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Chapter 8: The Useless

For example, if a child is playing you say, “Stop! What are you doing? This is useless. Do something useful. Learn, read, at least do your homework, something useful. Don’t go around like a vagabond.” If you go on insisting like this to a child, by and by you will kill the useless. Then the child will become just useful, and when a person is simply useful, he is dead. You can use him, he is a mechanical thing now, a means, not an end unto himself.

You are really yourself when you are doing something useless - painting, not to sell, just enjoying; gardening, just to enjoy; lying down on the beach, not doing anything, just to enjoy, useless fun; sitting silently by the side of a friend.

Much could be done in these moments. You could go to the shop, to the market, you could earn something. You could change time into money. You could have a bigger bank balance because these moments will not come back. And foolish people say that time is money - because they know only one use of time - how to convert it into more money and more money and more money. In the end you die with a big bank balance but inside totally poor, because the inner richness arises only when you can enjoy the useless.

What is meditation? People come to me and say, “What is the use of it? What will we gain out of it? What is the benefit of it?”

Meditation.and you ask about the benefit? You cannot understand it because meditation is just useless. The moment I say useless, you feel uncomfortable because the whole mind has become so utilitarian, so commodity-oriented that you ask for a result. You cannot concede that something can be a pleasure unto itself.

Useless means you enjoy it, but there is no benefit from it; you are deeply merged into it, it gives you bliss. But when you are deeply in it, you cannot accumulate that bliss, you cannot make a treasure out of it.

In the world two types of people have existed: the utilitarians - they become scientists, engineers, doctors. Then there is the other path, the complementary - the poets, the vagabonds, the sannyasins - useless, not doing anything useful. But they give the balance, they give grace to the world. Think of a world full of scientists and not a single poet - it would be absolutely ugly, not worth living in. Think of a world with everyone in the shops, in the offices, not a single vagabond. It would be hell. The vagabond gives beauty.

Once two vagabonds were caught. The magistrates and police are the custodians of the utilitarians. They protect, because this useless part is dangerous - it can go on spreading. So nowhere are vagabonds, useless people, allowed. If you are just standing on the street and somebody asks, “What you are doing?” and you say, “Nothing,” the policeman will immediately take you to court - because nothing is not allowed. You must do something. “Why are you standing there?” If you say simply, “I am standing and enjoying,” you are a dangerous man, a hippy. You may be arrested.

So two vagabonds were caught. The magistrate asked the first one, “Where do you live?”

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