He was crossing the river Niranjana. It is a small river – when I went to see the river I could not believe the story. The story says that he could not cross the river Niranjana, he could not swim it, because he was so weak. The river is so narrow, the river is so small, but he must have been very weak from years of fasting. It is said that he had fasted so long that you could count his bones, his ribs. He had become simply bones, he was a skeleton; his stomach had completely disappeared, his stomach and his back had become one. He must have been really weak; he could not cross the river, and was hanging onto the root of a tree, having no energy to get out of the river.
In that moment, a great insight happened. Insights happen only in such moments. When the frustration is total, when the disappointment is complete, when the disillusionment is utter, when there is nothing left to hope for – in that moment he saw the pointlessness of it all. The worldly objects were meaningless; he has had all of them and they did not satisfy. And those otherworldly desires were just as foolish as the worldly desires. In that moment, in that insight, he became objectless.
Let me tell you, the scriptures report it very wrongly. They say that in that moment he became desireless. But try to understand what I am trying to convey to you. He became objectless, not desireless. You cannot become desireless. Desire is your very life, your breath, your heartbeat; desire is your being. But certainly a transformation happened; he became objectless. This-worldly, the otherworldly, all desires in toto disappeared as objects, not desire as energy. There was no object; pure energy was felt, a desiring for nothing, a pure desire moving nowhere, a pure desire herenow.
That very night he attained enlightenment. Having nothing to desire, he rested under the tree and fell asleep. For the first time he really slept. When there is nothing to desire, there is nothing to dream about either, because dreams are reflections of your desires. Dreams are reflections of your frustrations, dreams are reflections of your repressions, dreams reflect your day life. That night there was no dream, it was a dreamless deep sleep.
Patanjali says dreamless deep sleep is closest to samadhi – just one step more, and you have come home. And that one step happened early in the morning. Rested, Buddha opened his eyes. For the first time in his life there was nowhere to go, nothing to do. For the first time in life he must have been at a loss. Now what? There was nothing to cling to, nothing to hold on to. There must have been an utter emptiness. Time must have stopped. There was no program any more. Every day he used to get up with so many ideas to be cultivated, so many methods to be practiced, so many religious rituals to be done, and all that. Today there was nothing left! Utter emptiness.
But do you think he died? No, he was born. Objects were not there. Now the desire was pure – just a throb, a pulsation, just a passion for nothing in particular. Resting under the tree with open eyes, he must have been seeing the sky in the east becoming red, and then the sunrise. And with the rising sun and with the sky turning red, and with the last star of the night disappearing, he became enlightened.