Drop it.

Rajiv Vaishnav
9 min readMar 24, 2024

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HOW DO YOU REDEFINE ”FREEDOM” AND ”THE MASTER”?

The word ‘master’ creates confusion. It gives you the idea that you have become a slave, somebody has become your master. In the East, the word is used in the sense that you have become master of yourself, that you are no longer a slave, that you have attained freedom. Different languages, grown in different climates by different people, different experiences, are bound to create such kinds of confusion.

To be master of oneself has never been a goal in the Western consciousness — it has always been how to conquer others, how to be a master of others. It is difficult to translate many Eastern words into Western language. The same difficulty is there if you want to translate quantum physics into Eastern languages; you will not find the right words, because before language comes in, the experience has to be there. Experience creates language.

As far as the word ‘master’ is concerned… The disciple has just fallen in love with the man and wants to learn the same freedom, the same sincerity, the same integrity, the same height of consciousness.

The question of surrender does not arise, and the question of belief does not arise. In the presence of the master, in the climate of the master, disciples start growing into new dimensions, which they did not know they were carrying within themselves as potentials.

The master does not give them anything except his love — that too it cannot be said he gives. It is simply showering, just the way the sun showers its rays on all the flowers, on all the birds, on all the animals; whoever comes close to the master is showered with love.

If you are searching, if you are ready to learn, if you are not already learned, if you are not already prejudiced, if you are not already faithful, if you have not sold your soul already to some theology, to some religion, to some ideology, then just being close to the master, something starts transpiring.

It is a transmission of the lamp. That’s how it has been known in the East: a transmission of light from one heart, which has come to its own fire, to another heart which is groping in darkness.

Just coming closer… Think of two candles, one lit and one unlit, coming closer and closer. A moment comes when you will be suddenly amazed — both candles are lit. The flame has jumped to the other candle. Just a certain proximity… Love creates that proximity, and the flame jumps from one heart to another heart. There is no question of anybody surrendering, there is no question of anybody believing.

But the question is significant, because even in the East you will not ordinarily find the master I am defining. The East has fallen deep into darkness. The days of Gautam Buddha are no longer a reality, but just a beautiful memory, a dream that perhaps happened or perhaps somebody dreamt.

One great king, Prasenjita, a contemporary of Gautam Buddha, was going to receive Gautam Buddha outside the main gate of the city. He had a very precious diamond which was unique; all the kings of this country were jealous of this diamond. So he thought, “What would be an appropriate present for Buddha’s coming into my city? I will take this diamond….”

His wife was a long-time follower of Gautam Buddha, since even before she was married to Prasenjita. In fact, Prasenjita was going only because his wife was insisting, “It is a precious moment, don’t miss it.” He wanted deep down to show the world his generosity, his ego, by offering the great diamond.

On the surface it was one thing: he is so polite, so nice, so humble, that he has brought the greatest, most valuable present. But deep down in his unconscious it was something else: Thousands of monks will be there — ten thousand monks used to move with Gautam Buddha, wherever he went — and the whole capital will be there to receive him. So it will be a good chance to show his wealth, his power, his generosity.

His wife could see it in his eyes. She said, “Listen, to Gautam Buddha this is just a stone; don’t think that he will be impressed by it. My feeling is, in our pond in the palace, there is a beautiful lotus flower — you should take that. That will mean much more to him than a dead stone.”

He said, “I will take both, and I will see whether you are right or I am.”

He went there with his wife. And he was the king, so of course he was ahead of the whole crowd of people who had come to receive Buddha. He brought the diamond before him, and said, “I am not very rich, but I have one of the most precious diamonds, and I offer it to you.”

Buddha said, “Drop it.”

He could not believe it, but before thousands of people, when Buddha said, “Drop it,” he could not even resist or say no. He had to drop it. He thought that perhaps his wife was right: to Buddha it is just a stone; to you it is a very precious thing.

Then he brought with the other hand the lotus flower, and Buddha said, “Drop it.”

He said, “My God, my wife is also wrong!” — so he dropped the lotus flower.

Now there was nothing to present. Just with empty hands he was standing there…. and Buddha said, “DROP IT!” Now, this was too much! When there is nothing left, what can he drop? He said, “Both my hands are empty. Now what do you want me to drop?”

And Mahakashyapa started laughing. Mahakashyapa was the originator of Zen. He was really the founder, but because he never spoke, all that is mentioned once in a while is his laughter.

Prasenjita looked at Mahakashyapa. He himself was the son of a great king and had renounced his kingdom and followed Gautam Buddha. Prasenjita said, “Mahakashyap, why are you laughing?”

He said, “I am laughing because you don’t understand what Buddha is saying. To understand him, a deep experience of meditation is needed. He is not saying to drop the diamond or drop the lotus flower; they are just false. Drop yourself! Unless you drop yourself, you don’t drop anything. Fall at his feet!” He said, ”You don’t understand the language. He is not saying drop the diamond, he is not saying drop the lotus. He is saying drop yourself, drop the EGO. You can have the diamond and you can have the lotus but drop the ego. Don’t take it back. Drop your personality. Drop that you are a king. Drop this mask, be just human, because through the mask it is impossible for me to approach you.”

Buddha said, “That’s what I have been telling you: drop it. Now sit down. Be just human.”

This was too much. Prasenjita had not thought about it. He had brought presents… he was not a follower, his wife was. But now, before so many people, it looked awkward not to bow down.

He touched Gautam Buddha’s feet with his head, and this time Gautam Buddha laughed. He said, “You are pretending to drop, but not dropping! There is no need to pretend here. Either be authentic, or don’t do it. Now take up your diamond and your lotus flower and get lost. If you cannot drop yourself, there is no other present that you can bring to me. Unless you are the present itself, no present is acceptable. Only love can be a present. Only a deep let go can be a present. Only merging with the one who has arrived can be a present. All presents are just too ordinary: even to bring them is to show your stupidity.”

Listening to him, seeing him — suddenly he was seeing Buddha for the first time. Feeling the energy field around him… he had never been silent, and now for the first time he was feeling silent — and thousands of people were utterly silent, as if there was nobody else.

Prasenjita touched Gautam Buddha’s feet a second time, and Gautam Buddha said, “Now it is right, it is coming from your very heart. Now I can accept your present.” For the ordinary person, the question will be, “What present?” because the diamond has been rejected, the lotus flower has been rejected… and Buddha is accepting the present now. He had never thought about it. But a great silence, and ten thousand people… and he fell spontaneously at the feet of Buddha.

For the ordinary mind, nothing is transferred anymore; but to the perception of the enlightened one, everything has happened.

Prasenjita is no longer the same man. He did not return home. He said to his wife, “I am puzzled: you have been so long a disciple of Gautam Buddha; why then did you get married, why are you still in the palace? When your master is moving barefoot in the hot sun around the country you should be with him, you should take care of him. You can go back home — the chariot is ready — but I have dropped myself, I have given myself as a present. I am not coming home.”

Those were beautiful days. Suddenly a new sky opened to Prasenjita. He dropped himself at Gautam Buddha’s feet in utter humbleness, and he never left. He became part of the great caravan that used to follow Gautam Buddha. He forgot all about his kingdom, forgot about everything. The only thing that remained was this beautiful man, this tremendous grace, this invisible magnetism, these eyes and this silence. And he was gripped by all this.

The wife had not thought of such a possibility. She was a disciple, but that did not mean…But now, when the husband was not coming… she also rose to a higher state of consciousness. She said, “You cannot defeat me; I belong to the same race of warriors to which you belong. Defeat is simply not acceptable. Death is acceptable, but defeat — no. I am also going to remain. The chariot can go back empty.”

It is not a question of belief. It is not a question of conversion, argumentation, it is a question of the highest quality of love.

It is rare to find a master today, and there are many pretenders. One of the things that can be said about the pretenders is that you can recognize them immediately. The moment they ask you to believe in anything, the moment they ask you to follow a certain rule, regulation, the moment they ask you to have faith in them… never doubt, never question, have indubitable faith — these are the indications of the pretenders. Wherever you find these, escape from the place as fast as you can.

I am in absolute favor of personalities dying and individualities being regained. That is real resurrection.

Osho: The Great Zen Master Ta Hui Chapter #25 Chapter title: Two awakenings (Excerpts)
Osho: Hari Om Tat Sat: CHAPTER 16. NO MASTER CAN BETRAY LOVE Q 1 (Excerpts)
Osho: One Seed Makes the Whole Earth Green: Chapter #4: Chapter title: One wonders…(Excerpts)

उन से नज़रें क्या मिलीं रौशन फ़ज़ाएँ हो गईं
आज जाना प्यार की जादूगरी क्या चीज़ है
………….निदा फ़ाज़ली

un se nazre.n kyaa milii.n raushan fazaa.e.n ho ga.ii.n
aaj jaanaa pyaar kii jaaduugarii kyaa chiiz hai
…………….NIDA FAZLI

As our eyes met, the skies seemed to illuminate,
Today I discovered how enchanting love can be.

I have mentioned this ghazal in one of my earlier blogs, but it fits here as well. Just relate the lyrics with King Prasenjit and Buddha’s emotions. So beautifully written by Nida Fazli saheb and composed by Jatin-Lalit and of course sung by the one and only Jagjit Singh ji for the film “Sarfarosh” (1999)….”Ishq kije phir samajhiye, zindagi kya cheez hai.”

(422) Hoshwalon ko khabar kya (Lyrics)- Jagjit Singh — YouTube

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