I loved to hear about your meetings with the old enlightened sand sculptor from Bombay. Did you come across other enlightened individuals in your travels?
I have come across a few very remarkable individuals but they were not enlightened: they were just on the verge. You can say “almost enlightened.” But even from that point one can fall back.
They were remarkable in many ways. A few of them were musicians. And it is strange that the larger part of the people whom I met and I can describe as remarkable were musicians. It cannot be accidental. Music has some similarity with meditation.
While playing any instrument there are two possibilities. One can be lost completely – only the music remains – then the person will be a great musician, unique, but not enlightened. The other possibility is – which is a little difficult as far as music is concerned and perhaps that was the reason they were lingering just on the borderline – the other possibility is to be total in music and yet remain aware.
In any other activity you can be total and aware. In music, dance, or different…when you are total in it the experience is so beautiful, so exhilarating, you forget completely to be aware. The experience is so valuable that you would like it to remain forever, enveloping you. But the need for enlightenment is that even in this tremendously beautiful experience you can stand aloof.
It is easy when you are suffering to stand aloof, to be aware. It is easy when you are miserable to be aware, because who wants to be miserable? Who wants to be in suffering? The experience of suffering, anguish, misery, itself, helps you to get out of it. But the experience of music, the experience of dance, the experience of a great painter, sculptor – any creative activity that absorbs you and needs you to be total in it, does not leave even a small part out of it, is the most difficult.
These people were remarkable. They had a tremendous beauty – of individuality, freedom, creativity – but something was missing. And they also felt that something was missing, but they could not figure out what it was that was missing. Because the experience is so fulfilling, it is impossible to conceive what is missing.
One of the musicians asked me, “Can you help me to figure out what can be the missing thing? – because I don’t see that anything is missing: I’m totally in it.”
And he was surprised when I said to him, “That’s what the problem is: you have to do a very contradictory act simultaneously – be total in your music and yet a watcher too.”
He said, “It is difficult.”