Chapter 16: Zen Is an Experience
There is no person. And when there is nothing to witness, nothing to see, you cannot exist as a separate entity. The “I” can exist only with the “thou”; if the “thou” disappears, the “I” disappears. They are part of each other, they are always together like two sides of a coin; you cannot say “one.” This is what many stupid religious people go on doing: they go on saying to God, “I am not. Thou art.” That is sheer stupidity. In the very saying you are, otherwise who is saying “Thou art”?
There is a famous poem of Jalaluddin Rumi; I agree with him up to a point and then my disagreement starts. On the really essential point I cannot agree with him. My feeling is he must have written that poem before he became enlightened. He was an enlightened man, but the poem is decisive - it must have been written before he became enlightened. The poem is beautiful, because sometimes poets say things almost like seers, but remember they are almost like seers. There is bound to be some flaw, it can’t be flawless. You may not be able to find the flaw.
Listen to the story of this poem. Jalaluddin says:
A lover comes to his beloved’s home, knocks on the door.
The beloved asks, “Who is there?”
And the lover says, “I am - your lover.”
The beloved says, “The house of love is so small, it cannot contain two, so please go back. When you are no more, then come again. The house of love cannot contain two, it can only contain one.”
So far so good!
The lover goes to the forest, he becomes an ascetic. He meditates, he prays to God. His prayer is only one: “Dissolve me!” Many moons come and go, months pass, years pass, and one day he comes back. He knocks again on the door, and the beloved asks the same question: “Who is there?”
And he says, “Now I am no more, only you are.”
And Rumi says:
The doors open and the lover is received in the home of love.
There I don’t agree - it is too early! Then who is the person who is saying “I am no more”? Even to say that “I am no more,” you are needed. It is as foolish as if you go and knock at somebody’s house and he leans out of the window and said, “I am not at home.” That is self-contradictory; you cannot say that. To say it is to prove that you are.
Jalaluddin must have written this poem before he became enlightened. He should have corrected it. But these enlightened people are crazy people. He may have forgotten all about the poem, but it needs correction. I can do the correction. I would like to say that the beloved says, “Go back again because you are there still. First you were positively there, now you are negatively there, but it makes no difference.”