One sannyasin got married a few days ago and she was telling me that she was surprised by the priest. The ritual was going to be one and a half hours long, but her husband gave five rupees to the priest and told him to be quick. The whole ritual went so fast; the priest started chanting so quickly and ended the whole thing within fifteen minutes. And in those fifteen minutes were included all those moments when the photographer said, “Just a moment!” And the priest would stop for the photograph to be taken and when the photograph was taken, he again started the ritual. What is a wife or what is a husband except a game of words?
You come into the world without any possessions and you go out of the world without any possessions. One day the whole thing becomes just like a dream that you had once seen. At the moment of your death you may remember all those things as if they had been seen in a dream. At the time of happening they were so real, but at the time of death everything will become unreal – just words in the mind.
The real renunciation is not of the world. It is meaningless to renounce the world and escape to the Himalayas or to the monasteries. The real thing is to drop the words from your mind so you can become a silent observer, a pure witness. And this is what Bodhidharma calls liberation.
Remaining unblemished by the dust of sensations is guarding the dharma.
All that is needed of you to be authentically religious, is to be on guard that you are not carried by emotions, sentiments, moods; that you remain above and beyond any strategies of the mind to pull you down. To be aware and alert is all that is needed to be authentically religious.
You don’t have to go to any church or to any synagogue or to any temple. You simply have to go within and be alert.
Transcending life and death is leaving home.
I would like to add two words to this sutra, otherwise this sutra can be misleading. I would like to say: Transcending life and death is leaving this world, not the home, because your real home is where you are going. This world is not your real home. It is only a so-called home. It is just a consolation to call it home.
I have told you the story of a Sufi mystic.
One night in Baghdad, the king heard somebody walking on the roof of his palace. He shouted, “Who is there? And what are you doing there?”
The man was not a thief. Without any fear he said, “Don’t shout, that may disturb other people’s sleep. It is none of your business. I am looking for my camel. My camel is lost and it is time for you to go to sleep.”
The king could not believe what kind of madman could be on the roof of a palace searching for his camel. He called the guards and they searched all over the place but could not find the man. And the next day when he was sitting in his court he heard the same voice again; he recognized it.
The king immediately said, “Bring that man in,” because he was arguing with the guard in front of the gate that he wanted to stay in the caravanserai.