When Buddha attained enlightenment he said, “I am no more.” When you attain to that state you will also say, “I am no more,” because without a boundary how can you be? When Shankara attained, he said, “I am all.” Both mean the same. If you are the “all,” you are no more. All or nothing – only two possibilities are there, but in both the possibilities you are not. If you are all, the brahman, then you are not. If you are not, totally a nothingness, then too you are not. Because of this, it is a necessary part of life to become identified. And it is good, because unless you become identified you cannot become unidentified. Unless you become identified, you cannot become unidentified! At least once, one has to become identified.
It is like this: if you are born healthy and have never been ill, you will never be aware of your health. You cannot be, because awareness of health needs a background of disease and illness. You will have to fall ill to know that you were healthy or what health is. The other pole will be needed. Eastern esoteric science says this is why the world is, so that you can experience that you are divine. The world gives a contrast.
Go into a school, and you will see that the teacher is writing on a blackboard with white chalk. He can write on a white board too, but then it will be meaningless because it will be invisible, it won’t be seen. Only on a blackboard can one write with white chalk so that it is seen. The blackboard is a necessity for the white writing to become visible.
The world is just a blackboard, and you become visible because of it. This is an inherent polarity, and it is good. That is why in the East we have never said that the world is bad; we take it just as a school, a training. It is good because only in contrast will you be able to know your purity. When you come into the world you become identified. With identification you enter; the world starts. So you will have to fall ill to know your inner health.
This has been a basic question all over the world: Why is this world there? Why is it at all? Many answers have been given, but those answers are just superfluous. Only this attitude seems to be very deep and meaningful – that the world is just a background; without it you cannot become aware of your inner consciousness.
I will tell you one story. One man – very rich, the richest in his country – became disturbed, became frustrated. He felt that life was meaningless. He had everything that could be purchased, but all that could be purchased proved meaningless. Only something that could not be purchased could have real meaning. He had everything he could purchase – he could have purchased the whole world – but what to do now? He was frustrated and deep discontent was within. So he gathered all his valuables, ornaments, gold, jewels, everything, into a big bag, and he started on a journey just to find a man who could give him something valuable, a glimpse of happiness. Then be would present his whole life’s earnings to him. He went from one teacher to another, traveled and traveled, but no one was able to give him even a glimpse. And he was ready to give everything – his whole kingdom.
Then he reached a village and asked for Mulla Nasruddin, who was a fakir living there. A village man told him, “Mulla Nasruddin is just sitting outside the town, meditating under a tree. You go there, and if he cannot give you a glimpse of happiness then forget it. Then you can go to all the corners of the world, but you will never get it. If this man cannot give you a glimpse, then there is no possibility.”