Jealousy: society's device to divide and rule
WHAT IS JEALOUSY? DOES OUR JEALOUSY SHOW THAT WE ARE VERY FAR FROM ALONENESS?
SOCIETY has exploited the individual in so many ways that it is almost impossible to believe.
It has created devices so clever and cunning that it is almost impossible even to detect that they are devices. These devices are to exploit the individual, to destroy his integrity, to take away from him all that he has got - without even creating a suspicion in him, even a doubt about what is being done to him.
Jealousy is one of those tremendously powerful devices.
From the very childhood every society, every culture, every religion teaches everybody comparison.
And the child is bound to learn it. He is just a tabula rasa, a blank paper without any writing; so whatsoever the parents, the teachers, the priests write on him, he starts believing that is his destiny, it is his fate.
Man comes into existence with all the doors open, all directions available; all the dimensions are for him to choose. But before he can choose, before he can be, before he can even feel his being, he is spoiled. And spoiled by those who think they love him - crushed, crippled, conditioned with all the good intentions in the world.
But what can you expect from good intentions?
You are poisoning somebody with good intentions.
I know that you are not aware that you are poisoning them, because you have been poisoned in your turn and this has been going on since Adam and Eve.
What did God the father do to Adam and Eve? He deserves to be called father; whether He exists or not does not matter, but He deserves to be called father because He fulfilled all the conditions of being a father. His orders were to the children, Adam and Eve, His creation, "You are not to eat from two trees the tree of knowledge and the tree of eternal life." And this man you call father?
He is preventing you from the two most important things! Nothing can be more important than the exploration of your life and its eternity. And without a tremendous enquiry into knowing, into wisdom, you are not going to figure out what life is, where it is moving.
God prohibits Adam and Eve from the most important things that make you an individual, that give you self-respect, that confer on you integrity, authenticity, beinghood. He wants you to remain ignorant forever. He wants you to be unaware of your own life source. Of course, this man is your father.
And since this great father, all the small fathers have been doing the same.
I cannot forgive God. I can forgive all the other, small fathers; they are poor people. They are doing to you what has been done to them, they are simply transferring their inheritance. What else can they do? But I cannot forgive God. He has no father. He cannot find the excuse, "Because it has been done to me I am doing it to them. I don't know any other way." No, it is His invention.
Because God does not exist the whole burden falls on the heads of the priests, the priesthood.
They have found ways to keep you away from yourself. And if you are away from yourself so many things are absolutely certain. You will remain miserable forever; from one misery to another misery, that is going to be your life.
Yes, you will be hoping that tomorrow things will be different, but tomorrow never comes and things go on getting worse. Yes, they are different, but not better. You are going down the drain every day.
But the hope keeps you alive, otherwise there is nothing to support you in even breathing for a single moment. Everything is missing, because you are missing. Even if everything is available, what is the point of it if you are not there?
Jealousy is one of the greatest devices.
Look at it very closely: what does it mean?
Jealousy means to live in comparison.
Somebody is higher than you, somebody is lower than you. You are always somewhere on a middle rung of the ladder. Perhaps the ladder is a circle because nobody finds the end of the ladder.
Everybody is stuck somewhere in the middle, everybody is in the middle. The ladder seems to be a round wheel.
Somebody is above you - that hurts. That keeps you fighting, struggling, moving by any means possible, because if you succeed nobody cares whether you have succeeded rightly or wrongly.
Success proves you are right; failure proves that you are wrong. All that matters is success, so any means will do. The end proves the means right. So you need not bother about means - and nobody does bother. The whole question is how to climb on up the ladder. But you never come to the end of it. And whosoever is above you is creating jealousy in you, that he has succeeded and you have failed.
One would think that spending your whole life passing from one ladder to another ladder, always finding that somebody is still ahead of you - can't you simply jump off the ladder? No, you cannot jump. The society is very cunning, very clever. It has polished, refined its methods over thousands of years. Why can't you get out of the circle? - because somebody is below you and that gives you tremendous satisfaction.
You see the strategy? Somebody is above you; that creates jealousy, misery, suffering, humiliation, a feeling of worthlessness, that you have not been able to prove your mettle, that you are not man enough. While others go on moving, you are stuck. It makes you feel just worthless, meaningless, useless, a burden on the earth and nothing more.
If only this was the case you would have jumped off the ladder and you would have told those people on the ladder to go wherever they want to go. But you cannot jump because there are people below you; as far as you can see there are rungs below you and rungs below them. That gives a great satisfaction, a great feeling that you have passed so many people; you are not absolutely useless.
You have proved that you have some strength of will and you are not a failure; these people under you are enough to prove it.
You are now in a dilemma:
Whenever you look upwards, a great misery descends on you; whenever you look downwards, a great satisfaction.
Now, how can you jump off the ladder? - because in jumping off it, you will be jumping from both, and nobody will be below you. Nobody will be above you, certainly, but nobody will be below you; and you will be left alone if you jump off.
Here on the ladder you are with everybody else, part of the society, culture, civilization - and it is only a question of a little more effort. And people go on telling you, "Bravo, go on! Don't be depressed, don't be pessimistic, remain optimistic. The night is not going to last forever." They go on saying to you, "When the night is darkest, the morning is the closest, so don't be afraid of the darkness, of failure." They will give you a thousand and one examples.
In my middle school I heard for the first time about a Mohammedan conqueror of India, Mahmud Gaznavi. He attacked India nineteen times and he was defeated eighteen times. When he was defeated the eighteenth time he was hiding in a cave, and he saw a spider trying to weave its net in the front of the cave. He was just hiding there with nothing to do, so he started looking at the spider and its efforts. It was raining, and the stones were very slippery. The spider went on falling; coincidentally he fell eighteen times but he succeeded on the nineteenth.
Mahmud suddenly became optimistic. He had been thinking to stop this foolish effort. Eighteen times... his whole life he has wasted, thousands of people have been killed to no purpose. He had been defeated again and again by a single man, Prithviraj Chauhan - who was on the border of India; he was the ruler of the frontier of India. Mahmud was never able to enter the country because just on the border he was defeated, and by a single man. It was really too much - he was thinking to commit suicide, because "I am no longer able to show my face to my people."
Mahmud was the king of his own kingdom, there was no need to invade India. But nothing satisfies, nothing is enough; it is always less than you want, and there is always much more that is available.
He had a small kingdom, and just by its side was this vast country, India. It was immensely rich at that time - it was called the Golden Bird in those days - because the population was very small, only twenty million people. Now there are more than seven hundred million people. That was at the last count; right now there must be nearabout eight hundred million.
It is estimated that by the end of this century there will be one thousand million people; it will be the biggest country in the world. China will be left behind because China is controlling its birthrate very carefully. Right now the population is ahead of India, but by the end of the century it is going to be left behind. At least in one thing India will be the Olympic winner.
When it was a country of only twenty million people, naturally it was rich. There was no reason for anybody to be poor. So much land, so much gold - there was more of everything than anybody needed. It attracted invaders, obviously. Continually for three thousand years, India has been attracting invaders. Now anybody is trying to invade India; in fact the last invaders, the Britishers, found finally that they had sucked India totally, there was nothing left.
Then it was more of a liability than an empire. You had to take care of so many poor people, otherwise you were blamed; you had to take care of so many criminals, otherwise you were blamed.
For everything that went wrong the empire was blamed because it was your enforced slavery that was causing every trouble.
This is not a valid argument. Mahatma Gandhi was very careful to remain always truthful, but about the basics he was not. It was not true to say to India that it was only because of the British Empire that all the problems were there. Because now - after'47 and up to'84 - although there has been no slavery and the country is free, it has fallen far more deeply into misery and suffering.
You will be surprised that since the British left India, the price of things has gone up seven hundred times. Today if you have seven hundred rupees, it is only worth what one rupee was worth in 1947.
So today, to earn seven hundred rupees - which is a big salary in India - is just like earning one rupee in 1947. It was not only the British Empire that was responsible for India's problems; for three thousand years so many people had been sucking India dry.
Mahmud gained confidence. He said, "If a small creature like a spider has such tremendous optimism... am I inferior to this spider? I will try one time more." And what a coincidence! - on the nineteenth time he succeeded. In fact he succeeded because Prithviraj Chauhan had simply dropped the idea that this man would have the courage to invade again. Eighteen times defeated...
with what face could he come back again?
So Prithviraj Chauhan simply dropped the idea that there was going to be any invasion. All the preparations that he had been making continually for the eighteen invasions were dropped. It was no longer an emergency. Mahmud was the only enemy on the borders of Prithviraj Chauhan's land - and he was crushed. Prithviraj Chauhan also thought, "In such a situation I would have committed suicide. Any man with just a little bit of self-respect would rather die than be defeated eighteen times." So he simply dropped the idea. The army was dispersed, sent back to work, and Mahmud invaded at a time when he was not expected at all. He won.
This story was told to me in my class by the teacher of history. He said, "This is the way one should be. Never be pessimistic. One never knows: if this time you fail, don't be worried; next time perhaps you will succeed, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. But never lose heart; to the last breath go on struggling."
I stood up and told my teacher, "Please forgive me. I think this man Mahmud was an idiot. In the first place, to invade somebody for no reason...." Those people had not committed any crime, and in fact they were powerful enough - they had defeated him eighteen times - to have invaded him. But Prithviraj Chauhan never went beyond his borders. He could have defeated Mahmud, thrown him out and come back. But he never invaded, otherwise it would have been the simplest thing to do.
If the enemy is defeated then why leave him his kingdom? He could have finished this man Mahmud in the first attack. He could have taken over his kingdom and there would have been no chance for Mahmud to attack again. But Prithviraj Chauhan was a man of far superior humanity; Mahmud was never attacked. Prithviraj Chauhan was told again and again by his prime minister and court people, The best way is to finish this man and take his kingdom. If you leave him, within two or three years he will again gather forces and be back, and again we wi]l have to fight. This is strange - why do you leave him be?"
But Prithviraj Chauhan said, "Those people of his kingdom have not done any wrong to us nor done any harm to us. How can I invade them? My army is not to invade countries, it is only for those rare moments when some fool attacks us. Then it is a defense force." He was a man of a sophisticated mind, a man who could see that this was stupid. He said, "Don't be worried. This man, sooner or later, is going to drop the idea."
I told my teacher, "Don't praise Mahmud in front of me and don't tell me,'He was such a great optimist and you should be like him.' I can forgive the spider, nobody expects a spider to have any intelligence, and I can certainly say that the spider was not counting the number of times that he had fallen. He may not have even been aware of what was happening."
Spiders, ants, and those kind of people - you throw them away, and by a strange logic they will immediately run back towards you. The whole room is available, but from wherever you throw them they will run back in exactly the same direction. What stubbornness! If they have some intelligence, at least that direction has to be avoided. It is possible for it to escape anywhere... but strange, you go on hitting a spider and it will come back again towards you.
"That spider was not counting, was not optimistic. This was just Mahmud's old ego finding some excuse again, finding some way to go to his people and say,'Don't be worried - perhaps this time we will win. And one never knows about tomorrow, so let us try once more.' But don't tell me that this Mahmud was an ideal person. To me he is an ugly man, just a spider. I don't count him among human beings. And if this is going to be taught in the history class, then it is not for me. You are teaching us in a clever way to fight, to destroy, to kill, to put others lower than ourselves."
Parents go on teaching from one's very childhood, "Look at our neighbor's boy - he has come first in the school. And what have you been doing for the whole year? Don't you have any intelligence?"
In the class they will be telling you the same. They will give gold medals to those who come first and top the whole school or the whole college or the whole university. My parents and my teachers in the school used to say, "You can easily be always at the top, but you never take any care about the examinations, you don't care about examinations."
This was my routine, that I would always go to the examination fifteen minutes late. This I followed my whole career in school, in college, at university; I would go fifteen minutes late. It was well known. The examiner knew that my seat had to be kept empty; I would be coming, but exactly fifteen minutes late. And I would leave the examination hall fifteen minutes before everybody else, before the end. The time allowed was three hours and I could see that the examination could be managed in two and a half hours; there was no need to waste half an hour more there.
The teacher, who was there looking after the students to see that they were not copying and not doing some mischief, that somebody was not concealing a book, would say, "There is no hurry; there are fifteen minutes left. Why are you finishing?"
I would say, "I have finished. I began fifteen minutes after the start and I finish fifteen minutes before the end. And it is going to be this way forever because I don't see that it needs three hours; in fact two and a half hours is more than enough. And I have far more important things to do."
They all said, "Why don't you care about the examination?"
I said, "For the simple reason that I don't want to be part of a jealous circle. I don't want to be in the game of comparison. It does not matter to me whether I pass or whether I fail; it will not make any difference to me. If I come first, good; if I come last, even better - because to be the first seems to me a little violent because you have taken somebody's joy. And to me it is not a joy at all so I am simply wasting the place; somebody else could have been there who is now second to me, and he would have immensely enjoyed it. Perhaps in the rest of his life he may not find anything else to enjoy, and this chance I have destroyed and I am not enjoying it anyway.
"So it will be better if I am last. At least I will have the solace that I have not spoiled anybody's career, I have not been violent, pushy; I have not tried to invade somebody else's space - nobody is behind me. And because there is nobody behind me, I cannot feel superior."
And there is the logic, simple logic: if you don't feel superior, you can't feel inferior. They both come together, they both go together. If you drop one, you cannot save the other. If you don't feel superior to anybody, how can you feel inferior to anybody? - you simply feel yourself But strange as it was, I almost always managed to be the first. My teachers were amazed, my parents were amazed: "This is strange. You never care about the examination. You don't go regularly to school even if you go, you are thrown out of the class, and you stand outside the class the whole day. You disappear from the school any time, any moment. You don't ask for permission from any teacher or the principal; you don't even inform them."
My simple way was: "I want to live my life - why should I ask anybody? They can do whatsoever they want to do. They can punish me, they can fine me, they can report me. I will bring the report to you, but that is between you and them; I have nothing to do with it. I simply do what I want to do."
When I was feeling so much like going to the river, I was not going to listen to a fool talking about some Mahmud who won on the nineteenth try, although he was defeated eighteen times. He was an ugly man. He didn't behave with Prithviraj the same way Prithviraj had behaved with him - Prithviraj never imprisoned him. Eighteen times Prithviraj defeated him but never imprisoned him, because he said, "Leave him to his kingdom. Why should we bother to imprison him? It is enough that he got defeated, that his army is finished. It's enough punishment."
But Mahmud was not a man, he was just animalistic. He caught Prithviraj Chauhan; not only that, he took out both his eyes. Prithviraj was a very beautiful man, and this was Mahmud's revenge for being defeated eighteen times: he blinded him.
But Prithviraj Chauhan was a great archer. His court poet, a friend, got imprisoned with him, knowingly, to help him. When Chauhan and this poet were brought into the court, Mahmud was sitting in the balcony high above. He was still afraid of this man although he was blind and chained.
What fear! But the man had defeated him eighteen times and thrown him out of the country, not even bothering to imprison him. Must have been a lion!
And the poet said to Mahmud, "You don't know Prithviraj. I would like to tell you that there is none in the whole world who is such a master of archery as Prithviraj is. Before you kill him, give him a chance to show his art."
But Mahmud said, "Now he is blind, how can he be a great archer? He may have been."
The poet said, "Don't be worried. He is such a great archer that just the sound is enough for him to hit the target." And all this talk was going on so that Prithviraj could figure out where Mahmud was sitting from the sound of his voice. And he killed Mahmud. Mahmud was thinking that he was going to show his skill in the art of archery but Prithviraj simply killed him from the sound, with an arrow exactly in the heart.
I was always thinking of all these people - Alexander the Great, Tamerlane, Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte. Why are you going to teach innocent children about these people? - to create in them the desire to be conquerors, to be rich, to be presidents, to be prime ministers - not to be themselves. Nobody teaches you to be yourself. You can be anybody, but just don't be yourself. And they create jealousy. Alexander the Great - what is great in that man? And why should you go on keeping alive the names of Nadirshah and Tamerlane and Genghis Khan? Just murderers, the greatest criminals the world has known.
Small criminals you go on putting to death, and the big criminals make your history.
I told my history teacher, "Your history is just a history of crime, and you are trying to make everybody a criminal. Can't you find some innocent human beings and talk about them and teach us that these were the real, authentic people?" But no, history is full of all these other people. All the history of the whole world needs to be flushed down the toilet, so that we can start from scratch. Then we can be ourselves - because no comparison will exist.
In the university, when my postgraduate examinations came along, my professor, who loved me immensely, was very concerned that I used to go fifteen minutes late and I used to leave fifteen minutes early - that it meant I might miss what was my right. I told him, "It is not my right to come first, to top the university, to have the gold medal. If I get the gold medal I will throw it into the university well immediately, immediately after the convocation, so the vice-chancellor and the whole procession of deans and professors and students - everybody - can come and see me dropping the gold medal in the well. I simply don't like the idea of people being put into categories: lower and higher, superior and inferior.... If it were in my hands people would simply be educated."
There is no need for examinations. What is the need of an examination? What have you been doing for two years - fooling around? What has the teacher been doing for two years? For two years the teacher has been teaching you, for two years you have been learning; that's enough. There is no need for an examination and there is no need to start putting people higher and lower. This is the beginning of comparison; they come from the university and they know where they are standing on the ladder.
So my teacher, Doctor S.K. Saxena, used to come to the hostel to pick me up. It was just a two- minute walk from my hostel to the examination hall, but he would come and pick me up in his car and force me to enter the examination hall exactly at seven. He would wait outside for three hours so that I could not get out fifteen minutes early. But I have my ways. First I would meditate for fifteen minutes, and at the end I would also meditate for fifteen minutes. The examiner said, "That poor fellow, your professor, is standing outside for three hours, and you have still managed...."
I said, "Don't tell him, because he will unnecessarily feel hurt. There is no need to tell. I will do my thing. What he wanted to do, he has done. I have not refused; I entered.... He said seven, I said okay. But how can I drop my whole life's way? For fifteen minutes I meditate, because this paper is not worth three hours, it is just for two and a half hours. And I have more important things to do.
Because I cannot go out, meditation is the best that I can do, so I will do that."
The examiner certainly told Doctor Saxena, "You are unnecessarily trying to force him. He won't do anything that he does not want to do."
Saxena asked, "Then what is he doing there?"
The man said, "He meditates for fifteen minutes. He did not even see the paper for fifteen minutes.
He put it upside down and meditated for fifteen minutes. Then he took his paper, looked at it, and just fifteen minutes, exactly fifteen minutes before the end he closed his copy and handed it over to me. He said, 'Now this is the time for my meditation.'"
Saxena said to me, "You are impossible! Missing half an hour? You will lose the gold medal."
I said, "Who cares about the gold medal? And if you are so interested you can give me a gold medal.
You want me to have a gold medal on my chest? give me a gold medal! You can manage it, you have enough money."
He said, "You don't understand; it is not just a question of a gold medal, it is a question of topping the whole university. It will make your career."
I said, "My career is going to be made by a gold medal? Do you think your examination is going to make my career?"
He said, "Yes, because if you come first then you can get... I have arranged everything - you will get a scholarship for a Ph.D. If you don't come first, you won't get it."
I said, "Finished! So I will not have the scholarship and I will not have the Ph.D. Who cares about your Ph.D.? What have you got? You have two Ph.D's, one D.Litt. What have you really got?
You cannot deceive me - you live a frustrated life, you have been defeated twice. You wanted to be elected dean of the arts faculty, but you could not win. And I know that you have wept over it, actually wept tears.
"You have fought for election as vice-chancellor, and you could not manage to get even twenty votes. Out of one thousand professors you got only twenty votes. Who is going to give votes for a professor of philosophy against a man who is a seasoned politician? He has been chief minister of the province. You think you can win against that criminal? - impossible! People are so afraid of him, because there is every possibility that he will again become chief minister and if they don't vote for him, then he will take revenge."
And that's exactly what happened. This man, Dwarika Prasad Mishra, was chief minister of my state, Madhya Pradesh. But because he spoke against Jawaharlal Nehru.... There was a conspiracy.
Morarji Desai was chief minister of Bombay state, Dwarika Prasad was chief minister of Madhya Pradesh; a few chief ministers of other states joined together to revolt against Jawaharlal's dictatorial regime. Dwarika Prasad was foolish enough to speak first.
Jawaharlal was so angry that he immediately threw him out. It happened so quickly that Morarji and others had second thoughts about whether to then go ahead according to the conspiracy plan or just back out. And they all backed out, so this man alone was caught. But he was of the same quality as Morarji Desai, just a third-rate gutter politician. He managed, for the time being at least, to be the vice-chancellor of a university... and wait for the right time.
And he was clever. He immediately managed to become vice-chancellor, managed to become very closely connected with Indira. Indira was not prime minister at that time but she was the president of the congress party, which was the ruling party. He became so close to Indira that she started trusting in him and calling him uncle. And she persuaded her father, Jawaharlal, the prime minister, to forgive him and take him back. He was forgiven and taken back and became the general secretary of the all-India congress committee, and again he was back as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.
He took revenge on those twenty people who had voted for S.K. Saxena. He threw them all out of the university, because the chief minister is the chancellor of the university; anybody who is the chief minister becomes the chancellor of the university. So as chief minister he became the chancellor also and threw out all those people.
I asked Doctor Saxena, "What have you gained from all this trying to go higher? And are you teaching me to get into the same trap in which you have suffered? If you are really loving towards me, help me not to get into this trap."
He said, "My God! You want even me to go along with you? No - I will fight against him. I will fight again, and you will see that one day I will become the vice-chancellor."
I said, "Even if you become the vice-chancellor, what does it mean? I know you: you will be as miserable as you are now. First you were a lecturer, you were miserable. You became a reader, you were miserable. You became a professor, you were miserable. You have now become head of the philosophy department, you are miserable. I know you. Do you think by your becoming the dean of the faculty of arts your misery will disappear?
"I know the dean of the faculty also. He is far more miserable than you are because he is just one step short of becoming the vice-chancellor. You are two steps back, he is one step back. His misery is more because he is so close. And every time somebody else jumps in from outside, he goes on missing, and his misery is really intense. You will not be surprised if he gets a heart attack."
But strangely, because I was not interested in the examinations and I was not interested in the textbooks, but was interested in the whole world of philosophy - my interest was universal - of course my answers were far richer than anybody else's. They could only repeat what was in the textbook; I could say something which even the examiner was reading for the first time. Otherwise...
I know examiners, I have myself been an examiner for nine years. I never read any copy of any examinee.
To one intelligent student who was trustworthy, who wouldn't say anything to anybody, I just said, "You will get half the money. Just check all these books, and remember nobody is to be failed, so everybody gets above the thirty-three mark. And nobody gets above sixty percent because I think nobody is that capable. So these are the limits, thirty-three to sixty. Then you can go on doing it howsoever you want." And I knew when I was a student that my professors' research scholars were examining the papers.
I said to Doctor Saxena, "Sometimes things can work in my way too. Just wait." And certainly they worked in my way because I was so rich in my answers and so original, because I had never bothered about the textbooks. Textbooks I avoided because they can get stuck in your mind.
Textbooks I never purchased.
But I have been collecting books from my high school days. You will be surprised that by the time I was a matriculate I had read thousands of books and collected hundreds of books of my own - and great masterpieces. I was finished with Kahlil Gibran, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Gorky, Turgenev - the best as far as writing is concerned. When I was finishing my intermediate I was finished with Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Bertrand Russell - all the philosophers that I could find in any library, in any bookshop, or borrow from anybody.
In Jabalpur there was one beautiful place where I was an everyday visitor; I would go for at least one or two hours. It was called the Thieves' Market. Stolen things were sold there, and I was after stolen books because so many people were stealing books and selling them and I was getting such beautiful books. I got Gurdjieff's first book from that Thieves' Market, and Ouspensky's IN SEARCH OF THE MIRACULOUS from that Thieves' Market.
The book was fifty rupees; from there I got it for half a rupee, because in the Thieves' Market, books are sold by weight. Those people, they don't bother about whether it is Ouspensky, Plato, or Russell.
Everything is all rubbish; whether you purchase old newspapers or you purchase Socrates, it is the same price. I had collected in my library thousands of books from the Thieves' Market. Everybody used to ask me, "Are you mad or something? Why do you go continually to the Thieves' Market? - because people don't go there. To be associated with the Thieves' Market is not good."
I would say, "I don't care. Even if they think that I am a thief, it is okay."
To me the Thieves' Market has been the best source - even books which were not in the university library I have found in the Thieves' Market. And all those shopkeepers were selling stolen books, and every kind of stolen thing. In India, in every big city there is a Thieves' Market. In Bombay there is a Thieves' Market where you can find everything at just throw-away prices. But it is risky because it is stolen property.
I once got into trouble because I purchased three hundred books from one shop, simultaneously, in one day, because a whole library of somebody's had been stolen. Just for one hundred and fifty rupees, three hundred books! I could not leave a single one. I had to borrow money and immediately rush there, and I told that man, "No book should go from here."
Those books had seals with a certain man's name and address, and finally the police came. I said, "Yes, these are the books, and I have purchased them from the Thieves' Market. In the first place this man is almost ninety years old - he will be dying soon."
The police inspector said to me, "What are you arguing about?"
I said, "I am simply making things clear to you. This man is going to die sooner or later; these books will be rotten. I can give you these books, but you have to give one hundred and fifty rupees to somebody, because I have borrowed the money. And in fact you cannot catch me because that shopkeeper is there; he will be a witness for me that the books were sold to him. Now, he cannot go on remembering who is selling him old newspapers, and old books; he does not know who has brought them.
So first you have to go to that man and find the thief If you find the thief get one hundred and fifty rupees from him or from anywhere you want. These books are here, and they cannot be in a better situation anywhere else. And that ninety-year-old man won't be able to read them again, so what is the fuss?"
The inspector said, "You sound sane, logical, but these are stolen books... and I cannot go against the law."
I said, "You go according to the law. Go to the place from where I have purchased them - and I have purchased them, I have not stolen them. That shopkeeper has also purchased them, he has not stolen them. So find the thief."
He said, "But on the book there is a seal and the name."
I said, "Don't be worried - next time you come there will be no seal and no name. First you find the thief, then I am always here, at your service."
And as he went away I tore one page from each, the first empty page which means nothing, and I just signed the books. From that day I started signing my books, because it might have come in handy someday if my books were stolen - at least they had my signature and the date. And because I had taken out the first page, I would sign on two or three pages inside also, in case my books were stolen, but they never were.
My professors used to ask me, "You are reading day and night, but why are you so averse to the textbooks?"
I said, "For the simple reason that I don't want the examiner to see that I am a parrot." And fortunately that helped me. I came first in the university and won the gold medal. But I had promised, so I had to drop the gold medal down the well in front of everybody; the whole university was there, and I dropped the gold medal. I said to them, "With this I drop the idea that I am the first in the university, so that nobody feels inferior to me. I am just nobody."
The vice-chancellor was present. That evening he called me in and said, "This is not right. The gold medal is a prestigious thing; you have topped the whole university. And you have got me in trouble now because I was to give you the scholarship for a Ph.D. You have thrown away the gold medal in front of everybody else, and they will say,'That man is strange - why are you giving him a scholarship for three years?""
I said, "Don't give it to me."
But he said, "Just because you did that.... You threw away the gold medal and you told the people there,'Now I am just nobody; don't take me as the first in the university. Please don't be jealous of me, I am not superior to you. It is just chance. Somebody was bound to be first; it is just a coincidence that I happen to be the first. But it makes nobody inferior.' What you said has gone into my heart and I feel that I will take the risk and give you the scholarship."
He certainly gave me the scholarship but no professor was ready to guide me, because I wanted to do research on religion and they each said, "You will create trouble, and as your guide it will be a constant fight between the two of us. We know your ideas and we know that perhaps you are right, but to accept you and to sign the papers that say I have been guiding you means that I am somehow agreeing with you - and your ideas are outrageous! In private I can agree with you, but not in public.
"And what about the two other examiners who will be there from some other universities? They will be just shocked because you criticize Krishna, you criticize Rama, you criticize Buddha, you criticize Jesus. Is there anybody whom you don't criticize?"
I said, "If I come across somebody I will mention his name, but if I don't come across anybody, what can I do? Of course when Galileo discovered that the earth goes around the sun, he had to criticize everybody without exception - all the scriptures of the world - because nobody had even thought of it. All religions and all scriptures and all books said that the sun is going round the earth as it appears to. But appearance is not reality, so how can you be certain?
"It may be possible that as far as religion is concerned I am the first man who is right, because if Galileo can be the first man, just three hundred years before.... Before Galileo, thousands of years had passed. If he can be the first man who was right and everybody else before him was wrong, why do you think I cannot be the first man who is right?"
One of the professors said, "This is the problem! You find somebody else. I will suggest a few names go to these professors."
Philosophy professors were not ready to accept me. They suggested, "It would be good if the research could be done under psychology. You will just have to change the subject to psychology of religion. Do whatsoever you want, just change the title."
I said, "I will try."
The psychologists said, "If your professors, your own professors of philosophy are not ready to accept you, why should we take this unnecessary trouble on our heads? You criticize Sigmund Freud, you criticize Jung and you criticize Adler - and our whole department stands on these three people, we teach them."
I said, "So should I change the subject again? - politics of religion, economics of religion? I am ready to make up any subject."
I told the vice-chancellor, "You find me a guide. Religion has to be there. In front of it, he can put anything: mathematics of religion, economics of religion, geography of religion any subject I will manage." But nobody was ready to accept me so I could not get the scholarship. But I was immensely happy: these are your professors, your topmost intellectuals, who in private are ready to accept a certain thing, but in public are afraid. Are they worth being jealous of? Are these people superior?
And I have no desire to feel anybody is inferior. Yes, it is possible that in one thing you may know more, somebody may know less. In one dimension you may be talented, in another dimension somebody else may be talented. That simply shows that people are unique, they have different qualities. But each individual has his own standing, incomparable. I have never thought of anybody as inferior; I have never thought of anybody as superior.
I am myself, you are yourself.
Comparison does not arise.
But all children are being forced to compete, compare, and naturally jealousy arises because somebody succeeds and you are not succeeding. Somebody is getting those things that you are not getting.
I have heard: a Baptist priest and a rabbi lived opposite each other, across the road, and there was great competition continually going on. Naturally, it is a two-thousand-year-old conflict; it started with Jesus, and I don't know with whom it is going to end. I hope it ends with pope the polack. But that's just a hope; you cannot be certain about it. For two thousand years they have been in conflict and this has become more and more personal.
If the priest brings some rose flowers and some plants for his garden, immediately the rabbi will bring double. One year it happened that the Baptist priest purchased a Lincoln Continental. This was too much for the rabbi. And just while he was standing on his porch, the priest came out and poured water on the Lincoln Continental.
The rabbi said, "What are you doing?"
He said, "I am giving it its baptism, making it christian."
He said, "Okay."
The next day the rabbi purchased a Cadillac limousine - far costlier, a six-door. Just standing on his porch he waited for the priest to come out. The priest came out, and the rabbi went inside, brought out some instruments and started doing something. The priest said, "What are you doing?"
The rabbi said, "Circumcising." He was cutting the exhaust pipe!
Jealousy, competition, it can drive you nuts. If you can baptize, he can circumcise. He is making the Cadillac a Jew. And I think in America the Cadillac is a Jew, because when I told Sheela to have a Cadillac for the Foundation, and the Foundation's president, she said, "No, you don't know: the Cadillac is a Jew."
I said, "My God! Cars are also Jews?"
She said, "Yes, the Cadillac is a Jew, and I cannot have a Cadillac."
Perhaps cars can be converted.
These people, even though they are priests and rabbis, are just as stupid human beings as anybody else; and the same is true about their God. There is not much in their God either, because it is their projection, and a projection is bound to be less than the one who is projecting it.
Another story I am reminded of: a rabbi and a Christian minister are playing golf and each time the rabbi misses, he says, "Shit!"
The minister says, "This is not good for a religious man, and a rabbi at that, a priest! This is not right.
God will get angry."
But what to do with a habit? - again the rabbi missed and he said, "Shit!"
The minister was very angry. He said, "If you say it a third time, I tell you, God will punish you."
And after he missed a third time and said "Shit!" God really did. A flash of lightning came down and from the sky was heard "Shit!" - because the lightning hit the minister! It is a Jewish God - what else can you expect?
A rabbi, a Jewish God, they cannot be very different: the same projection, the same mind.
Jealousy is not seeing a simple fact - that you have been taught to see yourself as inferior to someone, as superior to someone. And you have become so unconscious of it that you are constantly judging people as inferior, as superior, as good, as bad, right, wrong.
Everybody is just himself.
Accept him as he is.
But this is possible only if you accept yourself as you are, with no shame, with no feeling of worthlessness.
The questioner is asking if jealousy means that we have gone too far away from ourselves. Yes. In comparing, you have gone far away in both directions. In one direction there is an unending line of people superior to you; in another direction, another line of people inferior to you - and you are in between.
You have no time to see to yourself. You are constantly struggling to take the place of the man who is ahead of you, and at the same time pushing down the man who is behind you, because he is trying to take your place. He is pulling on your leg just as you are pulling On somebody else's leg. It is a strange chain in which everybody is pulling on everybody else's legs - and all are in trouble, all are being stretched.
When, in India, my back started giving trouble to me, they started giving me traction. I told - them devaraj was there - "Do you know from where the word traction comes, and what you are doing to me?"
He said, "No. Traction is a perfectly good medical device and it is used everywhere."
I said, "It was invented by Christians in the Middle Ages to torture people. It was a Christian device to torture people! You pull their hands at one end, their legs at the other end, and naturally, if you want any confession they will have to confess. If you want the woman to accept that she is a witch, on traction she is going to accept it because there is a point where she sees,'Now my hands are going to be pulled off my body, my legs are going to be pulled off my body. It is better to say, "Yes, I am a witch," and get finished with this traction.' But once she has accepted she is a witch she is going to be burned alive."
It was a torture device. It was just by coincidence it was found.... One man who was thought to be a heretic was being given this traction. He had a back pain, and when he was released from traction he said, "My God! The back pain has disappeared." Just by coincidence it was found that it can help the back pain. Since then it has been medical; before that it was part of the church.
But your life you see as a psychological traction; hence you have no time, no energy, no space for yourself. You are always looking at somebody else, either to feel good....
One Christian priest, Stanley Jones, very famous in his time - now he is dead - was a world-famous Christian teacher, and of course a great orator, not like the idiot Billy Graham. He was really a great orator, a profound orator - Billy Graham is just an Oregonian. You should look into it; he must have been born in Oregon. His face is typical of that retarded....
No, Stanley Jones was really an impressive personality, and known worldwide. He was wandering around the world giving sermons but he had his headquarters in India: in the Himalayas he had made a Christian ashram. He used to come to Jabalpur also, where I was a professor.
In one of his sermons, at which I was present, he told a very beautiful anecdote. Not being aware that a strange person was sitting just in front of him, he said, "There are two kinds of people. One always looks at the high skyscrapers of other people, feels miserable because the lawn is always greener in the neighbor's garden."
It is always greener. From faraway things look different; your own lawn does not look so green. Your own house looks dirty, the other house looks so beautiful. Your wife, when you go in, is continually quarreling. When you go to meet your neighbor, they are both smiling, but you forget one thing:
when your neighbor comes to you then you are also both smiling. People go on looking at what other people have and then they start feeling that they are missing it - anything!
Stanley Jones recounts a story. He said, "I have a lifelong friend who is always hopeful, optimistic.
He really sees a silver lining in every dark cloud. First I used to think that it was only a philosophy, but the second world war proved conclusively that he meant what he said. It was not just a philosophy, but his very Christian being.
"After the second world war I went to see him because he had lost one eye, one hand, and one leg in the war. On the way I was thinking that perhaps he had also lost his positivistic attitude, but to my amazement he was even more positive than ever. I asked him his secret.
"He said, 'It is simple. It is the very fundamental of Christianity. I thank God that at least I have one eye, one hand, and one leg - because there are many who have lost both legs, many who have lost both eyes, many who have lost both hands, and millions who have lost their whole lives. I think of them and feel fortunate and blessed.'"
Stanley Jones emphasized through this anecdote that this should be every Christian's approach - that positive philosophy is the greatest contribution of Jesus Christ.
I stood up and said to him, "It is impossible to feel fortunate comparing yourself to those who are in an inferior position - and yet not feel inferior because there are also certainly people who are in a superior position. It is impossible to divide inferior and superior and just choose one; they are aspects of the same coin."
The most amazing part was that the great orator and preacher became very angry, threw down his notes and went inside the house. While he was leaving I told him, "This seems to be the real Christian philosophy. But just being angry and escaping is not an argument; and whenever you come back again to this city, remember, I will be here to remind you of the argument - because you are leaving it inconclusive." As it happened, he never came back to Jabalpur.
You will be surprised that comparison is not just to do with money or power, but can be about anything. In my childhood, just as girls in India had earrings - and now that disease is spreading in the West too - in my childhood rich people's boys used to have earrings also. My ears still have the marks of those old holes. I resisted very much but I was too small, and my parents said, "It doesn't look good that every boy in the neighborhood has golden earrings, and you go out without earrings.
And everybody is saying to our family,'What is the matter, can't you afford even two gold rings?' It is insulting!"
Now, what do earrings have to do...? I said, "It may be insulting to you but to me it simply seems that you are destroying my ears. You will make holes in my ears and I will have to suffer the pain.
If God had intended.... If He can make so many things, just two holes in the ears are not much craftsmanship. Even the Holy Ghost could have done it."
But they wouldn't listen, because it was a constant trouble: relatives would come and they would say, "What! Your boy has no earrings?" Now earrings had become a necessity - that too is part of the competitive society. And they forced me; just four people had to keep me down on the bed, and they pierced both my ears.
I said, "Okay, I am small and helpless - you can do any nonsense that you want to do, but remember I am not going to forgive you for it. It is being done against my will, and I am not going to wear your earrings. Are you going to follow me twenty-four hours a day? Now we will see...." Many times they put earrings on me and I threw them away. Finally they got tired, and it was costly because they were gold earrings and I would throw them away. The moment I got the chance I would throw them away.
Finally they said, "Leave him alone."
I said, "If you had left me alone before, my ears could have been saved. I don't have any hope of being saved in life, but my ears would have been saved."
Competition in everything, strange things.... If you are living in a commune or a community of hippies, then the dirtier you are, the greater you are. What I mean to explain to you is that it has nothing to do with money or power or anything in particular. It can be to do with anything, and you can use it to feel superior or inferior. Now the hippy who never takes a bath is certainly superior to the other hippies who are not so seasoned and once in a while need a shower. Certainly he is far superior; he never takes a bath, never cleans his teeth, never uses soap or dirty things like that.
He remains completely natural. Perspiring, he remains natural; smelly, he remains natural. He will be thought to be somebody higher - you are not that strong. Once in a while you are weak, you start feeling like taking a bath. But if a hippy takes a bath he tries to hide it.
In India there are such monks. One Hindu monk used to stay in my home; he was a friend of my father, a childhood friend. My father had a cloth shop, so whenever the monk came, my father would make good clothes for him; if it was winter then winter clothes, woolen clothes. And what would the monk do? First he would make them dirty; he would rub them against the ground, make them old and dirty because a monk is not supposed to have beautiful clothes and be up-to-date.
My father would try to use the best that he had in his shop, and I told him, "You are just wasting them.
That man even makes holes in them and tears them and makes them look old" - because then he is on a higher stage of monkhood. Those who cannot afford such dirty clothes, old clothes, rags...
they are still interested in clothes. They are still attached to material things. There is competition in that too: in who has more rotten rags than you.
There are Hindu monks who will not just eat the food that you give them. First they will dip it in the river to spoil it completely, then mix it all together in their begging bowl so that salty things and sugary things and everything is mixed; and then they will eat it. That is thought to be austerity. And those who will not do it are thought to be still far lower, living still for taste and food - they have to destroy the taste.
Certainly, if you go on in this way - being jealous and competitive of everybody around you - how can you come to yourself? The world is too big, and there are so many people and you are in competition with everybody... and you are. Somebody has a beautiful face, somebody has beautiful hair, somebody has a beautiful, proportionate body, somebody has a great intellect, somebody is a painter, somebody is a poet.... How are you going to manage? All this, and you alone to compete?
You will drive yourself nuts - and that is what all of humanity has done.
Drop competition, drop jealousy.
It is absolutely pointless.
It is absolutely a cunning device created by the priests so that you can never be yourself - because that is the only thing all the old religions are afraid of.
If you are yourself you have found contentment, fulfillment, ecstasy.
Who cares about God then? - you ARE God.
You have tasted godliness, and within yourself.
Now you are not even bothered about the emperor; you are not thinking that he is superior to you.
How can he be superior to you? You have tasted something of such tremendous dimensions that what that poor fellow.... You can feel sorry for him, but you will not feel inferior. Even towards a beggar... you will not feel that he is inferior, because you know that what you have found he is also carrying within himself.
There is no qualitative difference between you, the beggar, and the emperor. The only difference is just on the outside: in the clothes, in the titles, the elephant on which the king is sitting - and the beggar in his rags. But these are not real differences, not the difference that makes a difference.
Inside yourself you will find a tranquility, a serenity, a silence, a treasure unfathomable.
And in finding it you will know everybody has got it; whether he knows it or not, that's a different matter.
Knowing and not knowing - that is the only difference.
But as far as existence is concerned, everybody has all the beauty of the world, of the universe; all the ecstasy and dance of the universe. Yes, in different ways it will express itself.
There is no need to think that somebody who is expressing it through dance is better than the one who is expressing it through a song or one who is expressing it through his silence.
What is being expressed is exactly the same ecstasy.
And you will find it only when you have entered your world of aloneness where there is nobody else.
There, you have left the society far behind... because that society has been preventing you. You have left all the priests, all the religions, all the political parties far behind.
You are now almost nobody.
I say "almost" because in fact you are, for the first time - but on a totally different plane. You have never even thought about it, that this can be your very being, so profound and so full and so eternal.
And what are you going to lose by dropping jealousy and competitiveness and comparison?
You have nothing to lose but your chains, and you have to gain the whole kingdom of God which is within you.