We have seen Mahavira, we have seen Buddha, we have seen Parshwanatha, we have seen Kabir, Nanak, Farid and thousands of other mystics. One thing has entered the collective unconscious of the masses: that meditation is something which anybody can attain; there is nothing great in attaining it. Farid attained it, Kabir the weaver attained it, Raidas the shoemaker attained it. For the ego, the challenge of meditation has vanished. To achieve money seems difficult; meditation has begun to appear simple. People have begun running after money, after position, after prestige. Challenge is found only in that which is difficult, which has the potential to satisfy the ego. That which is simple, natural and easy…there remains no attraction in it for the ego.
The shining, luminous quality of meditation that was found in so many, took away the challenge of meditation in the common man’s mind. And it was felt: “We can attain it – if not today, then tomorrow; if not tomorrow, then in the next life. There is no rush. But who knows if we will come to experience the momentary pleasures of the world tomorrow or not? Today, youth is here, but there is no guarantee that it will also be here tomorrow. If we were to guarantee it one way or another, it seems more likely that it won’t be here. It is okay to postpone meditation until tomorrow.” This youth, these rising waves of youth, must be satisfied today.
And meditation is attained even by those who have nothing. We have seen the light of meditation with a naked Mahavira, we have seen the luminosity of meditation with the shoe-stitching Raidas. The attraction toward meditation has faded from people’s minds. They feel as if it is something that can be had at any time. But wealth, position, status – these countless races for worldly ambition – are not so easy to attain. There is big competition, cutthroat competition. One has to fight for every inch, and only then, somehow, does one become the president of a country of millions and millions of people.
This is the joy of the ego, that “I should be on top of everyone.” And the difficulty with meditation is that it says, “The joy of being the last cannot be found when you are sitting on top of everyone. Being last, there is no competition; being last, there is no struggle. No one can push you aside and move ahead of you in meditation because it is not a matter of the outer, it is a matter of the inner. There, you are absolutely alone; there is neither any competition nor any snatching and grabbing.”
The ego is not interested in this. The ego is afraid of its death. If meditation flowers, the ego will die. If the flame of meditation lights up, the lamp of the ego will be extinguished. Both things cannot happen simultaneously; they do not coexist. Either it is the ego or it is meditation.
Meditation is within you. The outer world is the realm of the ego and its allurements are many.
What allurement can meditation have?
The ego promises many things, but it never fulfills those promises. It cannot. It is very impotent.
I have heard a story: