IN ROPTCHITZ, THE TOWN WHERE RABBI NAFTALI LIVED,
IT WAS THE CUSTOM FOR RICH PEOPLE WHOSE HOUSES STOOD ISOLATED,
OR AT THE FAR END OF TOWN, TO HIRE MEN TO WATCH
OVER THEIR, PROPERTY BY NIGHT.
LATE ONE EVENING, WHEN RABBI NAFTALI WAS SKIRTING THE WOODS WHICH
CIRCLED THE CITY, HE MET SUCH A WATCHMAN WALKING UP AND DOWN. '
FOR WHOM ARE YOU WORKING?' HE ASKED.
THE MAN TOLD HIM, AND THEN INQUIRED IN HIS TURN:
'AND FOR WHOM ARE YOU WORKING, RABBI?'
THE WORDS STRUCK THE ZADDIK LIKE A SHAFT. 'I AM NOT WORKING FOR ANYBODY JUST YET,'
HE BARELY MANAGED TO SAY.
THEN HE WALKED UP AND DOWN BESIDE THE MAN FOR A LONG TIME.
'WILL YOU BE MY SERVANT?' HE FINALLY ASKED.
'I SHOULD LIKE TO,' THE MAN REPLIED, 'BUT WHAT WOULD BE MY DUTIES?'
'TO REMIND ME,' SAID RABBI NAFTALI.
ONCE, a Hassidic mystic, Joseph Jacov, was asked: 'What is the difference between a rabbi and a zaddik?' A rabbi is the ordinary priest, belongs to the organized religion, the church, the synagogue, the temple. And a zaddik is a rebellious master, does not belong to any organization -- only belongs to himself.
The rabbi is a teacher, the zaddik is a Master. The teacher teaches, but has not gone through the transformation himself. The zaddik is also a teacher but he teaches by his life, by his very being -- what we call in India 'satguru'. The enlightened Master is 'zaddik' in Hassidic terms.
So somebody asked Joseph Jacov: 'What is the difference between a rabbi and zaddik?'
The Master said: 'The zaddik remembers, and the rabbi knows.'
The rabbi knows much but doesn't remember himself. He is lost in his knowledge. He may be a great scholar, he may be very efficient as far as scriptures are concerned. But a zaddik remembers I He may not know much, or may know -- but that is irrelevant. He remembers -- he remembers himself. And that remembering is the difference.
It was difficult for the inquirer to understand, so he said: 'Please explain it to me in a little more detail.' The Hassid told him a story.
He said that once it happened: a prince by his wrong behavior enraged his father. And the way the prince was behaving was so uncourtly, so unkingly, that the father had to banish him out of the kingdom.
But the father was thinking that he would repent and that he would ask forgiveness and that he would come back. But the prince simply disappeared. He never tried in any way to contact his father. He never showed any desire to come back to the palace. It appeared as if he had been simply waiting -- how to escape the kingdom and how to escape the palace and the father.
He wandered around the kingdom and found a group of drunkards, gamblers, prostitutes -- all sorts of evil-doing was going on. He became part of it. Not only did he become a member -- by and by, he became the leader. Of course, he was a prince and he had the charisma of becoming a leader. Many years passed. The father was getting older and older, and he was worried, worried for the welfare of his only son. Seeing that death is approaching, he sent one of his most clever ministers to bring the son back.
The minister went in a beautiful golden chariot with many servants, almost a regiment following him. A great golden tent was fixed outside the village. He sent a messenger to this prince but he himself didn't bother to turn up. The minister remained outside the village; it was below him to go inside the village. A poor village, and it was absolutely inconceivable for him to enter the black hole where the prince was living with all those dirty people. The minister tried to contact the prince but the communication was not possible -- the distance was vast. He failed and came back.
Then another, a more courageous man, was sent. He was courageous and he had understood the failure why the first messenger, the first minister could not communicate.
So he didn't go there like a minister; he went like a peasant in ordinary clothes, with no servants. He simply went and mixed with the group. He became friendly, but by and by, he himself started to love that freedom. The palace was like a prison; there was no freedom. But here everybody was absolutely free, totally free. Nobody was creating any hindrance for anybody, everybody was allowed to be himself. They were drunkards, but they were beautiful people. They were gamblers, but they were beautiful people. He also failed because he himself never turned up to report back to the king.
The king was very much worried. Now the thing was becoming unmanageable. He asked a third minister, who was not only courageous, but wise also -- and that was going to be the last effort.
The third minister asked for a three months leave -- to prepare himself. Only then could he go. The king asked: 'What are you going to prepare?'
He said: 'To remember myself.'
Three months leave was granted. He went to a zaddik, to a Master, to become more mindful. The way the first minister had behaved was absolutely useless; communication was not possible. The second had done better, but he had also failed because he could not remember himself. So he said to the Master: 'Help me, so that I can remember myself and can remember that I come from the palace on a certain duty to be fulfilled.' Three months he meditated, a method of self-remembering -- what Buddha calls 'mindfulness'. Then he went.
He also behaved like the second. He went like a peasant, in ordinary clothes -- not only like a peasant, he went like a drunkard. But he was pretending, he was not really drunk. He lived with the group, he enjoyed their company, he pretended to drink, he pretended to gamble -- he even pretended to fall in love with a prostitute. But that was all pretension -- he was acting. And continuously, as an undercurrent, he was remembering himself: 'Who am I? Why have I come here? For what?' He was watching himself, he was a witness. Of course he succeeded.
The Hassid mystic said to the inquirer: 'He was a zaddik.'
The first man was a rabbi, a teacher. You are drowning in the river, he stands on the bank, gives you good advice, but he never jumps in the river to save you. He cannot save himself. He is afraid to come in the river. He does not know the art of swimming, the art of self-remembering.
He is not courageous. He clings to the bank, he clings to a far-away place, secure, sure of his own state, of his own safety. He talks beautifully, he can tell you everything about swimming, but he cannot jump and save you. He himself does not know how to swim. He is a rabbi, a teacher.
You can find these types of teachers all over the world -- good as far as their advice goes, nothing more. Their advice is borrowed; they have not come to that advice through their own experience. It is not knowing, it is knowledge. They have not gone through it, they have not been transformed by it. It is not their own, it has not arisen out of their consciousness. They are not crystallized beings. Their minds are full of knowledge, their hearts are completely empty.
The other man was courageous, but his courage was more than his wisdom. He was himself drowned. So remember, when you jump into a river to save someone, don't forget that the first necessity is that you know swimming.
It happened once: I was sitting on a river bank. A man was drowning, so I ran to jump, but before I could reach the bank, another man who was standing on the bank, jumped. So I prevented myself. I was almost on the brink to jump; I prevented myself. Somebody else had already jumped. But then I became aware that the other man started drowning. He created more trouble for me. I had to jump and save both.
I asked the other man: 'What happened? Why did you jump?'
He said: 'I completely forgot! The man was drowning and I became so attentive to it that just the desire to save him, and I completely forgot that I don't know swimming.'
You can forget. In any intense moment you can be hypnotized. The other was courageous, but not wise enough. You can find the second type of teacher also. So don't just be impressed by the courage, because courage alone cannot help.
The third type of teacher is a zaddik. He knows from his own experience what the first type knows only as a borrowed knowledge. He is courageous like the second, he takes the risk, but he is wise also. He remembers himself
To remember oneself is the whole art and science of religion. You can condense all religion into one word: 'self-remembering'.
Before we start to go deep into what self-remembering is, it is a must, it is an absolute requirement that we should understand the unconsciousness in which you live -- the sleep.
Ordinarily, you think you are perfectly awake. That's a misconception. Only a Buddha, a Baal Shem, a Moses, a Mahavir, are awake. You are completely asleep. I can hear your snoring right now; you are fast asleep. Just because you can open your eyes, don't claim that you are awake. Just that is not enough for being awake.
For example, a man is in a coma. He breathes, but because he breathes, can you say that he is alive? He is almost vegetating. Just by breathing, nobody is alive, and just by opening your eyes, you are not awake. Even a drunkard walking on the street moves with open eyes. Can you say that he is awake? He is not awake at all. Awareness is an inner quality of consciousness; it has nothing to do with closed or open eyes.
Krishna in the Gita says: 'When the whole world is fast asleep, then too the yogi is awake' -- 'YA NISHA SARVABHUTAYAM TASYAM JAGRATI SAMYAMI.' When the whole world is under dark sleep, when the whole world has its night, the yogi is still awake. That doesn't mean that the yogi never sleeps, no. He sleeps, but only his eyes are closed. His body sleeps but he is alert and aware. Deep down a current of self-remembering runs. He is fast asleep as far as the body is concerned, but the witnessing self remains alert. Like an inner light it goes on burning.
One who remembers is not asleep even when he is fast asleep. And one who does not know how to remember oneself is not awake even though the eyes are open. You are moving in the market, doing your job, your work, coming back home, fighting, loving, hating, eating, sleeping, doing all sorts of things -- but the whole thing is happening as if you are a robot. Everything is mechanical; you are not doing it. You are not alert when you are doing it. It is just happening and you are behaving like a mechanism.
Watch any mood: somebody insults and you are angry. Is there a gap between the insult and the anger? Is there a gap when you meditate, whether to be angry or not? whether it is worth it to be angry or not? Or maybe what the man is saying is right and it is not an insult, but simply a statement of fact.
Do you give a little time to think about the whole situation, or do you simply react? You react. There is no gap, no interval. Insult... anger... they happen as if somebody puts on the light. Switch on. Switch off.
And the light has no freedom. When you switch it on, the bulb cannot say: 'Right now, I am not in the mood. I will have a little rest. You can go on switching on; I don't feel to be lighted now.' No, the light cannot say anything. You switch on, it has to be on. You switch off, it has to go off.
Is your anger just like that? Somebody smiles and you smile. Is your smile just a reaction? Or is it a response? A response is not a reaction, and a reaction is not a response.
What is the difference between a reaction and a response?
A reaction is automatic; it is built-in. Somebody smiles; you smile. Somebody is angry; you become angry. The other creates it. You simply react.
A response is conscious. The other may be angry, but you decide whether to be angry or not,
From: Osho, The True Sage