The path of devotion is very colorful. It is the path of spring. An overabundance of flowers blossom on this path. The veena plays, the mridang drums beat. The path of devotion is the path of ankle bells: there is dancing, singing, there are hymns, there is love and passion. And all this love, all this devotion is offered at the feet of the divine. The entire water-pot is filled again and again with love and poured out at the feet of the divine. One must pour oneself out so totally that nothing is left behind. And when everything has been poured out, you have arrived.
The path of the witness is for those who find the path of devotion difficult. First search for devotion, because devotion is easier for most people. It is also juicier. When it is possible to dance your way to somewhere, why walk? Why go somewhere with a sad face when you can reach there singing? Why get mixed up with the practices of the mahatmas and the renouncers, when you can reach the divine in a delightful way, playing your drum; when your joy can remain with you? Leave renouncing and all of this to those whom devotion does not suit. If devotion does suit, if love suits, then everything has fallen into place and there will be nothing more to be done.
But I know, the problem is such that if I say devotion, people get nervous. They come to me and say: “We don’t have the courage for devotion. We dare not be so mad.” People even go mad in a calculated way – mad only up to a certain point….
Mulla Nasruddin’s wife was lying on her deathbed. As she was dying, she said, “Nasruddin, what will you do when I am dead?”
The Mulla replied, “I will go mad.”
His wife said, “Don’t lie. I know you. You will be married as soon as I am dead.”
The Mulla said, “I will go mad, but I won’t go that mad.”
People even want to go mad in a calculating way. They calculate how far they should go! If I mention devotion, people come to me and tell me that this path is the path of madness. In dancing, singing, kirtan, as Meera has said, one loses all the respect of the society: “I am a deputy-collector or the sub-collector of revenue, or an engineer, or a doctor – and this will only cause chaos!”
A doctor used to visit me once. I had a problem with my thumb and he operated on me. He was a dear man. By chance, when he came to do the operation, he fell in love with me. He said, “I will follow you, but not yet. I will come. I must follow you one day, but right now I am afraid.”
I asked him, “What are you afraid of?”
He said, “I am afraid that if all this singing, dancing, celebrating appeals to me – and I am sure it will, because I have always wanted to be that way – then I will be in trouble. On the day I operated on your hand, that night I dreamed that I was dancing in orange robes…. Don’t do this to me. Not yet. Please excuse me for the moment. I have a wife and children to support and everything is going very well for me. Right now I need order in my life…I must certainly come one day, but right now I am afraid.”