Chapter 26: Innocence: The Natural Outlaw
The man thought his prayer had been heard. He collected everything. He had to carry a huge bag. The size of the bag was bigger than himself; it was too difficult to carry. But this he had been carrying his whole life within himself. Now he could see how much it was. He had never had the guts to look within, at how much junk had collected in the basement. For the first time seeing all this, he could not believe that he had been carrying all this load. Now he could see why he was sad, why he was dragging, not dancing. How can life become a song with all this inside you? It can only be a hypocrisy.
He rushed, dragging his big bag. But what he saw.because the divine voice was not only for himself. All the people from all directions were bringing.. And then he became puzzled because he had always thought these people were happy. He saw a man he knew; he was always smiling, joking - but this man’s bag was bigger than his own! He could not believe his eyes when he saw all the people dragging bigger bags than his. Looking at other people’s bags he started feeling a little proud that his bag was not that big.
And then in the temple the divine voice said, “Hang all your bags around the temple and listen to me carefully” - so they hung up all their bags. But this man was afraid. He wanted - but had not the nerve - to say to God, “Please let me keep my own because at least I am acquainted, I know what is inside the bag. In the first place, everybody else’s bag is bigger than mine. In the second place, I don’t know what they are carrying. I was befooled because they were smiling and happy and singing and dancing, and I thought life was a celebration for them, that only I was suffering. But I know now: everybody is a hypocrite.
“This man is the president, and I thought at least he must be happy at the highest rung of the ladder. Now what more can one expect? I am miserable because I am not even on the first rung of the ladder. I cannot hope to become a president, not at least in a few lifetimes. But this man’s bag is as big as his ladder” - of course, it was a presidential bag. “I don’t want to be the president if this bag comes with it.”
He saw the richest man, he saw the great artist, world famous, he saw the Nobel prize-winner, and he said, “My God! I was unnecessarily suffering. If I had known these people’s insides I would have enjoyed myself. I wasted my life without any reason.”
Now, his only fear was that he might have to choose somebody else’s bag. Then the voice said, “You all close your eyes, and with closed eyes - the lights should be turned off - you can choose anybody’s bag you want.” And what he saw was that before the light was turned off everybody rushed towards his own bag. There was not a single exception; everybody rushed to his own bag. That was even more amazing: just as he rushed towards his own bag, everybody..
He asked his neighbors, “Why are you rushing?”
They said, “At least we know what is in our bag, and we have become accustomed to it. It is, after all, our suffering, our wounds. And man is immensely adjustable - we have become adjusted to all this. Now at this age to have somebody else’s sufferings and to make new adjustments in life will be too much.”
At that very moment his dream was broken. He was perspiring, trembling, holding his pillow tight to his chest. Perhaps that was his bag in the dream.