Chapter 4: Don't Compare
And when he became a meditator, when he became surrendered to the master, Gautama the Buddha, such a transformation happened to him that he remained an emperor and yet he possessed nothing. He lived like a man who has nothing. He had everything, but he lived like a man who has nothing. Apparently, on the surface, he never renounced the kingdom, but inwardly he was no more part of this world. It has rarely happened in any other emperor’s life, in the whole history of man.
I have given you the name Deva Ashoka - divine Ashoka - feeling the possibility that silence will be your path. Silence means the path of via negativa. Bliss is very affirmative; it is via positiva. It affirms that the whole existence is divine, hence rejoice. It says yes to all that is. It does not renounce, it does not eliminate, it does not negate. It learns to enjoy, to experience, to sing, to dance, to celebrate. It is the way of a beautiful garden path. Many flowers bloom, birds sing.
But the path of silence is just the opposite of it: it is like a beautiful desert. Remember, the desert has its own beauty. Not only gardens are beautiful - they have their beauty, but the desert also has its own beauty. The immensity of it, the unboundedness of it, the silence of it, the undisturbed, virgin peace that prevails in a desert - that has its own beauty. Beauty is not found only in one color and one size; it comes in all shapes, all sizes, all colors. There have been people who have loved deserts more than gardens.
I live in Lao Tzu House and my garden is a forest. Mukta, my gardener, was very reluctant to make it that way - obviously; she is a Greek and thinks logically, and this is very illogical. No symmetry, no pruning is allowed. She prunes, although when I am not looking! She tries to make something out of the mess.
Vivek hates the whole forest around the house. She says it has destroyed all perspective; you cannot see. You cannot see the vastness of the sky, you cannot see anything from the room - it is so covered! In fact, I don’t need to see anything - I have seen everything! But for poor Vivek it is difficult - she still needs to see a few things. I can understand her difficulty.
You can go on and on seeing a desert; it ends nowhere. All the horizons are available. Its vastness.and its profound silence has its own song, unheard, unspoken. The same is true about the path of silence.
Buddha cannot dance, cannot sing. Of course he has his own song, but that song is not of sound. It is not the sound of running water; it is the song of a desert. You can feel it, you can live it, you can be it, but it is not tangible. You cannot touch it, you cannot hold it in your hands. How can you hold nothingness in your hands?
Buddha attained to the ultimate by negating: “I am not the body, I am not the mind, I am not the heart even.” He went on negating: “I am not a self, I am just nothing.” He went on negating till nothing was left to negate. His method is like peeling an onion: you go on peeling layer by layer, layer by layer. The onion starts becoming smaller and smaller and smaller, and finally the last layer has been taken off and the onion has disappeared. Now there is nothingness. This is Buddha’s path. When you have become absolute nothing, you have entered. But don’t compare.