The son, the good son, felt very hurt: this was absurd! He went back home angry. He talked to his father: “What are you doing? Never has a feast been given for me – and I have been serving you, and what has this other son done for you? Just wasted the heritage, gambled everything, and now he has come home a beggar!”
The father said, “Yes, because you are so close and you are so good and you are so happy, I need not worry about you. But the one who has gone astray – my prayers follow him and my love follows him.”
And Jesus used to tell this story again and again to his disciples, because, as he said, God can forget the saints, there is no need to remember them, but God cannot forget the sinners.
If he is a father – and I tell you he is not a father, he is a mother; a father is not such a deep phenomenon as a mother. That’s why Hindus call him the mother – God is mother, a mothering. And Jesus said whenever it happens that a shepherd is coming back home and a sheep is lost, he leaves all the sheep in the forest, in the dark night, and goes to search and seek for the lost one. And when the lost sheep is found, he carries the lost sheep on his shoulders and he rejoices and he comes back home feeling very happy, because one who was lost has been found. Whenever it happens – we are all lost sheep – whenever a sheep is found again, the shepherd rejoices. Flowers start showering.
Deities, gods, are not persons in the East, they are natural forces. Everything has been personified just to give a heart to it, a heartbeat – just to make it more caring. So Hindus, Buddhists, they have converted all the natural forces into gods, and they are right! When Subhuti attained to emptiness, gods started showering.
And the meaning is very beautiful: the sun is a god for Hindus and Buddhists, the sky is a god; every tree has its own god, deity. The air is god, the earth is god. Everything has a heart – that is the meaning. Everything feels – that is the meaning. Nothing is indifferent to you – that is the meaning. And when you attain, everything celebrates. Then the sun shines in a different way; the quality has changed.
To those who are ignorant everything remains the same. The sun shines in the old way because the change of quality is very subtle and only one who is empty can feel it. It is not gross, the ego cannot feel it; the gross is the field of the ego. The subtle can be felt only when there is no ego, because it is so subtle that if you are there you will miss it. Even your presence will be enough disturbance.
When one is totally empty the quality of the sun immediately changes. It has a welcoming poetry about it. Its warmth is not only warmth, it has become a love – a loving warmth. The air is different, it lingers a little more around you, it touches you with more feeling, as if it has got hands. The touch is totally different; now the touch has a sensitivity around it. The tree will flower, but not in the same way. Now the flowers are coming out of the tree as if they are jumping.