Dismantle the ego
IS EMPATHY THE CURRENT THAT BRINGS ABOUT THE AWARENESS OF OUR EACH AND EVERY RELATEDNESS, AND VICE VERSA?
The experience of empathy is very rare. You know what sympathy means, you also know what apathy means; but empathy you do not know.
Sympathy and apathy are opposed to each other. Empathy is beyond both. To help you understand it, let me tell you an incident in Ramakrishna's life.
He was in a boat, going to the other shore of the Ganges near Calcutta. And just out of nowhere - he was surrounded by his disciples - he started screaming, "Don't beat me!" Tears started flowing from his eyes, and one could see that his body was getting distorted as if somebody was beating him badly. The disciples could see nobody there, but he was in immense torture.
When they reached to the other shore, they found a fisherman with a big crowd surrounding him. He had been beaten by a few people. And the strangest thing was that the same bruises and scratches that had come up on his back, had come up on Ramakrishna's back too - exactly the same.
It was a very mysterious phenomenon. They asked Ramakrishna what it was. He said, "This is empathy. You feel so one with the other that your separate identities lose their boundaries. The other's thirst becomes your thirst, the other's hunger becomes your hunger, the other's joy becomes your joy. The other is no longer other: some secret passage has opened between two beings, a deep connectedness."
Man has forgotten about empathy completely, but he knows about sympathy. Sympathy is not something great. When somebody is in misery you sympathize; but if you look inside you will find you are feeling great because you are not in misery, somebody else is. At least in this situation you are superior. You can sympathize - you can afford it.
Apathy is your everyday experience. You pass people as if they don't exist. The servant comes in your room - you don't wave at him, you don't smile at him. You don't even take any note that somebody has come in the room. You remain exactly the same as you were before - no recognition of the other's existence. This is your everyday experience.
Sympathy once in a while - when somebody goes bankrupt, when somebody's house is burned, the whole neighborhood is sympathetic. And these are the same people who were jealous of his beautiful house. How can it be? The same people who were jealous of his beautiful house suddenly have become so sympathetic because his house is burned. It is a mask; underneath they are feeling great joy, this was the day they were waiting for. His beautiful house was continuously a torture for their heart. Now, sympathizing with the man, they are in a higher position. They are really feeling good.
So remember perfectly well, whenever you sympathize with somebody - watch the inner workings of your mind; it is not friendly. It is not out of your goodness, out of your compassion, but just the opposite. It is your hate, your jealousy, your violence - but now there is no need to show it, the man is finished on his own. Now you can have this beautiful experience and a good night's sleep by sympathizing with him, by being a real Catholic. Sympathy is not a great quality. It is phony.
Apathy is inhuman. And remember, when you are apathetic towards anybody, your heart is becoming harder. You are not doing any harm to the person, you are simply being self-destructive.
The more apathetic you are, the more your heart will lose its great qualities. It will become just a pumping mechanism for breathing, but not a bridge for feeling.
Empathy has almost disappeared from human beings. It is certainly the only quality that joins you with the life current within other human beings, animals, trees - with the whole existence. It is pure religiousness. But no religion teaches empathy. All religions teach is sympathy, and sympathy is not the real thing.
But in animals and in trees, empathy is still pure, alive. There have been experiments on animals....
A child of some animal is taken deep into the ocean. The mother is on the shore, miles away; but when they start torturing the child, the mother starts feeling the same - the way Ramakrishna did. When they stop torturing the child, the mother stops being tortured. There is some connection between the mother and the child, which, even miles away, remains - some invisible connection.
The child has been in the mother's womb for nine months. He is nothing but an extension of the mother. Whatever he has is the gift of his mother; his blood, his bones, his flesh, his very life is ninety-nine percent from the mother, only one percent from the father.
The father does not feel empathy, but the mother feels it. The experiments have been done thousands of miles away, and still it has affected the mother. The father remains unaffected. The father is really not a relative; he has performed just an arbitrary function. Any syringe could have done it - but syringes don't feel empathy. The father is an unnatural institution.
The mother's situation is totally different. The child is her own extension. Every small thing that has happened in the nine months when the child was in the mother's womb has affected the child, even the dreams of the mother. If she was sad, the child was sad, because he was just part of her. If she was happy, the child was happy.
If you see this whole world so sad, so unhappy, so miserable, one of the reasons is that mothers are not aware when they are pregnant that they are carrying a tremendous responsibility: they are going to create a new being. Now it is not only a question of themselves, somebody else is growing within them; and they should be alert not to get into fights, into anger, into hatred, into jealousies. They should listen to great music, they should read great poetry. They should see nature and its beauty.
At least for nine months they should be as silent and meditative as possible. This will change two lives! The child will come in the world with a rejoicing heart; and nine months of silence and meditativeness, music and poetry, is certainly going to change the mother too. It is going to be mutual. She will be grateful to the child her whole life, the child will be grateful to her - and this link continues, there is no way to cut it.
But this is a natural phenomenon. In animals it has not been disturbed, but in man it has been utterly disturbed. Even in trees it exists. It has been found... now there are scientific experiments available: there are certain mechanisms like cardiograms which can be attached to a tree, and the cardiograms start making the graph of how the tree is feeling right now. An early morning sun, a beautiful breeze, the whole night's rest, birds singing - it is paradise; and there is a tremendous harmony in the cardiogram, the graph is harmonious.
Then you tell the gardener to come with an axe to cut one of the branches of the tree. The gardener comes with the axe - and he is far away, but the graph starts going berserk, it loses its harmony.
The branch has not been cut yet; cutting it is only in the mind of the gardener, but even with the mind of the gardener the tree has a certain relatedness.
The scientist runs to the gardener and says, "There is no need to cut the tree, but still come with the axe."
Now the mind of the gardener is changed; he is not to cut the branch, just to bring the axe. Everything on the outside is the same, but the graph immediately comes back to its harmony.
And the most surprising thing is - this is quite mysterious - this sensitivity of the tree is far more than that of human beings. Even thoughts are affecting it. It is so receptive that even small waves of thoughts passing by it are caught in its net of sensitivity.
But even more surprising is, when they have attached the instruments to another tree, they were surprised to know that when the gardener was instructed to go and cut a branch of the first tree, even a second tree, which was not going to be cut, lost its harmony. That means it is not only sensitive to the gardener's mind, it is also sensitive to the neighboring tree. Its neighboring tree is going to be cut - that hurts it. And when the gardener was stopped, the chaotic pattern of the graph disappeared from both trees. They were in tune and in harmony.
Man thinks he has evolved. In certain ways, yes, but in certain other ways he has lost much. His evolution is only of reason, intellect, but he has lost, on the way, his heart. And the heart is the most significant thing. A thousand and one rationalities cannot give you that which a single heart full of sensitivity can give you.
Empathy is relating to people through the heart. But this is possible only if the mind is silent, if there are no thoughts in the mind and it gives way, opens the door to the heart. But ordinarily you are so full of thoughts there is no way to be sensitive.
Even when you love someone, you say, "I think I have fallen in love." That too, is a thought: you think. Your love is also dependent on your thinking. You cannot do anything directly from the heart.
Your mind has been trained, educated, conditioned in every possible way and your heart has been ignored in every possible way. By and by, you have forgotten that the heart is far more valuable than the mind. Your mind has become everything.
The heart is not a Christian, is not a Hindu, is not a Mohammedan, is not a communist - but the mind is. Different ideologies make the mind different. The mind is American, the mind is Russian, the mind is Indian, the mind is Chinese. But the heart? Have you ever thought about the heart? Is the heart also American, Indian, Russian? The heart knows no boundaries, but it has been put into a state of nonfunctioning.
Your whole energy has been diverted by the educational system, by religious teaching, by political ideologies. It has been forced to go directly to the head and bypass the heart. Slowly slowly you start living without the heart. And to live without the heart is not to live at all.
The head is only a mechanism, a biocomputer. And soon there will be better computers than the greatest genius' head. It is already not of much use. A mathematical problem that Albert Einstein could solve in three or four days' arduous work can be solved by the computer in a single second.
Soon you will see that the head is being replaced by the computer.
That's how things change in the world. Machines replace human beings because they function better. They don't go on strike, they don't make unions, they don't demand more wages. They simply go on working day in, day out; they don't even need rest. And they produce a thousand times more than man can. Naturally, man is being replaced everywhere by machines, technology.
The day is not very far away when you will be paid if you are ready to remain unemployed. If you insist on employment you will not be paid. You can't have both the things together, employment and pay. If you remain unemployed you can be paid.
Naturally, people cannot live only with employment, they need the necessities of life; they will choose to remain unemployed and receive the pay. But the implications are very great. When millions of people are unemployed, have nothing to do, there is bound to be more crime, more rapes, more divorces, more thefts, more murders, more suicides.
Man cannot just sit - unless he happens to be a sannyasin. Either people will have to learn to sit silently, doing nothing, and let the grass grow by itself, or they will be a constant nuisance to each other.
Mind is already finished. Man has to evolve a new system of education which directs his energies towards the heart. Machines cannot have hearts, the computers cannot have hearts. The computers cannot fall in love with each other, nor can they elope with somebody's wife.
The heart knows something which the mind is not aware of. It knows the way of empathy. The heart can connect itself to the whole existence. And that will bring it great ecstasies, immense joy - as if constantly flowers go on showering on you from nowhere.
Your question is significant, but I don't think you understand what you have asked; empathy is not your experience. Once in a while lovers, great lovers, have felt it. Once in a while great disciples and masters have felt it.
Gautam Buddha had a disciple, Ananda, who remained with him till his very last breath - almost forty-two years without a single break, day in, day out, twenty-four hours a day. His relationship with Gautam Buddha was not of the mind. The relationship between the master and the disciple has not to be of the mind. If it is of the mind, then it is the relationship between teacher and student. If it is of the heart, then it is the relationship of master and disciple.
Slowly slowly their hearts came closer, became almost one. It is said that before Buddha asked for water, Ananda was ready. Before Buddha said that he was feeling cold, Ananda was already bringing the blanket. A very underground way had opened - no need to say anything.
Many times Buddha would say, "Ananda, why have you brought this water? I had not asked you."
Ananda said, "It does not matter whether you ask or not, I felt the thirst, that my master is thirsty; I felt my master is cold. I don't know how, because it is not a question of my mind. Just the feeling - and so strong a feeling that I cannot go against it. If you are not thirsty, don't drink."
Buddha laughed and he said, "No. I was just inquiring how you managed to know it. I was feeling thirsty, I was just going to say. I was feeling cold, and I was just going to say - but you don't allow me even to say a thing!" Even in the night - if Gautam Buddha was not able to sleep because there were mosquitoes, Ananda could not sleep either. The moment Buddha awoke in the morning - exactly, simultaneously, immediately, Ananda awoke.
With lovers it has happened that before your beloved says something you know it. It is already heard by you, although it has not been said.
So only in very rare cases is empathy still alive. But it has been a great loss to humanity. It is because of the loss of empathy that we have become unspiritual beings. It has to be regained.
Getting it back will give you a totally new, luminous existence. And then you will not feel as an island apart from everybody else, but just part of an infinite continent. And just to feel it is so relaxing, to feel that you are one with the trees, and one with the rivers, and one with the stars. Then for the first time you will know what beauty is, what bliss is, what life is. All that you have to do is to behead yourself.
Meditation is nothing but a subtle way of beheading! Your head remains in its place, but loses all its content, becomes hollow. When the head is empty, the heart is full. When the head is full, the heart is empty, because you have only that much energy. You can't have both. Up to now, humanity has chosen the head. And you can see the consequence: the whole earth has become a madhouse.
My sannyasins have to change the whole direction of their life force towards the heart. And then you will see a new intensity, a new totality - something that was so close and yet of which you were unaware.
Empathy is an experience of the heart. Yes, it is the life current, it is life itself.
FOR CENTURIES THE BRITISH BOBBY, WITH NO GUN, ONLY A SMALL TRUNCHEON, HAS BEEN A SYMBOL OF THE RESPECT FOR LAW AND ORDER IN A CIVILIZED COUNTRY. NOW RIOTERS ARE ATTACKING THE POLICE WITH SHOTGUNS AND GAS BOMBS. IN THE LATEST RIOT TWO HUNDRED POLICEMEN WERE WOUNDED AND ONE KILLED WITH A HATCHET. A SENIOR OFFICER SAID, "THIS IS NOT ENGLAND, THIS IS MADNESS. THEY ARE USING MY MEN FOR TARGET PRACTICE."
WHAT IS CAUSING THIS SURGE OF VIOLENCE AGAINST LAW AND ORDER? COULD IT HAPPEN IN AMERICA?
It is going to happen everywhere. But before we discuss it, a few of your misconceptions have to be completely dropped.
You say England was a very cultured society.... England has been the greatest empire in the world, it has exploited millions of people as barbariously as possible. And you call England a cultured, a civilized country? It looked civilized, because all its barbariousness was being expressed all around the earth in the British empire. All ugly people were sent - in the armies, in the civil services, as governors, as governor-generals - outside England. And the empire was vast. It was said the sun never sets on the British empire and it was true. Somewhere or other the sun was still there in the British empire.
So it had a very simple way of sending the barbarious elements to the empire, to torture people, to kill people, and to bring all the riches from the whole world to England. Naturally, when all the riches were available to England, there was no need for riots, no need to fight. England had the best universities - Oxford, Cambridge and others.
England has done so many ugly acts that you will not be able to believe it. India - which was the biggest part of England's empire - was one of the ancientmost countries on the earth. It had its own developed craftsmen, arts. For example, they used to make such thin cloth in Dacca, in Bengal, that you could cover a whole elephant with the cloth and still you could pass the whole cloth through a small finger ring, it was so thin. Thousands of years of craftsmanship.... Even if you had seven layers of it on your body, you would still be seen as naked. Millions of people were involved in creating that kind of cloth. The Britishers were in a difficulty. They cut the hands of millions of craftsmen so that they could sell Manchester cloth in India - and you call England a civilized, cultured country?
In one place in Punjab, there is a public park, Jalianwala Bagh. It has only one entrance. They were having a peaceful meeting - almost one hundred thousand men, women and children inside the park, which has eight-foot-tall walls all around, and just a single small gate. A British general fixed a machine gun on the gate and ordered the people to vacate the park within ten minutes. Now, that was impossible; it was a walled garden, people could not get out of it, and the gate was already closed, with the machine gun fixed. The name of the general was Dyer. And after ten minutes he started shooting absolutely innocent people, who had not done anything. Within minutes there were only corpses of children, women, men - one hundred thousand. It was such a blatant, cruel act.
What punishment did General Dyer get? Only one punishment: he was sent back to England. You kill one hundred thousand people for no reason, and this is a cultured and civilized country?
People in England were rich, not because they had produced the riches, but because they had exploited the whole empire. They squeezed the last drop of blood from countries like India. Of course, England was happy - at the cost of millions of people dying in poverty. You have taken all their gold, silver, their diamonds, their mines. You have taken everything from them.
And England is a small country, not big enough even to be compared to a state in India. India consists of thirty states now - British India was even bigger, because now Pakistan is separate, Bangladesh is separate. But even now India is thirty times bigger than England.
England was a parasite. Of course, the British behaved well, they were very cultured; they were ladies and they were gentlemen. And what were they doing around the world? They never considered other human beings equal to them. All other human beings, whom they were exploiting and on whose blood they were living, were treated like animals.
All these riches pouring in from all over the world made England really beautiful, rich, educated, cultured. But now the empire has disappeared. Now England is going down the drain. And now all those people whom England has trained to kill and murder are turning upon their own people. Every action has its reaction. You cannot escape from the basic laws of life. England will have to suffer.
You are asking me: Why is it that there were no riots in England before, and now hundreds of people are being killed, policemen are being killed?
There will be more riots, because England has become accustomed to all the riches which are no longer coming. It has become accustomed to having all the luxuries without producing them. Now from where can it get all those riches? Now it is the darkest and the most dismal country on the earth. But that's how existence functions. If you do something wrong, you are bound to suffer. If you do something right, existence is very rewarding.
England has done so much wrong in the past three hundred years that it seems difficult for it even to survive. All that glory and glamor was borrowed, stolen; forcibly, violently taken away from others. Now that glory is gone; those beautiful days have become dreams. People are unemployed.
England is becoming every day poorer and poorer. And the people have become accustomed to being violent, violent with others, in the past; now they will be violent with themselves, with their own. It is absolutely natural, and absolutely justified.
It is going to happen to all those countries which have been living on exploitation, whose culture depends on somebody else's blood. It is bound to happen. It is simply the law of life. You cannot go on against the law for long. Sooner or later it takes you over.
Now England is just a pauper country. And there is no way to create the empire again, those days are gone. England will suffer much violence in the future from its own people. It has done that violence to other people; the ghosts of all those people will follow it.
England has no future. Darkness and more darkness.... And all that old nonsense of being cultured and civilized is already disappearing; the barbarious reality is showing its face. This is going to happen almost everywhere, for different reasons.
For example, in India only ten families have half the income and money of the whole country. Ten families have money equal to that of eight hundred million people! How long can you manage such a state? Eight hundred million people are going, sooner or later, to destroy these families. The money belongs to them, they have produced it - and they are dying, their children don't have milk, their parents don't have medicine. It is going to happen everywhere. Reasons may be different, but everywhere violence is going to erupt like volcanoes.
You are asking me: Can this happen in America too? If it cannot, it should. It is a strange country.
The people to whom the land belongs have been forced to live in reservations - the Red Indians - and the people who are ruling the country and have become the owners of the country are all foreigners.
This is the only country where the people of the land don't bother at all about freedom, don't think at all that they have been enslaved, that their beautiful country has been taken away by foreigners.
And the foreigners have some nerve!
We have been here for four years. I came with a legal visa, I am here legally. It is up to them to decide, and they are such chickens they cannot decide either yes or no. They don't want to say yes. They are afraid - and rightly afraid, because I can prove very dangerous! They cannot say no, because the moment they say no, the whole file moves from their hands, and I go to the court.
And it is not only a question of my green card; I will make it a question of freedom for the native Americans. I will ask the Supreme Court, "If you have any sense of justice, if you have any respect for your Constitution, then no foreigner can be in the government. Red Indians should form the government. And all the foreigners should apply for citizenship. If their forefathers committed a sin, forget all about it; they are gone and there is no way to punish them. But they have left generations behind which are answerable. And if the Red Indians want you to be here, you can be here; otherwise, just get back to your own countries."
And if Red Indians are in the government, the possibility of a third world war simply disappears, because Red Indians will not be at all interested, or even ready for a third world war. They will not pile up nuclear weapons - they cannot create them.
And all the foreigners who call themselves Americans have taken it for granted that this is their country. Sheer bullshit! They can ask for refuge, they can ask the Red Indians to be allowed to live here - but they cannot live here as masters. Enough is enough.
There is an old prophecy of the Red Indians - they have informed me, and I said perhaps it is right - that somebody from the East will come and deliver them from their slavery. Perhaps I have come!
WHAT IS THE EGO? IT SEEMS A COMPLEMENTARY QUESTION TO "WHO AM I?" AND AS MUCH A KOAN.
The ego is just the opposite of your real self. The ego is not you. The ego is the deception created by the society so that you can continue playing with the toy and never ask about the real thing. That's why my insistence that unless you drop the ego, you will never come to know yourself.
When you were born you had your authentic self. Then they started creating a false self: you are Christian, you are Catholic, you are white, you are German and you are the chosen race of God, you are supposed to rule over the world, and so on and so forth. They create a false idea who you are. They give you a name and around the name they create ambitions, conditionings.
And by and by - because it takes almost one-third of your life - they work on your ego through the school, through the church, college, university.... By the time you come back home from the university you have forgotten completely your innocent being. You are now a very big ego with a gold medal, first class, topping the university. Now you are ready to go into the world.
This ego has all the desires, ambitions, wants to be always on the top of everything. You are exploited by this ego. And this never allows you even a glimpse of your real authentic self, and your life is there, in your authenticity. Hence, this ego only produces misery, suffering, fighting, frustration, madness, suicide, murder - all kinds of crime.
A seeker of truth has to begin from this very point: that whatever you have been told by the society you are, discard it. Certainly you are not it, because nobody can know who you are except yourself - neither your parents, nor your teachers, nor your priests. Except yourself, nobody can enter into the privacy of your being. So nobody knows about you; whatever they have said about you is all wrong.
Put it aside. Dismantle the whole ego! In destroying the ego, you will discover your being. And that discovery is the greatest discovery possible, because it starts a totally new pilgrimage towards ultimate bliss, towards eternal life.
You can choose: either frustration, suffering, misery - then go on holding the ego, nourishing it. Or peace, silence, bliss - but then you have to recover your innocence.
IS SYNCHRONICITY THE VERY LAW OF LIFE?
It is exactly the same as empathy. It is a scientific name for empathy - synchronicity. There is no difference between the two.
CAN YOU SORT OUT THE BIG PEAS, THE SMALL PEAS, AND THE MIDDLE PEAS?
It is a difficult problem. First I have to tell you the story from which the question has arisen.
In the second world war, one of the German professors of philosophy was recruited into the army.
He was not willing, but you know, Germany is Germany: willing or not willing.... From higher up orders were that everybody had to be recruited, the whole of Germany had to become a military camp; only then can you conquer the world.
The poor philosopher said many times, "I am of no use," but nobody listened to him. The first day, early in the morning, he was to learn marching, and the colonel ordered, "Left turn," but he remained standing still. Everybody else turned left.
The colonel knew that he was a philosopher, was bound to be a crank. He could not even turn left.
But the colonel thought, "I will see him later on." Then he went on saying, "Turn right... backward...
forward..." and the philosopher just remained standing in his place, as he was. Finally, the line came back to its old position. The colonel asked the professor, "Why didn't you follow the orders?"
The professor said, "What is the point? If all these people, after all these left turns and right turns and backwards and forwards, have to come to the same place where I am already standing, I don't see the point. And as far as I am concerned, I cannot do anything unless I have a reason to do it.
You simply said, 'Left turn.' I thought it over. I could not find any reason why - why should I turn left?
In the whole world there is no reason for me to turn left, or right, or go back, or come forward. This is all stupid!"
The colonel reported to the higher authorities, and they said, "What to do with this man?... because he cannot be trained if he asks about everything, 'Why?'" In the army you are not supposed to ask why.
The general knew about the professor; he was a famous man. He said, "Don't torture that poor man.
Put him in the mess and give him some small work."
So he was put in the mess, and given some small work. He was given a pile of peas and told, "You have to sort it out: small peas on one side, big peas on the other side."
After one and a half hours, the officer came back. The professor was sitting exactly as he left him, and the peas were also sitting exactly as he had left them. The officer asked, "What is the matter?
Can't you do even that?"
The professor said, "It is such a philosophical matter. I have been pondering over it for one and a half hours. It is good - big peas on this side, small peas on this side. But what about the middle ones? And unless I am clear about everything, I don't take a single step!"
And you are asking me how much time it will take for me to sort out big peas from small peas. I don't think I can manage it, for the simple reason that I have to go to pee right now!