In the tenth, there is no question of the bull at all. The man is seen in the marketplace with a bottle of wine, drunk.
Buddhists were very much embarrassed about the tenth painting. It does not seem to be Buddhist at all – and there is no connection, because nine seems to be perfect, there is no need for the tenth. So in the Middle Ages they dropped the tenth painting, and they started talking of the nine paintings. Only recently has the tenth painting been discovered again in the ancient scriptures with its description – because each painting has a description of what is happening. The bull is lost, your soul is lost; the bull represents your soul, your energy, your spirit. When the bull is found, you have become a realized soul. You are singing a song on the flute; that is the stage of enlightenment.
What about the tenth? That is the stage when you go beyond enlightenment; you become ordinary again. Now there is no split between this world and that, now there is no split between good and bad. Now all opposites have joined together into one single harmony; that’s what is represented by the bottle of wine, a bottle of wine in the hands of a buddha.
Sri Aurobindo never talked about the Ten Bulls because that again would have destroyed his originality. The paintings of the Ten Bulls are at least fifteen centuries old.
The Buddhists in the Middle Ages were cowardly; they could not understand the tenth. But as far as I am concerned, I can see a natural growth from the ninth to the tenth, from enlightenment to beyond enlightenment.
Enlightenment makes you special. That means something of the ego in some subtle form still remains. Others are ignorant, you are a knower; others are going towards hell, your paradise is guaranteed. These are the last remnants of a dying ego. And when this ego also dies the buddha becomes an ordinary human being, not knowing at all that he is holier than thou, higher than thou, special in any sense – so ordinary that even a bottle of wine is acceptable. The whole of life is acceptable; the days and the nights, the flowers and the thorns, the saints and the sinners – all are acceptable, with no discrimination at all.
This ordinariness is really the greatest flowering of human reality.
Sri Aurobindo will be remembered as a great philosopher – should be remembered as a great philosopher, a man of tremendous insight into words, scriptures, immensely articulate in bringing meanings, interpretations to them, novel, original – but he was not a man of realization. And he was not sincere, he was not an authentic man. He had a great desire to prove himself, to prove that he was greater than Gautam Buddha. That was his ego.