Breaking the shell of the past
AND A WOMAN SPOKE, SAYING, TELL US OF PAIN.
AND HE SAID: YOUR PAIN IS THE BREAKING OF THE SHELL THAT ENCLOSES YOUR UNDERSTANDING.
EVEN AS THE STONE OF THE FRUIT MUST BREAK, THAT ITS HEART MAY STAND IN THE SUN, SO MUST YOU KNOW PAIN.
AND COULD YOU KEEP YOUR HEART IN WONDER AT THE DAILY MIRACLES OF YOUR LIFE, YOUR PAIN WOULD NOT SEEM LESS WONDROUS THAN YOUR JOY;
AND YOU WOULD ACCEPT THE SEASONS OF YOUR HEART, EVEN AS YOU HAVE ALWAYS ACCEPTED THE SEASONS THAT PASS OVER YOUR FIELDS.
AND YOU WOULD WATCH WITH SERENITY THROUGH THE WINTERS OF YOUR GRIEF.
MUCH OF YOUR PAIN IS SELF-CHOSEN.
IT IS THE BITTER POTION BY WHICH THE PHYSICIAN WITHIN YOU HEALS YOUR SICK SELF.
THEREFORE TRUST THE PHYSICIAN, AND DRINK HIS REMEDY IN SILENCE AND TRANQUILITY:
FOR HIS HAND, THOUGH HEAVY AND HARD, IS GUIDED BY THE TENDER HAND OF THE UNSEEN, AND THE CUP HE BRINGS, THOUGH IT BURN YOUR LIPS, HAS BEEN FASHIONED OF THE CLAY WHICH THE POTTER HAS MOISTENED WITH HIS OWN SACRED TEARS.
It seems that it is very difficult, even for a man of Kahlil Gibran's caliber, to forget a deep-rooted, male chauvinistic attitude. I am saying this because the statements that Almustafa is going to make are right in a way - but still they miss something very essential.
Almustafa forgets that the question is raised by a woman, and his answer is very general, applicable to both man and woman. But the truth is that the pain and suffering that women of the world have gone through is a thousandfold more than man has even known. That's why I say Almustafa is answering the question, but not the questioner. And unless the questioner is answered, the answer remains superficial - howsoever profound it may sound. I would like you to remember again and again: Wherever I see that just a small sentence or sometimes just even a word would have made it truer, far deeper, far more compassionate....
The answer seems to be academic, philosophical.
It does not have the insight into what man has done to the woman - and it is not a question of one day, but of thousands of years. He does not even mention it. On the contrary, he goes on doing the same that the priests and the politicians have been doing always - giving consolations. Behind beautiful words there is nothing but consolation. And consolation cannot be a substitute for truth.
AND A WOMAN SPOKE....
Is it not strange that out of that whole crowd no man asked about pain? - is it just accidental? No, absolutely no. It is very relevant that a woman asked the question, "Tell us of pain," because only the woman knows how many wounds she has been carrying, how much slavery - physical, mental and spiritual - she has suffered and is still suffering. A woman is hurting in the deepest core of her being. No man knows the depth pain can go into you and destroy your dignity, your pride, your very humanity.
YOUR PAIN IS THE BREAKING OF THE SHELL THAT ENCLOSES YOUR UNDERSTANDING.
A very poor statement - so superficial that I feel ashamed of Kahlil Gibran sometimes. Any idiot can say it. It is not worthy of Kahlil Gibran: your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. It is a very simple and general statement.
EVEN AS THE STONE OF THE FRUIT MUST BREAK, THAT ITS HEART MAY STAND IN THE SUN, SO MUST YOU KNOW PAIN.
I hate this statement; he is supporting the idea that you must experience pain. It is a truism, but not a truth. It is very factual - a seed has to go through great suffering, because unless the seed dies in his suffering the tree will never be born, and the great foliage and the beauty of the flowers will never come into existence. But who remembers the seed and its courage to die for the unknown to be born?
The same is true, if...the shell that encloses your understanding... goes through suffering, breaks down, allows freedom to your understanding, there is going to be a certain pain.
But what is the shell? That's how poets have escaped from crucifixions; he should have explained what the shell is. All the knowledge, all your conditionings, the whole process of your upbringing, your education, your society and civilization - they constitute the shell which keeps you and your understanding imprisoned. But he is not mentioning a single word of what he means by "shell."
Obviously no religion has condemned Kahlil Gibran. If he had been more sincere and honest then he himself would have known what pain is. He has received only praise for his beautiful poetic sayings, but behind that praise there is some weakness; something of the coward is still lurking in the darkness of his soul.
If he had said, "Your religion, your philosophy, your political ideology, your nationality, your race - these are all constituents of your imprisonment," then, instead of having international respect and honor, he would have been condemned by all the religions, by all the nations, by all the races - which means by almost the whole world. I have been passing through that pain for my whole life, so when I say it, I say it out of my own experience.
Just make a single statement against those who are benefited by reducing the whole humanity to slaves, and all the powerful ones are going to be against you. And the masses are blind, the masses are not intelligent, the masses are poor; they are not going to listen to me - because what can I give them? I can give to them understanding, but they cannot eat understanding, they cannot live by understanding. And their own conditioning is all that they have been taught - that it is wisdom.
So it is not only the powerful ones; those who are being exploited, whose power has been taken away by the powerful ones - otherwise from where will they get the power? - they are also going to follow them. The powerful ones are the shepherds, and they have reduced the whole humanity to a crowd of sheep.
It is almost unbelievable that those who could have raised humanity and its consciousness to such beauty, wisdom and joy have never been heard - although they were shouting from the housetops.
Every effort has been made that either they should be forced to remain silent, or they should be crucified. Those who had not the courage - seeing the whole thing - have remained silent; but in remaining silent you are also participating in the suffering the whole humanity is going through.
Only very few people have spoken - and they have been poisoned, crucified, killed, assassinated.
You have been killing your friends. You have been killing those who have loved you so much that they were ready to sacrifice their life, but were not ready to remain silent. And you have followed your enemies, who are sucking your blood every moment.
When I spoke for the first time for birth control, for legalization of abortion, I was condemned by everyone. If they had listened to me at that time, today India would have been rich, because when I started telling people, "This growth of your population is going to kill you, to destroy you," there were only four hundred million people in India. After thirty years there are nine hundred million people; five hundred million people could have been prevented, and the country would not be starving.
But still they are not willing to listen to me. They are still listening to the shankaracharyas who are against birth control, they are listening to Mother Teresas who are against birth control. THEY are your enemies. But it seems you are so blind you cannot see a simple fact.
Almustafa is saying: your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. It is true, but it would have been more sincere if he had explained what he means by "the shell," because the whole thing depends on the meaning of the word "shell" - what is the shell?
People will read it just like fiction, poetry, and nobody will ever take note that they have passed the word "shell," which contains your whole past. And unless you are ready to disconnect yourself from your past, there is going to be pain - it is your past; it is not easy just to get out of it. It is not like clothes that you can change, it is like peeling your skin. But without passing through this pain there is no possibility of any understanding.
This is true for both men and women, but it is more true for women because the whole past is created by the male; the female has been simply a shadow, not very substantial. All Hindu incarnations of God are men; it is so surprising and shocking that they can accept animals as the incarnation of God, but they have not accepted a single woman as an incarnation of God.
The woman has been completely ignored, has not been taken into account at all. She constitutes half of the world, and for thousands of years she has had no voting right. In China it has been believed that she has no soul, so the question of pain does not arise. If you destroy your furniture do you think the furniture will go through great suffering? that there will be pain? If you slap the table do you think there will be tears? China, for centuries, has categorized woman with things; hence, in the Chinese morality, to murder your own wife is not a crime. It is your wife, it is your possession; you can do anything you want to do.
In India.... Gautam Buddha is a man, his great disciples - Mahakashyap, Sariputta, Moggalayan - all are men. Was there not a single woman who could have been raised to the same consciousness?
But Gautam Buddha himself was denying initiation to women, as if they are a species not of humanity but of some subhuman state. Why bother with them? - let them first attain manhood.
The statement of Gautam Buddha is that man is the crossroads from where you can go anywhere - to enlightenment, to ultimate freedom. But the woman is not mentioned at all. She is not a crossroads, but just a dark street where no municipal corporation has even put lights; it goes nowhere. Man is a superhighway; so first let the woman come on the superhighway, let her become a man, be born in the body of a man - then there is some possibility of her becoming enlightened.
Says Almustafa...so must you know pain - but for what? If the woman cannot become enlightened, why should she go through pain? She is not gold, in that going through fire she will become purer.
AND COULD YOU KEEP YOUR HEART IN WONDER AT THE DAILY MIRACLES OF YOUR LIFE, YOUR PAIN WOULD NOT SEEM LESS WONDROUS THAN YOUR JOY....
It is true, but sometimes truth can be very dangerous, a double-edged sword. On one hand it protects, on another hand it destroys. It is true that if you keep the wonder in your eyes you will be surprised to know that even pain has its own sweetness, its own miracle, its own joy. It is not less wondrous than joy itself.
But the strange fact is that the woman is always more like a child, more full of wonder than man.
Man is always after knowledge - and what is knowledge? Knowledge is just a means to get rid of wonder. The whole of science is trying to demystify existence, and the word "science" means knowledge. And it is a very simple fact that the more you know, the less you wonder.
Just go for a morning walk with a small child.... My father used to drag me out of bed so early in the morning, at five o'clock. It was still one hour before the sun would rise; everything was dark. And I had told him many times, "I cannot understand; what kind of arithmetic is this? - when I want to remain awake I am forced to go to bed. When the night sky is so full of stars and I want to go to the river, I am prevented. And then, when the stars have started disappearing, the sun has not yet arisen, and I am feeling sleepy, I am forced to go for a morning walk. You are dragging me! - it is not a morning walk. I just want to understand the logic of it."
Every child feels it - every child, without exception, because the family wants to get rid of him: "Go to sleep." Don't disturb them. And they want the child to get up early in the morning.
And my father quoted an ancient saying which exists in all the languages all over the world: "Early to bed and early to get out of the bed keeps you healthy and wise."
I said, "A strange kind of logic."
But there was no way... he was so insistent I had to go. But as darkness started disappearing and the birds started singing... and the morning freshness... and the beautiful sunrays, as if a new sun had come - the old died last night - I would ask him many questions. He said, "While walking you have to be silent."
I said, "I can be silent only on one condition."
He said, "What?"
I said, "My condition is - don't disturb my sleep in the morning. You can choose. If you wake me up, you also wake my intelligence. It is good that people in England take their dogs for walks: I am not a dog! So either you have to go alone for your walk - wherever you want to go, go.... Even if you don't want to return, nobody is going to worry about it. One day you will go and you will not return - and that can be any day. But if you drag me out of my bed, then be prepared for my questions. And my questions are not out of curiosity... I feel so full of wonder about each and every thing."
He said, "I cannot leave you sleeping. I am creating a foundation for your whole life. It is a healthy habit - because the air is fresh, the sun is young, everybody is asleep, all over there is silence.
And the birds only sing once in a while; their singing does not disturb the silence, on the contrary, it deepens it."
I said, "I am ready."
He said, "Let us have a compromise."
I said, "I don't believe in compromises. Either I am right or I am wrong. What kind of compromise?
What do you mean by...?"
He said, "You don't have to do anything; it is all on my part. I will take you for the morning walk, and you can ask any questions you like, as many questions as you like, but I am not going to answer."
I said, "That's perfectly okay."
And it was really a joy! I would pull his shirt, nudge him, that there was a question. For a few minutes he would keep silent; finally he would get angry. He would say, "What kind of boy have I got? You don't allow me to enjoy my walk!"
And I said, "What about my sleep?"
Finally he dropped it; he said, "You sleep and I'll go for a walk."
As you grow older you lose the sensitivity for wonder, you become more and more dull. But the reason for it is that now you know everything. You know nothing, but your mind is now full of borrowed knowledge, and you have not ever thought that underneath it is nothing but darkness and ignorance.
In India there were only two persons who were known as Mahatma, the great soul. One was Mahatma Gandhi, another was Mahatma Bhagwandin. Mahatma Bhagwandin used to stay with my family - he was constantly traveling. I have never seen such a knowledgeable man, about everything; he knew so much that he was almost the ninth wonder of the world! With him I used to go for a morning walk. He needed me because he was so full of knowledge, he wanted somebody to ask questions.
My father said, "This is strange. I am tired of you, and whenever Mahatma Bhagwandin comes he asks for nobody else's company, he simply asks about you. I have to drag you out of the bed, but when he is here, you drag him out of the bed. Not five, but four o'clock will do, even three will do:
'Let us go for a walk.'"
Sometimes he would say, "This is too early!"
I would say, "Nothing is early. The earlier it is, the wiser you become."
But he enjoyed my company because I was constantly asking about everything. He knew the names of all the trees, he knew all their medicinal uses. He himself was a wonder. But one day our friendship was finished because I asked a wrong question, although he realized before he died....
I was present three days before he died, and he confessed before his death, "You were right, just forgive me - because now I know my life-energy is spent. It is only a question of a few hours, or at the most a few days. And you have come at the right time to see me. I was waiting for you, because I owe this apology to you."
I said, "What are you talking about?" I had completely forgotten. It was many years before that he had become angry because I had asked him, "I do understand that you know much about trees, you know much about the stars, you know much about the earth, you know much about everything - and whatever I have asked you have never said, 'I don't know' - but now I want to ask, 'Do you know yourself?' And don't deceive a child, because that will be a real sin. I am asking out of my love and respect for you.
"And secondly, is all this knowledge that you have gathered going to help you to know yourself?
And is not all this knowledge simply borrowed? What is the point of your knowing the Latin name of a tree, the medicinal use of its leaves, of the bark, of the roots, of the flowers? Is it your own discovery? - or have you just been collecting information?"
He became angry. I said, "Your anger is enough of an answer. You have never become angry before, because I was asking things about which you have collected information. You are a walking ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA - that is accepted. But what about you? All this knowledge will disappear when death knocks on your door, and this is not going to help YOU."
He was so angry that he told my father, "From tomorrow I am going alone for my morning walk."
My father said, "I had suggested that to you from the very beginning. Why take unnecessary trouble on yourself?"
He said, "He has never been a trouble up to now, but today he has certainly troubled me. The whole day has passed but his question is still ringing into my head."
Before he died... it must have been many years afterwards; he died somewhere near 1960. It was just a coincidence that as I was coming from Warda.... Mahatma Gandhi's son Ramdas was very much interested in me for the simple reason that, as he said, "You are the only man who has criticized my father - everybody worshiped him. I could see many times that he was going too far in illogical, superstitious things, but he was a man of great weight. It was better to remain silent - because what happened with my eldest brother, Haridas? He was thrown out of the home, and my mother was told, 'If you allow him any entry in the house, remember - you will be the next to be thrown out.'"
And Haridas never could enter the house again. Twenty years more Mahatma Gandhi lived, but he always refused him, saying that he did not even want to see Haridas' face. And what was Haridas' crime? His crime was that he wanted to be educated. Gandhi was against education - he was against everything that was modern, contemporary. So naturally the other children were very afraid.
Ramdas was very interested in me because I had been criticizing Gandhi point by point, and no Gandhian had dared to answer me on anything - they could not answer. So when Gandhi died, Ramdas became the head of his ashram, and he used to invite me once in a while.
So I was coming from Warda, and Mahatma Bhagwandin was in Nagpur, which was on the way.
Just in the train, by coincidence, one of my friends, who was also very intimate with Mahatma Bhagwandin, told me, "Do you know that he is going to die any moment? So just stop here, at least for one day."
I went to the hospital. I have never seen such a sad state - Bhagwandin had become just bones, just a skeleton covered with skin, and he was continually coughing and throwing up mucus. His lungs were just about to fail any moment. And the doctor said, "Sad, we don't have any remedy."
Seeing me, Bhagwandin smiled and he said, "I was hoping that somebody would inform you, because I wanted, before I depart from the world, to apologize for my anger. You were right: all my knowledge is of no use. The whole world one can know, but unless one knows oneself it is futile knowledge - a burden that you are carrying for no purpose."
He said, "I am dying; still I don't know how to answer you. Your question has remained with me all these years, but I don't know how to know myself. And it is too late - perhaps tomorrow I will be gone."
I said, "It is never too late. Anybody can be gone tomorrow; even a young man, perfectly healthy, may be gone tomorrow through a heart attack. It will be difficult for you... I can see you - you cannot even talk, you are coughing and throwing up mucus and your body has become a skeleton; but even in this condition a simple meditation, Vipassana, may be able to open the doors.
"And as you have realized that all your knowledge is meaningless, you are almost ready to take a jump into silence, into your own inner center, because that is the only thing that is going with you.
Before you leave the body, at least be introduced to it. That small introduction to yourself may give you a new life on a higher level."
Almustafa does not mention the fact that women always remain more like the child than men; that is one part of their beauty - their innocence, they don't know. Man has never allowed them to know anything. They know small things - about keeping the house and the kitchen and taking care of the children and the husband - but these are not the things that can prevent.... This is not great knowledge; this can be put aside very easily.
That's why, whenever a woman has come to listen to me, she has heard me more deeply, more intimately, more lovingly. But when a man first comes to hear me, he is very resistant, alert, afraid that he may be influenced, hurt if his knowledge is not supported. Or, if he is very cunning, he goes on interpreting whatever is said according to his own knowledge, and he will say, "I know it all - there was nothing new." This is a measure to protect his ego, to protect the hard shell. And unless that shell breaks and you find yourself wondering like a child, there is no possibility of your ever being in a space which we have always known as the soul - your very being.
This has been my experience all over the world - that the woman listens, and you can see the glitter of wonder in her eyes. It is not superficial, its roots are deep into her heart. But Kahlil Gibran does not mention the fact, although the question is asked by a woman. In fact, man is even so cowardly that he is afraid to ask questions, because your question proves your ignorance.
All the best questions in THE PROPHET you will find are asked by women - about love, about marriage, about children, about pain, authentic, real... not about God, not about any philosophical system, but about life itself. They may not look like great questions but they are really the greatest questions, and the person who can solve them has entered into a new world. But Almustafa answers as if the question has been asked by anybody, any XYZ - he is not answering the questioner. And my approach is always that the real question is the questioner....
Why has the question arisen in a woman and not in a man? Because the woman has suffered slavery, the woman has suffered humiliation, the woman has suffered economic dependence, and above all she has suffered a constant state of pregnancy - for centuries. She has lived in pain and pain and pain. The growing child in her does not allow her to eat - she is always feeling like throwing up, vomiting. When the child has grown to nine months, the birth of the child is almost the death of the woman. And she is not even free of one pregnancy and the husband is ready to make her pregnant again. It seems that the woman's only function is to be a factory to produce crowds.
And what is man's function? He does not participate in her pain. Nine months she suffers, the birth of the child she suffers, and what does the man do? As far as the man is concerned, he simply uses the woman as an object to fulfill his lust and sexuality. He is not concerned at all about what the consequence will be for the woman, and still he goes on saying, "I love you." If he had really loved her, the world would not have been overpopulated. His word "love" is absolutely empty: he has treated her almost like cattle.
AND YOU WOULD ACCEPT THE SEASONS OF YOUR HEART, EVEN AS YOU HAVE ALWAYS ACCEPTED THE SEASONS THAT PASS OVER YOUR FIELDS.
True, and yet not absolutely true: true if you forget about the questioner, but not true if you remember the questioner. Just as a philosophical statement it is true.
AND YOU WOULD ACCEPT THE SEASONS OF YOUR HEART....
Sometimes there is pleasure, and sometimes there is pain, and sometimes there is just indifference - no pain, no pleasure. He is saying, "If you accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields...."
Superficially it is true. Acceptance of anything gives you a certain peace, a certain calmness. You are not too worried, you know this too will pass. But as far as the woman is concerned there is a difference. She is constantly living in one season - pain and pain. The seasons don't change from summer to winter... or to rain. The woman's life is really hard.
It is not so hard today, but only in the advanced countries. In the so-called developing countries, which are not really developing, which are really undeveloped countries.... Only the word has been changed; they used to be called "undeveloped" countries. And this is the cunningness of human mind, that the word "undeveloped" hurts - hence "developing countries," to hide the fact that nothing is developing.
Eighty percent of India's population lives in villages, where you can see the real hardship that the woman goes through. She has been going through that hardship for centuries, and the season does not change. If you look into this fact then this statement becomes anti-revolutionary, this statement becomes a consolation: "Accept the slavery of man, accept the torture of the man."
You will be surprised that one of the great saints that Hindus worship, Tulsidas... it is his book about the life of Rama which is perhaps the book most read by the Hindus. He says, "Just as you cannot produce sounds without beating the drum...." And of course Nivedano will support the fact that a drum has to be beaten; otherwise there is no sound. Tulsidas puts the woman in the same category - the drum, the untouchable, the animals and the woman... unless you go on beating them, your life will become miserable. Once in a while a woman has to be beaten, whether there is any excuse for it or not, so that she understands her position.
This man, Tulsidas, is thought to be one of the greatest saints of Hinduism - and I am asked not to criticize him! This man is a criminal. It is not a criticism; it is a simple fact that a man who puts the woman in the category of drums.... It is good that Nivedano has not read him; otherwise the life of Gayan would have been a constant practice of beating. "When you are tired of the drum, beat Gayan - only then can you keep the woman in control." What kind of people, what kind of sayings...?
And it was his own wife... without her, Tulsidas would have never been known to the world. The story is so significant, I would like you to understand it, and that will make you understand the statement too - that it is really his violence and his anger against his wife. Tulsidas must have been a very passionate man, too sexual. His wife had gone for a few days to her father and mother's house. It was impossible for Tulsidas to live without his wife, even for a few days. It was the rainy season, and the house of his father-in-law was not far away - on one side of the river he lived, and on the other side lived the family of his wife. But the river was a mountainous river, and it had been raining for days. The river had become a vast ocean; you could not see the other shore.
In the middle of the night, Tulsidas was so full of mental, cerebral sex, that he jumped into the river, and a dead corpse.... Lust makes a man blind - he thought it was a piece of a tree. So taking that corpse which was floating in the river as a help, he passed across the river. Of course he was afraid to enter through the front door in the middle of the night, so he went to the back of the house. He was immensely happy that a rope was hanging there, because his wife lived on the first floor, and so there was no need to disturb anybody. He could just catch hold of the rope and get to the first floor.
But it was not a rope, it was a snake. That's how blind lust is.
But he reached the first floor and knocked on the doors of his wife's rooms. She came out with a lantern, and she saw the snake. She said, "What have you done? This is a snake, this is not a rope!
And why have you come in the middle of the night? The river is going mad with such a current!"
He said, "My God, perhaps the thing that I had taken the support of to pass across the river was not wood - because it was smelling, stinking like a corpse."
His wife said to him, "If you had loved God, if you had loved truth with such passion, the way you love me, you would have been a transformed man. Feel ashamed! Go back - because I am feeling ashamed that my husband cannot live for a few days without me, and he is so blind that he could not see what was a corpse, he could not see what was a snake! And what will my family say when they find you in the house in the morning? How will I show my face today? Just think of me too! Go back and remember: with this much energy, this much love, you can find God - and you are being blind for a poor, ordinary woman."
Insulted, he went back, but not to his home. He traveled to Varanasi, the holy city of the Hindus.
He renounced the world - he became a saint because he renounced the world - and he wrote a beautiful book on the life of Rama. And that book is so simple that even villagers, who are not educated, can understand it. So it became one of the most famous books of the Hindus, and he became a great saint.
Can you see the ugliness of his behavior? It was his wife who provoked in him a sense of searching for the truth, it was his wife who made him a saint, but he became a saint in anger. This statement shows his anger towards his wife, but he is not courageous enough to say clearly, "I am talking about my wife." He condemns all women.
That's how the human mind functions: one man deceives you, and you start distrusting the whole humanity. He should have worshiped the woman. But his ugliness is that he is taking revenge not only on his wife, but on the whole of womankind, categorizing them with drums, with animals, with untouchables: "Beat them! - the better a beating you give them, the more they will be humble, the more they will be within your hands."
The woman has lived in such pain... and yet Almustafa completely forgets who is asking the question. It is possible to accept the change of seasons, but not ten thousand years of slavery.
The season does not change....
The woman needs revolt, not acceptance.
Man is the most lustful animal on the earth. Every animal has a season when the male becomes interested in the female. Sometimes the season is only for a few weeks, sometimes a month or two months, and then for the whole year they forget all about sex, they forget all about reproduction.
That's why they are not in a situation of overpopulation. It is only man who is sexual all the year round, and if he is American then he is sexual in the night, he is sexual in the morning. And you are asking the woman to accept the pain?
I cannot ask my people to accept such pain, pain which is imposed by others on you.
You need a revolution.
And if man is treating you as a drum then you have to treat your man also as a drum. You have an equal right: beat your man, so then he remains in his senses.
AND YOU WOULD WATCH WITH SERENITY THROUGH THE WINTERS OF YOUR GRIEF.
Why? When we can change it, why should we watch?
Watch only that which cannot be changed.
Watch only that which is natural - be a witness to it.
But this is poetic cunningness. Beautiful words: and watch with serenity... what about Kahlil Gibran being beaten by his own wife? "Watch with serenity!"
Watch anything that is natural with serenity, and revolt against all suffering that is imposed by anybody. Whether it is a man or woman, whether it is your father or mother, whether it is the priest or the professor, whether it is the government or the society - revolt!
Unless you have a rebellious spirit you are not alive in the true sense of the word.
MUCH OF YOUR PAIN IS SELF CHOSEN.
This is true. All your misery, all your pain... much of it is not imposed by others. Against that which is imposed by others, revolt, but that which you have chosen yourself - drop it. There is no need to watch. Just the understanding that "I have imposed it upon myself," is enough - throw it away.
Let others watch you throw it! Seeing you throwing it away, perhaps they will also understand, "Why unnecessarily suffer? - the neighbors are throwing away their grief."
Your jealousies, your anger, your greed - they all bring pain. Your ambitions, they all bring pain. And they are self-chosen.
IT IS THE BITTER POTION BY WHICH THE PHYSICIAN WITHIN YOU HEALS YOUR SICK SELF.
Again he comes back to console you. He is not making a clear-cut distinction. There are pains which are imposed by others - revolt against them. And there are pains which are natural - witness them, and witness them with serenity, because it is the bitter medicine that nature, the physician, within you uses to heal your sick self.
THEREFORE TRUST THE PHYSICIAN, AND DRINK HIS REMEDY IN SILENCE AND TRANQUILITY.
But remember it is about the physician - not about your husband, not about the government. They impose pain over you, not to heal you but to destroy you, to crush you, because the more you are destroyed, the more easily you can be dominated - then there is no fear of rebellion from your side.
So remember who the physician is. Nature heals, time heals: you simply wait, witness. But be very clear what is natural and what is artificial.
FOR HIS HAND, THOUGH HEAVY AND HARD, IS GUIDED BY THE TENDER HAND OF THE UNSEEN.
Nature is nothing but the visible part of the invisible God. Even if his hand is heavy and hard, it is guided by the very spirit of existence. So don't be worried.
THE CUP HE BRINGS, THOUGH IT BURN YOUR LIPS, HAS BEEN FASHIONED OF THE CLAY WHICH THE POTTER HAS MOISTENED WITH HIS OWN SACRED TEARS.
Whatever is natural, against which no rebellion is possible.... Then don't be miserable; then accept it with gratitude. It is the invisible hand of the divine which wants to heal you, which wants to bring you to a higher state of consciousness. But whatever is unnatural....
To yield to any kind of slavery is to destroy your own soul. It is better to die than to live as a slave, because the death of a rebel gives a dignity to him.
Socrates has that dignity, even today. He could have easily saved his life. The chief judge had given him the opportunity, because he also felt that the man had not committed any crime - he was innocent. But it was a city-democracy, and the votes were divided. There was not much difference:
forty-nine percent were for Socrates, and fifty-one percent were against him. But all laws are blind.
Just because of two percent of the people of the city - who may be retarded, who may be idiots, who may be mad - they destroyed their best flower.
Since then, Greece has never come to the same glory. It has gone down and down, and today what status has Greece in the world, what power? Just killing one man who was their highest consciousness, a bringer of the good news to the people.... They destroyed him because what he was saying was painful. He was saying, "Get rid of all that is old; only then will you be reborn. Trust only in that which is your experience; otherwise you are just carrying rubbish."
The chief judge was feeling sad. The same sadness was in the heart of Pontius Pilate when Jews asked that Jesus should be crucified. Pontius Pilate was more cultured, more human, and he had no Jewish prejudices because he was not a Jew. The situation with Socrates was very different. He was himself a Greek, and there were many who felt offended because of his height. Every camel feels offended if you take him to the mountains. That's why they never go to the mountains, they live in the desert; there they are the mountains.
The judge said, "I give you some alternatives, you can choose. You can leave Athens. And it is only a city-state - you can be just outside the boundary of Athens, and those who love you will reach there. It is not far away."
Socrates said, "No, because that will show that I was more interested in saving my life than fighting for the truth."
The judge said, "Then you do one thing: Remain in Athens, but don't do your teaching work. Stop talking about truth; be silent."
Socrates says, "Then what is the purpose of my being alive if I cannot speak the truth?"
The chief judge said, "Then you are putting me into such a helpless situation that the only alternative is to kill you by giving you poison."
Socrates said, "That seems to be the best out of all the alternatives you have proposed, because at least I can die with dignity, and I will be remembered with dignity." And certainly Greece has not produced another man of the same dignity. With Socrates something essential died in the very soul of that land.
So always remember that truth is higher than life.
Everything can be sacrificed, but truth cannot be sacrificed.