Buddha says, defines, that the real man of wisdom can be judged only by one thing: his compassion, his love. He will be radiating compassion. He will be always ready to help people on the path. People will be insulting him, people will be in every possible way against him, people will be angry at him, because people are fast asleep and to put them on the path he has to wake them up. And nobody likes to be awakened because people are dreaming beautiful dreams and you shake them and you wake them and you destroy their dreams, and that’s all that they have got. Otherwise they are lonely, otherwise they are empty. So they are somehow filling their inner spaces with dreams, projections, imaginations.
And the function of the master is to destroy all your dreams, to make you empty of all content. But when you drop all content consciously, deliberately, you are not lonely: you become alone. And aloneness is beautiful, loneliness is ugly. Loneliness is like a wound, aloneness is like a flower. Loneliness is sick – Soren Kierkegaard has called it “sickness unto death” – and aloneness is life, abundant life. It is health.
The Sanskrit word for health is very beautiful; the English word also has its own beauty. Health means the wound is healed; it comes from healing. The person is no longer sick; the wound of negative nothingness is no more there. It has healed. It is beautiful, but nothing compared to the Sanskrit word for health. The Sanskrit word for health is swasthia; it means becoming centered. It means coming to one’s own self, realizing one’s own self. Swa means self; swasthia means getting rooted in the self.
People are not rooted in their own selves, hence they are clinging to others. All clinging is an indication that you are afraid that if you are left alone you will not be alone, you will be simply lonely, miserable.
The West has yet to recognize this tremendously significant fact. The Western religions have remained confined to prayer. They have not touched even the periphery of meditation, for the simple reason that meditation means nothingness, and to them nothingness has only one connotation: that of loneliness, emptiness. And they start feeling that if you are nothing then you will start falling into an abyss, you will be lost.
But we have tasted a totally different quality of nothingness. We have tasted the hidden godliness in it, we have known the uttermost of bliss in it, we have known its benediction.
It is my own experience that there is no greater joy than to be alone; the joy of love is secondary. And the joy of love is possible only if you have known the joy of being alone, because only then do you have something to share. Otherwise, two beggars meeting each other, clinging to each other, cannot be blissful. They will create misery for each other because each will be hoping, and hoping in vain, that “The other is going to fulfill me.” The other is hoping the same. They cannot fulfill each other. They are both blind; they cannot help each other.
I have heard about a hunter who got lost in the jungle. For three days he could not find anybody to ask for the way out, and he was becoming more and more panicky – three days of no food and three days of constant fear of wild animals. For three days he was not able to sleep; he was sitting awake on some tree, afraid he might be attacked. There were snakes, there were lions, there were wild animals.