One professor of Jerusalem University went to see Jesus. Of course, he went in the night. His name was Nicodemus; he was a very rich, respectable man, a great scholar, well known in the Jewish world. He was afraid to go to Jesus in the daylight, because what will people think? He was known to be a great, learned man, wise—what will they think? That he has gone to this carpenter’s son to ask something? He was older than Jesus— could almost have been Jesus’ father. No, it was not possible for him to go in the daylight. Cunning and clever, he went in the night when there was nobody else.
And Jesus asked him, “Why didn’t you come in the day?” He said, “I was afraid.” Jesus must have laughed. He said, “Nicodemus, for what have you come? What do you want of me?” He said, “I would like to know how I can know God, how I can know the truth.” Jesus said, “You will have to be reborn.”
Nicodemus could not understand. Jokingly he said, “What do you mean? Have I to enter again into a woman’s womb? Are you joking or something? Are you kidding or something?” Jesus said, “No, I mean it— I mean what I say. You have to be reborn. You are such a coward. This is not life people live; it is a mere echo of the real. You don’t have any courage. You will have to be reborn! You will have to become a new man, because only that new man can come to truth and realize it. Even to see me you have come in the night. How will you be able to go and see the truth? How will you encounter God? You will have to go naked. You will have to go in deep humility. You will have to drop all your respectability, all your scholarship. You will have to drop your ego — that’s what to be born again means.”
The first birth is only a physical birth; don’t be satisfied with it. It is necessary but not enough. A second birth is needed. The first birth was through your mother and father; the second birth is going to be out of the mind and a subtle transformation of the subconscious. You have to slip out of the mind and that will be your rebirth—you will be reborn. And, for the first time, trees will be greener than they are, and flowers will be more beautiful than they are, and life will be more alive than you have ever known it, because you can know it only to the extent that you are alive. You cannot know life if you are not alive. Whatsoever you are, you know life only up to that extent.
The mind, and ego’s hold on you, is the real imprisonment, not the physical world. Get rid of the mind. The question is not how to know truth; the question is how to get rid of the mind, how to get rid of this constant ignoring, this inconceivable ignorance; how to be just here naked, throbbing, streaming, flowing, overflowing, and meeting the truth that has already been there, that has always been there. This is the greatest secret of all times: that one cannot see the truth with the same eyes that have for long fallen for the deceptive allure of the false.