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Chapter 1: Know How to Live

“We want some bulbs for our headlights,” said Ford. “And by the way, that is Thomas Edison sitting there in the car, and I am Henry Ford.”

The fellow at the service station did not even look up, just spat out some tobacco juice with obvious contempt.

“And,” said Ford, “we would like to buy a new tire if you have any Firestone tires. And that other fellow in the car is Harvey Firestone himself.”

Still the old fellow said nothing. While he was placing the tire on the wheel, John Burroughs, with his long white beard, stuck his head out the window and said, “How do you do, stranger?”

Finally the old man at the service station came alive. He glared at Burroughs and said, “If you tell me you are Santa Claus I will be damned if I don’t crush your skull with this lug wrench.”

He could not believe that Harvey Firestone, Thomas A. Edison, John Burroughs and Henry Ford were all traveling in one car. They were all friends and they used to travel together.

When I say to you you are gods and goddesses, you will not believe me because you have completely forgotten who is traveling within you, who is sitting within you, who is listening to me, who is looking at me. You have completely forgotten. You have been given some labels from the outside and you have trusted those labels - your name, your religion, your country - all bogus! It does not make any sense if you are a Hindu or a Christian or a Mohammedan if you don’t know yourself. These labels make no sense at all. Maybe they are of a certain utility. What sense does it make whether you are a Hindu, or a Christian, or a Mohammedan, or an Indian, or an American, or Chinese? How does it make sense, how does it help you to know your being? All are irrelevant - because the being is neither Indian, nor Chinese, nor American; and the being is neither Hindu, nor Mohammedan, nor Christian. The being is simply a pure ‘is-ness’.

The pure ‘is-ness’ is what I call godliness. If you can understand your inner divinity you have understood what life is. Otherwise you have not been able yet to decode life. This is the message. The whole life is pointing at one thing, continuously - that you are gods. Once you have understood it, then there is no death. Then you have learned the lesson. Then in death gods will be returning back to their homes.

When Rabbi Birnham lay dying,
his wife burst into tears.
He said, “What are you crying for?
My whole life was only that I might learn how to die.”

The whole life.just a training: how to go back home, how to die, how to disappear. Because the moment you disappear, godliness appears in you. Your presence is the absence of godliness; your absence is the presence of godliness.