One day, he decided that he had tried everything, that he was tired and it seemed that there was no sense in doing any of these things – because when you are doing something, the doer remains. The one who is searching remains in the search. Whatsoever you do, yoga, asceticism, meditation – they all create an ego. You think, “I am meditating: I am a meditator. I am practicing devotion: I am a devotee.” You continue to build a subtle ego. And the essence of all religions is that as long as there is ego, you will not find the divine – because the ego itself is the obstacle. As long as you are, you won’t find the divine. Its arrival is possible only when you disappear. When you stop standing between the divine and yourself, only then can the meeting take place. You are there, remaining stubbornly present like a rock. Once you earned money, so you were a wealthy man. Now you are earning devotion, so you are a devotee. But the “you” remains. Admittedly, it is a little better than before: this ego is more like gold, the old ego was only sticks and stones, rubbish. This new ego is precious. The old ego was ordinary; this new one is extraordinary. The first one was the ego of a worldly person; the second is that of a religious person. But ego is still ego.
So, after continuously searching for six years, he was tired in every way, but his ego was not. The ego never tires of doing things. It never tires from running on and on. But one day, after six years’ relentless searching, Buddha saw that everything was futile. He had found nothing in the world, and nothing in this sannyas, this renunciation. That night he even dropped sannyas from his mind. He sat down under a tree. He didn’t meditate, or practice devotion or asceticism, or any kind of chanting. That night he simply slept.
It was a wonderful sleep. He had never slept like that before, because there had always been some desire or other in his mind – sometimes the desire to obtain wealth, sometimes the desire to attain to the divine, sometimes the desire to possess the world, sometimes the desire to possess the truth…. When there is desire, there are dreams, and when there are dreams, there is tension. And how can there be sleep when there is tension, how can there be rest?
That night, for the first time, he rested. And in that rest truth descended upon him. When his eyes opened the next morning…. The Buddhist scriptures say something wonderful, they say, “Eyes opened in the morning.” They don’t say that he opened his eyes in the morning, because now there was no one in him to open the eyes. When the sleep was complete, the eyes opened. The eyes opened just like a flower opens in the morning, and Buddha’s opening eyes saw the last star setting. The world is the last morning star. The last star was about to set. As the sparkling, shimmering star was beginning to disappear, the last traces of his self, the last touch of ego also shimmered and dissolved. In that instant, enlightenment happened.
Later, whenever people asked Buddha how he attained enlightenment, he would say, “It is a difficult question to answer, because I did not attain enlightenment through my doing. I attained enlightenment the day I did nothing. But it is also true that if I had not done what I did, this state of non-doing would not have arisen.”