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Chapter 6 - High Level Shooting

Chapter #6 The Need to Win - Ancient Wisdom








If the mind is filled with dreams you cannot see rightly. If the heart is filled with desires you cannot feel rightly. Desires, dreams and hopes -- the future disturbs you and divides you. But whatsoever is, is in the present.

Desire leads you into the future, and life is here and now. Reality is here and now, and desire leads you into the future. Then you are not here. You see, but still you don't see; you hear, but still you miss; you feel, but the feeling is dim, it cannot go deep, it cannot be penetrating. That is how truth is missed.

People keep on asking: Where is the divine, where is the truth? It is not a question of finding the divine or the truth. It is always here, it has never been anywhere else, it cannot be. It is there where you are, but you are not there, your mind is somewhere else. Your eyes are filled with dreams, your heart is filled with desires. You move into the future, and what is the future but illusion?

Or, you move into the past, and the past is already dead. The past is no more and the future has yet to be. Between these two is the present moment. That moment is very short, it is atomic, you cannot divide it, it is indivisible. That moment passes in the flicker of an eye. If a desire enters, you have missed it; if a dream is there, you are missing it. The whole of religion consists of not leading you somewhere, but bringing you to the here and now, bringing you back to the whole, back where you have always been.

The root cause is that you desire. Try to understand the nature of desire. Desire is alcoholic, desire is the greatest drug possible. Marijuana is nothing, lsd is nothing. Desire is the greatest lsd possible -- the ultimate in drugs. What is the nature of desire? When you desire, what happens? When you desire, you are creating an illusion in the mind; when you desire, you have already moved from here. Now you are not here, you are absent from here, because the mind is creating a dream.

This absentness is your drunkenness. Be present!

Can you define time? Nobody has ever seen it, there is no way of seeing it. If you look, it is gone; if you think, it is not there. When you don't think, when you don't look, when you simply are, it is there. You live it. Don't long -- just be. Don't even look -- just be! Don't think! Let this moment be there, and you in it, and suddenly you have everything -- because life is there. Suddenly everything starts showering on you, and then this moment becomes eternal and then there is no time. It is always the now. It never ends, never begins. But then you are in it, not an outsider. You have entered the whole, you have recognized who you are.

Now try to understand Chuang Tzu's sutra about the need to win. From where does this need arise -- the need to win? Everybody is seeking victory, seeking to win, but why does this need to win arise? You are not in any way aware that you are already victorious, that life has happened to you. You are already a winner and nothing more is possible, all that could happen has happened to you. You are already an emperor, and there is no other kingdom to be won. But you have not recognized it, you have not known the beauty of the life that has already happened to you. You have not known the silence, the peace, the bliss that is already there. And because you are not aware of the inner kingdom, you always feel that something more is needed, some victory, to prove that you are not a beggar.

Once, Alexander the Great came to India -- to win, of course. If you don't need to win you will not go anywhere. Why bother? Athens was so beautiful, there was no need to bother to go on such a long journey. On the way he heard that on a river bank lived a mystic, Diogenes. He had heard many stories about him. In those days, in Athens particularly, only two names were spoken about -- one was Alexander, the other was Diogenes. They were two opposites, two polarities. Alexander was an emperor, trying to create a kingdom which stretched from one end of the earth to the other. He wanted to possess the whole world; he was the conqueror, the man in search of victory.

And Diogenes was exactly the opposite. He lived naked, not a single thing did he possess. In the beginning he had a begging bowl for drinking water, or sometimes to beg food. Then one day he saw a dog drinking water from the river and immediately he threw away his bowl. He said, "If dogs do without, why not I? Dogs are so intelligent that they can do without a bowl. I must be very stupid to carry this bowl with me, it is a burden." He took that dog for his master, and invited the dog to be with him because he was so intelligent. The dog had shown him that his bowl was an unnecessary burden -- he was not aware. And from then on that dog remained with him. They used to sleep together, to take their food together. The dog was his only companion. Someone asked Diogenes, "Why do you keep company with a dog?" He said, "He is more intelligent than so-called human beings. I was not so intelligent before I met him. Looking at him, watching him, has made me more alert. He lives in the here and now, not bothered by anything, not possessing anything. And he is so happy that having nothing he has everything. I am not yet so content, some uneasiness remains inside me. When I have become just like him, then I will have reached the goal."

Alexander had heard about Diogenes, his ecstatic bliss, his silent, mirrorlike eyes, just like the blue sky without any clouds. And this man lived naked, he did not even need clothes. Then somebody said, "He lives nearby on the river bank, and we are passing, we are not very far away...." Alexander wanted to see him, so he went.

It was morning, a winter morning, and Diogenes was taking his sunbath, lying on the sand naked, enjoying the morning, the sun showering on him, everything so beautiful, silent, the river flowing by.... Alexander wondered what to say. A man like Alexander cannot think except about things and possessions. So he looked at Diogenes, and said, "I am Alexander the Great. If you need something, tell me. I can be of much help and I would like to help you." Diogenes laughed, and said, "I don't need anything. Just stand a little to the side, you are blocking my sun. That's all you can do for me. Remember, don't block anybody's sun, that is all you can do. Don't stand in my way, and you need do nothing else."

Alexander looked at this man. He must have felt like a beggar before him: He needs nothing, and I need the whole world, and even then I will not be satisfied, even this world is not enough. Said Alexander, "It makes me happy to see you, I have never seen such a contented man." Diogenes said, "There is no problem! If you want to be as contented as I, come and lie down by my side, have a sunbath. Forget the future, and drop the past. Nobody is hindering you." Alexander laughed, a superficial laugh of course, and said, "You are right -- but the time is not yet ripe. One day I would like to relax like you." Diogenes replied, "Then that one day will never come. What else do you need to relax? If I, a beggar, can relax, what else is needed? Why this struggle, this effort, these wars, this conquering, why this need to win?" Said Alexander, "When I have become victorious, when I have conquered the whole world, I will come and learn from you and sit by your side here on this bank." Diogenes said, "But if I can lie here and relax right now, why wait for the future? And why go around the whole world creating misery for yourself and others? Why wait until the end of your life to come to me and relax here? I am already relaxing." What is the need to win? You have to prove yourself. You feel so inferior within, you feel so vacant and empty, you feel such a nobodiness inside, that the need to prove arises. You have to prove that you are somebody, and unless you have proved it, how can you be at ease? There are two ways, and try to understand that these are the only ways. One way is to go out and prove that you are somebody; the other way is to go in and realize that you are nobody. If you go outwards you will never be able to prove that you are somebody. The need will remain; rather, it may increase. The more you prove, the more of a beggar you will feel, like Alexander standing before Diogenes. Proving to others that you are somebody does not make you become somebody. Deep down the nobodiness remains. It bites at the heart, and there you know that you are nobody. Kingdoms won't help, because kingdoms will not go in and fill the gap inside you. Nothing can go in. The without will remain without; the within will remain within. There is no meeting. You may have all the wealth in the world but how can you bring it in and fill the emptiness? No, even when you have all the wealth you will still feel empty -- more empty, because now the contrast will be there. That is why a Buddha leaves his palace: seeing all the wealth yet feeling the inner emptiness, he feels that all is useless.

Another way is to go within -- not to try to get rid of this nobodiness, but to realize it. This is what Chuang Tzu is saying: Become an empty boat, just go in and realize that you are nobody. The moment you realize that you are nobody you explode into a new dimension, because when one person realizes he is nobody he is also realizing that he is all. You are not somebody, because you are all. How can the all be somebody? Somebody is always a part. God cannot be somebody because he is all, he cannot possess anything because he is the whole. Only beggars possess, because possessions have limitations, they cannot become unlimited. Somebodiness has a boundary, somebodiness cannot be without boundaries, it cannot be infinite. Nobodiness is infinite, just like allness. Really, both ways are the same. If you are moving without you will feel your inner being as nobody. If you are moving within you will feel the same nobodiness as all. That is why Buddha says that SHUNYA, the absolute void, is Brahman. To be nobody is to realize that you are all. To realize that you are somebody is to realize that you are not all. And nothing less will do. So the other way is to move within, not to fight with this nobodiness, not to try to fill this emptiness, but to realize it and become one with it. Be the empty boat and then all the seas are yours. Then you can move into the uncharted, then there is no hindrance for this boat, nobody can block its path. No maps are needed. This boat will move into the infinite and now everywhere is the goal.

But one has to move within. The need to win is to prove that you are somebody, and the only way we know how to prove is to prove in the eyes of others, because their eyes become reflections. Looking in others' eyes Alexander could see that he was somebody; standing near Diogenes, he felt he was nobody. Diogenes would not recognize external greatness. Before him, Alexander must have felt foolish. It is said that he told Diogenes that if God would grant him another birth he would like to be Diogenes rather than Alexander -- next time! The mind always moves to the future! This very time he could become Diogenes, there was no barrier, nobody was preventing him. There will be millions of barriers to becoming Alexander the Great because everybody will try to prevent you. When you want to prove that you are somebody you hurt everyone's ego, and they will all try to prove that you are nothing.

What, who, do you think you are? You have to prove it, and it is a very hard way, very violent, very destructive. There is no barrier to being a Diogenes. Alexander felt the beauty, the grace of this man. He said, "If God gives me another birth I would like to be Diogenes -- but next time." Diogenes laughed and said, "If I am asked, only one thing is certain: I would not like ever to be Alexander the Great!" In the eye of Diogenes, Alexander could have seen no recognition of his victories. Suddenly he must have felt the sinking sensation, the deathlike sensation that he was nobody. He must have escaped, run from Diogenes as soon as possible. He was a dangerous man. It is said that Diogenes haunted Alexander his whole life. Wherever he went, Diogenes was with him like a shadow. At night, in dreams, Diogenes was there laughing. And a beautiful story tells that they died on the same day. They died on the same day, but Diogenes must have waited a little so that he could follow Alexander. While crossing the river which divides this world from that, Alexander met Diogenes again, and this second encounter was more dangerous than before. Alexander was in front because he had died a few minutes earlier -- Diogenes had been waiting to follow him. Alexander, hearing the sound of someone behind him in the river, looked back and saw Diogenes there laughing. He must have become quite dumbstruck, because this time things were absolutely different. He was also naked like Diogenes, because you cannot take your clothes to the other world. This time he was absolutely nobody, no emperor. But Diogenes was the same. All that death can take away he had already renounced, so death couldn't take anything from him. He was just the same as on that river bank; here he was in this river, just the same as before. So to be nonchalant, to give himself courage and confidence, Alexander also laughed and said, "Great, wonderful! Again the meeting of the greatest emperor and the greatest beggar." Diogenes replied, "You are absolutely right, only you are a little confused about who is the emperor and who is the beggar. This is a meeting of the greatest emperor and the greatest beggar, but the emperor is behind and the beggar is in front. And I tell you, Alexander, it was the same at our first meeting. You were the beggar, but you thought I was. Now look at yourself! What have you gained by winning the whole world?" What is the need to win? What do you want to prove? In your own eyes you know that you are a nonentity, you are nothing, and this nothingness becomes a pain in the heart. You suffer because you are nothing -- so you have to prove yourself in the eyes of others. You have to create an opinion in others' minds that you are somebody, that you are not a nothing. And looking in their eyes you will gather opinions, public opinion, and through public opinion you will create an image. This image is the ego, it is not your real self. It is a reflected glory, not your own -- it is collected from others' eyes. A man like Alexander will always be afraid of others because they can take back whatsoever they have given. A politician is always afraid of the public because they can take back whatsoever they have given. His self is just a borrowed self. If you are afraid of others, you are a slave, you are not a master. A Diogenes is not afraid of others. You cannot take anything from him because he has not borrowed anything. He has the self, you have only the ego. This is the difference between the self and the ego -- the ego is a borrowed self. Ego depends on others, on public opinion; self is your authentic being. It is not borrowed, it is yours. Nobody can take it back.

Look, Chuang Tzu has beautiful lines to say:


WHEN AN ARCHER IS SHOOTING FOR FUN HE HAS ALL HIS SKILL. When you are playing, you are not trying to prove that you are somebody. You are at ease, at home. While playing, just for fun, you are not worried what others think about you. Have you seen a father in a mock fight with his child? He will be defeated. He will lie down and the child will sit on his chest and laugh, and say, "I am the winner!" -- and the father will be happy. It is just fun. In fun you can be defeated and be happy. Fun isn't serious, it is not related to the ego. Ego is always serious. So remember, if you are serious, you will always be in turmoil, inner turmoil. A saint is always in play, as if shooting for the fun of it. He is not interested in shooting at a particular target, he is just enjoying himself.

A German philosopher, Eugene Herrigel, went to Japan to learn meditation. And in Japan they use all types of excuses to teach meditation -- archery is one of them. Herrigel was a perfect archer; he was one hundred percent accurate, he never missed the mark. So he went to a master to learn meditation through archery, because he was already skilled in it. Three years of study passed and Herrigel started feeling that it was a waste of time. The master went on insisting that HE should not shoot. He told Herrigel, "Let the arrow leave by itself. You should not be there when you aim, let the arrow aim itself." This was absurd. For a Western man particularly, it was absolutely absurd: What do you mean, let the arrow shoot itself? How can the arrow shoot itself? I have to do something. And he continued shooting, never missing the target. But the master said, "The target is not the target at all. YOU are the target. I am not looking at whether you hit the target or not. That is a mechanical skill. I am looking at you, to see whether you are there or not. Shoot for fun! Enjoy it, don't try to prove that you never miss the target. Don't try to prove the ego. It is already there, you are there, there is no need to prove it. Be at ease and allow the arrow to shoot itself." Herrigel could not understand. He tried and tried and said again and again, "If my aim is a hundred percent accurate, why don't you give me the certificate?" The Western mind is always interested in the end result and the East is always interested in the beginning, not in the end. To the Eastern mind the end is useless; the importance is in the beginning, in the archer, not in the target. So the master said, "No!" Then, completely disappointed, Herrigel asked permission to leave. He said, "Then I will have to go. Three years is so long and nothing has been gained. You go on saying no...that I am still the same." The day he was to leave he went to say goodbye to the master and found him teaching other disciples. This morning Herrigel was not interested; he was leaving, he had dropped the whole project. So he was just waiting there for the master to finish so that he could say his goodbye and leave. Sitting on a bench he looked at the master for the first time. For the first time in three years he looked at the master. Really, he was not doing anything; it was as if the arrow was shooting itself. The master was not serious, he was playing, he was in fun. There was nobody who was interested in hitting the target. Ego is always target-oriented. Fun has no target to reach, fun is in the beginning when the arrow leaves the bow. If it shoots that is accidental, if it reaches the target that is not relevant; whether it reaches or misses is not the point. But when the arrow leaves the bow, the archer should be in fun, enjoying, not serious. When you are serious you are tense, when you are not serious you are relaxed, and when you are relaxed you are. When you are tense, the ego is; YOU are clouded. For the first time Herrigel looked...because now he was not interested. It was none of his business now, he had dropped the whole thing. He was leaving so there was no question of seriousness. He had accepted his failure, there was nothing to be proved. He looked, and for the first time his eyes were not obsessed with the target. He looked at the master and it was as if the arrow was shooting itself from the bow. The master was only giving it energy, he was not shooting. He was not doing anything, the whole thing was effortless. Herrigel looked, and for the first time he understood. As if enchanted he approached the master, took the bow in his hand and drew back the arrow. The master said, "You have reached. This is what I have been telling you to do for three years." The arrow had not yet left the bow and the master said, "Finished. The target is attained." Now he was having fun, he was not serious, he was not goaloriented. This is the difference. Fun is not goal-oriented; it has no goal. Fun itself is the goal, the intrinsic value, nothing exists outside it. You enjoy it, that is all. There is no purpose to it, you play with it, that is all.


When you are shooting for fun, you are not in conflict. There are not two, there is no tension; your mind is not going anywhere. Your mind is not going at all -- so you are whole. Then the skill is there. A story is told about a Zen master, a painter, who was designing a new temple, a pagoda. It was his habit to have his chief disciple by his side. He used to draw the design, look at the disciple and ask, "What do you think?" And the disciple would say, "Not worthy of you." So he would discard it. This happened ninety-nine times. Three months passed and the king kept asking when the design would be completed so the building could start. And then one day it happened that while the master was drawing the design the ink ran dry, so he told the disciple to go out and prepare more ink. The disciple went out, and when he returned he looked and said, "What? You have done it! But why couldn't you do it in these three months?" The master said, "It is because of you. You were sitting by my side and I was divided. You were looking at me and I was target-oriented, it was not fun. When you were not there, I relaxed. I felt that nobody was looking and I became whole. This design I have not done, it has come by itself. For three months it would not come because I was the doer."

WHEN AN ARCHER IS SHOOTING FOR FUN HE HAS ALL HIS SKILL. ...Because his whole being is available. And when the whole being is available, you have a beauty, a grace, a totally different quality of being. When you are divided, serious, tense, you are ugly. You may succeed, but your success will be ugly. You may prove that you are somebody but you are not proving anything, you are simply creating a false image. But when you are total, relaxed, whole, nobody may know about you, but you are. And this wholeness is the benediction, the beatitude, the blessing, that happens to a meditative mind, that happens in meditation. Meditation means wholeness. So remember, meditation should be fun, it should not be like work. You should not do it like a religious man, you should do it like a gambler. Play, do it for fun, like a sportsman not a businessman! It should be fun, and then all the skill will be available, then it will flower by itself. You will not be needed. No effort is needed. Simply your whole being has to be available, your whole energy has to be available. Then the flower comes by itself.

IF HE SHOOTS FOR A BRASS BUCKLE HE IS ALREADY NERVOUS. If he is in a competition just for a brass buckle, if something is to be achieved, some result, he is already nervous, afraid. Fear comes in: "Will I succeed or not?" He is divided. One part of the mind says, "Maybe you will succeed"; another part says, "Maybe you will fail." Now the whole of his skill is not available, now he is half and half. And whenever you are divided your whole being becomes ugly and ill. You are diseased.


Go to the market and see people who are after gold. They are blind. Gold blinds men as nothing else does, gold covers the eyes completely. When you are too anxious for success, too anxious for the result, too ambitious, when you are too anxious for the gold medal, then you are blind and you start seeing two targets. You are so drunk you start seeing double. Nasruddin was talking to his son in a bar. He said, "Always remember when to stop drinking. Alcohol is good, but one needs to know when to stop. And I'm telling you through my experience. Look over at that corner -- when those four people sitting at the table start looking like eight, stop." The boy said, "But father, I see only two people sitting there." When the mind is drunken, vision becomes double. And gold makes you unconscious, drunk. Now there are two targets and you are in such a hurry to reach them that you are nervous, trembling inside. This is the state Chuang Tzu means when he says: ...

HE IS OUT OF HIS MIND. Everybody is out of his mind. It is not only mad people who are out of their minds, you are also out of your mind. The difference is only of degree, not of quality, a little more and any moment you can cross the boundary. It is as if you are at ninety-nine degrees. One hundred degrees and you boil, you have crossed over. The difference between those who are in madhouses and those who are outside is only of quantity, not of quality. Everyone is out of his mind, because everyone is after results, goals, purposes. Something has to be achieved. Then comes nervousness, inner trembling, then you cannot be still within. And when you tremble inside, the target becomes two, or even four or eight -- and then it is impossible to become an archer. A perfect archer is always the archer who is having fun. A perfect man lives life as fun, as play. Look at Krishna's life. Had Chuang Tzu known about him, it would have been beautiful. Krishna's life is fun. Buddha, Mahavira, Jesus, somehow or other look a little serious, as if something has to be achieved -- the moksha, the nirvana, the desirelessness. But Krishna is absolutely purposeless: the flute player just living for fun, dancing with girls and enjoying, singing. For him there is nowhere to go. Everything is here, so why bother about the result? Everything is available right now, why not enjoy it? Krishna is the perfect man if fun is the sign of a perfect man. In India we never call Krishna's life CHARITRA, his character, we call it Krishna's LEELA, his play. It is not a character, it is not purposeful; it is absolutely purposeless. It is just like a small child. You cannot ask, "What are you doing?" You cannot ask, "What is the meaning of it?" He is enjoying himself just running after butterflies. What will he achieve just jumping in the sun? Where will this effort lead him? Nowhere! He is not going anywhere. We call him childish and we think ourselves mature, but I tell you that when you are really mature, you will again become childlike. Then your life will again become fun. You will enjoy it, every bit of it, you will not be serious. A deep laughter will spread all over your life. It will be more like a dance and less like a business; it will be more like singing, humming in the bathroom, less like calculating in the office. It will not be mathematics, it will just be enjoyment. HIS SKILL HAS


If you feel so impotent, so powerless, helpless, it is because of YOU. Nobody else is draining you of your power. You have infinite sources of power, never ending, but you look drained, as if any moment you are going to fall with no energy left. Where is all the energy going? You are creating a conflict within yourself although your skill is the same.


I have heard a story. It happened in a village that a poor boy, the son of a beggar, was young and healthy. He was so young and so healthy that when the king's elephant passed through the village, he would just catch hold of the elephant's tail and it would not be able to move! Sometimes it became very embarrassing to the king because he would be sitting on the elephant and the whole market would gather and people would laugh. And all because of the son of a beggar! The king called his prime minister, "Something has to be done. This is insulting. I have become afraid to go through that village, and the boy sometimes comes to other villages also! Anywhere, anytime, he can catch hold of the elephant's tail and it will not move. That boy is powerful, so do something to drain his energy." The prime minister said, "I will have to go and consult a wise man because I don't know how to drain his energy. He is just a beggar. If he had a shop, that would drain his energy. If he was working as a clerk in an office, that would drain his energy. If he was a master in a primary school, then his energy could be drained. But he has nothing to do. He lives for fun, and people love him and feed him so he is never short of food. He is happy, he eats and sleeps. So it is difficult, but I will go." So he went to a wise old man. The wise old man said, "Do one thing. Go and tell the boy that you will give him one golden rupee every day if he will do a small job -- and the job is really small. He has to go to the village temple and put the lamp on. He has just to light the lamp at dusk, that is all. And you will give him one golden rupee every day." The prime minister said, "But how will this help? This may make him even more energetic. He will get one rupee and he will eat more. He will not even bother to beg." The wise man said, "Don't worry, simply do as I say." This was done, and the next week, when again the king passed, the boy tried to stop the elephant but he failed. He was dragged along by it. What happened? Care entered, anxiety entered. He had to remember, for twenty-four hours a day he had to remember that he had to go to the temple every evening and put the light on. That became an anxiety that divided his whole being. Even in his sleep he started to dream that it was evening: What are you doing? Go and switch on the light and get your one rupee. And then he started to collect those golden rupees. He had seven, now eight, and then he started to calculate that within so much time he would have one hundred golden rupees -- and then they would grow to two hundred. Mathematics came in and the fun was lost. And it was only a small thing that he had to do, to put the light on. Just the work of a single minute, not even that, just a momentary thing. But it became a worry. It drained him of all his energy. And if you are drained it is no wonder your life is not fun. You have so many temples and so many lamps to put on and off, so many calculations to make in your life, it cannot be a fun. The archer's skill has not changed, the skill is the same, but the archer, when he is shooting for fun, has all his skill available. Now although his skill has not changed, the prize divides him. He cares, anxiety enters, nervousness comes in. He thinks more of winning, now he is not concerned with shooting. Now the question is how to win, not how to shoot. He has moved from the beginning to the end. Now the means is not important, the end is important, and whenever the end is important your energy is divided, because all that can be done is to be done with the means, not the end. Ends are not in your hands. Says Krishna in the Gita to Arjuna: "Don't be concerned with the end, with the result. Simply do whatsoever is to be done here and now and leave the result to me, to God. Don't ask what will happen, nobody knows. Be concerned with the means and don't think of the end. Don't be result-oriented." This situation is beautiful and worth linking with Chuang Tzu's sentences, because Arjuna was an archer, the greatest India has produced. He was the perfect archer. But the end entered his mind. He had never worried, it had never happened before. His archery was perfect, his skill was total, absolute, but looking at the battlefield of Kurukshetra, at the two armies confronting each other, he became worried. What was his worry? It was that he had friends on both sides. It was a family affair, a war between cousins, so everybody was interlinked, on both sides were relatives. All the families were divided -- it was a rare war, a family war. Krishna and Arjuna were on one side and Krishna's army was fighting on the other side. Krishna had said, "You both love me so you will have to divide half and half. One side can have me, and the other side can have my armies." Duryodhana, the leader of the other side, was foolish. He thought, "What will I do with Krishna on his own? But he has a big army...." And he chose Krishna's army. So Krishna was with Arjuna and Arjuna was happy, because one Krishna is more than all the world. What can armies do -- unconscious, sleepy people? One awakened man is worth all. Krishna became the real help when Arjuna was confused and his mind divided. In the Gita it is said that looking at these two armies he became puzzled. And these are the words he used to Krishna: "My energy is drained. I feel nervous, I feel impotent, my power has left me." And he was a man of perfect skill, a perfect archer. His bow was called a GANDIVA. He said, "The gandiva feels too heavy for me. I have become so powerless, my body is numb, and I cannot think and cannot see. Everything has become confused, because these are all relatives and I will have to kill them. What will be the result? Murder, so many people killed, what will I gain out of it? A worthless kingdom? So I am not interested in fighting, it seems too high a price to pay. I would like to escape and become a sannyasin, to go to the forest and meditate. This is not for me. My energy is drained." Krishna told him, "Don't think of the result. It is not in your hands. And don't think of yourself as the doer, because if you are the doer then the end is in your hands. The doer is always the divine, and you are just an instrument. Be concerned with the here and now, the means, and leave the end to me. I tell you, Arjuna, that these people are already dead, they are fated to die. You are not going to murder them. You are just the instrument which will reveal to them the fact that they have already been murdered. As far as I can see, I see them dead. They have reached the point where death happens -- you are just an instrument." Sanskrit has a beautiful word, there is no equivalent to it in English: it is NIMITTA. Nimitta means you are not the doer, you are not the cause, not even one of the causes, you are just the nimitta. It means the cause is in the hands of the divine. The divine is the doer, you are just a vehicle of it. You are just like a postman -- the postman is the nimitta. He comes and delivers a letter to you. If the letter insults you, you don't get angry with him. You don't say, "Why did you bring me this letter?" The postman is not concerned, he is the nimitta. He has not written the letter, he has not caused it, he is not concerned at all. He has just fulfilled his duty. You will not be angry with him. You will not say, "Why did you bring this letter to me?" Krishna said to Arjuna, "You are just like a postman, you have to deliver death to them. You are not the killer; death is from the divine. They have earned it already, so don't you worry. If you do not kill them then somebody else will deliver the letter. If this postman will not do it then someone else will. If you are away or on holiday or are ill it doesn't mean that the letter will not be delivered. A substitute postman will do. But the letter has to be delivered. So don't you be bothered, don't get worried unnecessarily; you are just a nimitta, neither the cause of it nor the doer of it, just an instrument. Be concerned with the means, don't think about the ends, because once you think about the ends your skill is lost. "You are divided and that is why you are feeling drained, Arjuna. Your energy has not gone anywhere, it has become a conflict -- within, you are divided. You are fighting with yourself. One part says go ahead, another part says this is not good. Your wholeness is lost. And whenever the wholeness is lost, one feels impotent." Such a powerful man as Arjuna can say, "I cannot carry this gandiva, this bow is too heavy for me. I have become nervous. I feel a deep fear, an anxiety arising in me. I cannot fight." The skill is the same, nothing has changed, but the mind is divided. Whenever you are divided you are powerless; when you are undivided you are powerful. Desires divide you, meditation undivides you: desires lead you to the future, meditation brings you to the present. Remember this as a conclusion: don't move to the future. Whenever you feel your mind moving to the future jump back to the present immediately. Don't try to complete it. Immediately, the moment you think, the moment you become aware that the mind has moved into the future, into the desire, jump back to the present. Be at home. You will lose the present. Again and again you will miss it because it has become a long habit; but sooner or later, more and more, you can be at home. Then life is fun, it is a play. And then you are so full of energy that you overflow, a flood of vitality. And that flood is bliss. Impotent, drained, you cannot be ecstatic. How can you dance? For dancing you will need infinite energy. Drained, how can you sing? Singing is always an overflowing. Dead as you are, how can you pray? Only when you are totally alive, a thankfulness arises from the heart, a gratitude. That gratitude is prayer.

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