Meaning of the Christian cross: two lines, one horizontal, one vertical….
A few things are to be understood. Whenever a Jesus happens, he is absolutely fresh and virgin. He does not come from the past; he comes from above. That is the Hindu meaning of avatar: he descends. He is not part of the chain. He is not horizontal; he is vertical.
Whenever YOU become alert and aware, immediately your whole being turns. Then you are no more horizontal; suddenly you find yourself vertical. If a man is lying down and fast asleep, he is horizontal. Sleep is horizontal. It is very difficult to stand and sleep — you have to lie down. That is the most comfortable position. If you try to sleep standing up, it will be almost impossible. Sleep is horizontal, unconsciousness is horizontal. But when a man awakes, he sits, he stands up, he becomes vertical. Take it symbolically.
The same happens in the inner world. When a man is unconscious, unaware, he is horizontal; his consciousness is horizontal. When he becomes alert, aware, conscious, he stands. Then the consciousness becomes vertical.
And this is the meaning of the Christian cross: two lines, one horizontal, one vertical. The horizontal line is of unconsciousness and the vertical line is of consciousness. The horizontal line you can call ‘of matter’, the vertical ‘of consciousness’; the horizontal line, the world, the MAYA; and the vertical, the God, the BRAHMA.
The cross is very, very significant and multi-dimensional. You must have seen Jesus on the cross. Have you observed that his hands are on the horizontal line and his whole body on the vertical? Why? — because doing is horizontal and being is vertical. Hands are just representatives of doing. Whatsoever you do, you do with matter. Whatsoever you do, becomes part of the world. Whatsoever you do, moves into history. Whatsoever you do, becomes part of time; it becomes horizontal.
But whatsoever you are — the pure being — is not part of the world. It may be in the world, but it is not of the world. It penetrates the world. That’s why Hindus have given it a beautiful name — AVATAR. It comes down from above. Like a ray of light it penetrates the darkness. The ray may be in the darkness, but it is not of the darkness. It comes from above.
Zen says that by doing, you cannot attain, because whatsoever you do will move outwards. That’s why Zen says even meditation is not to be done — one has to be meditative. Prayer cannot be done; one has to be prayerful. Love cannot be done; one has to be loving. The difference is between doing and being. When you are loving, it is part of the vertical. When you are meditative, it is part of the vertical. When you start meditating, it becomes horizontal.
All effort, all doing has to cease. That is the meaning of Jesus’ hands on the horizontal line. And the whole, except the hands, is on the vertical. Except for what you do, all your being is part of God. Whatsoever you do is part of the world.
But only hands arc seen. If I don’t do anything, I will become invisible. You will not be able to see me. Not that you will not see me, but you will not recognize me. If I don’t do anything, I will be as if I am not; because you know only one criterion: that something should be done.
That’s why in your books of history, Buddhas are just footnotes; not more than that. That, too, seems to be a concession. Alexanders, Napoleons, they make history; Buddhas? — just footnotes. You are so kind towards them that you allow them a small space, a few lines. But they don’t become the main part of history because you ask, “What have they done?” And if Buddha is there, and Jesus is there, that too is because they have done something — maybe not much, but something.
There have been Buddhas who have completely disappeared — they have not even left a ripple in the history. Buddha himself talks about twenty-four Buddhas who preceded him. History does not know anything about them. They may have been absolutely silent people, people of being. Nothing is known about them, because how can you know if they don’t DO anything? GUNDAS are known — hooligans. Sages become invisible, because unless you do something, you don’t leave a trace.
The more you DO, the more the horizontal line receives you. The more you ARE, you disappear. You only see hands; you don’t see anything else.