Fri, 12 November 1970 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Osho - The Perennial Path - The Art of Living
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Life is a network of interconnected relationships. An individual is required to be interrelated. Even an interrelationship is a relationship between two individuals. But two individuals are necessary for a relationship to establish. So life when seen from outside is interrelated; but along with it life is also interrelated from within. If that individual is not there, all the interrelationships become false.

Love is a relationship but the individuality of the lover is most necessary, and if that individuality is a borrowed one, it is not an individuality. Individuality is always one's own, it cannot be borrowed.

Otherwise it is a deception. That borrowed one is a put on face to show others. Under that face, there is nobody. It has no individuality, neither of life-zest, or originality. What we ordinarily call an individual is, in &ct, not an individual but a personality. That what we ordinarily call an individual is not original, but it is a collection of clothes which are put on. It is like an onion. If someone goes on removing the layers of an onion, it appears he will get the onion after each layer. But he gets only layers and never the onion. Similarly we are like a bundle in which all borrowed things have been collected. No matter how deep we go in this borrowed individuality we shall get nothing at the end.

If there is no soul, no originality, the whole life becomes a false thing.

The biggest stealing in life is copying or, following. If an individual is only interested in becoming like someone else, he becomes a thief in the real sense of the term. When a person takes upon himself the personality of someone else, it is an imitation, and he ceases to be original. His authentic originality is lost. This does not mean that we should not accept ideas coming from others or stop relating with others. We should certainly be connected with others, but we should preserve our individuality - the 'self'. Currents of thoughts come from others to be accepted.

Accept them by all means, and not only as currents, but you should be yourself - above and beyond them always. There should stand 'someone' who is aloof and untouched, behind those currents.

And he who is so saved from all exchange, is really outside, untouched by exchange. There is a word in the English language called 'Ecstasy'. We have a word called samadhi, Those who translate samadhi into English, use the word 'Ecstasy' for samadhi. 'Ecstasy 'means to stand outside. The meaning of 'Ecstasy' is to remain out and yet being in all the currents of life constantly.

Together with being amidst the worldly life, that which remains within us away from the world, is our originality, this is becoming oneself. If we are totally immersed in life and there is nothing left with us except our outer relationships, then it means we have lost our soul. The meaning of the soul - self - is this that there should be everything and yet there is something within, which is untouched and aloof from the outer world. While you are walking on the road, there should be something within you which does not walk. When you are angry, there should be someone within you who sees that anger. When you are eating your food, there should be someone within you who does not eat but who if aware that the food is being eaten. At every moment in this interrelated net of life, if we can save that 'someone' within us, that 'someone' who is saved, who is 'the remaining' is our original self. One who does not own this 'original self', that person has no right to be called a man, a human being. He has no soul, he has lost it.

Very, very few persons among us have a soul in this context. We are simply a collection of layers, a collection of clothes, there is nothing else beneath them. I call this also stealing. It is stealing. To steal someone's wealth is not a big stealing, but to assume someone's personality is a very great stealing. To steal someone's clothes is not a very big theft but to lose ourself in trying to imitate someone else is a very great stealing. I don't say that to take someone's house by force is not stealing. but it is not as big as losing our 'self', being a shadow of someone else.

I have heard a story that some God was displeased with a certain man, and he cursed him. It was a strange curse. That man would lose his shadow from that day onwards. The man laughed when he heard this, and said, 'What use is the shadow to me? When I am saved, how will t he absence of my shadow effect me? I have never cared uptil now whether I have a shadow or not. Are you not mad in cursing me thus? And if you are really displeased, this is no great curse.' Hearing this the God laughed. The God was wiser than that man. The man returned to his town laughing and thinking that the God was crazy. What did he lose by losing his shadow? But when he went to the town he realised the God was not mad because he got into great trouble. Whoever saw that that man had no shadow, was afraid of him and ran away from him. His wife closed the doors against him. His father said, 'Get out of here, don't ever come before me. What are you? Are you a ghost, a spirit?'

His friends shut their doors when They saw him. Customers stopped going to his shop.

When he was walking on a road, people called their children indoors. He had no shadow. It became difficult for him to live in the town. Finally the town people who had never heard of a person without a shadow, thought he was very dangerous, and drove him out of the town. Then he realized how much he had lost by losing his shadow. But let us leave this man alone, we are simply shadows. We have lost the soul-self. It is very difficult to assess, to comprehend how much we have lost.

That man only lost his shadow, and ran into such a great difficulty. But we have lost our soul. If a shadow is lost, others will know about it, but if the soul is lost, only the self can know about it, others cannot know about it, because losing of the soul is not an outside incident. So to understand correctly the meaning of nonstealing one should constantly ask oneself: 'Have I got anything with me which I can call my own - my originality; which I had brought with my birth and which I have not learnt in life? Have I got anything which was my own even before the birth?'

If you remember this thing which is with you, and which was with you even before birth, then you can understand that there will remain something with you even after your death. But if you think that that is all that you have got after birth then death will snatch away everything. But if you ha;e got at least something before birth, which you feel is not learnt during;ng life time, nor is it taken or obtained from life, but the nature you were born with, them there is no cause for you to be afraid of death, because death cannot snatch away that which you have not obtained from life.

But we are all afraid of death, not because it is fearful, but because there is nothing in us, what we life, which can be saved - which can remain with us from death. All that we have obtained from life and others, death will snatch away. It may be fame, wealth, knowledge or personality. That which we have accumulated from others, what we have stolen. Such stealing is not detected in the courts.

It is related to that Great Law called religion. It is in the Court of God where this stealing is detected.

Have we got any such thing which we can call 'unlearnt', or not obtained from anyone? If not so, the life which we live is one of stealing. A revolution begins to take place in my life if even once I remember that I have no property which is my own. Therefore, don't think you haven't stolen even a cowrie don't think you haven t stolen anything from someone else's house. What relation has such a theft with religion? Such a theft has relation only with man - concerned with a special kind of theft which is beyond the grips of law, which cannot be decided by courts, which is beyond the scope of judges. Religion is concerned with that stealing which is related to dignity and honour, which is a theft of individuality, it is a theft of faces; and all of us live with stolen - borrowed - faces. The way we live we are not ourselves but someone else.

I had said in this context that nonstealing is the road for achieving one's own individuality, man's soul, and stealing is the highway to losing man's soul. This stealing can manifest itself at the sentimental level, the thought level, the body-physical level. Even our walk our gait, we learn from others. We do not even think in our own way, we learn even to think from others. We do not even feel in our own way, we learn, even how to feel from others.

For example, take the case of a man who reads newspaper in the morning, and talks about some news or the other the whole day with others. It does not even strike him that what he is talking about contains nothing of his own. He reads the Gita, and then goes on repeating it throughout his life, and never looks back to see that there is nothing of his own in what he speaks. All our activities, namely, speaking, thinking, moving here and there, etc. are learnt from others. There cannot be rains of joy in such a life. We cannot find a drop of nectar in such a life. Such a person is like a dry desert, because streams always flow where there is greenery.

One who lives on borrowed springs, lives like a person who considers others' buildings as his own, considers others' eyes as his own, considers others' thoughts as his own and takes himself to be a man of discretion, and who collects bits of information from the scriptures and thinks he has got knowledge. Such a person lives in a delusion and passes his whole life uselessly. We waste it in such a manner. But if this question, 'Am I not a thief' comes before us once, then this question will dog us for ever. And if this question begins to dog us, we shall often see that the act of laughing which I was doing now was learnt by me from the lips of someone else, we shall also see that the tears I was shedding were not true ones, and also my action of bowing to others did not contain the soft sound of my sincerity, and my love-making had not at all love in it, I had learnt it from some drama, and also my love talk with my beloved was simply a repetition of a dialogue heard in a certain film. Leave it alone, if this question comes before a man's life, man will begin to be free from stealing, if not today, tomorrow. His individuality begins to evolve, he begins to laugh in his own way.

If people in this world laugh, shed tears and think in their own individual fashion, the world will be a fine place to live in. Then the world can be really vigorous and full of life. At present it is not full of life, it is a collection of dead bodies, where we live as if dead and yet are ignorant about it, because there are dead bodies like us on all sides. We have read the morning newspapers, the neighbour has also read them, he is repeating the news, we also do the same. We have read the KORAN, he has also read it. He repeats from the KORAN, we also do the same. He also has learnt from where we have learnt it. Our opinions agree with his opinions, and it seems everything is going on well. But nothing goes on well. There would not have been so much unhappiness if life was going on all right.

If a person realizes the 'self', that realization would be quite enough even if there is nothing left in his life. Even if nothing is left, his joy cannot be snatched away. Everything can be snatched away from him except his joy because there is no greater joy than the self. When a flower is blooming in its full splendour, then the sweet smell of joy emanates on all sides. The full bloom of flower is its joy. Life becomes full of 'Ecstasy' when the flower of individuality is fully evolved. He becomes fully satisfied, and he shines in the feeling of his fulfilment. Otherwise a man can have everything; wealth, position, fame but if he has no individuality of his own, he is nothing. He is absolutely empty within.

There are great discussions about the word 'emptiness' going on in the west today. It is being talked about by thinkers like Sartre, Camus, Marshall, Dicidagor. They say that we have become empty; there is absolutely nothing within us. We are just like empty containers and boxes. Why do they say all this when they have so much wealth, more than the world ever had before. They have the power and the capacity to reach the moon; they have weapons that could destroy the whole world in no time. So what is this emptiness within? The cause is that everything is outside; nothing is within.

There is no individuality, there is no soul. Everything is there, there is the capacity to reach the Moon but the strength to get to one's self is not there. Wealth is plentiful, but to be one's self is not there at all. There the places are very large, but the people residing in them are very small, insignificant.

This state of affairs is the result of steal ng. The west shall have to learn nonstealing .n order to destroy the emptiness. People like Marshall, Camus and Sartre will have to unlearn, will have to find out the rules to arouse the individuality. This nonstealing is the Mantra-slogan to achieve individuality, and stealing is the slogan to lose it.

Mahavira is not a thief, it is difficult to meet a greater nonstealing person than Mahavira. But Mahavira is not a Jain, he is 'Jin'. It is proper to understand the difference in meaning between the words 'Jin' and 'Jain' He is a 'Jin' who has conquered the self. He is a Jain who follows the conqueror. Gautam Buddha is not a thief, it is difficult to find a greater nonstealing person than Buddha. But Gautam Buddha is the Buddha; he is not a Buddha, he is the Buddha, i.e. an awakened or enlightened soul - who is a realized soul. And he, who follows the awakened one, is a Bauddha.

Similarly Jesus is not a thief, Jesus is Christ. Christ means one who was crucified on a gibbet and achieved 'that' which is achieved by the destruction of the 'I' - The ego. But Jesus is not a Christian.

A Christian is one who follows him who got himself crucified on a gibbet. There is a great difference between the two. The neck of Jesus was hanging on a gibbet, while a small cross is hanging on the neck of a Christian. So it means crosses do not hang on necks but necks hang on gibbets or crosses. Jesus goes up the gibbet, he is Christ. But a Christian hangs a small golden cross around his neck. Remember, a cross is not made of gold, a gibbet is not made of gold. If gibbets were made of gold, what would be the metal for thrones. And bear in mind that gibbets are not hung down from the neck, but necks are hanged on gibbets, and so Christians are thieves.

Mohammed has a special individuality and Musalman has his own. If Mohammed is the world, it is a matter of rejoicing and happiness and beauty; but if a Musalman is there in the world, it is dangerous. If Mahavira is there in the world he is welcome but if a Jain were there in the world it is dangerous. Buddha his his own speciality, he has a special fragrance; but the one who believes in Buddha has a bad smell, he is not fragrant. And this has some cause. The first is, as soon as a person decides that he will follow someone else, it means he is willing to lose his own individuality.

There is no meaning in following someone else. In fact, to follow someone else means that The follower wants to save himself from the realities of life. One who does not wish to be a Jin, becomes a Jain, one who does not wish to be Buddha, becomes a Buddha. One who dares not be a Christ, becomes a Christian. He know, there is nothing special or particular to do in being a Christian, but to try to be a Christ is to throw life in danger. What is there to do in being a Jain? It requires a great penance in becoming a Jin. In becoming a Jain, one has simply to follow the Jins. And to follow is to play. And in becoming a Jin one has not to follow, just to work hard for fulfilment - to practice for sadhna. And sadhna means difficulty, hard labour and firm determination. In fact, he who does not wish to work hard to achieve fulfilment of his own self, plays a game to deceive his mind and resorts to some kind of worship. He who does not desire to achieve his individuality, begins to play the game of following someone else. No one can achieve one's individuality by following another, the other is always the other. I may follow another and roam the whole earth, yet I cannot reach within. And if I want to reach within I will have to cease wandering. To follow always means to walk on the outer side and the outer side is following.

Mahavira does not go after anybody, Jesus does not go after somebody, Krishna does not go after anybody. It is interesting to know that innumerable people go after those who have not followed anybody. Buddha follows none but thousands follow him. If we wish to learn from Buddha himself, we have to learn that we should not go after anyone. If we desire to learn something from Mahavira, we should learn that nothing is going to be worthwhile, by worshipping somebody. Mahavira is not in favour of worshipping anyone. If we want to learn something from Jesus, we should bear this fact in mind that God can be t realized even without becoming a Christian. Jesus was not a Christian. If you wish to learn something from Muhammad, we should learn this very firmly that God has nothing to do with Musalmans. Muhammad was not a Musalman. Muhammad who is not a Musalman can meet god. They who are followed by the whole world, do not follow anybody, and we follow them because we hope we may also get that thing which they achieved. They achieved because they went within themselves, and we wish to achieve that by following someone To follow is to go out.

Therefore, I consider all forms of following as stealing and this type of following did not produce any civilization or culture. An adverse effect has been created by this concept of following in every civilization, as all these followers do nothing but fight and murder. The church, the temple, the masjid and the gurudwara have become the centres and the means to fight one another. Man's history is full of religious wars. These followers, believing in following Muhammad and Mahavira, Krishna and Christ could not evolve any system of becoming Krishna or Christ, but they exhibited great skills in annihilating one another. There are many kinds of killing. Some jump into the battlefield with sword in hand, and some others go out fighting with swords of thoughts and principles. The Jains try to falsify the principles of the Musalmans, the Musalmans try to pervert the principles of the Hindus, the Hindus misrepresent the principles of the Christians, and the Christians falsify the principles of the Bauddhas. And when they get tired or are not content by fighting with principles, they draw out swords to do so.

Man should have been greatly pleased in having Buddha, Mahavira and Christ among mankind but on the contrary much troubles have been created because of them. Bertrand Russell has written something: 'What harm would have been there if God had not sent Jesus here?' At least there would have been no Christians. In the middle ages the Christians covered the whole of Europe with dead bodies. So a famous man like Bertrand Russell had to pray thus, 'What harm was there if God had not sent Jesus here?' The world would have been a quieter place by not sending this one man.

At least the fighter, the murderer would not have been a Christian. This is something important to think about. The world did not become a bad place owing to the birth of Jesus, because his 'coming' should have increased the fragrance in the world. The world should have been lucky by the birth of Jesus. But It did not turn out to be so, because his birth gave rise to the birth of Christians. Whatever is enjoined by Jesus, is destroyed by the Christians. Jesus says, Love thy neighbour as thyself.' But the Christian keeps his sword sharp for his neighbour. Mohammed says, there is only one God, and all are His children, but the Musalman goes out to kill His children. The Hindu says, everything is Brahma - God, and in spite of this he conveniently forgets this great maxim of the Vedanta when he has to touch a Shudra, the low born. The world was fortunate in having Jesus, Krishna, Mahavira, Buddha, and Confucius, but floods of disaster and chaos follow them, institutions which become instruments for fighting are created. Armies of the followers get together and religion is turned into politics. Religion becomes an organized institution as soon as It falls into the hands of the followers, and then it is turned into politics. Religion is not an organized institution, it is a principle. But when the followers create an organized institution for it, the institution assumes importance, and those who are not a part of that institution are looked upon as enemies. Then those who are in the institution are considered as 'ours' and those who are out of it are looked upon as 'others' 'aliens'. Thus each religion goes on dividing man into various divisions. There are some three hundred religions on this earth. Man is divided into three hundred divisions. Religion is for uniting people and not for dividing them. Who does this division? Is Mahavira doing It. Is Muhammad doing it? Only one out of the two can be the truth, either Mahavira himself is the author of this division or jesus. Either Muhammad is the author of this division or the Musalmans. Either Jesus is a trouble maker or the Christians.

Mahavira, Jesus and Muhammad were the great messengers of peace. But something else happens when their followers create organized institutions after their death. It is very interesting to understand this scientific maxim about the follower. Generally those who oppose that principles become its followers. Mahavira renounced everything but people with plenty of everything, go bow and fall at his feet. Most voracious eaters, who think of food all the twenty-four hours are the first to be impressed by him. Mahavira stands naked, while thousands of followers of Jainism run cloth shops across this country. Is Mahavira's nakednesss responsible for this, is something to wonder about.

Jesus said if anyone slaps you on one cheek, turn your other cheek, if anybody snatches your coat, give him your shirt too, if someone asks you to carry his load for one mile, carry it for two miles. It is no wonder how the Christians plundered the whole world. The beievers of Christ spread slavery in the whole world, they will not only snatch your coat but lake away your shirt too. Jesus could not have imagined all this, but such kind of people flocked around him the most.

The fact is that opposite forces are also attracted by each other. Pleasure-seekers always gather around a person who has renounced everything. This is how everything gets perverted. Jains pervert what Mahavira said, the Christians destroy what Jesus said, and Muslims do the same about Muhammad. That is why all the followers should disappear. Muhammad should be there, his spirit, fragrance should be there, but there should be no followers in between. People should understand what Mahavira said but no one should say that I am his follower. The follower only defiles the great principles of what he follows.

A while ago I was reading a short story. A child was talking to his father. He read a proverb from his book which said that a man is known by the company he keeps. The boy asked his father 'Is this true?' The father said that it was. Then the boy wanted to know if there was friendship between one good person and another bad person who would be known by whom? The bad person is with the good one; so should we consider him a good person? Or the good person is with a bad one, so should we consider him a bad person? Now who should be known by whom? The father was perplexed.

Jesus is known through the Christians, so it has became difficult to know Jesus rightly. Mahavira is known through the Jains, so it has become difficult to know Mahavira. If the followers are removed, the great teachers' flowers will blossom in perfect beauty, his lamps can shine to the utmost. We shall be the possessors of the wealth of the whole world. At present the believer in Mahavira thinks that Muhammad is not his wealth, and he who believes in Muhammad thinks that he has no relationship with Buddha. He is somebody else's estate, not his. If at any time, there are no followers in this world, each individual will be the owner of the heritage of the whole world. In such circumstances, Socrates will be mine, Muhammad will be mine, Mahavira will be mine, and we shall be more prosperous, and a true civilization will take birth. The civilization of man will take place on that day when everything in the world will be ours. Think about this, I shall give one more illustration to explain this.

If there are twenty-five different schools of thought in the field of science, will science progress or will it be destroyed? If the followers of Newton make their own circle, and the followers of Einstein make another circle and if the followers of Newton declare that they do not believe in Einstein because he has said some opposite things which do not agree with what our teacher has said, then there will be many such schools of thought in science. Now there have been nearly fifty famous scientists during the last two or three hundred years, and if there were such fifty different circles, will science progress or die? Science could make advances because there is no such circle in the field of science. Whatever the scientists have given to the world is the common heritage of all mankind.

And religion could not create any civilization because there are many different religions or circles.

There are nearly three hundred such circles at present in the world, how can we expect or hope to create a true religion? These circles should be destroyed.

Mahavira saw truth from one angle of vision. Buddha saw the same Truth from another angle of vision, Muhammad saw it from a third angle of vision, and Christ explained the same Truth from a fourth angle of vision. All this is man's heritage and if all these are united together, and we become their inheritors, then true civilisation will take place in the world. A religious mind will be produced only when the whole heritage becomes ours. Today, we have only a sectarian mind, a religious mind is not there into the world. When a truly religious man comes into the world, he i5 immediately surrounded by sectarian people, and they destroy and pervert it in a few years, what that person achieved by working for it throughout his life. Mahavira belongs to none, Buddha belongs to none, they belong to all. None is their master, none can claim them, or you can say all can claim it. If such a situation takes place, then religion will become a science. Religion is certainly a science, and according to me, it is the supreme science, but as yet it has to achieve that status. When religion becomes a science, our life will be refined and progressive. At present it is only founded on sects.

Who is responsible for this? The follower is responsible for this. And if the follower had achieved something by doing all this mischief, we would have been satisfied. But it took him nowhere, because he forgot all the basic principles. Each individual will have to try himself to find 'it' out, and he has to travel within for it. He who goes after another can lose himself, cannot achieve the self.

Acharyaji, while giving the illustration of an onion you said every individual has many faces, many visages, which tare stolen, and these visages will always be there in all circumstances. Only a distinction will have to be made between a true good face and a false bad face. I hate somebody but when he comes to see me. I smile and welcome him. This is my false face which I show to him, but along with this action I have a great sorrow in my heart and yet I smile, then this face of mine will be a visage - a false face. You have understood what death is, you have known the secret of death and you are leading your life, this also is a kind of visage - mask. You have acquired victory over truth and untruth and you are proclaiming the truth, this is also a kind of visage. I may add one more example, a flute having a hole in it attracts people by its tunes. Is not that a visage of the flute? The ornaments for the ankles with small stones within their hollow, produce a musical sound. Is not that musical sound the visage of that ornament? If this is a fact, a distinction will have to be made, and so I request you to explain this distinction between the two. Along with this request I have one more question to ask. If life is a grand interconnected relationship, individualities will be created in many forms and ways. How can you call this separateness or individuality a false face? When a child is born, it comes into this world bringing with it impressions of a series of births. It got love from its mother, got affectionate treatment, got knowledge to understand the language from the teacher, got inspiration to think and got experience from wherever he roamed in this world. Wilt this acquired experience be looked upon as stealing? If it is looked upon as stealing, the individuality will be cut apart and made separate. How can he create his own individuality as long as he does not accept any of the experiences got from other persons and does not turn them as his own impressions?

I think, the meaning of mask has not been correctly understood. Your face is not your mask. When in a play You put on another face on your face, for example, the face of Ravana, then that borrowed face is a mask. Your own face is not a mask but when you put on another false face whose roots are nowhere within you, with which your life has no relation, which is simply hanging on a string from the ears, which has no bridge connection with the throbbing of the heart, Then and only then is it a mask. The face is not a mask. It is a false face. So understand its correct meaning. But it is not necessary that a false face should be a paper or a plastic face. You are successful in producing many such false faces on your face. As you said, it is a mask when I smile and welcome a person whom I hate from the bottom of my heart, and such a false face is very harmful. Such a mask seems useful, its utility is seen. In this way he stops himself from showing or exhibiting his hatred. But the hatred does not disappear. The danger is that I shall certainly cheat that man, and slowly I also begin to cheat myself; and the oft-repeated smile will go on suppressing my hatred within and a day will come when I shall forget that I am hating. I shall be smiling and at the same time my feeling of hatred will remain hidden within me. If a religious person experiences the feeling of hatred, he has two remedies for it. Either he does now experience the feeling of hatred and so he smiles, or if he experiences that feeling of hatred, he should at least not smile. He should exhibit that hatred on his face. Such a behaviour has two advantages. If he exihibits hatred on his face, he shall have to bear the harm which is the result of expressing hatred. The experience of pain due to hatred which he has to bear will become the cause of changing that hatred, otherwise why should he change? The harm done to life by hatred, will be the cause of changing it. This fact will compel him to think that he should change or remove his hatred because the feeling of hatred leads him to hell.

But we exhibit smiles and try to create a heaven outside, but a hell is being created within. Then what is the way to destroy that hell? The pain of that hell which is not experienced fully by us and which is hidden within is beyond destruction. There is one interesting thing here. By smiling, you think you welcomed another person, though there was hatred within you. But when this is the case, smiles become full of poison and another person can clearly see that it is a mask-smiling face. It is very difficult to curb the hatred coming out from within. It certainly shows itself. it is manifested through the lips, through the eyes, by our way of getting up and sitting down and by all our activities. So, false smiling only suppresses hatred, we cannot establish any communication, or give any satisfaction to others by it. If you are angry with somebody, say so clearly that you are angry. If you get angry, and suffer the pangs of becoming angry, then in the near future this fire of anger will be the means to take you out of anger. Otherwise there will be anger within, and a smile outside, and once that anger builds up inside it will burn you. The false smile will spread out, without any result. When there is full individuality, full sincerity behind our smiling, then its touch afflicts another person's heart. The whole life should laugh along with that smile. When all the hair on the body laugh, it contains the boon of nectar in it.

A religious person talks of removing this mask which we often use, so nonstealing means to tear off such masks. It is difficult. That is why religion means penance. To stand in The hot sun does not mean religious penance. The meaning of religious penance is to have the courage of withstanding all types of heat in life. When vou are angry, admit that you are angry, and when there is hatred, say that you are full oF hatred. At least be sincere, be honest. Say what it is. Experience its pain, live that experience. You will burn your hand by living in this manner. And the burnt hand will be the cause of stopping that pain next time. The person with whom you were angry and said so, the person to whom you showed your hatred and also said so, that person will be convinced that you have also love in you when you laugh and love him the next day.

Everything becomes doubtful in the life of a person whose hatred is false, whose laughter is false, and whose anger is also false. If a wife curbs and conceals her anger when she is angry with her husband it would be very difficult to trust her even when she smiled because she hasn't got an authentic individuality of her own. If the hatred is false how can love be true. How can one trust the tears of a false smile? Then the whole life of such a person is a story of falsehood. Religion is rebellion, and it is in opposition to insincerity. It is a challenge to be sincere, to be faithful against insincerity, against faithlessness. Religion says, weep if there are tears, laugh if there is smiling pleasure. If a person is faithful to his feelings, he cannot entertain hatred for a long time. There are reasons for it. Such a person cannot entertain anger for many days. There are reasons for it.

Faithfulness and sincerity have so much strength that it is difficult to plant thorns of anger and hatred in the life of a person whose faithfulness has been completely destroyed and where insincerity has been rejected. Faithlessness - insincerity is the seed in which anything can be planted. When that seed is broken all the rest of things begin to fall down themselves.

This sincerity, which means a man is true to himself, cannot entertain anger for a long time, because such a person will soon see that to be angry means to give pain to himself. Somewhere Buddha has said jocularly, 'I laugh much when I see a person becoming angry, because such a person punishes himself for the others' fault.' Such a person says I am angry because that man abused me. Another person has abused. It is another person's fault but he punishes himself. No fire goes inside the skin or bones, but the fire of anger even burns the soul, burns everything within. It turns everything into ashes within. When a person draws back his hand after putting it into the fire, how does he dare to put his hand into the fire of anger? He does so because he has not thoroughly seen that he is putting his hand in the fire of anger. When he puts his hand in the fire of anger, he pretends as if he is touching flowers. He is burning within with hatred, but keeps a smile on his lips. If he sees deep within, he will find that his hands are burning with the fire of anger.

If a person does not laugh a false laugh and tries to understand sincerely his weeping, his miseries and pain, he will see this fire burning soon. There is no greater fool than the one who entertains hatred even after seeing, understanding what anger is, what hatred is. So when I said, you steal when you put on a mask, I do not mean to say that when you are smiling, it is a mask. That smiling will be a mask only when there is no smiling within but it is all outward. That weeping would be a mask when there are no tears within, they are in the eyes only. Your greeting someone will be a mask when you say within 'what a calamity, this man has come!' and outwardly you say, 'A guest is to be considered as a God, you are most welcome, please be seated.' In such circumstances, the guest is certainly dishonoured, God is also disregarded. Always say what is there in your heart.

Tell the truth. It will be very difficult. This difficulty must arise, because only after it arises, will there be liberation from falsehood mask. If you want to tell the guest who has come to your house, 'you have put us through great inconvenience, you do not look at all like a God', you will find it rather difficult. But by enduring this difficulty, the guest will soon appear a God to you, because he who can be so frank-hearted, can also look upon the guest as God. But a cunning person who says in his mind, 'How has this bad man come to my house!' and outwardly says 'you are a God, you are most welcome, your arrival has filled his house with joy', can never regard the guest as God. This man is behaving so fraudulently with himself that this cunningness will make him crooked, complex and dishonest.

Thus we are amassing cunningness and crookedness throughout our lives, and everything about us is false and untrue. A religious person declares that he will give up this sort of crookedness, he will be innocent, frank-hearted. He will be what he is. He will show himself as he is. Then masks disappear and the true face of a person begins to appear. All have their original - true - faces, but we have covered them with so many masks that we ourselves do not know which is the real face.

When you stand before a mirror and are pleased to see your face, there will be ninety-nine chances out of a hundred of that face also being a mask. We are not what we are even in a mirror. We wish to be seen as what we imagine we are. That is why a person stands before a mirror with a complete make-up.

I have heard about a woman who was ugly. She would break a mirror if someone held it before her.

She would say, 'From where did you bring such a bad mirror? It makes my face absolutely ugly.' 'The mirror is bad.' We also like to break all the mirrors, but we are not prepared to change our faces. But the face is not changed by breaking the mirror, life is not changed by breaking mirrors. What I mean by a mask is that we should not put on false faces upon our real face. It does not mean that we shall not change faces in our life, because we shall change them every day throughout life, but those changed faces should be yours. When there is darkness in life, tears will certainly come in our eyes.

If a friend dies tomorrow, tear, will certainly come, and if a friend, separated for a long time, meets us tomorrow, our hearts will certainly throb with delight and we might begin to sing and dance. Our face should change every moment, it should be responsive, but that face should be yours. I do not say that you should maintain only one face throughout. If you do so, it would be a face of stone.

I have heard, somebody approached an American millionaire for alms. The man asked for a small gift, but that millionaire said, 'I have formulated a rule for giving alms and gifts. One of my eyes is artificial - it is made of stone and the other is real. And I only reward that person who can point out the artificial e)e, but nobody has been successful in this test uptil now. You can try ' That man looked into the eyes and said, 'Your left eye is artificial.' The millionaire said, 'You have surprised me, how did you know it?' The man replied, 'Your left eye shows some mercy, so I thought this must be stone. Faces may change but they cannot be expressionless. Only the faces of dead people can be without any expression, those of living cannot be so.

If you observe children's faces, you will see that they change as quickly as the blasts of wind. And if you examine the faces of older people, you will see that they have become stony. The meaning of old faces is that everything is fixed there. There is no liquidity there. When I say do not change faces, I do not mean to say that you should make your face expressionless. I am simply asking not to put on false faces. It should be your own face; it will change every moment. It should respond to every mood and express itself as the situation demands it. It must be so. Life is responsive, so the face should have liquidity, but the face must be yours. Liquidity should be yours. There will be a change every moment, as everything in life is changing every moment. There is nothing fixed here, everything is undergoing change. So life is like the swinging leaves of a tree. All are shaking all the time. Nothing is steady except change in life. Change is the only thing in life which does not change.

Heraclaites has said, you cannot step twice in the same river. Even in one moment you cannot step twice. Life is like a river in which everything will go on changing. But the thing which is going to change should be yours, that face should be yours, it should be authentic. You may go on changing if you are you. Change is life and if you can remember during these changes that there is someone within who sees these changes you will attain 'SAMADHI' - the highest form of meditation. The face should be yours, and you should also be the witness standing behind this flow of changes and observing them. When the moon is rising, eyes are smiling, when there is a dark night, eyes weep, when flowers smell, the mind is dancing, when they fall down you are sorry, when dear ones meet there is joy, and when they separate there is pain - there should be 'someone' behind you observing all these changes. But the face should be yours which he is observing.

What is there for him to see in a false, plastic face? He does not change. When you assume a false, artificial face, you have to change your face, that is, you remove one and put on another. But when your own face changes, it becomes a new one in the new circumstances and a new flow of life. The face is the same, but the new responses of life, the new reactions of life make it new. But then if 'someone' within, being awakened observes, the changing face becomes meaningful, and the unchanging witness looks like Brahma, the Highest. And then you go beyond yourself and, when anyone goes beyond one's self, one enters God.

You have said it is a subtle stealing to put on an individuality and a face from outside and they lead to hypocrisy and irreligion: but now-a-days it is seen that many new Sannyasis are gathering round you and without any special preparation and maturity you go on admitting them in the new sannyasa way of life. Are you not harming religion to a great extent by acting in this manner? Please explain this.

The first thing is this. If anyone tries to be like me, I shall stop him. I shall tell him it is suicide to try to be like me. But if a person begins a journey to try to be like himself, I will wish him all the luck. I have no objection in becoming a witness for those sannyasis who wish I should become a witness on their journey to God. But I am not their Guru or Master. Nobody is my pupil, I am simply a witness. I do not have any objection to becoming a witness if anyone starts to follow the path of sannyasa in front of me, but I would object strongly if anyone approaches me to become my pupil.

If anyone wants to follow me, I shall stop him. But it is impossible for me not to give my good wishes to him who is starting on his own journey to God. There is no reason to believe the sannyasis whom you see around here trying to imitate me. I do not wear red or ochre clothes. I do not have any 'MALA' around my neck.

Now you tell me, I am accepting, approving the sannyasa of anyone without taking into consideration his or her fitness. When God Himself has accepted U5 all without any conditions, who am I then not to accept them? And there is only one fitness to be a sannyasi and that is, the person concerned accepts with total humility his 'unfitness'. There is no other test of fitness except this. If somebody says, 'I am a fit person. Please give me sannyasa,' I will immediately fold my hands (a sign of saying 'excuse me') because there is on need for a fit person to be a sannyasi. And one who thinks himself fit, will not attain sannyasa because sannyasa is the power of humility - humbleness. It blooms in humility. He who goes before God with a certificate of fitness will, find perhaps doors closed against him. The doors will open for him who stands at the doors with tears in his eyes and will say, I am an unfit person. I have no qualification to ask you to open the doors, and yet I am trying, I have a great desire, I have a sort of madness, I have hunger, a keen desire to see you.

It is enough for me when a person comes to me and expresses his/her desire to be a sannyasi. I never examine the fitness of that person. Is not his desire to be a sannyasi enough? Are not his keen thirst and prayers - request to be a sannyasi enough? And what is the test of fitness? What can a person do except show his thirst or his prayers. What can a person do except completely surrender?

But is any qualification, any certificate required for surrender? A person with qualifications cannot surrender, because he thinks he has a right. But only those who are fully aware of their unfitness can surrender.

The doors of God are always open for them who are helpless, unfit, lowly, and unqualified, whose hearts are full of prayer. But those who are fit, certified, and qualified, hold degrees of Kashi, are experts in the knowledge of the shastras are compact with penance, and who have a list of fasts observed by them, are full of pride and vanity. There is no other greater 'unfitness' - disqualification then pride. All who consider themselves fit are full of pride. Only those who consider themselves unfit are able to go on a journey of humbleness, so I cannot inquire about their fitness. Moreover I am not their Guru who can inquire about their fitness. They have come to me only with a view to make me their witness. I shall tell you two or three more things about this.

According to me Sannyas is a direct relationship between an individual and God. There cannot be any intermediary. Sannyas is a direct surrender by an individual. When God is present on all sides, there is no need for anyone to be an intermediary between them. If a person wants to surrender to God he can do so. An unfit person begins to be fit by surrendering himself to God. Moreover, the beginning of fitness qualifications takes place by the determination, surrender, and prayers of the unfit. A Sannyasi is not a realized person, to be a sannyasi is simply to make a firm determination to start on a journey to become a realized person. A Sannyasi is simply the first point of that holy journey, it is not the end. It is only the blessed beginning, it is the milestone on that road, it is not the destination. Why should he walk who has already reached the destination. And how can he who has not reached the destination show that he has reached it? The first step towards that destination will be taken when a person consider himself unfit, and when it is taken, it should be considered a great qualification. When a person dares take the first step, he shows great determination.

I look at sannyas from a special point of view. According to me Sannyas is only the remembering of the fact that I now dedicate myself to God. Now I dedicate myself in search of truth. I am bold enough to say that I shall try to live like a religious minded person. These red ochre coloured clothes which you see are for remembering, that now I am not that which I was till yesterday. Nobody can become a sannyasi by merely changing clothes, but a sannyasi can change his clothes. None can become a sannyasi by putting a mala on his neck, but a sannyasi can put on a mala and can use it. The mala on the neck is suggestive of the transformation in his life. When you go shopping in a market you tie a knot at the end of a handkerchief or a garment. As soon as you touch the knot, you are at once reminded of the thing to be bought. The knot is not the thing, and it is also not certain that the person who tied the knot would positively bring the thing. And yet he can forget the thing. He ties the knot and on ninety occasions out of a hundred, he brings the thing due to the knot. These clothes, this mala, are only outward changes, they are not sannyas. It is just like tying a knot which means that the person has started on a journey to sannyas. This is a remembering, a reminder which may remain in one's consciousness and be very helpful too.

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...statement made by the former Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir,
in reference to the African nations who voted in support of the 1975
U.N. resolution, which denounced Zionism as a form of racism. He said,

"It is unacceptable that nations made up of people who have only just
come down from the trees should take themselves for world leaders ...
How can such primitive beings have an opinion of their own?"

-- (Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, November 14, 1975).