Jesus saw children who were being suckled. He said to his disciples: these children who are being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom. They said to him: shall we then, being children, enter the kingdom? Jesus said to them: when you make the two one, and when you make the inner as the outer and the outer as the inner, and the above as the below, and when you make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male will not be male and the female not be female, then shall you enter the kingdom.
This is one of the deepest sayings of Jesus, and one of the most basic to be understood by a seeker. It is also one of the most difficult to achieve, because if this is achieved nothing more is left to achieve. First try to understand a few things and then we will enter into the saying.
Man, if he lives with the mind, can never be innocent – and only in innocence does the divine descend, or do you ascend to the divine. Innocence is the door. Mind is cunning, calculating, it is clever, and because of this cleverness you miss – you miss the kingdom of God. You may attain to the kingdom of this world through the mind, because here cunningness is needed. You have to be cunning: the more cunning, the more successful; the more calculating, the more efficient in the ways of the world.
But the door for the kingdom of God is exactly the opposite. There, no calculation is needed, no cleverness is needed. Mind is not needed at all, because mind is just a mechanism to calculate, a mechanism to be clever. If you don’t need any cleverness, any calculation, mind is useless. Then the heart becomes the source of your being, and heart is innocence.
Why do we go on being clever? Why does the mind go on thinking about how to deceive? –Because that is the only way in this world to succeed. So those who want to succeed in this world will be failures in the kingdom of God. If you are ready to accept your failure in this world, then you are ready to enter the other world. The moment one is ready to recognize that, “The success of this world is not for me, I am not for it,” immediately a conversion happens, a turning. Then the consciousness doesn’t move outward, it starts moving inward.
Jesus emphasizes innocence very much. Hence, he goes on talking about the beauty of children, or the innocence of the flowers, of lilies, or the innocence of the birds. But that type of innocence won’t help, you have already lost that. So don’t imitate him verbally, don’t try to understand literally, it is just symbolic.
You cannot be a child again – how is it possible? Once you have tasted knowledge you cannot fall back. You can transcend it but you cannot go back, there is no way to go back. You can go ahead, you can go beyond it, but you cannot go behind it now – there is no way. You cannot be an ordinary child again. How? How can you lose that which you have known? But you can go beyond, you can transcend.
Remember this, otherwise you may start imitating a child and that imitation will be a cunningness, it will again be a calculation… because Jesus says, “Be like a child,” so you start practicing how to be like a child. But a child never practices. A child is simply a child, he doesn’t even know that he is a child, he is not aware of his innocence. His innocence is there, but he is not self-conscious about it. But if you practice then self-consciousness will be there. Then this childhood will be a false thing.
You can act it but you cannot be a child again – in the literal sense.
A saint, a sage, becomes like a child in a totally different sense. He has transcended, he has gone beyond mind, because he has understood the futility of it. He has understood the whole nonsense of being a successful man in this world – he has renounced that desire to succeed, the desire to impress others; the desire to be the greatest, the most important; the desire to fulfill the ego. He has come to understand the absolute futility of it. The very understanding transcends. The very understanding – and immediately you are transformed into a different dimension.
Then there is again a childhood; that is called the second childhood. Hindus have called that stage ‘the twice-born’, dwij. Again you are born, but this is a different birth, not out of a father and a mother.
This is out of your own self, not out of two bodies meeting, not out of duality. It is through yourself that you are born. This is the meaning of Jesus’ birth – That he was born out of a virgin. But people take everything literally and then they miss. Out of the virgin means out of the one: there is no other, so who can corrupt it? Who can enter into it? The virginity remains absolutely pure because there is no other.
When the other is there you have lost your virginity. If in the mind the other is there, you have lost innocence. So the consciousness of the other, the desire for the other, is losing virginity. This second birth can be virgin; the first birth is bound to be out of sex – there is no other way, there cannot be.
Jesus is born out of sex like anybody else, and it is right that it should be so. Jesus is just like you in the seed, but in the flowering he is absolutely different, because a second birth has happened; a new man is born. Jesus who was born out of Mary is no longer there, he has given birth to himself.
In the old Essene sect it is said that when a man is transformed he becomes his own father. This is the meaning: when we say Jesus has no father, it means Jesus has become his own father now. This looks absurd but this is how it is.
The second birth is a virgin birth – and then you are innocent again. And this innocence is higher than a child’s, because the child will have to lose his innocence. It is a gift of nature, it is not earned by the child, so it has to be taken away. When the child grows he will lose his innocence – and he has to grow! But a sage remains innocent. Now this innocence cannot be taken away because it is the climax, the crescendo of growth; there is no further growth. If there is growth then things will change; if you have reached the goal beyond which nothing exists, only then will things not change.
A child has to grow every day: he will lose innocence, he will become experienced; he will have to attain knowledge, he will have to become clever, calculating. But if you get too obsessed with your calculating mechanism, then you remain born out of sex, out of duality. And then there is always a continuous conflict inside – because you are two.
When you are born out of two you are going to remain two, because both are there: a man is not only man, he is woman also; a woman is not only woman, she is man also – because both are born out of two. Your father goes on existing in you, your mother goes on existing in you, because they both participated, they both meet in your body and their streams go on flowing – you are two. And if you are two, how can you be at ease? If you are two, there is going to be a constant conflict. If you are two opposite polarities together, a tension is always going to remain. This tension cannot be lost, yet you go on trying to find out how to be silent, how to be peaceful, how to attain bliss. It is impossible, because you are two!
To be silent, oneness is needed, so you have to be born again – that’s what Jesus said to Nicodemus. Nicodemus asked him, “What should I do?”
Jesus said, “First you have to be born again. Only then can anything happen. Right now, as you are, nothing can be done.”
And the same I say to you: Right now, as you are, nothing can be done. Unless you are reborn, unless you become your own father, unless your duality disappears and you become one, nothing can be done. When the woman within you and the man within you meet, they become a circle. They are not fighting, they disappear, they negate each other, and then oneness is left. This oneness is virginity.
That is what Jesus means when he says, “Be like children.” Don’t take it literally; but why “like children”? – Because when a child is conceived, for the first few weeks he is neither male nor female. Ask the biologists, they will tell you that he is neither. For a few weeks the child is neither male nor female – he is both or neither: the division is still not distinct. That’s why medical science is now able to change the sex of the child. A few injections can change it, because both are there – the male and the female. The balance will soon be lost, either the male will predominate or the female will predominate. And whichever predominates will become the sex of the child. But in the beginning there is a balance, both are there. It will depend on hormones now.
If we inject male hormones the child will be male; if we inject female hormones the child will be female. The sex can be changed because sex is an outer thing; it does not belong to the being, it belongs only to the circumference, to the body; it is a hormonal thing, physical. The being remains totally different from it. But soon the distinction arises: the child starts becoming either a male or a female. In the beginning the unity. Then the child is born: bodily now he is either a male or a female. But deep in the consciousness the distinction has still not penetrated; in consciousness he is still neither – the child does not know whether he is male or female. A few more months and then the distinction will enter into the mind. Then the child will have a different outlook – immediately he will become self-conscious.
In the beginning the body was one, then the body separated. But even when the body separates the child is one. Then the child also separates: the human being disappears; you are identified with being male or female, and that continues your whole life. That means you never reach the source again, the circle remains incomplete. A sage reaches the source again, the circle becomes complete. And first the distinction disappears in the mind – just the reverse!
In the child, first the distinction comes into the body, then into the mind. In the sage, first the distinction disappears from the consciousness, then from the body, and before he dies he is again one. This is the second childhood: again he becomes innocent – but this innocence is very rich.
The innocence of a child is poor because there is no experience; the innocence of childhood is just like an absence of something. But the innocence of a sage is a presence of something, not an absence. He has known all the ways of the world, he has moved, he has experienced all that was to be experienced. He moved to the very opposite end: he became a sinner, he delved deep, he indulged, he experienced all that this world can give, and now he has come out of it. His innocence is very, very rich because experience is there. You cannot destroy it now, because he has known all that can be known – how can you destroy it now? You cannot motivate him anymore, all motivation has gone.
If you reach this stage – in the beginning you were a child, in the end you can become a child – your life has been a circle, complete; this is what perfection is. If you don’t reach the source again, you r life has been incomplete. Incompletion is suffering. That is what Buddha calls dukkha, misery. If you are incomplete there is misery, if you are complete you are fulfilled.
A sage dies fulfilled – then there is no more birth, because then there is no need to come back to the world of experience. You die incomplete, and because of that incompleteness you have to be born again. Your being will persist, again and again, to be complete; and unless you are complete you will have to move again and again into birth, into death. That is what Hindus call the wheel of life and death. A sage jumps out of the wheel, because he himself has become a circle and now no wheel is needed.
But what happens to the ordinary mind? The distinction remains to the very end, sex remains to the very end. Even if the body becomes weak, the mind goes on – and sex is the basic duality. So unless sex disappears, the oneness, the nondual, the Brahma is not going to happen. Remember, the nondual – the advaita, the Brahma, the one – is not a hypothesis, it is not a theory, it is not a doctrine. It is not a philosophical thing you can argue about, it is not a belief – it is a transcendence of sex. It is a very deep biological phenomenon, it is alchemical, because your whole body needs a transformation.
Three old men were sitting in a garden on a bench discussing their miseries – because old men have nothing else to say. One old man, who was seventy-three, said, “My hearing is going. People have to shout into my ears, and even then I cannot hear rightly!”
Another, who was seventy-eight, said, “My eyes are becoming weak, I cannot see rightly, and moreover, I cannot even make a distinction between a blond and a redhead!”
Then they asked the third man, they said, “Mulla Nasruddin, and what is your trouble?”
Nasruddin, who was ninety-three, said, “My trouble is deeper than both of yours. Last night it happened: we had dinner, then some wine, then I rested on the sofa and I fell asleep. About half an hour later I became aware that the wife had gone to bed. So I went into the bedroom and I told the wife, ‘Give me a little space, let me come into bed and we will have a little fun!’
The wife said, ‘What? We had a little fun just twenty minutes ago!’”
And then Nasruddin tapped his head very sadly and said, “Gentlemen, my problem is that my memory is slipping!”
Sex goes on following you to the very end, to the last. And you may not have observed, you may not have thought about it, but if a man has not transcended mind, the last thing in the mind when he dies will be sex – because that was the first thing when he was born. It is bound to be the last thing, it is natural – try it!
When you go to sleep at night just watch the last thought – the last, the very last; after that fall into sleep. Remember it, and in the morning you will be surprised: that will be the first thought in the morning – if you observe. Or do it the other way: in the morning, observe the first thought and remember it. In the night that will be the last thought, because life is cyclic. Sex is the first thing in life and it is going to be the last. If you don’t transcend it you are just victims, you are not your own masters.
Do you know what happens whenever a person is hanged? If a male is hanged, the semen is released immediately. This happens in every prison, wherever people are hanged. The last thing, when he is dying, semen is released. What is the meaning of it? Why should it be so? Life is a cycle, it completes itself: that was the first thing, through which he entered life; that is going to be the last thing, through which he will again enter into another life.
A sage transcends sex – but a sage has not repressed sex, remember, because repression is not transcendence. If you repress you are still in it; if you repress you are still divided. A sage has not repressed anything. Rather, on the contrary, the male and the female energy within him have become a unity; now he is neither male nor female. That is what Jesus has called ‘eunuchs of God’.
That is what Hindus mean when they depict Shiva as Ardhanarishwar – half-man, half-woman: he has become one. And Hindus say Shiva is the most perfect god, the greatest – Mahadeva. Why do they call him Mahadeva, the greatest? – Because he is half-man and half-woman, and when you are half-man and half-woman consciously, both become one circle and both disappear. The duality has disappeared, he has become one.
Jesus is talking about this oneness – Ardhanarishwar, half-male, half-female. Then you are neither, then a new childhood has started, the second childhood; you are dwij, twice-born. A new world of innocence is discovered.
From The Mustard Seed, Discourse #8
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