The arhata is someone who makes every effort to
become enlightened and once he is enlightened he completely forgets
about those who are still groping in the dark. He has no concern
with others. It is enough for him to become enlightened. In fact,
according to the arhatas, even the great idea of compassion is
nothing but again another kind of attachment.
This is the way of the arhata:
he knows where he is. He will not say anything about any road,
anything about any way, but he knows where he is and he is utterly
contented with that. You can sit by his side, you can be nourished
by his presence, but he is not going to make any direct effort.
Indirectly... if you can drink out of his presence you are welcome,
but he will not call you forth, he will not seek and search for you.
The arhata insists that nobody
can help anybody else at all. The very idea of helping others is
based on wrong foundations. You can help only yourself. It may occur
to the ordinary mind that the arhata is very selfish. But if you
look without any prejudice, perhaps he also has something immensely
important to declare to the world: Even helping the other is an
interference in his life, in his lifestyle, in his destiny, in his
future. Hence, arhatas don't believe in any compassion. Compassion
to them is another beautiful desire to keep you tethered to the
world of attachments. It is another name -- beautiful, but still
just a name for a desiring mind.
The arhata insists on
individuality and its absolute freedom. Even for the sake of good,
nobody can be allowed to interfere in anybody else's life. Hence the
moment he becomes enlightened, the arhata does not accept disciples,
he never preaches, he never helps in any way. He simply lives in his
ecstasy. If somebody on his own can drink out of his well he will
not prevent him, but he will not send an invitation to you. If you
come to him on your own accord and sit by his side and drink his
presence, and get on the path, that is your business. If you go
astray, he will not stop you.
The arhatas are those sannyasins
who have arrived but are not interested in helping others to arrive.
Buddhism has a special name for them: arhata -- the lonely traveler
who arrives and then disappears into the ultimate. And the
bodhisattvas are those who have arrived but they feel a great
compassion for those who have not yet arrived. The bodhisattva is an
arhata with compassion. He holds on, goes on looking back and goes
on calling forth those who are still stumbling in darkness. He is a
helper, a servant of humanity.
The arhata leans more towards
meditation. The path of the arhata is of pure meditation, and the
path of the bodhisattva is that of pure love. The pure love contains
meditation, and the pure meditation contains love -- but the pure
meditation contains love only as a flavor, a perfume; it is not the
central force in it. And the pure love contains meditation as a
perfume; it is not the center of it.
The arhata is a mystic; he has
known, he has realized, but he is utterly unconcerned about others.
He has found the way. He has reached his home and he does not care
about others who are seeking and searching, because his
understanding is that if they seek and search authentically they
will find the way themselves. And if they are not true seekers,
nobody can make them true seekers; hence no help is needed. The
arhata does not help anyone. He has traveled alone and he knows
everybody has to travel alone. When Buddha became enlightened
himself, his first idea was to become an arhata. For seven days he
remained absolutely silent, not saying a single word.
An arhata also helps in his own
way; without helping he helps -- by his presence. He remains in his
silence, he lives his ordinary life without telling anybody
anything, without manifesting his experience, without expressing his
joy. He lives joyously, but he makes no deliberate effort to
communicate. Still, a few sensitive souls will be attracted to him.
They will start following him silently, they will sit by his side.
He will not say anything; they will listen to his silence. If he has
arrived then there is an aura around him; they will be nourished by
this aura. If he has found his home there will be such peace
radiating that you will be bathed in it, you will be blessed to be
with him. He will be able to help you only indirectly.
Buddha says: Mostly it happens
that fifty percent of the enlightened ones are arhatas and fifty
percent are bodhisattvas. That's how nature keeps its balance on
every plane. So don't be worried if you feel one day that you have
arrived, but there is no desire to help anybody; then don't force
it. Forcing it will be ugly, will be violent, will be destructive.
If it is not there it is not there. Then God is happy with you as
The ARHATA and the BODHISATTVA
are both enlightened; there is no difference between their
experience, but the arhata is not a Master and the BODHISATTVA is a
Master. The ARHATA has attained to the same truth but he is
incapable of teaching it, because teaching is a totally different
Arhatas are called hinayana, a
little boat in which one man can row and go to the other side. Of
course he reaches the other shore. And bodhisattvas he has called
the mahayana; it is a great ship in which thousands of people can
move to the other shore. The other shore is the same, but the
bodhisattva helps many. The arhata is not articulate; he is a
simple, nice, utterly humble person, but will not utter a single
word of what he has attained. It is too much for him to say
anything. He is completely contented, why should he speak?
The arhata seems to be a little
hard. His understanding is: "Just as I have found my enlightenment,
so everybody should find their own enlightenment. Why should I
interfere into anybody's sleep?" He has a point. His understanding
is that this goes against compassion. Somebody is sleeping and
snoring, having beautiful dreams, and you unnecessarily push and
pull the man. You wake him and tell him, "Become enlightened, become
awake. All that you are seeing is only a dream. Don't be lost in
dreams." But certainly it is a kind of interference, poking your
nose into somebody's affairs. The arhata has a point but it looks a