Chapter 5: My Skin and Bone Are Turned to Gold
Come, if you wish to meet the novel man.
He has abandoned his worldly possessions
for the beggar’s sack that hangs from his shoulder.
He speaks of the eternal mother, Kali, the goddess of time
even as he enters the Ganges.
Simple words can overcome ignorance and disbelief:
Kali and Krishna are one.
The words may differ, the meaning is precisely the same.
He who has broken the barrier of words,
has conquered limits:
Allah or Jesus, Moses or Kali,
the rich or the poor,
sage or fool,
all are one and the same to him.
Lost in his own thoughts, he seems insane to others.
He opens his arms to welcome the world,
calling all to the ferryboat tied to the coast of life.
Come if you wish to meet the novel man.
The whole Baul search is the search for the novel man, the new man. Who is this new man?
You can live your life in two ways. Either you can become a man of being or you can become a man of having. Either you can have yourself or you can have many worldly things instead. Either you can possess many things and be possessed by them, or you can possess yourself and be not possessed by anything.
The man of having has a totally different direction. That’s what Bauls call “the worldly man.” He thinks in terms of money, in terms of commodities, in terms of bank balances; he thinks in terms of things. And he thinks that the more he has, the more he is. That is one of the most fundamental fallacies.
You can have the whole world and you can remain a beggar. You can have all that the world can give and yet remain empty.
The great Alexander died. He is the very symbol of the worldly man. He wanted to conquer the whole world and he had done it, almost. But before he died, he told his generals, “Then let both my hands hang out of the coffin.”
They said, “We have never heard.it is not traditionally done. And why do you want to do such an absurd thing?”
Alexander said, “It is not absurd. It has a certain relevance with my life. I want people to see that I am going with empty hands. So let both my hands hang out of the coffin, so everybody can see that even Alexander is going with empty hands. I came with empty hands, I am going with empty hands, and the whole life has been a wastage.”
He must have been very perceptive, because many more die still clinging, still not aware that their hands are empty, still not aware that their hearts are empty, still not aware that they have wasted their whole lives, that it has been just a nightmare.
The man of having continues to accumulate more and more. What he accumulates is not the point; his emphasis is on accumulation. His soul exists in his accumulations.
What he accumulates is not important. He may accumulate money, he may accumulate knowledge, he may accumulate ego or he may accumulate humility. He may accumulate things of this world, or he may start accumulating virtues, things of the other world, but he accumulates. He exists through things.