so small that he and his wife could sleep.only that much space was in the hut.

In the middle of one dark night, it was raining hard and somebody knocked on the door. The wife was sleeping close to the door. The husband said to the wife, “Open the door. The rain is too much and the man must have lost his way. It is a dark night and the forest is dangerous and full of wild animals. Open the door immediately!”

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