My understanding, my experience, is exactly the same: nirvana cannot be claimed by anyone; to claim it is to falsify it. The Upanishads say: “Those who know cannot claim, and those who claim cannot know.” The knower cannot say “I know,” because in the knowing the “I” melts – there is nobody to claim, there is nobody to brag. Hence, Devaprem, I can only say one thing: it is absolutely certain that I am not enlightened. What is enlightened is not me; it is beyond the idea of I. It is transcendental to the ego, and in that sense you are also enlightened. You may not know it, that’s another matter. Knowing or not knowing makes no difference to your nature; your nature remains the same, exactly the same. When you become enlightened you don’t become a new person. In fact you don’t gain anything, you only lose something: you lose your chains, you lose your bondage, you lose your misery, you go on losing.
Enlightenment is a process of losing; you don’t gain anything. When there is nothing left to lose, that state is nirvana; that state of utter silence can be called enlightenment. I don’t claim anything….
And you ask me, “If it is the case, would that make any difference for me?” It will make a difference, because you are not here with me. You are not here in a love relationship, you are here out of your greed. If it were not so, the question would not have arisen at all. Your questions show much about you. Your questions as questions may be meaningless, absurd, but they show much about you; they are indicators.
If you become absolutely certain that I am not enlightened, then your relationship with me is finished. Then you will start searching for somebody else who is enlightened; then you have to move to some other master. You will be caught by someone who brags, by someone who has a very subtle spiritual ego, who claims, who tries to prove his enlightenment through the scriptures or through miracles or through some other things. You need to be convinced that you are with the right person. The greedy person asks for proofs; love never asks for any proofs.
The people who were with Jesus were very greedy. They were all Jews – obviously they could not have been otherwise. They were continuously asking him, “Are you really the son of God – really?” In their question there is suspicion, doubt. They want Jesus to do miracles – walk on water, raise the dead, cure the blind. And even then they are not convinced – maybe there is some trick in it. Walking on water or curing the blind man or raising the dead – who knows, there may be some trick; there is every possibility.
The whole story of Lazarus may just have been a managed act. Lazarus was one of the friends of Jesus. Jesus could have told him, “Lie down; pretend to be dead.” He may have taught him a few yoga tricks – how not to breathe. Yogis know the tricks, and Jesus had been to India. He may have learned a few tricks, how not to breathe, how to stop breathing. Now it is a proven fact that there are yoga exercises which can do it.
One yogi from south India, Brahma Yogi, demonstrated it in many universities – in Oxford, in Cambridge, in Calcutta, in Tokyo, in many universities – in front of very learned scientific gatherings. He used to stop his breathing for ten minutes; for all practical purposes he was not breathing. Only very sophisticated instruments showed that there was some slight breathing still going on, but that was not visible to the eyes; the pulse had stopped.